Olivia Wittels

The moral bankruptcy of UC Berkeley’s pro-Palestinian law students

On Saturday, October 7, 2023 – while thousands of rockets were flying at innocent civilians in Israel, while Hamas murdered, raped, desecrated, massacred, and beheaded Jews, while Israelis and other foreign nationals were being kidnapped into Gaza – the Law Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley (LSJP) and the Jewish Students for Palestine at Berkeley Law “signed in unison and unwavering solidarity” a statement published by Bears for Palestine, conveying their “unwavering support of the resistance in Gaza and the broader occupied Palestine lands.”

I have previously been outspoken about the moral failings of law students at my alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Today, I condemn LSJP, the Jewish Students for Palestine at Berkeley Law, and the over fifty signatories of the statement. I am ashamed and appalled by these organizations and the students who lead them (whose cowardice, notably, prevents them from signing a letter with their own names). The First Amendment protects their words, but their blatant support of “martyrs” from Gaza in the light of the biggest pogrom against Jews since the Holocaust is a disgrace. In Israel, thousands have been butchered by a genocidal Islamist regime. All LSJP, the Jewish Students for Palestine and Bears for Palestine can muster is support for the butchers. In their words:

  • We honor Palestinians who “are working on the ground on several axis of the so-called ‘Gaza envelope’ alongside our comrades in blood and arms, and what is coming is greater. Victory or martyrdom.”
  • We support the resistance, we support the liberation movement, and we indisputably support the Uprising.
  • Gaza is the cradle of our resistance and the lifeblood of our struggle. We echo the call to action for all Arabs and Palestinians to rise up to support the liberation of our occupied peoples. From the River to the Sea, we will continue to support resistance until we are able to return home to a unified Palestine. Glory to Palestine, glory to the resistance, and glory to our martyrs.

This statement displays an utter lack of moral compass, sympathy, and humanity. These students are so blinded by their hatred of Israel and Jews that they rush to publish statements glorifying terrorism, while rockets fly toward civilians, the blood of Israelis stains the Middle East and hundreds of innocent people remain captive to Islamic Hamas barbarians.

Lawyers are tasked with approaching issues with a clear grasp of the facts. Over the past three days, the facts in Israel depict war crimes. Across social media, Hamas proudly, gleefully, shared videos of their Nazi-like murder of Israelis. They decapitated and set fire to babies in their cribs. They shot fleeing Jews in the legs and raped them next to the bodies of their dead friends. They murdered, maimed, and mutilated entire families in their homes. Today Hamas holds over a hundred hostages, who the terrorists have publicly threatened to murder on live stream, begging for their lives.

The leaders of Law Students for Justice in Palestine at Berkeley Law, and countless other schools across the United States (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Northwestern, Stanford, Swarthmore, Cornell, NYU – the list goes on and is nauseatingly long), have told the world, in no uncertain terms, that they “unwaveringly” and “indisputably” support the barbaric Hamas regime. Students across America stating “glory to the resistance” are explicitly saying that beheading babies is glorious. This is what Law Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley are telling you they “honor” and believe.

Moral clarity is crucial in times like these. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nuanced and complex, but the “martyrs” of Gaza being glorified by Berkeley Law students and other students across America are the embodiment of evil. With a few days of reflection, as more information comes out about the atrocities that Hamas has perpetrated, I call upon individual members of LSJP and the Jewish Law Students for Palestine to disavow the leaders of their groups, and to distance themselves from these statements. Do not let these morally bankrupt groups speak for you. Do not be silent in the light of this unspeakable atrocity, this unprecedented, cruel attack on Jews and on humanity.

The loss of all innocent lives, Israeli and Palestinian, is a tragedy. Israel has no choice but to retaliate, and Hamas has brought any loss of innocent life in Gaza upon itself, following its unprovoked pogrom against the Jewish state. If any members of the student groups signatory to the Bears for Palestine’s statement – or any of the other letters published by Palestinian-aligned student groups across the country – feel your conscience twinging, speak up. Let the leaders of your groups know that this glorification of terrorism is not in your name.

To other leaders of student groups across America, I encourage you to speak out too. Support the Jewish students whose very humanity is being disparaged by people celebrating those who persecute Jews. Write a statement unabashedly standing with Israel and her right to defend herself, and condemn the people who have the audacity to glorify such merciless inhumanity. Too often in our recent memory people have refrained from rebuking those who murder and who call for the murder of Jews and other groups they revile. Appeasement and silence is wrong. Am Yisrael Chai.

About the Author
Olivia Wittels received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and her B.A. from Cornell University. She is an attorney at a law firm in New York City, focusing on corporate and financial transactions. Ms. Wittels is a member of AIPAC’s Young Leadership Council and is on the Advisory Board of the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies.