Seinfeld speech at Duke commencement prompts walkout protesting his support for Israel

By Thomson Reuters May 12, 2024 | 10:40 AM

(Reuters) – Dozens of students walked out of Duke University’s commencement ceremony on Sunday as some chanted “free Palestine” to protest its guest speaker, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, for supporting Israel throughout the war in Gaza, according to videos of the event posted on social media.

Other graduates shouted “Jerry! Jerry!” as the actor received an honorary degree, and Seinfeld delivered his speech without major interruptions. He visited Israel and has vocally supported it since Oct. 7 when militant group Hamas killed 1,200 people and abducted 252 others, even as Israel’s military operations since have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians.

The walkout was the latest manifestation of protests that have roiled U.S. campuses as students call for universities to divest from arms suppliers and other companies profiting from the war, and amnesty for students and faculty members who have been disciplined or fired for protesting.

(Reporting by Julia Harte, Editing by Nick Zieminski)