Professional-Palestinian protester derails dinner at UC Berkeley legislation college dean’s house, refuses to go away

A congratulatory dinner held on the house of UC Berkeley College of Legislation Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was upended this week after a pro-Palestinian scholar began a heated speech in regards to the Israel-Hamas war and refused to go away.

The incident, which occurred Tuesday night, got here after a number of soon-to-be legislation college graduates have been invited to attend one in every of three yard dinners at the Oakland residence of Chemerinsky, a left-wing scholar, and his spouse, legislation college professor Catherine Fisk.

Held within the couple’s backyard, the primary dinner was rapidly disrupted when Malak Afaneh, a Palestinian American law student at the school who serves as co-president of Berkeley Legislation College students for Justice in Palestine, approached a set of steps and tried to offer a speech in regards to the individuals who have been killed in Gaza because of the warfare within the Center East.

Video footage of the confrontation between Afaneh and the couple was shared on-line, displaying the scholar calling for the college to divest from firms concerned in Israel’s warfare. The footage additionally confirmed Chemerinsky and his spouse repeatedly pleading with the scholar to exit the dinner and depart their property.


UC Berkeley law dean dinner

A congratulatory dinner held on the house of UC Berkeley College of Legislation Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was upended Tuesday after a pro-Palestinian scholar began a heated speech in regards to the Israel-Hamas warfare and refused to go away.

Standing with a microphone and studying from her telephone, Afaneh was approached by Fisk, who tried to seize on the scholar’s telephone and microphone.

“Today, we are gathered here to commemorate our final few weeks as law students,” the scholar mentioned. “Tonight can be the final evening of the holy month of Ramadan, the place tens of millions of Muslims from world wide quick.”

Afaneh was then approached by Fisk, who put her arm across the scholar in what gave the impression to be an try to maneuver her to the facet.

“Leave,” Fisk informed the scholar. “This is not your house. This is my house.”

“Stop touching her,” one other scholar will be heard saying within the clip. “You don’t have to get aggressive.”

“We have attorneys,” Afaneh informed Fisk.


“Please leave our house,” Chemerinsky mentioned to the scholars. “You are guests at our house.”

Afaneh then claimed it was her First Amendment right to talk on the yard dinner earlier than Chemerinsky mentioned, “This is my house. The First Amendment doesn’t apply.”

Malak Afaneh

Malak Afaneh is a Palestinian American legislation scholar at UC Berkeley who serves as co-president of Berkeley Legislation College students for Justice in Palestine.

Fisk, who informed the scholar she was now not “welcome” on the occasion, then threatened to call the police, to which Afaneh mentioned, “Okay, you can call the police.”

Making an attempt to hold on along with her speech, Fisk then grabbed Afaneh’s microphone and started main her up the steps.

“Please, if you don’t want to be here, then leave my house,” Chemerinsky mentioned amid the scuffle.

Fisk can then be heard telling Afaneh that she was not invited to the dinner “for this purpose.”

“We are talking about Ramadan and the holy month of Ramadan as Muslim students,” the scholar responded. “We refuse to break our fast on the blood of Palestinian people – that UC has committed sending $2 billion to weapons manufacturers…”


Afaneh later informed Fisk that she would inform folks about how she “pulled a Muslim woman’s scarf during Ramadan,” including that “putting your hands on my hijab is unacceptable.”

Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky, the UC Berkeley legislation college dean, at his house in Oakland, California, on Jan. 19, 2021. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle by way of Getty Photos)

Afaneh then claimed she was assaulted by Fisk, which Chemerinsky denied as he turned visibly offended, saying as soon as extra, “Please leave our house now!”

In an announcement in regards to the incident, Chemerinsky said he wrote with “profound sadness” after the dinner was “disrupted and disturbed” by the scholar who “stood up with a microphone, stood on the top step in the yard, and began a speech, including about the plight of the Palestinians.”

“My wife and I immediately approached her and asked her to stop and leave. The woman continued. When she continued, there was an attempt to take away her microphone,” he recalled. “Repeatedly, we said to her that you are a guest in our home, please stop and leave. About 10 students were clearly with her and ultimately left as a group.

“I’m enormously unhappy that we’ve college students who’re so impolite as to return into my house, in my yard, and use this social event for his or her political agenda,” he added.

Noting that the other dinners would still be held with security present, Chemerinsky said he hoped “there shall be no disruptions” and insisted that his “house will not be a discussion board without spending a dime speech.”

Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky speaks onstage at the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards honoring 2017 recipients at The Playboy Mansion on Aug. 7, 2017, in Los Angeles.


“Any scholar who disrupts shall be reported to scholar conduct and a violation of the scholar conduct code is reported to the Bar,” he added. “I’m deeply saddened by these occasions and take solace that it’s only a small variety of our college students who would behave in such a clearly inappropriate method.”

Prior to the dinner, Chemerinsky said there was an “terrible poster” that circulated around social media and faculty bulletin boards within the legislation college constructing that depicted him holding “a bloody knife and fork, with the phrases in giant letters, ‘No dinner with Zionist Chem while Gaza starves.’”