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

March 31, 2015

Israelis aren't stupid or belligerent: They elected Benjamin Netanyahu because they don't trust the Palestinians . . . or President Obama

Dear Friend of FLAME:

It's become quite clear that the White House, as well as some pro-Zionist American Jews, resent the fact that Israelis re-elected Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Yet Netanyahu was elected despite Mr. Obama's incessant complaints and insults of him prior to the election, and despite the feverish work in Israel of former Obama election aide, Jeremy Bird, to defeat Netanyahu through a group called One Voice, which has received some $233,500 in grants from the U.S. State Department.

But Israeli voters have far bigger reasons for affirming their commitment to Mr. Netanyahu than Obama's surly treatment of their democratically elected leader.

Let's start with the bad deal meant to stop Iran's nuclear arms development that we're expecting to see unveiled this week by Secretary of State John Kerry. Israelis have every reason to fear a nuclear-armed Iran, particularly since Ayatollah Khamenei is so fond of swearing weekly to obliterate the Jewish state.

Yet the upcoming deal, as Netanyahu so accurately asserted before Congress, will actually pave the road for Iran to build nuclear weapons. Israelis are afraid of Iran, and by extension, they're afraid of Mr. Obama, whom they don't trust to have their back. No wonder they again supported tough-minded conservative parties like Netanyahu's Likud to run their country.

But perhaps an equal influence on the Israeli electorate was the Palestinian leadership. Just as Israelis fear Iran and Mr. Obama, they also mistrust Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinians have many times refused to trade land for peace, they refuse to recognize the Jewish state and they continue, both in Gaza and the West Bank, to attack Israeli civilians.

Bottom line: Despite President Obama's opinion of Israeli candidates in the last election---as well as the opinion of some American Jews---the Israeli Jews and Arabs who actually live in the Middle East made a different analysis. They believe Bibi will do the best job of protecting their interests . . . and their lives.

This week's FLAME Hotline featured article---by the Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz---explains why, above all, it was actually the Palestinians who ensured Benjamin Netanyahu's election.

I think you'll find Dershowitz's brief, but powerful analysis useful when you discuss Israeli elections with friends, family and colleagues. It's critical we remind others about just how treacherous Israel's neighborhood is and emphasize that only Israelis (not the U.S. president, not we in the galut) have the right to elect Israel's government. (You might also remind them that Palestinians haven't had that right since 2006.)

Thanks for your support of FLAME and of Israel!

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


As you may have heard, the White House, in its current annoyance with Israel, is now threatening to approve a measure in the U.N. that would pressure Israel to give the Palestinians a state and acquiesce to all their demands while giving nothing in return. While a similar bid failed last year, it's likely to pass this time unless the U.S. vetoes it. That's why FLAME has developed a powerful paid editorial message that we have published nationwide in media, including college newspapers, reaching 10 million key influencers, plus all U.S. congressional representatives and the President and Vice President. It's called "Should the U.N. Declare a Palestinian State?" I hope you'll review this hasbarah message and pass it on to all your contacts who will benefit from it. If you agree that FLAME's outspoken brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to help us continue to run this message, so Americans will realize that the heart of the conflict is ingrained Palestinian obsession with expelling the Jews. Please 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 contribute online, just go to donate now. Today more than ever we need your help to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

The Role of the Palestinian Authority in Israel's Election Results

by Alan M. Dershowitz , Gatestone Institute, March 18, 2015

Those around the world who are upset with Prime Minister's Benjamin Netanyahu electoral victory over the Zionist Camp party should put much of the responsibility for Israel's rightward turn squarely where it belongs: on the Palestinian Authority (PA).

At least twice over the last 15 years, Israel has offered the Palestinians extraordinarily generous two-state solutions. The first time was in 2000-2001 when Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton offered the Palestinians more than 90% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, with a capital in Jerusalem. Yassir Arafat turned down the offer and started an intifada, in which 4000 people were killed. This self-inflicted wound by the leader of the PA contributed greatly to the weakening of Israel's peace camp, most particularly of Ehud Barak's Labor party. The current Zionist Camp party, which is an offshoot of Labor, has continued to suffer from that weakening.

Then again, in 2007, Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians an even more generous resolution, to which Mahmoud Abbas failed to respond positively. This failure also contributed to the weakening of the Israeli center-left and the strengthening of the right.

Israel is a vibrant democracy, in which people vote their experience, their fear and their hope. In 2000-2001 and 2007, most Israelis had high hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict. These hopes were dashed by Arafat's rejection and Abbas' refusal to accept generous peace offers. It is not surprising therefore, that so many Israelis now vote their fear instead of their hope.

The Obama administration also contributed to the election results in Israel by refusing to listen to Israeli concerns -- concerns shared by Israelis of every political stripe -- about the impending deal with Iran. Many Israelis have given up any hope of influencing the Obama administration to demand more from the Iranians. The current deal contains a sunset provision which all but guarantees that Iran will have nuclear weapons within a decade. Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog made a serious mistake when he said he trusted President Obama to make a good deal with the Iranians. Few Israelis share that trust, as do few members of Congress, and few Sunni Arab governments. That lack of trust was reflected in voting for a Prime Minister who has been more confrontational and less trusting.

If Israelis voted their fears, these were not entirely irrational fears; they were based on the history of the region.

The international community, academics and the media tend to have short memories. They will blame Netanyahu, and especially his campaign rhetoric, for a result of which they disapprove. But Netanyahu's rhetoric found a receptive audience because many Israeli voters have long memories. They remember what the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, the Obama administration, the Iranian mullahs and the United Nations have done and said with regard to Israel. They remember the lethal responses to earlier peace offers.

So let's not look at a snapshot of these election results. Instead, let's look at a videotape of the last 15 years in order to understand how Israel's democracy produced the current election results.

Only time will tell whether these results will engender a better resolution of the Iranian threat, the Palestinian stalemate and other issues of concern to the world. But history has shown that positive results can never be achieved by directing pressure unilaterally at the Israeli government, and not at the Palestinian Authority, the Iranian mullahs, the Obama administration and the international community.

Already, the spokespersons for the PA have predicted that the reelection of Netanyahu marks the end of any realistic peace process, without reminding their listeners of how Palestinian intransigence marked the end of earlier peace processes and impacted this election. They are once again threatening to bring their grievances to the International Criminal Court and other international institutions, which would surely be a setback to any realistic prospects for a resolution.

So instead of casting the blame on Netanyahu and the Israeli right for all the problems of the Middle East, let all sides look at themselves in the mirror of reality and decide how they can contribute to making the world a safer place, by preventing Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear arsenal and by encouraging a compromise resolution of the Palestinian issue that protects Israel's security while providing the Palestinians with a viable, demilitarized state.


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