Pro-Palestinian protester derails dinner at UC Berkeley law school dean’s home, refuses to leave

Posted 43 days ago


A congratulatory dinner held at the home of UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was upended this week after a pro-Palestinian student started a heated speech about the Israel-Hamas war and refused to leave.

The incident, which took place Tuesday evening, came after several soon-to-be law school graduates were invited to attend one of three backyard dinners at the Oakland residence of Chemerinsky, a left-wing scholar, and his wife, law school professor Catherine Fisk.

Held in the couple's garden, the first dinner was quickly disrupted when Malak Afaneh, a Palestinian American law student at the school who serves as co-president of Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine, approached a set of steps and attempted to give a speech about the people who have been killed in Gaza as a result of the war in the Middle East.

Video footage of the confrontation between Afaneh and the couple was shared online, showing the student calling for the university to divest from corporations involved in Israel’s war. The footage also showed Chemerinsky and his wife repeatedly pleading with the student to exit the dinner and leave their property.

Standing with a microphone and reading from her phone, Afaneh was approached by Fisk, who attempted to grab at the student's phone and microphone.

"Today, we are gathered here to commemorate our final few weeks as law students," the student said. "Tonight is also the last night of the holy month of Ramadan, where millions of Muslims from around the world fast."

Afaneh was then approached by Fisk, who put her arm around the student in what appeared to be an attempt to move her to the side.

"Leave," Fisk told the student. "This is not your house. This is my house."

"Stop touching her," another student can be heard saying in the clip. "You don't have to get aggressive."

"Please leave our house," Chemerinsky said to the students. "You are guests at our house."

Afaneh then claimed it was her First Amendment right to speak at the backyard dinner before Chemerinsky said, "This is my house. The First Amendment doesn't apply."

Fisk, who told the student she was no longer "welcome" at the event, then threatened to call the police, to which Afaneh said, "Okay, you can call the police."

Attempting to carry on with her speech, Fisk then grabbed Afaneh's microphone and began leading her up the steps.... (Read more)