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Jerusalem mayor says US college adds to 'demonization' of Israel by how it treated his speech

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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat canceled his scheduled appearance this week at San Francisco State University, saying the school "has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state” by not giving his speech a public forum. (Image source: YouTube screen cap)

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat canceled a planned appearance at San Francisco State University this week, saying the school "has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state” by not making his speech public, the Jewish News of Northern California reported.

Barkat criticized how SFSU approached his appearance there, saying the school “offered a ticketed, limited event, and no legitimate effort was made on the part of the university to publicize the event,” the paper said.

He also charged that the school's failure to "provide the necessary public forum" added to the "continuing marginalization and demonization” of Israel, the Jewish News said.

More from the paper:

The uproar comes exactly one year after Barkat’s last appearance at SFSU, when anti-Israel students shut down his speech.

The new controversy erupted almost immediately after word got out on March 29 that SFSU President Les Wong had personally invited Barkat to speak without consulting or coordinating with faculty or interested campus groups, including [sponsor San Francisco] Hillel, on how best to promote and handle the appearance. [...]

An open letter to Wong, signed by 25 Jewish students, called the invitation to Barkat “a reckless political stunt.” The students criticized the administration’s failure to publicize the event (it was not advertised on any SFSU event calendars, web pages or social media) and for scheduling (it during Islamic Awareness Week on campus).

Though the signers of the letter said they would normally welcome Barkat, they further chided Wong for actions that persist at “undermining Jewish student life, and enabling an environment causing actual discrimination against Jewish students.”

If that weren't enough, Bay4Palestine's statement — “Get Ethnic Cleanser Nir Barkat Out of SFSU" — ripped Wong for inviting "a person who symbolizes Zionist settler colonialism,” the Jewish News said, and demanded he “revoke" it and "end ties with fascists, racists and Zionists on SFSU campus.”

Barkat concluded his statement about his speaking cancellation this week by saying SFSU "has demonstrated that they will protect the rights of anti-Israel students to drown out diverse voices through violent incitement."

Barkat's appearance at SFSU last April was shut down by anti-Israel protesters from the General Union of Palestine Students, forcing him to huddle in a corner with students who came to hear him speak, the paper said, adding that SFSU admitted it had “failed our students.”

Here's a clip of last year's protest:

(H/T: Heat Street)

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