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A Response to Rabbi Michael Lerner's Advertisement
September, 2002

Dear Friend of Israel, dear Friend of FLAME:

In one of the recent issues of The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, you may have seen a full-page ad (on the back cover) by Beyt Tikkun, purportedly a High Holy Days invitation.

The signer of the ad is Rabbi Michael Lerner. I try to choose my words carefully, but I would have to describe him and his ad as notorious and outrageous.

In this ad (reduced copy of which I include for your reference as Exhibit A), Rabbi Lerner claims (in the headline) that many Jews feel deeply troubled by "what is happening in Israel and Palestine this year."

First of all, there is of course no such thing as Palestine, or rather it ceased to exist when Britain relinquished its Mandate in 1947. Until that time, the Jews in the Holy Land considered themselves to be Palestinians and so did the world. But there has never been a country by the name of Palestine. Its existence is a dream of the Arabs and of leftist-oriented Jews like Rabbi Lerner.

Rabbi Lerner further talks about "outrageous human rights violations that shame the Jewish people and which have generated global anti-Semitism. Israel appears to the world to be a merciless bully." In other words, anti-Semitism is the fault of the Jews and if only we would behave better, anti-Semitism would disappear.

Not much purpose is served in repeating the other scandalous and unforgivable things that Rabbi Lerner alleges about Israel and its government (and even Bay Area congregations other than his own). Among other outrages, however, Rabbi Lerner links, though admittedly only indirectly, the looming war against Iraq and the swooning stock market to the misdeeds of Israeli Jews.

FLAME is a monthly advertiser in many media (including The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California) and we know how expensive these ads are. A full-page ad, even in a small-circulation publication such as The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, costs a lot of money. The hateful rhetoric of Rabbi Lerner is fueled by such money and by the leftist Jews who support him.

I am very much connected with the Jewish community of Northern California, and I am totally convinced that those who financed this hateful message and others like them are fortunately only a small percentage of our community.

We (FLAME) plan on publishing a message countering Rabbi Lerner's outrageous ad, showing our solidarity with the Jewish people of Israel and with the Israeli government. We express our hope that a constructive solution can eventually be found to the terrible conflict that has been raging, not just during the present Intifada but really for the last one hundred years. Copy of our proposed message is attached (Exhibit B).

We decidedly distance ourselves from Rabbi Lerner's scurrilous statements.

I hope sincerely that you will allow your name to be mentioned as one of the sponsors of this message, and I invite you to send me your contribution — a minimum amount of $25 please, to assist in its financing.

Thank you for your consideration, and thank you in advance for your support in this important matter.

Shalom and sincerely yours,

Gerardo Joffe, President

Note: This campaign is now closed. To help support FLAME in important work like this, and to ensure that we will continue to be able to raise a voice against misinformation and propaganda, please send your tax-deductible gift to FLAME by clicking here. Thank you!

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