Three weeks after violence erupted at a private event organized by Jewish student groups at UC Berkeley and protested by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, Monday’s speech took place and went off without a hitch.

Monday’s event was dramatically different from the one originally planned by several Jewish student groups for Feb. 26, when campus police evacuated the Zellerbach Playhouse after about 200 protesters violently entered the building.

UC Berkeley increased police presence and hired private security for the event, which was held in the Pauley Ballroom on campus, and closed the building to anyone who had not registered. Faculty members and university staff carrying yellow and blue “observer” signs roamed outside and throughout the building along with others designated as peace ambassadors.

The Jewish student groups, including Tikvah, Bears for Israel and Students Supporting Israel, which describe themselves as Zionist organizations, postponed the event until Monday, saying it was essential to freedom of speech. The keynote speaker was controversial Israeli military reservist and lawyer Ran Bar-Yoshafat. About 150 people were present.

After first Condemnation of the February 26 incident Chancellor Carol Christ and Provost Benjamin E. Hermalin then announced the move was a violation of the university’s “most fundamental values” and commitment to free expression criminal investigations into the violence. Christ and Hermalin said campus police and the university’s anti-harassment office were investigating reports of “overtly anti-Semitic statements” and allegations of physical violence as hate crimes.

Federal authorities have also launched their own investigation into allegations of discrimination at UC Berkeley since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

In a Feb. 28 social media statement, Bears for Palestine criticized the university and Jewish student groups for providing a platform to speakers like Bar-Yoshafat, and said Palestinian, Arab and other students also face ongoing harassment and threats.

“Our Palestinian community has been in a constant, insurmountable state of grief for the past 144 days as the occupation continues to devastate Gaza as part of its genocidal military campaign,” the group wrote.

Unlike the February event, only a handful of demonstrators showed up with placards protesting against Bar-Jehoshaphat and condemning the war in Gaza as genocide. A protester managed to break into the event and interrupt Bar-Yoshafat about 30 minutes into his speech.

“Shame on you all,” the protester shouted before being led out.

Sharon Knafelman, a sophomore, vice president of Bears for Israel and board member of Students Supporting Israel, attributed the otherwise uneventful speech to the university stepping up enforcement.

“I think they have learned from their mistakes,” Knafelman said, adding that UC Berkeley’s job is “to set the tone for the rest of the United States for free speech that we respect and that allows everyone to do so.” “To come and make your point of view as long as it is done in a peaceful and civil manner.”

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *