Goldman Chair: A coup for S.F. State

The announcement by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund of a $1 million endowment to San Francisco State University's Jewish studies program could not have come at a more opportune time.

Just last week, former Nation of Islam aide Khalid Muhammad stood in front of a cheering audience at the school citing the "hook-nosed, bagel-eating, lox-eating" Jews who he said promoted the slave trade, prostituted their own women and planted AIDS in Africa.

"So-called Jews" control Hollywood, he said, as well as the media and the Federal Reserve.

That the controversial Muhammad has a constitutionally protected right to express his opinions is not in question. Of great concern is the fact that many in the audience gave him a standing ovation and thrust their fists in the air during various points in his speech in a show of solidarity.

The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish studies could, ultimately, help counteract some of the dangerous myths Muhammad spouted. Such anti-Semitic views have been, and clearly still are, supported by a sizable contingent of S.F. State students.

Those attitudes are dangerous and divisive — not only to Jewish students, but to the S.F. State community and the larger community as a whole.

The holder of the Goldman chair will focus on the teaching and research of Jewish ethics and civic responsibility in the fields of health care, business, education and politics. The chair-holder is expected to develop a public lecture series that may explore such topics as social history of Jews in America and issues of race, class and gender.

We fervently hope that every effort will be made to reach as wide an audience as possible with such programs. Knowledge, as we have learned time and again, is the best antidote to ignorance and hate.