I strongly oppose the sentiment that you voiced in your editorial regarding the forced retirement of Helen Thomas as a White House columnist, thus taking away her place in the front row of presidential press briefings ("Unconscionable," Wednesday).

As a former president of the Birmingham, Ala., chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, as a Holocaust survivor, as the son of two Polish Jews who died fighting the Nazis in the forests of Belarus, and as the relative of many Jews now living in Israel, I strongly disagree with Thomas' opinion that the Jews of Israel should leave Palestine and go back to Poland and Germany.

However, as an American, I am willing to fight to protect Thomas' right to voice her opinion. She is not guilty of bigotry, but has an opinion that differs from mine. We are opponents on this issue, but we are both Americans, and the right to free speech means that she can say anything she wishes, any time, any place, except for the word fire in a crowded theater.

Jerry D. Glickson

Ambler

glickson@mail.med.upenn.edu