A law professor has warned against hiring his “antisemitic” law students.
University of California, Berkeley’s Steven Davidoff Solomon, corporate law professor and advisor to the campus Jewish law students’ association, issued the plea in a Sunday Wall Street Journal op-ed following the Hamas terror attacks on Israel – but also after several campus organizations voted last year to ban pro-Israel speakers from appearing at their events.
This decision, he says, is part of an attitude on college campuses that condones the open hatred of Jews.
In a broader sense, he argues, that attitude made the heinous Oct. 7 attacks on Israel possible. Those attacks, perpetrated by Hamas terrorists, resulted in over 1,400 Israeli deaths and numerous unaccounted-for hostages.
“[I]f you don’t want to hire people who advocate hate and practice discrimination, don’t hire some of my students,” he wrote in the piece. “Antisemitic conduct is nothing new on university campuses, including here at Berkeley.
“Last year, Berkeley’s Law Students for Justice in Palestine asked other student groups to adopt a bylaw that banned supporters of Israel from speaking at events. It excluded any speaker who ‘expressed and continued to hold views or host/sponsor/promote events in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.’ Nine student groups adopted the bylaw.”
Since the original nine groups adopted the bylaw, 11 more have followed suit, Solomon points out, essentially creating “Jew-free zones.”
“The student conduct at Berkeley is part of the broader attitude against Jews on university campuses that made (the Oct. 7) massacre possible. It is shameful and has been tolerated for too long.”
When asked by NewsNation’s Elizabeth Vargas if he has any regrets about writing the piece, he says he has “not one.” While he supports free speech on college campuses and does not support cancel culture, he says this type of speech should not be devoid of any consequences.
“For too long, this type of attitude has been going on in college campuses, where you can just substitute ‘Zionists’ for ‘Jews,’ and you can spout hatred because it’s about Jews and Israel. And it’s time the adults stepped in. It’s time the adults said, ‘Look, you might have free speech on a college campus, which I endorse, but you’re going to have consequences as a lawyer; you’re going to have consequences as a professional. We’re not going to have you representing our clients.’”
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has reportedly condemned such actions by student groups but doesn’t think students should be punished for exercising their free speech rights. In response, Solomon encourages Ramaswamy to speak to Jewish students on these campuses to understand the impact this attitude has had on them.
“They’re not kids, OK? These are law students. These are adults in college,” Solomon said. “I encourage Vivek to come to Berkeley and meet with Jewish students and see the real damage this does when so many of us have lost family. We have lost friends in the army. Many of us have had family who have been horribly murdered, and we have to sit there and listen while a student says that’s OK.”
Finally, he says “it’s time for the adults to takeover,” urging employers in the legal profession to carefully vet the graduates they intend to hire, to weed out this antisemitic attitude.
“If you are a legal employer, when you interview students from Berkeley, Harvard, NYU or any other law school this year, ask them what organizations they belong to. Ask if they support discriminatory bylaws or other acts and resolutions blaming Jews and Israelis for the Hamas massacre.
“If a student endorses hatred, it isn’t only your right, but your duty, not to hire him. Do you want your clients represented by someone who condones these monstrous crimes?”