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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

January 27, 2010

Israel's incredible response to the disaster in Haiti garners great PR, despite efforts by the BBC to malign the Jewish state

Dear Friend of FLAME:

I challenge anyone to name a country that receives more negative press worldwide than Israel.  The truth is, no other country even comes close.  This is what makes the amazingly positive coverage of Israel's relief efforts in Haiti all the more gratifying.

We who support her know of Israel's many accomplishments, from the realms of technology, to agriculture, to philanthropy.  As we also know all too well, though, most of the world sees Israel as a purveyor of human rights atrocities, an occupier and a tyrant.

Yet once again Israel has proven herself to be anything BUT the above.  Just ask the people of Haiti.  Time and again Israel has been accused of a disproportionate response when faced with Palestinian rockets and terrorism.  Yet when describing Israel's efforts in Haiti, for once the term disproportionate would be an accurate one. 

Israel's field hospital and search and rescue teams have rightfully garnered praise from the media.  Israel is saving Haitian lives on a daily basis.  On the other hand, the response from the Arab world has been meager at best.  Naturally, this hasn't received much, if any interest from the media. 

As Michael Freund informs us in this week's Hotline, not only has Israel been hard at work in Haiti, but Israel has also been hard at work bringing 82 more Ethiopian Jews to the Holy Land.  Hundreds more are expected to follow over the coming months.  How many of the world's countries would similarly welcome a black African community?  For that matter, how many Arab nations welcome Palestinian refugees?  (Answer: None.)

Even during this apparent respite from the world's wrath, criticism of Israel has not been completely muted.  Surprise, surprise, but the BBC (that bastion of even-handedness and unbiased reporting) could not give it a rest.  In an unabashedly one-sided documentary, the BBC denies a Jewish right to the eastern parts of Jerusalem, even going so far as to rewrite history.  You can view this anti-Israel propaganda, which completely ignores the history and property rights of Israelis in East Jerusalem, beginning with Part 1 (of three) here.

This BBC film serves as yet another proof that even when Israel comes to the rescue of fellow members of humanity, her enemies find time to slander her.  By all means let us share in the pride that Israelis must feel as a result of the Jewish state's astounding accomplishments in Haiti.  But we must also share the commitment never to cease our efforts to tell Israel's true, inspiring and just story to the world.

Best regards,

Dave Nogradi
FLAME Hotline Contributor


It is certainly rare to see Israel praised by the media, and you can be certain that this flurry of positive PR won't last.  But you can always count on FLAME to tell Israel's story in U.S. media.  For more on the amazing success story that is Israel, please read FLAME's latest hasbarah message.  It's titled "Israel: A Light Unto the Nations."  Most of all, if you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs, especially from the political leaders of the United States.

Israel's finest hour in Haiti: "Rolls Royce of medicine"
by Michael Freund, The Jerusalem Post, January 20, 2010

If there is anyone who still doubts the ability of the State of Israel to accomplish great things, the events of the past week should lay those concerns to rest. From one end of the world to the other, the highest ideals of Judaism and Zionism were prominently on display, as Israel took part not in oneóbut two!óremarkable missions laden with meaning.

Across the ocean, amid the rubble-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince, three IDF rescue teams carefully searched through the ruins of the Haitian capital for survivors of the devastating January 12 earthquake. Racing against the clock, these young Jews in uniform, accompanied by specially-trained canines, heroically sorted through mounds of debris and wreckage to pull the wounded to safety.

Over the weekend, the guardians in green extricated a 58-year-old man from beneath his flattened home, and on Monday, they saved the life of a student who had been trapped for six days under a shattered university building.

Following their exploits in the press, one could only marvel at the valor and courage of our soldiers, as they risked their lives to save those of others, in the process bringing honor to us all.

Meanwhile, the field hospital established by the IDF to treat victims of the disaster was quickly making a name for itself as the best-run and most fully-equipped operation in the area. Set up last Friday on a soccer field, the complex boasts 40 doctors and 24 nurses, as well as teams of paramedics, X-ray equipment and personnel, an emergency room, a children's ward, a maternity ward and even a pharmacy.

No other nation, including the US, has yet to establish anything remotely as advanced or comprehensive, despite the passage of more than a week since the quake hit.

No wonder the American television network CBS went so far as to call the IDF hospital the "Rolls-Royce of medicine in Haiti." Indeed, Israel's health team has been doing such a terrific job that even CNN (a.k.a. the consistently negative network) couldn't find anything critical to say, as their senior medical correspondent heaped praise on the IDF's work.

Though a vast gulf separates Israel from Haiti, with more than 10,500 kilometers of ocean lying between us, the Jewish people demonstrated that their extended hand can bridge any gap and traverse any chasm when it comes to saving lives.

But the residents of the Caribbean island nation were not the only beneficiaries of Israel's humanity this week. Much closer to home, we were witness to the arrival of 82 members of the Falash Mura, descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity centuries ago.

Landing at Ben-Gurion Airport early Tuesday morning, the new immigrants were greeted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver.

It was a scene that should fill every Jewish heart with pride, as the remnants of Ethiopian Jewry complete the millennial-old journey back to the land of their ancestors. Hundreds more are expected to arrive over the next few months, as the government finally moves towards fulfilling its previous promises to allow the remaining members of the community to make aliya.

And so, even as our foes noisily continue to assert that Zionism is racism, Israel stands alone in embracing a black African community and welcoming it into our midst.

So it was quite a week for Jewish heroism. Over the course of a few days, the State of Israel saved lives and saved Jews.

It was, in every respect, Israel's finest hour.

Will all this change how the world views us? I doubt it.

But let it at least change how we view ourselves. We so often get caught up in the negativity that seems to fill the news each day that we tend to overlook the beauty and splendor of this country and its achievements.

It is moments such as these when we need to stop what we are doing, cast a gaze towards the heavens, and proudly declare: Thank God for the State of Israel. Without it, the world would be a far less noble place.


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