Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters barged into a lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in San Francisco State University on Wednesday, April 6, chanting “Long live the intifada!” according to a statement released by the Jerusalem Municipality.
“The protesters raised their hands in a stiff-arm salute, called for the continuation of the intifada, called for an end of ‘the occupation’ and for the death of Israel. They also called for Barkat to be expelled from the campus and defined Israel as a terrorist and apartheid state,” the statement read.
The students entered the hall clad in Keffiyehs, waving Palestinian flags and hurled insults against the state of Israel using a loudspeaker.
The disruptions caused by the protestors prevented questions and answers from being heard, yet footage from the event shows Barkat apparently unfazed as he descended from the podium to answer the crowd’s questions face to face.
Police and security guards were called to the scene to protect Barkat who nevertheless insisted on completing his lecture.
He said later in a statement that “anyone who thinks that incitement and unruly calls for violence will succeed in silencing us or will change our stance is seriously mistaken. We will continue to build, to develop and to strengthen the nation of Israel which includes a united Jerusalem.”
“We will make our voices, positions and the justice of our ways clear in any forum to which we are invited. That includes in places where people attempt to prevent us from coming,” Barkat declared.
He further claimed that he had voiced his opposition to the “disgraceful behaviour in front of the university president and the mayor of San Francisco. I also said that such dangerous incitement cannot be allowed in a democratic society and especially not on campuses.”
The talk was part of a lecture series on American campuses about Jerusalem and Israeli policies. Barkat is scheduled to continue his lecture tour on Thursday before hundreds of university students in Columbia University, New York.
Barkat has faced off against more serious threats, such as in February 2015 when he encountered a Palestinian terrorist stabbing a Jewish man on a Jerusalem street and personally wrestled the attacker to the ground.