Graduation: A celebration for all

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At Duke University’s commencement on Sunday, students left the event when Jerry Seinfeld, the speaker, was introduced. The reason behind this was Seinfeld’s public support for Israel. This incident adds to the series of disturbances happening at colleges nationwide.

After the ceremony, the students shouted together, “Freedom for Palestine!” while a group of other graduates seemed to mock them.

The students’ protest sparked a lot of online comments, with some suggesting it was because Seinfeld is Jewish, leading to accusations of antisemitism.

Ex-Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger criticized students at Drake University for walking out of a speech by Jerry Seinfeld just because he is Jewish, calling it antisemitism disguised as concern for Gaza.

Democratic U.S. Representative Daniel Goldman from New York recently stated on X that Jerry Seinfeld, a Jewish American, is not connected to Israel’s foreign policy or military defense. Blaming an American Jew for the actions of the Israeli government is a clear example of antisemitism.

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The walkout organizers stated that their choice was not based on the actor’s religion, but rather on his outspoken support for Israel. Additionally, the demonstrators demanded that Duke University reveal its investments in Israel and contemplate divesting from companies linked to Israel. They also urged for a halt in the ongoing conflict.

Seinfeld received an honorary degree and delivered his speech without major interruptions.

Duke spokesperson Frank Tramble stated that they are thrilled and happy for the Class of 2024 and their families. They acknowledge the strong emotions within the community and continue to support the right of everyone at Duke to peacefully express their views, while ensuring that graduates and their families can fully enjoy and celebrate their accomplishments.

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