UC Berkeley student groups’ refusal to invite Zionist speakers draws civil rights complaint
A coalition of student groups at the University of California has drawn the ire of the Berkeley College Republicans for calling for a boycott of a talk given by a pro-Israel speaker.
The Jewish speakers and the BCR have been at the center of a controversy over BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) protests at UC Berkeley over the past three years.
In 2016, the College Republicans and College Democrats canceled their events in protest of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and the California Attorney General filed a complaint against the student groups claiming that they violated state election law. The complaint, however, failed to demonstrate that the students violated any laws.
In 2018, the Berkeley College Republicans and College Democrats co-sponsored a talk called “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” by a student activist named Daniel DePaulo. “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” was designed to address the role that the American Israel Education Committee (AIEEC), a lobby of pro-Israel groups and universities, plays in U.S. foreign policy.
DePaulo is also the chairman of the University of California chapter of the Jewish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA).
While the students gave a positive review of DePaulo to the BCR, the group expressed concern about the student group’s refusal to invite a pro-Israel speaker, as well as their use of social media for propaganda.
The Berkeley College Republicans have not yet responded to request for comment about the BCR’s decision not to invite DePaulo.
As for the BCR, they sent an open letter to DePaulo after they cancelled the talk, and requested that he “rescue” the Berkeley College Republicans.
“For the past six months, the Berkeley College Republicans have attempted to speak with you to address your views on the BDS movement and why you support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. Unfortunately, they have not been pleased