a big glass building with students walking through a lawn in front
J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University. (Photo/Wikimedia-Webbi1987)

Letters for the week of May 26, 2017

‘Get out, you Jewish whore’ and other SFSU memories

Re: your May 3 story about “SFSU’s Jewish problem”: As S.F. State’s former vice president for academic affairs, now professor emerita, I learned of its pervasive anti-Semitism my first week on campus, in August 1989, when I was visited by the then-director of its Hillel Foundation and by a young woman who had recently been elected to a student body office but was refused her seat at its first meeting of the semester and chased from the room amid shouts of “Get out, you Jewish whore.”

During a particularly ugly scene in January 1991, when Jewish students were excluded from a student protest against the first Iraq War on grounds that it belonged to “minority” students and that Jews were a “phony minority,” I resolved to start a Jewish studies program, hoping that its presence might lead to better informed students. Thanks to a startup grant from the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and to faculty and administrative support, the program, now a degree-granting department, was born.

While successful in establishing a strong Jewish presence on campus, it has apparently made little difference in the anti-Semitism that disgraces this university, which prides itself on celebrating diversity.

In my opinion, only a campus-wide, collective expression of outrage against anti-Semitism as opposed to all that the campus values, including protest against every instance of anti-Jewish behavior by all constituent groups — protest by the central administration led by the president, by college deans including the College of Ethnic Studies, by faculty members, by faculty union leaders, by student leaders and by alumni/ae, all in concert and loudly — will stand a chance of changing this decades-long blight.

As the experience of former, longtime president Robert Corrigan shows, good words from the administration are not enough.

Marilyn J. Boxer,

The semantics of exile

The Israelites were driven out of Israel 2,600 years ago to Babylon, where much of the Bible was written. The Palestinians, some descended from those original Israelites, were driven out of their homes 69 years ago by European Jews in an ethnic cleansing they call the nakba, or catastrophe.

After about 60 years in Babylon, the biblical Jews were allowed to return home. But the Palestinian nakba continues, with Israeli “settlers” taking more Palestinian land every month. When do these exiled people get to return?

David Spero,
San Francisco

Why is royal family walking on eggshells?

I read Prince Charles will not be visiting Israel due to the recommendation of the Royal Visits Committee. The reason made by the Foreign Office was “may have been taken in order to avoid upsetting Arab nations in the area.”

What kind of B.S. is this? They have to walk on eggshells when it comes to Arab nations and a visit to Israel?

Who is running the royal family, anyway? They are Christians and afraid to visit the Holy Land?

“God Save the Queen”?

Diane Swanson,
Walnut Creek