Readers write: Congress and trade decision, Arab homeland, 'right to work'

Letters to the editor for the May 18, 2015, weekly magazine.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) Ohio, seen here on Capitol Hill in Washington last year, was among the Democrats who blocked action on President Obama's trade initiatives Tuesday. A compromise emerged Wednesday.

Keep Congress in on trade decisions
Regarding the May 4 Monitor’s View “Why a US president needs a key tool for expanding trade”: Supporting trade with many nations is needed, and the president does have major responsibility. Supporting trade that maintains “status quo” favoritism for corporations’ profiteering, and hurting the US economy – and the majority of citizens – without input from Congress, is a different matter. Different opinions will strengthen the wisdom of any trade agreement. 
Richard Hahn
Sandia Park, N.M.

Arab homeland misunderstood
Regarding the April 27 online article “Jerusalem home buyers find leftist ideals cost a bedroom or two” ( The Palestinian narrative tells of a fantasy world in which Israel is occupied Palestinian territory. But there never was an independent Palestinian state; the Arabs of British Mandatory Palestine were descended from families who entered after Zionist activity began to revive the economy in the 1880s. The Arab nations that went to war in 1948, trying to block Israel’s rebirth, prevented an Arab state in Gaza and the West Bank. The war displaced 800,000 Arabs. Their number has grown to 5,000,000, still classified as refugees. If 1,200,000 Arabs, rightfully, have civil rights in Israel, why won’t they let Jews live in their state?
Toby F. Block

‘Right to work’: Should all benefit?
In response to the April 20 & 27 Readers Write letter “ ‘Right to work’ and unions”: Concerning “right to work,” if there is a union that negotiates wages, benefits, and working conditions, all employees benefit from those negotiations. However, in an RTW state, some employees choose not to join the union and do not contribute to the cost of union representation. If people don’t join a union, that is their right. But why should they benefit from the negotiations? The union-negotiated contract should not be binding for them.
Gary L. Schlesinger
Libertyville, Ill.

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