(JTA) – Pro-Palestinian demonstrators disrupted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat while he was speaking at San Francisco State University.
Five minutes into Barkat’s speech on Wednesday, more than a dozen protesters reportedly affiliated with the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine shouted into megaphones such chants as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “intifada,” or uprising, according to reports. The demonstrators, who wore traditional Arab headdresses and waved Palestinian flags, also demanded that Barkat be removed from the university.
Ollie Benn, executive director of the San Francisco Hillel, said in a letter to friends of the organization: “There is a concerning trend that college campuses are not spaces where diverse viewpoints are tolerated. Recently, we have seen acts of outright hostility and physical aggression when one person did not agree with the views of another on campus.”
“We’ve tried incredibly hard at SF Hillel to be a responsible partner on campus for civil discourse, and to contribute to a more positive environment for dialogue, tolerance and education. Today’s disappointing events demonstrate that one party alone cannot effect change; it requires the commitment of the entire University community to create a diverse place of learning that is tolerant, respectful and dedicated to its academic mission.”
The university has not yet commented on the incident.