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Professor investigated for objecting to pro-Hamas activist sermonizing at dinner she hosted

Anti-Israel student claims she had ‘First Amendment right’ to disrupt the dinner

The University of California Berkeley is investigating a law professor for “harassment” following an incident at a dinner she hosted for third-year law students.

As reported by The College Fix, Catherine Fisk and husband Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, hosted the dinner at their home early last month when student Malak Afaneh suddenly thought it appropriate to stand up and blast the university for not divesting from Israel.

Chemerinsky (who is Jewish) and Fisk asked Afaneh numerous times to cease and then leave, but she refused — and claimed the National Lawyers Guild told her she had a First Amendment to say her piece.

The “nation’s oldest and largest progressive bar association” persisted with this claim. Executive Director Camilo Pérez Bustillo said the dinner “wasn’t any random private home, and it wasn’t a random event” … it was an “official” event because two university employees were its hosts.

Pérez Bustillo also ripped Fisk for using “physical force” against Afaneh, with the Guild tweeting “university professors should NEVER put their hands on students.”

In a statement, Afaneh claimed Fisk’s “assault” was a “symbol of the deeper Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism and religious discrimination that runs rampant within the UC administration.”

The Daily Californian reports Afaneh filed an official complaint with UC Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination alleging “harassment and discrimination based on race and religion.” The school responded by opening a Title IX investigation.

MORE: Israeli lawyer to return to Berkeley after antisemitic mob shut down speech

CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area Executive Director Zahra Billoo said she was “appalled” at Fisk’s actions, adding it was “incredibly disappointing” she and Chemerinsky didn’t handle the situation better.

Although it was “unclear” whether Afaneh (pictured) had a First Amendment right to interrupt the dinner, Billoo said the student was “not given reasonable notice to leave” before Fisk became “violent.”

“There are, at best, mere seconds between the Dean’s request that she leave and when his wife professor puts her hands on Malak,” Billoo said. “Here, I don’t know that the letter of the law is as clear as Dean Chemerinsky and Professor Fosl [sic] would like it to be to excuse the assault on this young woman.”

Chemerinsky had told The Fix “there was no assault” and that he “never imagined that something we do to help our community would become ugly and divisive.”

“When [Afaneh] continued her speech,” Chemerinsky said in a statement, “there was an attempt to take away her microphone. Repeatedly, we said to her, that you are a guest in our home, please stop and leave. Our home is not a forum for free speech.

“Indeed, even if this were held in the law school building, there would be no First Amendment right to disrupt the event.”

While class president at Pomona College, Afaneh had posted on social media that pro-Israel Jews are “bitches” who “hate brown p[eo]p[l]e.” She eventually apologized after a petition was started demanding she “apologize or resign.”

MORE: UC Berkeley professor starts sit-in protest in own office to fight antisemitism

IMAGES:  chrisdorney/Shutterstock.com; Dylan Bouscher/X

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