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

Leila Khaled at S.F. State; antisemitism in ethnic studies; forgotten psalmists; etc.

Let’s all boycott SFSU

San Francisco State University has scheduled a Zoom event with Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled (“Jewish groups condemn plans for Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled to speak at S.F. State,” Sept. 4), and SFSU president Lynn Mahoney has refused to reconsider her decision calling it academic freedom.

Under former SFSU president Robert Corrigan, great strides were made to improve the relations between the Jewish community and the militant students and professors. The JCRC of San Francisco did fantastic work in making that occur.

Unfortunately, those days are long ago.

Jewish students are not safe on campus and I strongly encourage Jewish students to not apply for admittance to San Francisco State. In fact, unless you support terrorists like Leila Khaled being given a platform to spew their hatred for Jews and the murder of men, women and children; everyone should avoid SFSU.

The only way to force a change is to hit SFSU in the wallet. We must boycott SFSU completely, including applications for admittance and stopping all donations to the school.

Steve Kassel
South San Francisco

Double standards?

J.’s recent article “Jewish groups condemn plans for Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled to speak at S.F. State” (Sept. 4) included several mistakes. The lawsuit against Rabab Abdulhadi was not “settled” in 2019. The case was dismissed with prejudice by federal Judge William Orrick. Then the Lawfare Project refiled the case against SFSU, but not against Abdulhadi. Without her as a defendant, the university settled, allowing Israel-identified groups to claim a victory over antisemitism, the claim Judge Orrick had thrown out.

Your article quotes several Jewish leaders on how hurtful and threatening it is to Jewish students to have Khaled, a 76-year-old former Palestinian fighter, appear on a teleconference sponsored by SFSU. But you say it was perfectly OK for Hillel to bring Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to campus after he supervised the destruction of Palestinians’ homes and their eviction from Jerusalem, despite the hurt and threat he represented to Arab students.

The Israel-identified community’s double standards are so glaring.

David M. Spero
San Francisco

Brundage? Good riddance

The otherwise unreported removal of the Avery Brundage bust at the Asian Art Museum (“S.F. Asian Art Museum to remove bust of founding donor with antisemetic views,” July 23) was welcome news in history, but omitted at least one other display of Brundage’s antisemitism.

The late Marty Glickman of Brooklyn Boys High School and Syracuse University was a 100-yard sprinter and also a single wing starting halfback for Syracuse in 1936. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in the 100-yard dash. Because Glickman was Jewish, Brundage, as president of the American Olympic Committee, acquiesced in the Nazi demand he be excluded from competing (I was a forlorn 7-year-old in Syracuse, New York).

Somehow, Jesse Owens of Ohio State avoided Hitlerian exclusion and won three deserved gold medals in the sprints and 400-meter relay. As a state senator in 2003, I didn’t pay attention to the Brundage bust while the Asian art was ensconced in the former main library. I should have.

Judge Quentin L. Kopp (Ret.)
San Francisco

Forgotten Psalm authors

Thanks for the interesting Torah commentary by Rabbi Dov Greenberg (“Bold prayers and broad vision determine the quality of our lives,” Sept. 4).

However, under the image of David, the caption says “King David is traditionally understood as the writer of the Book of Psalms.” I’ve read that several psalms are attributed to the descendants of Korach, who some believe was wrongly maligned.

Celia Menczel
Walnut Creek

Schools and a dreadful ‘ism’

To state Superintendent Tony Thurmond and those who formulated AB 331 (“Jewish caucus inserts anti-bias ‘guardrails’ into California ethnic studies law,” Sept. 1), I wholeheartedly support and commend your preparing AB 331 mandating ethnic studies as part of high school matriculation requirements.

It should, in theory, serve to broaden understanding of the history of thy neighbor and would put California on the cutting edge of taking steps to combat “racism,” particularly at the high school level.

Yet it appears to understate the other dreadful “ism” — antisemitism. This may prove a long-term significant oversight for California Jews directly, and the other approximately 7 million American Jewish citizens indirectly.

California has the fourth largest educational system in the U.S. and is a trendsetter for the rest of our nation. Since the ethnic studies endeavor may well be funded with state and federal dollars, I think it most appropriate to see if antisemitism education can be adequately incorporated somewhere within the program when the details are hammered out in the near future.

After all, how many opportunities cross our path where we can make a significant positive difference? Superintendent, this may well be one of them.

Bruce Portnoy
Indian Creek, Illinois

Trump deserves no mention

In my friend Steve Astrachan’s recent letter (“Why no mention of Trump?” Sept. 4), he complained of J.’s failure in its Aug. 19 editorial (“UAE-Israel deal moves peace in the right direction”) to mention “President Trump’s substantial role.”

Let’s see: Trump has engaged in antisemitic tropes on numerous occasions. As but two examples: Trump called Congressmember Adam Schiff “shifty” and, later, “hand-picked” by George Soros.

Trump has retweeted statements from antisemitic and racist groups. Trump has repeatedly used antisemitic symbols in his campaign. Trump has placed persons associated with racist, antisemitic and neo-Nazi groups in his administration. Trump has praised right-wing, antisemitic, authoritarian dictators such as Polish President Duda.

Trump has praised Republican candidates who openly support the antisemitic-based QAnon conspiracy theory. Trump has alluded to the antisemitic idea of Jewish Americans having dual loyalty. Trump has elevated antisemitic news outlets by retweeting their tweets, granting interviews and issuing press credentials to a reporter known for his antisemitic writings.

Trump has asserted that Jews who vote for Democrats “shows great disloyalty.” Trump held up foreign aid to Ukraine as leverage for his own political campaign purposes.

Recorded for everyone to hear, Trump can be heard admitting to journalist Bob Woodward that he knew of how deadly Covid-19 is and then repeatedly lied to the American people about it.

To answer Mr. Astrachan’s question, I refer to Deuteronomy 25:19 and Exodus 17:14, where God commands the Jews to wipe out the memory of Amalek. But a far more critical question is why would any Jew raise a voice in defense of Trump?

Mark P. Cohen

What are you afraid of? Let Khaled speak

So you advocate academic freedom for everyone but Palestinians. Don’t you think that smacks of bigotry, the thing you profess to disdain?

I am referring, of course, to your editorial condemning Leila Khaled’s speaking engagement at SFSU (“Leila Khaled has nothing to teach S.F. State students,” Sept. 17). And how do you know she plans to promote violence? Could that be because your beloved State of Israel promotes violence at every turn and you are projecting that onto the “other,” in this case Ms. Khaled?

It is true that she was involved in plane hijackings many years ago, although she did not, herself, commit violence against any human being. But that does not mean she would speak in favor of violence at this time. Why are you so afraid to give this woman an opportunity to speak her truth?

Lois Pearlman

J. Readers

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