White supremacists at the "Unite the Right" rally attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017 (Photo/JTA-Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images)
White supremacists at the "Unite the Right" rally attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017 (Photo/JTA-Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images)

Jews are not white supremacists; BLM ‘Reign of Terror’ comes for Feinstein; Congrats to J. on 125 years; etc.

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Keep Feinstein Elementary

We might be entering the “Reign of Terror” phase of the BLM and Intersectionality movements, as a volunteer-appointed group, the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee, is recommending that an elementary school named in honor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein be renamed (“SFUSD parents mount opposition to proposed renaming of Feinstein Elementary,” Dec. 23).

The rationale is typically specious and intolerant of any blemish or question on a record in public service. In 1984, a Confederate flag was among 18 flags honoring U.S. history in front of San Francisco City Hall. While mayor, Feinstein took it down after there were protests about the flag, but to the purists, she is now considered racist.

I have known Dianne since she announced the murders of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, and became San Francisco’s mayor. She has been fighting for gun control and other civic issues her entire career.

This just makes many of us disgusted, and it makes many of us want to turn away from supporting legitimate criminal justice reform and increased access to education and economic opportunities for minorities.

If Democrats lose Georgia and down-ballot races to the GOP, it may be partly due to fear of the crazy actions to “right the perceived wrongs” of a past reinterpreted by modern-day revisionists — just like the Stalinist purges of Bolsheviks and Trotskyites during the 1930s.

Eventually, the revolution turns on itself. But we may all lose in the process.

Jeff Saperstein
Mill Valley

A treasure is gone

This is in regard to Dan Pine’s obituary of Ray Bernstein (“Law professor Ray Bernstein, 56, dies in bike accident,” Dec. 31). My dear friend, whom I met at the volunteer legal clinic run by the Bar Association of San Francisco, was most beautiful and heartwarming. I treasure our many years of friendship.

May Ray’s memory be for a blessing.

CJ Kingsley

J. keeps on keeping on

Congratulations to J. as it begins its 125th year serving the Jewish community. Looking forward to what the next 125 years will bring!

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco

Israel, India and weapons

I encourage Pakistan, my native country, to take steps toward normalizing with Israel. As proof of my stance, you can see my recent op-ed on Dawn.com, the online version of Pakistan’s oldest English-language newspaper.

My reasons are pragmatic and reflect Israel’s rise toward becoming a regional superpower expanding its Asian relationships.

The old order is clearly changing. Jewish Americans should take note. Israel needs your critical feedback to avoid the “moral hazard” of unconditional support.

I write as a Bay Area resident of 50 years who understands that “pro-Israel” has often meant uncritically defending what Israel does. I have been to Israel, count Jewish Americans among my best and oldest friends, and even have a Jewish branch to my family.

Israel now needs its friends, and especially Jewish Americans, to ask tough questions and to speak up.

India in recent years has been Israel’s largest weapons customer, meaning that Israel is using its expertise to help India to brutally suppress millions in Kashmir.

What is morally right in Gaza is completely unjustified when exported. Some 40 Israelis have filed with Israel’s Supreme Court to stop this, in an initiative which clearly deserves our support.

Consider speaking up directly, or through your synagogue or community organization, or when planning your giving for 2021. It is the pro-Israel thing to do.

Faruq Ahmad
San Francisco

Take note, Jews for Trump

Have you seen these T-shirts that Trump’s buddies, the Proud Boys, are wearing? “6MWE.” It stands for 6 million wasn’t enough.

A message for Jews, and especially Jews for Trump, all over the world.

Norman Brenowitz
Pompano Beach, Fla.

BDS is not ‘morally right’

In letter-writer Katy Rosenthal’s opinion, it is “morally right” to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel (“BDS is not Hitler,” Dec. 18).

She claimed BDS is “a movement that seeks liberation of the oppressed.”

So, being morally correct, she was understandably “astonished” by Rabbi Dov Greenberg’s characterization of BDS as a wicked and evil antisemitic hate group (in his Dec. 11 Torah column for J.).

I wonder if Rosenthal is also alarmed by the U.S., Israel, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain — who have declared BDS to be hate-inciting and antisemitic.

Pro-BDS demonstrators protesting outside the Spanish Government Delegation in Barcelona, Oct. 20, 2015 (Photo/JTA-Albert Llop-Anadolu Agency-Getty Images)
Pro-BDS demonstrators protesting outside the Spanish Government Delegation in Barcelona, Oct. 20, 2015 (Photo/JTA-Albert Llop-Anadolu Agency-Getty Images)

BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti would agree with Rosenthal, who wrote, “I can be proudly Jewish and still ashamed of the political decisions of the state of Israel, particularly in regard to its treatment of Palestinians.”

I wonder if she’d be alarmed, though, to know that Barghouti, speaking to the Gaza Voice Podcast last year, said that if the BDS movement’s goals were achieved, then “Israel would cease to exist.”

June Brott
Walnut Creek

Supporting BDS is ignorant

As of the end of December, legislatures in 32 states, including California, have adopted laws condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

BDS openly proclaims its goals of (a) liberating all Arab lands, (b) fighting for right of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and (c) implementation of U.N. Resolution 194 calling for refugees’ return into Israel proper.

In an interview with the Gaza Voice Podcast last year, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti admitted that the ultimate goal of BDS is eradicating Israel.

So, let’s put aside the fig leaf of (b) and concentrate on (a) and (c).

Not surprisingly, Israel isn’t willing to vacate Jewish ancestral land.

As for Resolution 194, in paragraph 11, it does stipulate the return of refugees “at the earliest practicable date.” But hardly anyone can argue that after 72 years of Israel’s existence — filled with multiple rejections by the Palestinians of Israel’s peace offers and their unremitting belligerence — this dreamed-of date has not yet arrived.

So what exactly is the BDS appeal? Why do people support them? Just because some actions of the Israeli government are controversial?

SFSU students, students from other colleges and J. letter-writers (“BDS is not Hitler,” Dec. 18) are ready to believe that BDS is simply another human rights organization.

Why are they giving BDS the benefits of the doubt rather than accepting the benefits of the trust in the BDS leaders’ own words and actions, as did 32 U.S. states?

Vladimir Kaplan
San Mateo

Making my skin crawl

As I read the J. article “S.F. State historian splits with publisher over how to talk about Jews and white supremacy” (Dec. 21), I became wrought with sadness, anger and intense fear that another Jewish Holocaust is rumbling throughout the world.

As an immigrant Jew from Europe in the wake of World War II, when I hear the words “white supremacy,” my heart races and I feel sick to my stomach.

Even more difficult is when the term “white supremacy” is applied to people like me: a Jewish immigrant daughter of parents who were forced to evacuate from their homes in the U.K. as children, survive food rationing, huddle into bomb shelters as explosions destroyed their neighborhoods and family businesses.

The Nazis (one of the world’s most infamous white supremacist groups) succeeded in stealing people’s childhood and adolescence, with the goal of exterminating the Jewish race.

Therefore, to equate any Jew, regardless of skin color, with white supremacy makes my skin crawl.

In Charlottesville, they chanted “Jews will not replace us” while they rallied.

White supremacists don’t care if you’re black, white, brown, gay, straight, cisgender or trans — if you’re Jewish, they hate you.

So when I hear the term “white supremacy” applied to Jews regardless of their skin color, I can only think “be careful.”

Although I might appear white to many, those who hate me on the basis of my Jewish race will have no problem identifying me.

I am an avid believer in reparations for Black Americans whose histories have been stolen by slavery, police violence, and social and economic injustices. I will be an ally in any way I possibly can to Black communities (and others of color).

Of course, I know my experience is not theirs.

But if I were to join the bandwagon and equate non-Black or other Jews of color with white supremacy, I would be complicit in contributing toward an antisemitic system, thus betraying my family, my heritage, my history.

Sheila Levin
Palo Alto

J. Readers

J. welcomes letters and comments from our readers. To submit a letter, email it to [email protected].