- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Princeton fulfills commitments

The editorial “The old college try — in court” (Tuesday) erroneously claims that the Robertson v. Princeton litigation represents “donor activism in cases where colleges fail their donors’ standards.” This case was not brought by any donor. It was brought by the descendants of a donor who are trying to seize control of funds that the donor entrusted to Princeton, not to them.

This is not a case where a college has failed to carry out an agreement with a donor. When Marie Robertson made her gift of $35 million to Princeton in 1961, she made two key decisions and put them in writing: that the University should control the gift, and that it should be used to support the graduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Under Princeton’s stewardship, the gift is now worth almost $900 million, and for 47 years it has been used solely for its intended purpose.

It is Mrs. Robertson’s descendants who have now spent well over $20 million, not from their own funds but from a family foundation, in an attempt to overturn both the purpose and the governing mechanism for her gift.

Princeton has built a well-deserved reputation over more than 250 years for fulfilling the commitments it makes in accepting gifts. Unlike the plaintiffs in this case, Princeton believes the decisions of the donor should continue to be respected.

ROBERT K. DURKEE

Vice president and secretary, Princeton University

Princeton, N.J.

Separate church and state

Anthony Lutz writes that children have a right to taxpayer-funded vouchers for faith-based and other private schools (“A right to school vouchers,” Letters, Tuesday). As a Virginian, he should be reminded that Virginians James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, two of the most important Founders of our nation, held that no one should be forced by government to support any religious institution and that they got that principle imbedded in the Virginia and U.S. constitutions. Moreover, U.S. voters have consistently upheld that church-state separation principle by wide margins.

EDD DOERR

President, Americans for Religious Liberty

Silver Spring

China’s shameful offenses

John J. Tkacik Jr. is correct in urging President Bush to not turn a blind eye to China’s abuses in Tibet in the lead-up to the Olympic Games (“Leadership event,” Commentary, Tuesday).

In fact, China has committed many more shameful offenses justifying the shunning of the games by the heads of states that cherish liberty, democracy and human rights.

To wit, more than 1,000 Chinese missiles, according to a recent Department of Defense report, are targeted at the free and democratic nation of Taiwan. Their numbers are increasing at more than 100 per year. As the world vents its anger over China’s brutality in Tibet, it should also condemn China’s grave threat against Taiwan. Chinese President Hu Jintao certainly linked Taiwan to Tibet when he sinisterly demanded that the Dalai Lama accept “that Tibet and Taiwan are inalienable parts of China.”

Mr. Tkacik sees no reason why the leaders of the world’s democracies should unconditionally grace with their presence the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Indeed, Mr. Bush should refrain from attending this Chinese propaganda hoopla.

BOB I. YANG

President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Washington

The truth about REAL ID

Hats off to Gov. Mark Sanford, South Carolina Republican, for pointing to flaws in the law giving a centralized federal government control over our drivers’ licenses (“REAL ID side effects,” Commentary, Monday).

Since Sept. 11, we Americans have been heading in a dangerous direction with our emphasis on requiring a photo ID (usually a driver’s license) for almost everything we do. I have had a bank tell me a photo ID is required to open an account under the Patriot Act. I have had a medical facility tell me a photo ID is required, under the law known in shorthand as the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), to undergo a medical procedure.

Both assertions are untrue. Contrary to myth, there is not even a law that requires us to show a photo ID when we want to board an airliner. There are no such laws, or at least were none until the REAL ID Act, because many on Capitol Hill share the revulsion of many Americans toward the idea of being required to carry an identity document.

The REAL ID Act has encountered opposition because of the cost of implementing the legislation, because of its impact on illegal immigrants, and out of a widespread concern for its effect on civil liberties. Critics are justified in opposing the law. A photo ID proves nothing. Remember that, while they may have misrepresented their residency status to obtain drivers’ licenses, all 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers carried identity documents issued in their real names.

REAL ID is a case of a strong central government violating the 10th Amendment to the Constitution by interfering in the business of the states. I want the size, shape and design of my driver’s license to be determined in my state capital, not in Washington.

ROBERT F. DORR

Oakton

Repeating anti-Israel canards

As I read Steve Feldman’s letter “America engenders hatred (Monday), I could not help but feel sorry for him. Clearly, he has bought into radical Islamic lies. Mr. Feldman’s letter is the typical propaganda that has been and currently is used against the United States and Israel with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The hatred that Mr. Feldman mentions is not caused by America or Israel, but rather by the radical Islamic leaders. These leaders proclaim in the public media that they want peace, but then indoctrinate their own children practically from birth that it is virtuous, indeed required by Islam, to murder Americans, Jews and anyone else who disagrees with them.

I am a graduating senior at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, formerly known as the Hebrew Academy of Washington. One of the many things that our school teaches is respect for all people, including Muslims.

I have attended many assemblies and programs that tell the truth about the Middle East situation. I didn’t just learn the facts, I personally met survivors of homicide bombers. I have also learned that, yes, Israel did transform “a land of empty deserts and swamps into the great land of Israel,” as Mr. Feldman most astutely points out.

Israel was created after the United Nations’ partition of the Holy Land and was attacked as it came into existence by larger and more powerful Arab nations that avowed (and continue to avow) its destruction, even after peace was possible.

The previous and current Palestinian refugees are the product of a corrupt leadership that uses the refugees’ suffering as a political ploy to say, “Look what Israel (and America) has done, they are the cause of our suffering.”

Mr. Feldman should learn the facts of a situation before spewing lies and propaganda. I feel sorry for Mr. Feldman and any other person who believes such lies. They simply just don’t know the facts.

MICHAEL LEEB

Silver Spring


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