Letters For the Week of Sep. 5-11 

Page 3 of 3

Paul Merr

How can a news item on Oakland Promise be written without mentioning the parcel tax that Schaaf pushed to give O.P. public funds, one of the biggest and longest-run parcel taxes in Oakland history? It is no excuse that Kaplan, with an amazing ability to think small, ducks this issue while making a fuss about some office space. The tax is also tied up in litigation over the city council's decision to declare the measure approved despite its failure to get the required number of votes to pass.

Charlie Pine


Nepalese Sanctuary Seekers Fighting to Stay in the U.S., News, Sep. 4

Nepal is Fine

While I do not support Trump and am a Nepali, nothing about this article is true. Nepal is fine; there is no need for TPS anymore. Yes it sucks that you will go back to Nepal, but please stop advertising Nepal as a hellhole where you will be hounded by communist party or that is is "ravaged" by earthquake. Nepal is fine.

Bill 1


Politics Played No Role in Film Festival, Letters, Aug, 7

This Sure Sounds Like Muzzling to Me

In her letter, Lexi Leban, Director of the Jewish Film Institute (JFI), responds to my guest editorial about how the Jewish Federation muzzles grantees like JFI by prohibiting them from partnering with any group that the Federation deems to "undermine the legitimacy" of Israel or that supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Ms. Leban states that JFI "does not engage in community partnerships with political organizations working directly on the Israel/Palestine conflict. This policy applies to organizations on both ends of the spectrum on this issue." It is this practice, she says, that was the basis for rescinding an "inadvertent" invitation to Jewish Voice for Peace to be a Community Partner this year.

This policy of neutrality must have been very recently adopted. While JVP, which supports equal rights for Palestinians and BDS, has been blacklisted as a Film Festival partner since the Federation prohibition went into effect in 2010, the Festival has since that time continued to partner with the most staunch Israel-aligned groups in the Bay Area. Last year, for example, JFI's Community Partners included Birthright (providing free trips for young Jews to Israel in order to forge emotional ties with that country), StandWithUs ("inspired by our love of Israel to Stand Up for Israel"), Hillel Stanford (which is required under Hillel national rules to ban BDS supporters from speaking at its venue), Onward Israel (a Hillel International Program), the Jewish Community Relations Council (which enforces the Jewish Federation blacklist), and the Israeli consulate itself.

Many of these groups listed as Community Partners not only defend Israel's policies, but work to suppress Palestinian voices, particularly on campus, and promote legislation that punishes those who are critical of Israel or support BDS.

As my editorial noted, the Film Festival still features movies about Israel-Palestine, including some that portray Palestinian suffering under Israeli rule. But they are far fewer in number than before the Federation prohibition was imposed, and their content must not cross the lines set by the Federation. At the time the Federation rules were first being put in place, the then-director of the SF Jewish Film Festival decried "fear-based boundary making," and the former director described them as "putting a chill on programming decisions. It's very frightening." The rules that caused these two former directors such alarm are the same ones that the current director must work under.

Carol Sanders, member, Jewish Voice for Peace


Go Big. Be Bold. Go Home. Eric Swalwell Ends Quixotic Campaign, Seven Days, July 10

Empty Suit

Swalwell's big mistake was opening his mouth & demonstrating to the entire country that he is nothing but an empty suit. Good riddance!

Jim Mellander

#LaneyBuilt, Feature, Sep. 4

Glory Over Health

Congrats to the coach for risking the future health of his players for a meaningless trophy. "Hacking up gunk" is a small part of the possible consequences, most much more dire.

Ernest Montague


Best Old-World Bookshop, Goods & Services, July 31

Credit Where Credit is Due

Fact check: He didn't "create" Owl & Company I did, built it from scratch, everything you see I built, and then I operated the shop for a year.

Todd Pratum

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