Pro-Hamas Activists Take Over UC Berkeley Building — After Deal to End ‘Encampment’

Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty
Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty

A group of radical pro-Palestinian activists took over a building at the University of California Berkeley on Wednesday, just hours after administrators and protesters struck a deal to end a weeks-long “encampment.”

The Daily Californian, the UC Berkeley student newspaper, reported:

A group of pro-Palestine protesters broke in and took over Anna Head Alumnae Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

The protesters — gathering in a group of about 30 by 3:15 p.m. — hung up the Palestinian flag as well as boards reading “Free Gaza” and “Avenge Al Shifa.” [Al-Shifa is a hospital in Gaza that was taken over by terrorists, and where the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed and arrested hundreds in battles last month, with zero civilian casualties.] There also appear to be protesters inside the hall, according to pictures circulating on Instagram.

“We are occupying the hall because saying ‘free Palestine’ is not enough,” a speaker from the hall said. “You have to put action behind your words.”

The university said that the students who took over the building were not party to the agreement struck with the encampment.

Pro-Palestine protesters take over a vacant UC Berkeley owned building at Channing Way and Bowditch Street in Berkeley, Calif., on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Photo by Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Earlier, the Daily Californian reported, the protesters agreed to disband the encampment in return for a promise by the university to examine its broad investment strategies — albeit without specifically divesting from Israel.

The Daily Californian noted:

Chancellor Carol Christ agreed to “support a comprehensive and rigorous examination of our investments and our socially responsible investment strategy” in exchange for the decampment.

The agreement, which was first signed and sent to encampment negotiators early May, included Christ’s plan to request the UC Berkeley Foundation to expedite hearing concerns on investment, a request to the Chair of the Regents Investment Committee to develop a broader framework for ethical investment strategies and the creation of a UC Berkeley Divestment Task Force made up of students, faculty and staff.

As part of the agreement, the Foundation’s Environmental, Social, and Governance, or ESG, Committee will hear community concerns on specific industry sectors including weapons manufacturing, mass incarceration and surveillance industries.Should the ESG Committee deem “the issue … serious enough to consider divestment,” the agreement states, the committee will create a divestment task force in consultation with students and administration.

However, in a separate letter, UC Berkeley Chancellor Crist explained to the academic senate that divestment from Israel was “not permissible”:

I acknowledge the UCB Divest Coalition demand is full divestment from Israel. As stated by the University of California Office of the President, such divestment is not permissible. In no way may any criteria established limit in any way investing in companies on the basis of whether or not they do business with or in Israel.

The University of California as a whole has rejected divestment from Israel, or boycotting Israeli universities, because of concerns about academic freedom. However, as Breitbart News has pointed out elsewhere, boycotting or divesting from Israel may also be unlawful under California’s anti-“boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) laws.

The nation has seen a wave of pro-Palestinian — and often pro-Hamas, pro-terror, and antisemitic — campus protests, which have taken the form of “encampments” in which students have seized university property and stayed overnight.

UC Berkeley was, until Wednesday evening, one of several universities at which pro-Palestinian activists agreed to disband their encampments after reaching agreements with administrators. Others saw police intervene to remove and arrest protesters; and still others saw encampments simply disband without having any of their demands met.

A few — such as the protest at Columbia University — saw activists escalate their tactic by taking over buildings.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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