- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2008

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.

TERRI HAMMERSMITH

Bristow, Va.

Health care for small business

Because I am a health economist, I started reading “The cost of health care for small business” (Op-Ed, Friday) but was taken aback to discover that it was written in politically correct congressional speak. This is the elaborate language our representatives and senators use in addressing “we the people.” It knows no political or philosophical school of thought. Pandering comes from both sides of the congressional aisle. What this language does is hide its own message by using gushing sentences such as, “The key to health care reform is to provide every American with access to quality, affordable care that protects the doctor-patient relationship.” Or, “American families and businesses have struggled long enough under the weight of rising health care costs.”Please. These are platitudes, not a serious discussion of health care issues and what can be done about them. Thank goodness that when I turned back the page, I saw some real down-to-earth editorial analysis by Cal Thomas, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Walter Williams, etc.

So senators and Congress members, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, but these politically correct columns make it seem that you’re trying.

AL PEDEN

Frederick, Md.

It’s encouraging to see Sens. Richard Burr and Lamar Alexander recognize that accessing and purchasing quality, affordable health insurance has placed a tremendous burden on America’s small businesses. (“The cost of health care for small business,” Op-Ed, Friday) They understand that small business has been hit the hardest by the health care crisis and is disproportionately struggling with health care costs.

It’s time all of our country’s policy-makers and legislators recognize the unique concerns of small businesses and make sure their needs are considered in this year’s health reform debate. That’s why the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently introduced Solutions Start Here, a national campaign to engage the small-business community, policy influencers and key stakeholders in a robust dialogue about the health care needs of small-business owners and employees. Our Small Business Principles for Healthcare Reform, the foundation of the campaign, will serve as guiding principles and help articulate our commitment to creating reform that is, among other things, universal, affordable, competitive and portable.

To show our solidarity on this issue, NFIB created a petition calling for policy-makers to consider the unique needs of small businesses when addressing health care reform. We will continue to engage diverse stakeholders in this issue at every level to ensure that small business owners and their employees have affordable options for health care. As Sens. Burr and Alexander said, American families and businesses, especially small businesses, are feeling the pinch.

Let’s make sure the job creators of America’s small businesses no longer feel that pinch and have the access to affordable health care options they rightly deserve.

AMANDA AUSTIN

NFIB senior manager, legislative affairs

National Federation of Independent Business