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Letters: SF State president still doesn’t get it

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San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong, pictured in May 2016, issued a public apology last month for his “comments about Zionists and whether or not they are welcomed” at the university. (Yesica Prado/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)

S.F. State president apologizes for comments about Zionists,” The City, Feb. 28
S.F. State President Leslie Wong still doesn’t get it

San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong still doesn’t get it.

In 2013, S.F. State’s General Union of Palestine Students provided stencils for making signs saying: “My heroes have always killed colonizers” — meaning Israelis — and GUPS’ president posted a picture of himself holding a knife, called for decapitating a female Israeli soldier, demanded the “decimation of this Israeli plague” and later wrote about Israelis: “Kill them all.”

As an educator, Wong should have been horrified. Instead, he subsequently praised GUPS as “an inspiration for me,” adding, “GUPS is the very purpose of this great university.”

By contrast, when he was asked if Zionists — supporters of the right of Israel, the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, to exist in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland — were welcome on campus, Wong replied: “Am I comfortable opening up the gates to everyone? Gosh, of course not!”

Wong’s belated acknowledgment that Zionists are welcome at S.F. State means nothing — the First Amendment already guarantees this. Yet, the campus reacted with anti-Semitic fliers and graffiti saying: “Zionists not welcome.” This is the legacy of years of Wong indulging hate at S.F. State.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

Phelan Avenue poised to lose name over racist legacy,” The City, Feb. 25
Phelan guilty by association

Supervisor Norman Yee’s drive to get rid of Phelan Avenue’s name is sad and reeks of what he decries: racism and intolerance. The street was named for Phelan’s father. This is guilt by association; should everyone with the name of Phelan feel ashamed?

Having been on the student council and the newspaper staff at both Riordan High School and City College, I have a dog in this fight. I suggest that if you are going to change the name, you consider Warren Hinckle Way or Gary Thomas Avenue — both are Riordan grads. Hinckle, for better or worse, changed American journalism. Thomas was a hero in the Marin County Courthouse slaughter that left him a cripple.

It is fashionable to get rid of monuments and statues that honor those with questionable pasts. Just a few yards from the Early Pioneer statue that received wide news coverage is a memorial to the Lincoln Brigade of the Spanish Civil War. The men honored fought on the Republican side, which killed thousands of priests and nuns in cleansing operations. Tear it down. They may not have killed them, but they supported those who did. Most of the soldiers who fought for the South did not own slaves. Still, they fought on the wrong side.

James O. Clifford, San Francisco

Canary in the coal mine,” I Drive S.F., Feb. 22
San Francisco has already lost its soul

Kelly Dessaint states the replacement of taxis with Uber and its clones is not inevitable, and that if it ever were to happen, it would mean that San Francisco had lost its soul. The fact is that it already has.

Despite their arrogant pose as the most virtuous citizens in the country, San Franciscans have already chosen to use the ride services of unvetted drivers who struggle to find their way through streets unknown to most of them while staring at their driving apps. While they have been banned in England and most of Europe, they have been embraced by the eternally pubescent residents of San Franny, largely because it is the “hip” thing to do.

The self-proclaimed “progressives” here have no regard for those taxi drivers, who have been working at it for most of their adult lives and now have few alternatives in the job market.

Stephen Karetzky, San Francisco

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