Letters: Editorial Too Quick to Condemn

Closeup of letters on writing desk at home
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“Anti-Israel Tolerance on Campus” (March 7) addressed a protest at the University of California, Berkeley against a scheduled Israeli speaker by a group named Bears for Palestine. The event was canceled because of the unruly and violent acts of some protesters.

The next day, UCB Chancellor Carol Christ responded with a condemnation. The editorial highlighted Christ’s pledge to look into the matter to “decide what happened and why; to determine how we will address what occurred; and to do everything possible to preclude a repeat of what happened.”

The editorial’s response: “Nice words. But meaningless. Also, dishonest.” And later: “Maybe UC Berkeley and others will start taking the law more seriously when their federal funding is withheld.”

As a member of the Alumni Association, I received an email with Christ’s update to her day-after response. She writes that, “UCPD is investigating these two alleged incidents [of antisemitic expression], which also included allegations of physical battery, as hate crimes. They are also investigating other reports of illegal conduct, including one additional allegation of physical battery upon a student. One criminal suspect has been identified to date, for trespassing. Our Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination has also opened a separate discrimination investigation.”

She unequivocally rejected any notion that antisemitism is entitled to protection as speech: “Political protest is about opposition to an idea, action or policy. Antisemitic expression is a frightening attack on an entire people. Every student, every member of our community, has a right to feel safe and welcome, and a true sense of belonging regardless of their identity or perspectives.”

That’s a strong protection of Jewish students after careful compilation of the facts. By contrast, the JE editorial was quick to condemn, the facts be damned. T

Marc Schneier, Dresher


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