Letters To The Editor

Posted: December 30, 1992


I concur with Israel's decision to deport the leaders and planners of Hamas - the Islamic Resistance Movement. They have regularly murdered Israelis and others, which isn't surprising if you read their official charter.

The charter states: "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem but through holy war," and "no one is allowed to compromise or give up any part of this land (meaning Israel proper)."

Other disturbing phrases include: "With their (the Jews') money, they have created secret organizations spread throughout the world in order to destroy societies . . . they suck the riches out of these countries and spread corruption there . . . they were behind World War I to make material profit . . . they were also behind World War II, where they made enormous profits

from speculation in war material."

The motivating force of organizations such as Hamas is hatred for Jews and hatred for those of us living in Western societies. The current struggle facing Israel and its people is not only over the final demarcation of its borders but also over its very ability to exist and survive.

The creed of these Islamic fundamentalists calls for the establishment of an archaic Muslim empire, first throughout the Middle East and later throughout the world through the liquidation of all non-Islamic factors and influences. The use of violence is the main tool in their struggle for Islamic supremacy, which threatens the entire free world. I am grateful for tiny Israel's courage in fighting this danger.

Rabbi Marvin H. Goldman

Adath Zion Congregation



In the current condemnation of Israel for having expelled some 400 alleged terrorists, I wish you would consider the following hypothetical situation: Suppose Lebanon, or Jordan, or Syria or Egypt were to expel 400 Jews across its border with Israel; would Israel turn its back on those expelled, refuse them entry into Israel and consign them to inhuman conditions in a barren strip of no-man's land? Then why does Lebanon refuse entry to these Arab refugees, while the oil-rich Arab nations take no interest in them, except as helpless pawns to be used against Israel?

This latest development illustrates once more that since Israel came into being in 1948 the Arab nations have had a single purpose - to destroy the Jewish state. They have devoted their military strength, their oil wealth and the suffering of fellow-Arabs to this purpose. Wherever the alleviation of Arab suffering would remove some of the pressure from Israel, they deliberately choose to let the Arab people continue to suffer.

Henry Spector


On Dec. 19, some wonderful and unsung volunteers presented the most beautiful sight at Valley Forge National Park. They had filled 12,000 white bags with sand and candles and placed them for miles and miles along the roads of the park, around statues and along pathways.

It was gorgeous, and most impressive and we enjoyed driving through not once, but twice. The luminaires commemorated the 12,000 men who encamped at Valley Forge and those who died there.

The logistics of this undertaking were tremendous, plus the fact that the volunteers had to collect the bags and dispose of the contents. We want to express our thanks to all these good people. It was appreciated.

Dot and Ott Ward



In his Commentary Page article in the Dec. 22 Inquirer, " 'Bad guys' come in every color," Harvey Clark, being black himself, is understandably both angry and resentful that so many whites feel that the bad guys are the black guys. What Mr. Clark never addresses is the basic reason for this feeling. This is because when it comes to violent crimes, in a greatly disproportionate number of cases in the Philadelphia area, the bad guys are in fact the black guys.

This is not simply a white racist observation. It is a fact - and facts are not racist. While agreeing with Mr. Clark that such a generalization is grossly unfair to the great majority of black males, he should realize that some of the blame for its origin rests on black males themselves.

John S. Carson, M.D.



In a letter to The Inquirer, published on Christmas Day, the writer urged the enlargement of jury lists, making more citizens eligible for this kind of slavery. Although there are many people willing to serve on juries, the majority of those selected that I've met have considered it onerous, disruptive and unfair.

In the case of a hung jury, especially late in the afternoon, and at the prodding of the judge, facts are often ignored, while personal expediency becomes more important. "I have to get home for dinner"; "Let's get it over with so we won't have to come back."

How fair is that to the state - or the defendant? A professional jury system would be much better, fairer and certainly more efficient. The jurors would all be willing and available; they'd be versed in the law by training and experience; their temperament, biases, common sense and other important personality traits could be determined long before any trial is scheduled; thus, there would be no need for pre-emptive rejection of a prospective juror.

Surely justice would be better served in the facts in a case were evaluated by a group of professional jurors rather than unwilling amateurs.

Vernon J. Linder

Silverdale, Pa.


The Inquirer's series on prescription drugs attacked one of America's few truly world-class industries. You treated profit as a four-letter word; you seemed disappointed that there were not more bankruptcies in our industry. With half-truths, you questioned the sincerity of our industry's research efforts.

Most importantly, you seemed to question the motives of companies such as SmithKline Beecham and, by implication, our employees, many of whom chose to work in the heath-care industry because it afforded the rare opportunity to earn a living while helping others pursue active and healthy lives.

We are proud of what we do. Proud of the fact that we discovered and developed Tagamet, which costs less than $2 a day and has all but eliminated the need for $25,000 surgery. We're also proud of the fact that because of pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. has a favorable balance of trade in medicines with most of the rest of the world, including Japan.

The low price of Tagamet illustrates several important facts about drug costs:

* Prescription drugs account for about 5 percent of the health-care dollar, down from 9 percent in 1965.

* Medicines are, in reality, the most cost-effective component in medical care, reducing the need for more expensive and risky surgery and hospitalization.

Along with its fixation on profits, your series falls short by failing to address the most crucial issue facing health care today.

Fundamentally, our challenge is this: America needs to provide affordable, universal health care, including insurance covering prescription drugs. We also need a vital, innovative pharmaceutical industry, because that is where the cures for Alzheimer's and AIDS and all the other remaining unvanquished diseases will emerge.

We must accomplish these goals simultaneously, developing an insurance strategy that restrains costs and provides protection while encouraging

investments that will enhance therapeutic progress.

These challenges must be addressed. We are eager and willing to participate in the discussion. We hope The Inquirer will join us in seeking a balanced dialogue.

Jean-Pierre Garnier

President, North America

SmithKline Beecham

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