Dear Friend of Israel, dear Friend of FLAME:
All eyes are on our new president and on our new administration. Many of us fear that this administration may perhaps not be as understanding of and cooperative with Israel as the previous one. And that, to judge from the first signals, may indeed be the case. The first such signal was the meeting between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama. Our president seems to have leaned quite hard on Israel’s prime minister. He chose as his topic of special attention the “settlements.” Regrettably, he re-warmed the old formula that the “settle-ments” are the greatest hindrance to peace and that, if they were removed or at least construction of them would completely be stopped, peace would prevail.
But with all due respect to our president, that is not at all correct. The “settlements” are not the problem. The problem is, and has been for almost 100 years, the Arabs’ unwillingness to recognize the legitimacy, the “right to exist,” of Israel within any boundaries at all. They have a death wish for Israel. They think of it as a “cancer on the Arab/Muslim body” that has to be excised. Whatever Israel might be willing to do, whatever further “concessions” it can be forced to or be willing to offer, it will not be enough.
If the goal of the Palestinians were to have their own state and to live in peace, quiet and prosperity alongside of Israel, that could have been accomplished repeatedly in the last 60+ years. But whatever was offered was never enough and was always haughtily rejected.
As to the “settlements,” I include, at the end of this letter, a cartoon (“His 3AM Phone Call”) by the incomparable Dry Bones. He has been working for the Jerusalem Post for many years. It really says it all. I hope you will agree.
You know of course that Mr. Netanyahu, in a full reversal from previous positions (and, we may reasonably assume, also yielding to much pressure from the White House), has declared his government’s willingness to yield Judea/ Samaria (the “West Bank”) to form, together with Gaza, a Palestinian state. Not entirely surprisingly, that offer was not greeted with thanks and jubilation, but with scorn and disdain. We forcefully address this controversy in two consecutive of our monthly hasbarah (educational and clarifying) messages, which are running this month and next in major national media: Namely, #117, “Mr. Netanyahu’s Offer (I),” and #118, “Mr. Netanyahu’s Offer (II).”
Whatever you may have thought of former President Bush, and however much you may have disagreed with him on some of his policies, one thing is for sure: He was a steadfast and staunch friend and supporter of Israel. He understood the dangers that confront Israel on a daily basis and he lent it the weight of U.S. diplomacy. It is not yet entirely clear whether the current administration will be as supportive. In fact, early indications give some cause for caution and concern.
Most media – print and broadcast – are not
too friendly toward Israel. As you well know, some are indeed outright
hostile. By far the most important asset that Israel has – except,
of course, for the spirit, courage and brains of its own people –
is the good will of the American people, which translates into the goodwill
of the U.S. Congress. And so far at least, for all the years of Israel’s
existence, Congress has been solidly on the side of Israel.
Since our founding in 1986, we have published our monthly hasbarah messages in many national media – major and minor monthly and weekly magazines, metropolitan and small-town newspapers. We also publish monthly in several university college campus publications. That is most important. Because, regrettably, and as you may know, campuses are hotbeds of anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism, in large measure stoked by Muslim students. Men and women in our universities are the country’s leaders of tomorrow. We cannot allow them to be brainwashed by hostile propaganda. FLAME proposes the facts and the truth about Israel that counters such hostile propaganda.
In addition, we send our messages every month to every member of Congress – Representatives and Senators. We have good reason to believe that this stream of factual information is one of their most important inputs about Israel and about the Middle East.
In contrast perhaps to many other philanthropic organizations, we run an extremely taut ship and are able therefore to allot by far the largest share of funds received to the purposes of FLAME, and not to bloated overhead, namely to keep the American public informed about the realties in Israel and to countering evil propaganda against it. We work with only a skeleton staff and have never paid any executive salaries. With my previous letter to you I included a letter from Charity Navigator, the country’s foremost monitor of philanthropies and charities. For the third year in a row, they have awarded us their coveted 4-star (highest) rating for prudent financial management. We are very proud of that. Only a very small fraction of U.S. philanthropies achieve that distinction.
Finally, on the back page of this letter, I reproduce out financial statement as of December 31, 2008. Everything is transparent, everything is out in the open. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only major Jewish organization that makes its financial statements freely available to its supporters.
We, all of us, are going through difficult financial times. We are quite aware that concerned though you are about Israel and its people, you have to restrict your contributions to a limited number of philanthropies and decide to which of the many appeals to respond. But, please consider the vital importance of our work and that we cannot afford ignorance and hatefulness to prevail against Israel in these perilous times.
I thank you in advance for your support and for your generous support and for your generosity. Please do the very best you can for our important cause. And please, do not fail to be in touch with me for any information or any clarification that I might be able to give you.
Thank you in advance for your generosity, shalom, and
with best regards,
PS: FLAME is, of course, a 501(c)(3) organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.