Jewish Environmentalist on Oakland City Council Disinvited From Speaking to Students at UC-Berkeley Over Pro-Israel Social Media Posts
“after students discovered what they considered to be pro-Israel social media posts”
This man identifies as a progressive, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Will there be any consequences for this?
Jewish News of Northern California reports:
Jewish environmentalist on Oakland City Council disinvited from speaking to UC Berkeley class
A progressive environmental advocate and longtime Oakland City Council member was disinvited from addressing a UC Berkeley environmental policy class after students discovered what they considered to be pro-Israel social media posts, questioned the “legitimacy” of his views on environmental activism and accused him of supporting “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.”
Dan Kalb, 64, has spent decades working on environmental policy in the nonprofit sector, advocating for clean energy, combating climate change and working on other conservation priorities.
He was invited to address an undergraduate course called Environmental Problem Solving, something he’d done a few times in previous semesters. He planned to share his experience advocating for climate policy at the local and state level, both as a nonprofit professional with groups like the Sierra Club and as a lawmaker.
But in the weeks leading up to Kalb’s Nov. 21 presentation, a group of students looked into his background and found social media posts that they said promoted “pro-Israeli propaganda.” Days prior to the event, Kurt Spreyer, the course instructor and an adjunct professor, contacted Kalb and shared a strongly worded letter that had been composed and co-signed by more than 30 students.
The letter, which was seen by J., alleged a litany of crimes committed by Israel, including environmental harms that the students said “forever chang[ed] the ecology of a once flourishing community and landscape.” The letter accused Kalb of playing an “active role in retweeting and spreading pro-Israeli propaganda, which often equates pro-Palestinian voices as ‘anti-Semitic.’”
Kalb is a familiar face at Oakland Jewish community events and has served on the city council since 2013. He considers himself a liberal supporter of Israel and a “passionate supporter of Israel’s right to exist,” he said. He was baffled when he read the letter; he called it “crazy.”
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