Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
UC Berkeley pledges criminal prosecution of pro-Palestinian rioters who shut down event

‘Interviews are being conducted and video evidence is being reviewed’

UC Berkeley officials on Monday announced that the violent protest that took place last week on campus when an Israeli speaker was scheduled to address students was “unacceptable” and will be met with punishments for “criminal” action.

“In the wake of protesters’ efforts to shut down the event, a criminal investigation has been launched. We intend to gain a complete picture of what happened and hold accountable individuals or groups responsible for violations of the law and/or our policies,” the administration wrote in its March 4 statement.

The UC Berkeley police and its Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination are working on the probe, which include “allegations of physical battery,” officials stated. They note two Jewish students who organized the event were “subjected to overtly antisemitic expression.”

“Interviews are being conducted and video evidence is being reviewed,” the statement read.

Last Monday’s protest targeted a speech by Israeli lawyer and former IDF officer Ran Bar Yoshafat. But it never took place after pro-Palestinian students from a group called Bears for Palestine disrupted the event with antisemitic epithets hurled at Jewish students. They also broke glass windows and doors, The College Fix reported.

Jewish students were also “threatened” and “assaulted,” the Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area posted on X. “…Multiple students reported being spat on, screamed at, called derogatory names like ‘dirty Jew’ … and physically assaulted by protestors.”

Authorities shut down the event in response, which included a police estimate of 100 to 250 demonstrators. “There’s vandalism now, windows have broke, perimeter’s breached,” an officer said at one point as protesters stormed the venue, according to dispatch audio.

The canceled speech was organized by Tikvah and Students Supporting Israel.

Monday’s pledge to conduct a criminal probe followed a more mild-mannered statement released Feb. 27 by the administration the day after the violent protest.

That statement, titled “Upholding Our Values,” expressed sorrow and dismay that the event was shut down. It made clear the protest trampled on UC Berkeley’s values, especially its commitment to the First Amendment rights of all campus groups to hear their speakers.

But the March 4 statement appeared much stronger in its promise to prosecute rioters and may indicate campus leaders are working to bolster efforts to crack down on violent antisemitism.

The recent statement, signed by Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ben Hermalin, stated that campus leaders cannot “turn a blind eye towards the hatred and stereotyping at the heart of all forms of bias and discrimination.”

“While hateful expression may be protected by the Constitution, we still have a responsibility to respond by working to protect and support targeted communities and by marshaling the educational resources of the university to confront the ignorance at the heart of bias,” they added.

MORE: Broken glass as pro-Palestinian students disrupt Israel UC Berkeley event

IMAGE: Bears for Palestine / Instagram

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.