In 2013, Goldberg was one of four students forced to leave an anti-Israel forum at Brooklyn College because they were holding pro-Israel fact sheets. The experience made her a more vigorous activist, not only for Zionism, but also for other students who feel intimidated on campuses.
“I started getting involved when I was a freshman,” said the Shulamith High School alum, veteran Fresh Ink writer, and former Israel Campus Coalition intern. She was also spurred to activism by a global studies professor who casually skipped over a lesson about the Holocaust, saying people already knew enough about it.
“No one was speaking out about this kind of thing,” she said. “I started realizing there were a lot of apathetic people on campus.”
Goldberg and the other three students — Michael Ziegler, Ari Ziegler and Yvonne Juris — fought the school’s administration until an independent report said there had been no basis for them to be removed from the forum. In March 2014, President Karen Gould formally apologized to the students.
These days, Goldberg is a student at Cardozo Law School, where she’s founded a chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights to provide legal advice to undergraduates who feel they are victims of anti-Semitism. She believes no student should be removed from a campus event unless there are guidelines in place, and there should be consequences for any administrator that prevents freedom of speech and promotes hate and incitement.
Goldberg is also advocating for more education about Israel and modern Jewish history in day schools, rather than just “telling students to love Israel,” which she feels makes them ill-prepared to respond in the face of adversity.
“It’s becoming more and more commonplace on campus for anti-Zionism to morph into anti-Semitism,” Melanie said. “It’s very important to educate the next generation of students to have some confidence when responding to issues that come up.”
Off color: When she’s not demonstrating or advocating, Melanie runs half-marathons, goes to concerts and paints. She prefers landscapes with alternative colors, such as purple skies.