Copyright 1995 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
The San Francisco Chronicle
MAY 26, 1995, FRIDAY, FINAL EDITION
SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. A30; LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
LENGTH: 1373 words
HEADLINE: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
BODY: INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC SERVES NO PURPOSE
Editor -- It does not serve the cause of a just and negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians when a discussion begins with inflammatory, absolutist rhetoric (Edmund Hanauer, Open Forum, May 19).
I believe it is time to stop using terms like ''Israel's oppressive occupation policies'' and ''seized Palestinian land.'' The reality is that the negotiators are trying to work out borders and other arrangements to provide livable space for all the parties.
I would not like to get into a point-by-point refutation of Mr. Hanauer's claims and statements about Israeli abuse of Palestinians. Israel is a democracy, with rule of law. It is illegal for the police to torture or kill prisoners, just as it is in the United States.
As an advocate of free speech, I believe in the right of anyone to make almost any political claim. However, this article is such a jumble of misleading, angry statements that if I were on the board of the editorial page, I would have judged it not worthy of space in The Chronicle's Open Forum.
Editor -- In his Open Forum piece, ''Terrorism and American Policy,'' Edmund Hanauer reiterates the myth that if Israel were only nicer to Palestinians, there would be peace.
However, the truth is if Israelis were only nicer, there would not be an Israel. On the other hand, if the Palestinians were only nicer, there would be two states today.
Israel has held itself up to a remarkably humane standard in its treatment of Palestinians. How many times would most nations, or people for that matter, tolerate attacks on their lives? Imagine how Iraq or Syria would have acted if they were in Israel's position.
The only way to act peaceably with someone who wants you dead is to die.
Israel will never choose death, and will continue to defend itself, both proactively and reactively, until it is no longer necessary.
Israel is a great practitioner of human rights, lest we forget, among them is the right to defend one's self.
'DIRTY SEAT BELTS'
Editor -- I read with relish the page one story, ''Japanese Say Dirty Cars Cause Seat Belt Problem.'' Finally, a chance to beat Japan at its own game! As a successful importer and an unsuccessful exporter to Japan, my ears ring with excuse after excuse of why our products are not suitable for the Japanese market. Whether it's the well-publicized ''rice that is not sticky enough,'' ''skis made for the wrong type of snow'' or the less interesting but just as severe examples from my company, Japan adamantly refuses our products. Even with the plummeting dollar against the yen, the trade gap keeps widening. This is the major reason why Japan doesn't need tariffs like the ones being proposed on luxury vehicles -- their market is programmed to stifle imports.
Instead of trying to legislate change with Japan, we need to learn from them. This seat belt thing is the perfect example. The seat belts are failing because the Japanese do not understand our market. There is a market requirement in America, seat belts must be able to survive in a hamburger and french-fry grease environment. In 1987, when these seat belts first hit the market, it was clear that the number of drive-in restaurants was escalating. If we weren't supposed to eat and drink in our cars, why does every car of the subject models have a built-in drink holder? Let's face it, if the Japanese car makers just rode around with a family on a weekend outing, they would never have provided us a product so inappropriate for our marketplace. We need to take it to the next level, and be disciplined about requiring from Japan as they require from us. This will conflict with the maverick entrepreneurship of the importer and the insatiable consumerism of the masses, but if we can't open their market, all we can do is shut down ours.
Editor -- Let's see if I understand Leonard Whitney (Letters, May 12) correctly -- by stating my belief that The Chronicle publishes Lone Star leftist Molly Ivins with ''alarming regularity,'' I am somehow advocating censorship? I am not sure precisely how Mr. Whitney defines censorship, but the definition in my Webster's Ninth that comes closest to what I believe he meant defines it as the practice of official examination of materials for objectionable matter.
Although I personaly find Ms. Ivins' columns to be quite objectionable, due to their consistent lack of logic and frequent hyperbolic diatribes against all things conservative, I am by no means in any ''official'' position in which I could prevent their publication, nor do I wish to be. I was merely stating my personal opinion that The Chronicle prints too much Molly Ivins these days and not enough, say, George Will.
My letter was not written to ''defend Rush Limbaugh and his cohorts'' as much as it was to point out the hypocrisy of the Left for blaming the Oklahoma City tragedy on right-wing talk radio, while not uttering a peep as to the possibility that environmentally extremist rhetoric provided inspiration for the lunatic Unabomber. I never claimed that President Clinton, Molly Ivins or anyone else was advocating censorship, but rather that they were alleging a ludicrous cause-and-effect relationship in one instance, that, if in fact true, must by definition have been true in another similar (yet politically diametric) case.
Sorry, Leonard, but if the best you can do in response to my letter is to make this bizarre accusation, then my argument that the Left is logically challenged is only given further credence.
STEVEN D. McLIN
SAVE THE SURGEON GENERAL
Editor -- Floyd Brown's suggestion that the office of surgeon general be abolished merely because it has become a source of controversy is a cowardly attack on the office! The office of surgeon general is much more than a lightening rod for sparks from the tobacco lobby, a target of anti-abortion organizations or, thanks to the incumbent administration's nomination process, a match for crypto-racist fires.
The surgeon general, as head of the U.S. Public Health Service, is a key figure in assuring that the nation's medical research is done by the most talented people working on the most pressing problems through the National Institutes of Health, created as part of the PHS. The PHS does a superb job, considering the scant resources allotted to it, of bringing health care to marginalized Native Americans. The Centers for Disease Control, where epidemiologists track and guide our response to epidemics like the present Ebola outbreak, is staffed by PHS officers.
As the most visible spokesperson on health for all of us, the surgeon general has the opportunity and obligation to help Americans understand pressing issues affecting our health. This effort comes from careful consideration of observable facts, not wishful thinking. If the conclusions and recommendations don't sit well with us, we had better act to change the facts and not eliminate the messenger.
DRILLING BAN AT RISK
Editor -- I am outraged, yet again, by the manipulative tactics of the Republicans in Washington and their Contract On America. Yet, it is more than my anger with the Republican Party overall that forces me to write to you.
It is my understanding that Bob Livingston and Ralph Regula, chairs of the House Committee and Subcommittee on Appropriations, have silenced the issue of extending the current moratorium on offshore oil drilling by refusing to take up the issue in committee. It should be a law that an automatic review of existing legislation is mandatory so that no one can slip their desires through loopholes. Americans pushed for and received protection for our coastlines. How can we so easily lose our rights without being heard?
There are some very basic wrongs in our process. We cannot just sit by and watch any longer. Americans need to stand up and make some noise about this!
ELLEN M. PERSA