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Palestinian identity

In “Palestine before and after” (Commentary, Sunday), Sherri Muzher discusses the “unique identity for millennia” of the so-called Palestinian people. However, the reality is that never in the history of the world did a state of Palestine exist with a group of people possessing any unique culture, language, dress or other customs. The so-called Palestinians are really Arabs whose ancestors immigrated to Israel from areas including the countries known today as Syria, Jordan, etc. They were seeking employment opportunities from the Jews who arrived at the turn of the 20th century, drained the swamps and made the desert bloom. In fact, before 1948, the Jews in British-mandated Palestine were referred to as “Palestinians,” a term whose origin descends from ancient Rome (see Wikipedia). The Romans introduced the term in the second century after conquering that area, which at the time was known as Judea. They wanted to blot out a Jewish connection to the land.

JOSH HASTEN

Jerusalem

Rev. Wright a hypocrite

I was stunned by Clarence Page’s description of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s appearance on “Bill Moyers Journal “(“Wright does Obama wrong,” Commentary, Saturday).

Mr. Page says that on the program, Mr. Wright explained and gave context to the “snippets” shown on television news and that the context was backed up by video excerpts. I suppose it is possible to give context to Mr. Wright’s lies, but not the context he tried to give.

The context of the biographical video shown by Mr. Moyers is that, far from being enslaved and surviving below the deck in chains, Mr. Wright has lived and still lives a far better life than most black Americans. If living in a $12 million house in a gated community is being enslaved, what is living in a run-down apartment in a Chicago project? How will Mr. Wright explain that house come Judgment Day?

Mr. Wright’s performance at the National Press Club proved that the “snippets” were only the tip of a very dirty iceberg and that Mr. Wright is not a champion of black advancement but merely a copy of another hero turned traitor, Benedict Arnold. Mr. Wright is not a leader toward racial harmony but a leader, like David Duke and Louis Farrakhan, toward racial divide and hatred.

DARREL SALISBURY

Lorton

Presidents do have a tough job

Anthony Lutz is obviously Democratic partisan of the first order (“President no mainstream American,” Letters, Saturday). He laments that President Bush is unlike the rest of us because he flies around on Air Force One, doesn’t go driving around for the cheapest gas and then get out and pump it, that he goes out of town a lot, has speechwriters, etc. He then ends his missive with a sarcastic “What a tough job.”

Mr. Lutz, in your blindness, you seem to have missed the boat that the president, no matter what party is in office, does have a tough job. I was by no means a big fan of President Clinton’s, but I respected the fact that he had a tough job and a lot on his shoulders, even though I did not agree with much of what he did.

Perhaps Mr. Lutz should acknowledge that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also don’t pump gas and that they have speechwriters, go out of town and fly around on government jets. In fact, Mrs. Pelosi complained that the jet she was given was insufficient for her needs. One also could say these two have “tough jobs” in the same vein that Mr. Lutz remarked about the president. However, I will acknowledge that their jobs are tough; they’re trying to do as little as possible to make the president look bad and keep the Democrats in the majority. So, while Mrs. Pelosi makes sure everyone gets out of town, letting important pieces of legislation such as the Terrorist Surveillance Act expire and sit with no action and the Senate refuses to take up judicial nominations, I think we can all agree in the vein of Mr. Lutz’s comment: tough jobs, indeed.

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