Statement from the Jewish Community Relations Council on this weeks events at San Francisco State University
JCRC Deeply Concerned about Climate at SF State University for Jewish and Pro-Israel Students
JCRC is deeply disappointed by the events which led to the cancellation yesterday of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s speaking engagement at San Francisco State University (SFSU). The opportunity to welcome Mayor Barkat back to campus was especially important given that his speech last year was disrupted by protesters.
Mayor Barkat requested that his April 6 scheduled appearance be a fully accessible public forum for "the kind of healing needed after the assault on free speech last year." We believe that this request was very important given the intention of disrupters to prevent the normalization of Jewish and pro-Israel voices on campus. The university should have been able to provide such a forum and also done more to assure the event was widely promoted. Instead, the university's insistence that this be a ticketed, limited event and lack of publicity communicated that it will go to lengths to prevent students from engaging in important conversations rather than advancing its purpose of fostering civil discourse and promoting the free exchange of ideas.
JCRC is deeply troubled by a pattern of marginalization at SFSU of Jewish students, and anyone else who supports Israel's right to exist. The university claims a commitment to creating opportunities for “each student to discover his or her unique path in life,” but the voices of Jewish students, particularly those in support of Israel, are limited. For the past year, we have been in constant discussions with university administration about how to correct this and improve campus climate, and this week’s cancellation represents a major failure in advancing the principles for which we believe this university stands.