At Berkeley, Professors Are Inciting Students into Anti-Semitic Mobs

March 21, 2024 | Daniel Solomon
About the author:

On February 26, a riot broke out among pro-Palestinian protestors at UC Berkeley. The protestors broke windows and hurled anti-Semitic slurs at the Jewish and pro-Israeli students there.

Daniel Solomon, a current history PhD student at UC Berkeley, has a firsthand account of the events, along with the climate, encouraged by professors and administrators, leading up to it.

The anti-Semitic riot capped months of harassment, terror apologia, and occasional outbursts of violence from the campus “Free Palestine” movement. The university’s response has been consistently craven. Meanwhile, some faculty members, such as in the history department, where I am a PhD student, have justified and covered for this behavior. My department has been a microcosm of a larger institutional failure, in which “equity” and “anti-colonialism” act as shields for rank anti-Semitism.

Chief among these faculty members is Ussama Makdisi, who “rhapsodizes about a 19th-century convivencia in the Levant that Zionism supposedly ruined,” and who “told a lecture hall full of students that Jews should have founded their state in postwar Germany.”

On October 7,

Makdisi posted a thinly veiled justification of the slaughter: “Just waking up to the news. Go read CLR James, Black Jacobins, on the violence of the oppressed. And then try to ignore the utterly racist double standard of Western politicians and media when it comes to questions of resistance and occupation and international law.”

And after October 7, Makdisi “has addressed the crowds that have gathered on campus for ‘Free Palestine’ marches and participated in a slew of events with Bears for Palestine.” Then, in the wake of the riot in February, “Makdisi has defended the campus malefactors in a flurry of posts on X.”

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