Dershowitz threatens to sue Berkeley over speech cancellation
A Harvard Law School professor is threatening to sue the University of California-Berkeley if it does not allow him to go through with a scheduled speech on the campus.
Alan Dershowitz, who is also a pro-Israel advocate, claims he has been invited to speak at UC-Berkeley but that the administration has blocked it on the grounds that it requires eight weeks’ advance notice about high-profile speakers events.
Dershowitz, however, contends that this rule does not apply to speakers invited by an official department at the school.
Dershowitz told Fox & Friends that “departments invite anti-Israel speakers all the time, so they don’t have to go through the eight week thing. But they don’t invite pro-Israel speakers, so we have the eight week barrier whereas anti-Israel speakers don’t have the eight week barrier.”
“I’m going to sue Berkeley if they don’t allow me to speak,” he vowed. “If they make me wait eight weeks and allow anti-Israel speakers to come within three or four days, that’s a lawsuit.”
Dershowitz was referring to an interim policy announced last semester by the Dean of Students that puts restrictions on any activity the school deems a “Major Event,” such as requiring that a “Police Services Request Form” be submitted to the Special Events Unit of the UCPD at least eight weeks prior to the event. However, n
Not every event requires this form to be submitted, however—only those that a “LEAD Center Advisor” believes need the assessment.
“Berkeley is a public university...tax payer’s money,” Dershowitz pointed out. “They are bound by the First Amendment so they can’t impose one rule on pro-Israel speakers and one rule on anti-Israel speakers. One rule on conservatives, one rule on Israel.”
“What is the definition of high-profile? Would they actually turn down President Trump if he said ‘I want to speak there in a week.’ Would they turn down a famous actor? A liberal, progressive actor? I don’t think so,” Dershowitz opined. “They have to have the same standard and we are going to hold them to it and if they don’t abide by it, we’re going to take them to court.”
Dershowitz told Campus Reform that he was invited by a pro-Israel student group and gave about three weeks’ advance notice about his visit, but added that he will be “asking departments that have invited anti-Israel speakers to invite [him]” in light of the bureaucratic roadblocks he has encountered.
According to UC-Berkeley’s event calendar, the Center for Race and Gender brought Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, to campus in 2015.
“The students are upset now. The students are reacting because they are telling me that they are being denied the opportunity to listen to speakers that they want to hear,” Dershowitz said on Fox & Friends. “I’m not going to let Berkely get away with that. They are a public university and they have to comply with the First Amendment and we’re going to win that suit.”
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