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

July 23, 2014

For many media, there's no moral clarity in the Israel-Hamas war— because they blatantly ignore the facts.  Please speak out!

Dear Friend of FLAME:

You've no doubt been following coverage of Israel's invasion of Gaza, and like me, you're no doubt frustrated---and sometimes infuriated---by the way many media report this conflict.  I hope you'll join me in protesting this travesty of journalism.

Some media talk about the clichéd "cycle of violence" and the need for "mutual restraint." For them, the Israel-Hamas hostilities are like a deadly "he-said-she-said" argument, in which both parties misbehave like headstrong children blinded by rage.

Other media focus on body counts---the number of Gazans (and especially Gazan children) who were killed today. For them, Israel is a super-power bully beating up and murdering helpless, innocent Arab civilians as they work and play.

In other words, there's either no moral center in this conflict . . . or Israel is evil.  Of course, if you choose to ignore the facts and history of the matter, these perverse conclusions can seem logical.

Both the New York Times and NPR are famous for their bias in reporting Israel-Arab wars, and they follow suit in this one. Both these media and others, like MSNBC and Jon Stewart, report the conflict as though it has no context and thus they consistently (and conveniently) neglect to include several incontrovertible truths in their coverage.

Specifically, many media and their reporters fail to report these five fundamental facts:

  • ?Hamas is a terror organization that is openly sworn to Israel's destruction.
  • Hamas has rained more than 14,000 rockets on Israel since 2001, and despite many cease-fire agreements continues to violate them and re-ignite the conflict with renewed rocket attacks.
  • Hamas aims its rockets purposefully at Israeli civilians, not at military targets. (This is a war crime.)
  • Israel never aims its attacks at Arab civilians unless the enemy is hiding among them (and it usually warns those civilians first).
  • Hamas hides its military installations and weapons in heavily populated civilian areas, ensuring that when Israel attacks, Gazans will be hurt or killed. (Using civilians as human shields is also a war crime.)

This week's FLAME Hotline featured article provides much needed moral clarity on the Israel-Hamas war, and I hope you'll put it to good use in the coming days and weeks. Once again commentator Charles Krauthammer fearlessly calls out his colleagues in the media by providing historical and factual background that must be acknowledged in any fair media coverage of this conflict.

Please take a few minutes to review this excellent and concise article below. It gives you all the facts you need to speak to friends and colleagues and write letters to the editor.  If you care about Israel and you care about the truth, please speak out now.

Please also pass this issue along to your contacts, and use social media to refer your friends to it. Because many mainstream media don't tell the truth, we must be a conduit of the facts.  (With your help, FLAME will also be running an outspoken ad on "The Shame of Gaza" in mass media starting next week.)

Thanks for your support of FLAME and of Israel!

Best regards,

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


When Mahmoud Abbas announced his merger-made-in-hell with Hamas some months ago, FLAME was ready with an ad that calls for the U.S. Congress to immediately block further funding of the Palestinian Authority. We are currently publishing this hasbarah (public relations) message---"Why Should the U.S. Fund the Palestinian Authority?"---in media reaching 10 million readers.  We have also sent it to every U.S. Congress member and President Obama. I hope you'll review this powerful piece and pass it on to all your contacts who will benefit from its message. If you agree that FLAME's bold brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support our publication of such outspoken messages. Please consider giving 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 help to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

Moral clarity in Gaza

By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, July 17, 2014

Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

"Here's the difference between us," explains the Israeli prime minister. "We're using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.

And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel's desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Why? The rockets can't even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: "What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?"

It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday's Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world's treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.'s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel's legitimacy and right to self-defense.

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity's worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.


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