The words below belong to a Hillel student leader, who was present during the April 6th visit of Mayor Barkat to SF State.
Dear Those Who Don’t Know What To Do Next,
On April 6th, 2016, SF Hillel hosted the mayor of Jerusalem to speak on campus about his vision for the future of Jerusalem. I’m not naive, this was a campaign stop. As someone likely to run to be the next Prime Minister of Israel, Nir Barkat wanted his photograph taken with college students. But, no matter his motives for coming, Mayor Barkat is an important political figure in Israel and on the international stage. So his visit was an exciting opportunity for our campus, and we expected it to bring out a diverse crowd of participants. I was excited that our school was hosting a influential, albeit, controversial figure. Anticipating the student body would have thoughts and questions to share, the event was set up to have 50% of our time dedicated to an open floor Q&A for all in attendance.
However, approximately 5 minutes into his speech, student protesters stood up in the back and interrupted Mayor Barkat with loud anti-zionist, anti-Israel, and in my opinion, anti-Semitic chants. They continued for the next 45 minutes, until the Mayor’s time with us concluded and he had to leave. Despite the interruption, a group of students, faculty and community members gathered in the front of the room around the Mayor, in an attempt to salvage the discussion and ask our questions. Unfortunately, the shouting made even that almost impossible.