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Letters Week of Dec. 7, 2011

December 7, 2011
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Opinions Are One Thing; Facts Are Quite Another
Gary E. Erlbaum and Benyamin Korn are certainly entitled to their opinions about the efficacy of President Barack Obama's efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon (Editorial & Opinions: "Obama's Response to Iranian Nukes Is Far From Serious," Dec. 1). But they are not entitled to their own facts.

While one can debate the degree to which sanctions are having any impact on Iran's nuclear program, they are clearly having a serious effect on the country's economy and on increasing its diplomatic isolation. The scope and severity of Britain's sanctions, implemented as part of a renewed global effort, provoked attacks last week on Britain's embassy in Teheran.

But what is truly surprising about Erlbaum and Korn's "analysis" is that it ignores the highly successful covert war presumably being waged against Iran by U.S., Israeli and other military and intelligence forces. The sabotage of Iranian nuclear facilities, the targeted assassination of nuclear weapons scientists, and the spreading of software viruses into Iranian nuclear weapons labs systems have had a devastating impact on the nuclear program.

These efforts are part of the unprecedented level of military cooperation between the United States and Israel that the Obama administration has fostered. Their success has prompted a host of Israeli military leaders, including Meir Dagan, one of the longest serving chiefs of the Mossad, to characterize the call for a military response to Iran as foolish.

That success may also be a reason why, according to a just-released poll by the Brookings Institution, a majority of Israeli Jews -- 54 percent -- now hold favorable views of President Obama. No doubt Erlbaum and Korn will be pleased to learn that's a 13 point increase over last year.
Charles Smolover
Wynnewood

Which Rock Star Are We Talking About Here?
When I saw the Dec. 1 headline on the Jewish Exponent cover proclaiming that Glenn Beck had received a "Rock-Star Reception" at the annual ZOA dinner n New York, I hoped that the rock star being referred to was John Lennon. I could only assume that the invitation had been extended because Mel Gibson wasn't available.
Robert W. Getz
Glenside
Pancreatic Cancer: It's a Relentless Disease
I am writing to express my appreciation for the Dec. 1 health article, "Can Pancreatic Cancer Be Stopped?" The piece nicely highlighted the relentlessness of pancreatic cancer, the higher risk of pancreatic cancer among individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and the hard work being done by local researchers.

I would like to correct one statistic in the article: According to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts & Figures 2011, 74 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis, rather than 90 percent.

Nevertheless, pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease, with 94 percent of patients dying within five years of diagnosis. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a national organization fighting this disease by advancing research, supporting patients and creating hope.

Our all-volunteer Philadelphia affiliate of the organization works year-round to generate public awareness, connect with patients/survivors and families, participate in advocacy campaigns, and raise funds for research and patient support.

Those who want more information about pancreatic cancer and volunteering can call our organization's toll-free hotline at 1-877-272-6226 or go to: www.pancan.org.
Amy Cunningham
Education & Outreach Coordinator
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-Philadelphia Affiliate

Photo That Accompanied Article Was Misleading
The file photo used to accompany the Nov. 23 City & Suburb story "In a 'Win-Win' Move, Aish Selling Building to Girls High" was misleading. It suggested that that is how the Aish building actually appears. That picture represents the building prior to its being remodeled for use as a synagogue.

Lee Fiederer
Elkins Park

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