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As Seinfeld Receives Honorary Degree at Duke, Students Walk Out in Protest

U.S.As Seinfeld Receives Honorary Degree at Duke, Students Walk Out in Protest

As Jerry Seinfeld, who has recently been vocal about his support for Israel, received his honorary degree on Sunday during Duke University’s commencement ceremony, dozens of students walked out and chanted, “Free, free Palestine,” while the comedian looked on and smiled tensely.

The students rose from their chairs, waved Palestinian flags and walked out of their graduation ceremony while Mr. Seinfeld stood next to a school official who ran through his career highlights on the stage in Duke’s stadium. Many in the crowd jeered the protesters.

In his commencement speech, Mr. Seinfeld was mostly cautious, opting for a tight comedic script interspersed with life advice instead of a full-on response to the protests against his presence.

Still, in one part of his speech, he defended various types of privilege and appeared to hint at the elephant in the room.

“I grew up a Jewish boy from New York,” he said to applause from the crowd. “That is a privilege if you want to be a comedian.”

Outside Duke’s stadium, graduates walked around campus, chanting: “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” When they arrived at a green space, they were joined by hundreds of other people — including faculty, relatives and other protesters — who organized a makeshift graduation for them.

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