A University of California Berkeley professor uninvited a progressive environmental advocate and longtime Oakland City Council member from speaking to an environmental policy class after students found that he supported Israel – but the school insists it won’t happen again.
Dan Kalb “spent decades working on environmental policy in the nonprofit sector, advocating for clean energy, combating climate change and working on other conservation priorities,” according to J., the Jewish News of Northern California, and “was invited to address an undergraduate course called Environmental Problem Solving, something he’d done a few times in previous semesters.”
However, Kalb was disinvited “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,” according to the publication.
Students penned a “strongly worded” letter accusing Kalb of promoting “pro-Israeli propaganda” and gave it to UC Berkeley professor Kurt Spreyer, according to J.
“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,’” according to J.
A J. journalist posted the letter on X.
Kalb, who announced a run for state Senate earlier this year, told the publication the letter was “crazy,” and he’s simply a “passionate supporter of Israel’s right to exist.”
UC Berkeley confirmed the story and insisted the actions were not consistent with the university’s values.
“What happened in this class is not consistent with the university’s values, particularly because the class discussion had nothing to do with the war between Israel and Hamas. Instructors are not supposed to rescind invitations for classroom speakers based on student disagreement with the speaker’s views,” a UC Berkeley spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
“Our provost, who first learned about this on December 12th, has written to Councilmember Kalb to express our dismay about what happened and to assure him that the leadership of the Rausser College of Natural Resources has reviewed the matter with the instructor to ensure nothing like this will happen again,” the spokesperson continued. “The provost will also be sending a message to every dean and department chair to remind them of Berkeley’s support for an open exchange of ideas, and our rejection of political litmus tests when it comes to who can speak in our classes. The college leadership also intends to use what happened as an opportunity to engage the community in a discussion about the importance of diversity of perspective and the dangers of censorship of any sort.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Kalb “accepted Spreyer’s decision to cancel the talk, acknowledging that the instructor was under pressure and had tried — unsuccessfully — to get the students to back down.”
Antisemitism has been an ongoing issue at America’s top universities since the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7. Last month, Jewish groups sued the University of California Regents, President Michael Drake and other school officials for what they assert is the “longstanding, unchecked spread of antisemitism” on UC Berkeley’s campus.
In a 36-page complaint, the Brandeis Center and the Jewish Americans for Fairness in Education (JAFE) allege “inaction” by UC Berkeley and Berkeley Law has allowed antisemitism to grow on campus. The groups say since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, antisemitism on campus “has erupted in on-campus displays of hatred, harassment, and physical violence against Jews.”
The groups argue courts must now intervene to protect the civil rights of Jewish students and faculty and end “anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment.”
Kalb appears sick of the antisemitism on campus.
“If someone wants to go speak about climate change — they are an expert on climate change — what the hell does Israel or Zionism have to do with that?” Kalb told the Jewish News of Northern California,. “Why not put a yellow star on our sleeve? How about we do that too?”
Kalb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.