It’s Not that Pro-Hamas Supporters Walked Out on Seinfeld, His Speech Was the Story

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld delivered the commencement address at Duke University on Sunday. The media made a big deal out of the fact that a few students got up and walked out when Seinfeld came to the podium.


Seinfeld received an honorary degree. 

It was maybe 25-30 students who left, from what I can tell. There was a little of the “Free Palestine” propaganda slogan shouted. While the media was running with that part of Seinfeld’s role in the graduation ceremony, the real story was Seinfeld’s speech.

The sight of the students walking out on a Jewish speaker was antisemitism on display. What did they hope to accomplish? American Jews don’t control Israel’s war against Hamas. They want to disrupt normal life yet many of them show real ignorance about the conflict. 

Many in the audience booed the students as they left. 

The Duke audience was refreshingly receptive to Seinfeld. Duke students seem to be a cut above many at other schools. Seinfeld noted in his speech that Duke University today is the Harvard University of yesterday – when Harvard was respected and thought to be the top institution of higher learning in the United States. How far Harvard has fallen. 

The pro-Hamas protests at university commencements are nothing more than temper tantrums that aid and abet Hamas. President Biden may be swayed by them but the people at commencement ceremonies are not. 

Seinfeld did not acknowledge the students as they walked out. He went to the podium and began his speech like nothing was happening. His opening line was, “Thank you. Oh my God, what a beautiful day.”

The beauty of Seinfeld’s speech was that it was not political at all. No politics, no virtue-signaling about current progressive opinions on hot-button topics. He sounded like a dad advising his son or daughter about leaving college behind and entering real life. 


It is reported that Seinfeld’s daughter, Sascha, graduated from Duke in 2023. His son, Julian, is a student there now. Seinfeld and his wife co-chair the Duke Parents Committee. It raises funds for the school. 

Seinfeld supports Israel on social media and he made a trip to Tel Aviv to meet with families of the hostages taken during the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023. His wife, Jessica, promoted a UCLA counter-protest on Instagram earlier this month against pro-Hamas protests. 

There were no interruptions to his speech.

Seinfeld focused on what he called his “three real keys to life.”  Those are to “Bust your ass,” pay attention, and fall in love. 

“Whatever you’re doing, I don’t care if it’s your job, your hobby, a relationship, getting a reservation at M Sushi,” the comedian said. “Make an effort. Just pure, stupid, no-real-idea-what-I’m-doing-here effort. Effort always yields a positive value, even if the outcome of the effort is absolute failure of the desired result. This is a rule of life. Just swing the bat and pray is not a bad approach to a lot of things.”

Seinfeld focused on the importance of a sense of humor to get through life.

Though Seinfeld did not address the walkouts directly, he hinted at the culture of political correctness in his advice to the graduates. “I totally admire the ambitions of your generation to create a more just and inclusive society. I think it is also wonderful that you care so much about not hurting other people’s feelings in the million and one ways we all do that every second of every day,” Seinfeld said. “It’s lovely to want to fix those things, but – all caps, but – what I need to tell you as a comedian, do not lose your sense of humor. You can have no idea at this point in your life how much you’re going to need it to get through.”


How true. Life gets hard and a sense of humor can save you. 

The school released a statement

In a statement to CBS News, Frank Tramble, vice president for marketing, communications and public affairs at Duke, said: “We’re excited and delighted for the Class of 2024 and their families. We understand the depth of feeling in our community, and as we have all year, we respect the right of everyone at Duke to express their views peacefully, without preventing graduates and their families from celebrating their achievement.”

Duke University has rules and they are enforced. There are no encampments on its campus. 

Jerry Seinfeld is a beloved entertainer. At 70, he is going strong. His comedy is squeaky clean and non-political, which is why he is so popular among a wide variety of people. His speech was really good. Those students were lucky to have him this year. 



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