ADL accepts apology from S.F. letter writer

The Anti-Defamation League has accepted the “heartfelt apology” from a venture capitalist who likened criticism of the wealthy to Kristallnacht.

“We believe that Mr. Perkins now realizes why his Holocaust comparison was so offensive,” the ADL said in a statement after a long conversation Jan. 27 between Thomas Perkins and the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman.

A letter written by Perkins was published in the Wall Street Journal Jan. 24 that drew parallels between Nazis and progressives in San Francisco, where Perkins is based.

“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich,’ ” he wrote. “From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent.”

In ending the letter, Perkins wrote, “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

Perkins, 82, a founder of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also apologized Jan. 27 in an interview on Bloomberg TV, calling the letter “a terrible misjudgment.” But, he added, “I do not regret the message at all. Any time the majority starts to demonize any minority, no matter what it is, it is wrong and dangerous.” — jta