Comey standing up
FBI Director James Comey preparing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, May 3, 2017. (JTA-Getty Images-AFP-Jim Watson)

Letters for the week of May 19, 2017

Calling for special prosecutor is an abuse of justice system

I share your editorial’s criticism of the manner in which President Trump dismissed FBI Director Comey and the failure to provide a coherent explanation for his actions (“Farewell to James Comey, friend of the Jews,” May 12). Nevertheless, your inference that the president’s intent was to hinder an investigation into a surreptitious relationship between his campaign and Russia went too far.

The editorial fails to mention the recent Department of Justice memo “Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI” by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which severely criticizes Director Comey’s leadership in the Clinton email scandal for usurping the role of the Department of Justice and releasing derogatory information without an indictment.

It also cites statements of numerous former justice officials of both parties, including Michael Mukasey and Eric Holder, criticizing Director Comey’s press conference of last July. An FBI director with a penchant for the expansion of his own authority and the improper release of information is reminiscent of a former period in the bureau’s history, which we need not repeat.

It also ignores the public statements of former senior intelligence officers that there is no evidence of a collusive relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, recently stated in Senate testimony that he knows of no evidence of an improper relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian foreign nationals. Former acting CIA Director Mike Morrell, who supported Mrs. Clinton in the election, has been equally clear as to the lack of evidence.

The appointment of a special prosecutor in the absence of supporting evidence would be an abuse of the criminal justice system. Your call for one is outside of the standard that a newspaper representing our community should uphold. A little more objectivity on these issues would be good for all.

Steve Astrachan,
Pleasant Hill

Comey, enemy of the people

James Comey, friend of the Jews!? How about James Comey, enemy of the people?

Comey, along with Wikileaks and Putin, gave us the Trump disaster with his bogus investigation of the Clinton emails. As a result, Comey’s legacy and reputation is ruined and for very good reasons. I’m sorry, but he cannot be a friend of the Jews when he is an enemy of the people!

Hal Feiger,

It’s time for Democrats to lay down their swords

I started reading Quentin Kopp’s column expressing objection against the Jewish Legislative Caucus with skepticism, but I soldiered on and read the entire column, which was quite illustrative in giving the history of past Jewish caucuses (“California’s Legislative Jewish Caucus is pointless,” May 12).

As a delegate to the California Democratic Central Committee, I was looking forward to participating in any Jewish Caucus events. Now that I have read the Honorable Kopp’s rationale, I come to understand its full meaning.

Why should we separate ourselves from everyone else, and why should there be any identity caucuses? The Democratic Party is splintered enough with “Bernie people” not speaking to “Hillary people” and Democrats dividing themselves by differences in several issues. The result of this division was the election of a very dangerous man to the presidency — a danger because he has given full permission to the heads of Congress to carry through with their vicious plans for dismantling all that we stand for in modern civilization (health care, programs that help bring the poor into society, food and nutrition programs, etc).

It is time for the Democrats to lay down their swords, pride and arrogance and join together to help America become the country that embraces and stands for everyone.

Lorri Holzberg,
Menlo Park

More listening needed

We’ve read the past two issues of J. and their several thousands of words of mostly one-sided criticism of San Francisco State University administrators for ongoing hostility and fear on campus.

We appreciate the professors, advisers and surrounding Jewish community organizers who are attentive to multiple Jewish student narratives of discomfort and a sense of exclusion, especially related to Israel’s dignity and future.

We have always envisioned a maturely engaged campus exporting solutions rather than importing problems of the Israelis and Palestinians.

Beyond blame and taking sides — the default setting of many humans — we encourage a next-step of introspection to ask: Who will take responsibility for preparing students, youth leaders — and professors, administrators and community leaders — to be the needed artisans of communication to create the new, very possible culture of connection here, in Israel, everywhere?

In our experience, this new life together begins with a new quality of listening that humanizes and dignifies both the speaker and the listener. To us, this is the life of the Sh’ma, our destiny to bring to life and to campus.

Len and Libby Traubman,
San Mateo

A safe space for pro-Israel students

Last week J. dramatically exposed the rabid anti-Semitic and anti-Israel atmosphere at San Francisco State University. The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was shouted down by an unruly crowd with threats and obscenities and not allowed to be heard. The police and the campus officials did nothing.

Palestinian organizations have no problem having anti-Semitic demonstrations on the campus that threaten Jewish students.

One Jewish organization with little recognition has a major impact: Chabad has over 200 houses on U.S. campuses. Students are supported socially, intellectually, religiously, and with Sabbath and holiday meals. Many Jewish students need encouragement and support. The speakers and programs at Chabad will certainly be pro-Israel. Do they need to hear the opposing viewpoint? They just have to walk out the door.

Lawrence Wanetick,
Walnut Creek