- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Democrats won't tolerate a minority of a different color

The hypocrisy of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Democrats is breathtaking, as Linda Chavez noted in "Holding a hostage on the Hill" (Commentary, Saturday). If Miguel Estrada were a liberal nominee and Republicans treated him similarly, the outcry from Democrats would make Sen. Tom Daschle's tantrum last week look mild in comparison. They would be all over the media, accusing the Republicans of a racist plot to thwart a brilliant jurist who might become the first Latino on the Supreme Court.

The extremes liberals will go to in order to oppose a minority candidate whose views don't fit their mold are ludicrous. That even the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund won't support Mr. Estrada's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals is especially telling. Mr. Estrada does not deserve the post, the organization reasons, because he "has lived a very different life from that of most Latinos a life isolated from their experience and concerns." That is unarguable. Most Latinos haven't graduated with honors from both Columbia and Harvard, worked in the Justice Department and argued cases before the Supreme Court (winning most of them, by the way). Neither have most Americans in general. A less accomplished and less educated Latino with an average job might be less isolated from most Latinos, but that's hardly a qualification for a federal judgeship.

As evidenced previously by Clarence Thomas' confirmation ordeal, the anti-Estrada movement shows that even minorities supposedly Democrats' prize constituency take a back seat to liberal ideology.


Hummelstown, Pa.

Anti-Semitism label 'precludes thoughtful debate' on Israel

In her last column, Suzanne Fields quoted Harvard President Lawrence Summers' contention that condemnations of Israel are "anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent" ("Anti-Semitism in Harvard Yard," Op-Ed, Thursday). Mrs. Fields evidently concurred and wanted to give Mr. Summers a "round of applause." Yet Mr. Summers' argument would preclude any rational discussion of the actions of the Israeli state.

At a time when we stand at the brink of war in the Middle East, it is worth remembering that Israel has been condemned by the U.N. Security Council not 16 times like Iraq, but 84 times. Unlike U.N. General Assembly resolutions, Security Council resolutions are legally binding and have been approved by the U.S. government.

Israel remains in violation of 67 resolutions approved since 1967 for war crimes that include acts of aggression, annexation of foreign land, deportation of civilians, illegal colonization and occupation of foreign land, the killing of 17,000 civilians in its invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon, and the destruction of civilian property. The subject of one resolution was the brutal massacre of more than 1,000 civilians in Beirut, an atrocity for which then-general, now-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was held indirectly responsible after an investigation by the chief justice of the Israeli supreme court.

Contrary to Mr. Summers' assertion, Israel is not unfairly singled out and subjected to "a cruel double standard." I would respectfully argue that If we use international law to condemn Iraq, we should apply the same standards to Israel. Please don't call this "anti-Semitism."


Falmouth, Mass.

Review distorts 'distinguished conservative scholar's' new book

As an avid reader of The Washington Times, I was stunned at the childish and unprofessional review of Paul Gottfried's new book "The Paranoid (and Comic) Style in American Scholarship"("Letting guilt lead nation into fantasy world in which 'victims' call the shots?" Books, Sunday).

Reviewer Herb Greer, a self-described "American writer who lives in Salisbury, England," is guilty either of gross incompetence or appalling ignorance, since no other explanation can account for how he could portray Mr. Gottfried's book as merely a lengthy conspiracy theory. Mr. Gottfried's whole point is precisely that multiculturalism is not a conspiracy, but rather is promoted by a reigning ideology whose premises are taken for granted in the media, government and even in corporate America.

In fact, he specifically pointed out that in Britain, the politically correct regime of Tony Blair may well be what the British public wants. Isn't that the opposite of a conspiracy?

Your reviewer seems to think that by accusing Mr. Gottfried a Yale Ph.D., by the way, whose 1999 book, "After Liberalism," was published by Princeton of peddling nothing more than a conspiracy theory, readers will conclude that this poor soul must be some kind of crank who can be safely ignored. No one who read even part of Mr. Gottfried's book could have arrived at this dishonest conclusion.

If I want brusque, uninformed dismissals of distinguished conservative scholars, I'll read The Washington Post.


Assistant professor of history

Suffolk Community College (SUNY)

Brentwood, N.Y.

IMF protester protests 'ruthless' police

I would like to give my own perspective on Saturday's Page One coverage of the International Monetary Fund protest arrests ("Cops handle protesters; city stays open").

I was among the hundreds of people wrongfully arrested in Freedom Plaza on Friday. I was standing in the park with signs expressing my disagreement with the proposed U.S. policy against Iraq when I turned around to see a circle of police officers closing in. I asked at several points along the police line if I could please leave the park, and each time, I was ordered to get back in the park, orders that were underscored with brandished billy clubs. Even up to the last moment, when the police funneled the whole crowd toward waiting buses, I asked an officer if there was any way I could leave, and he directed me toward officers with handcuffs. I was arrested and detained for more than 30 hours, in part because of the police department's sloth-like ineptitude, but also because of the department's planned tactic to hold people as long as possible so they wouldn't be able to protest the next day. While in custody, I was shackled hand to foot, harassed and intimidated by officers, denied food for 18 hours and lied to about my legal rights. I fail to understand how I could be charged with failure to obey an officer because every time an officer told me to stay in the park, I did, and I was never ordered to disperse, an order I would have obeyed eagerly. Chief Charles H. Ramsey's claim that there was such an order is an outright lie. Among those arrested with me were reporters, nurses attending a convention, people on their way to work and students observing the demonstration for a class. If an order to disperse had been given, wouldn't you think that these bystanders would have promptly chosen not to have a day of their lives stolen by the D.C. police? I'm ashamed and angry to live in a city and country where dissent is so ruthlessly punished.



Mayor Williams traffics in taxes

Mayor Anthony A. Williams says traffic cameras serve a revenue-producing function ("Mayor says cameras are for revenue," Page 1, Friday). The truth is, under Mr. Williams, all traffic law enforcement is for revenue.

After living in Washington for 10 years, only once have I received a reasonable traffic ticket. An especially egregious (or laughable) example of the unreasonable tickets: After eight years in the District, I suddenly received a ticket for the partial obstruction of my license plate by the plastic frame that holds it to the car. It so happened that the officer who issued the ticket had come from across town to my neighborhood on the Friday preceding the end of the month.

The one reasonable ticket I got came to me last month. It was for an expired license tag. Sure, I should have checked, but I got used to receiving a notice in the mail. Even under former Mayor Marion Barry, that worked smoothly. Of course, I would not have had to pay this $100 fine (yes, being late in paying Mr. Williams' government is the most serious, most expensive violation of all) if the notice had arrived as usual.

In response to these flimsy fines, I get back at the District with my own tax revolt. I have not filled up at a D.C. gas station in years, and I take most of my other sales-taxable business to Maryland.



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