Since Wednesday, multiple students and faculty have reported the presence of posters throughout campus that were determined by UC Berkeley administration to contain anti-Semitic rhetoric.
In a campuswide email Thursday, Associate Chancellor Nils Gilman stated that the posters violated both the UC Berkeley Principles of Community and the UC regents’ Principles Against Intolerance. The posters allege that the Jewish community inhibits free speech on campus and reference the United States’ recent deal to give Israel $38 billion in military aid money over the next 10 years.
According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, additional posters were spotted Thursday. Mogulof said these posters were being removed by facility services as fast as possible.
“As we have in the past … for similar incidents … these are just things that the campus is going to make very clear that they’re going to react (to) very quickly no matter who the targeted group is, in the sense of our campus beliefs,” Mogulof said.
The campus’s “time, place, and manner” rules stipulate that, while free expression is welcomed, it cannot interfere with the campus’s operation or others’ rights to expression and may not damage or impinge on campus property.
According to John Efron, campus professor of Jewish history, the presence of the posters is in line with a trend of anti-Semitism on campus and within universities nationwide.
“One of the grave problems with anti-Semitism today is having it taken seriously,” Efron said. “All too frequently, both on and off campus, claims of anti-Semitism are dismissed as either completely fabricated or greatly exaggerated. Asking Jews to defend their claims that they’d been subjected to anti-Semitism or explain what they mean by their experience places them in the dock and on trial.”
Adam Naftalin-Kelman, the rabbi and executive director of Berkeley Hillel, agreed with Efron and said many Jewish students feel that the majority of the student body ignores anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley.
Younus Al-Bojermi, a junior transfer student, said there was similar intolerance against the Palestinian community on campus. Al-Bojermi said in his first day in the DeCal “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” he found a poster on the door that contained anti-Palestinian rhetoric.
“Anti-Semitism, or any type of prejudice is a bad thing,” Al-Bojermi said. “(I) strongly condemn any hate crimes.”
The President of the Jewish Student Union Josh Woznica said the strength of the Jewish community on campus is sometimes overshadowed by the hate crimes, and the campus should focus on how to move forward from these incidents.
The perpetrators of the anti-Semitic posters have not been found and, according to Mogulof, there is no evidence to suggest that they are affiliated with campus. In the email, Gilman urged the campus community to report any further incidents to campus administration.