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

August 17, 2004

Dear Friend of FLAME:

The Connecticut Jewish Ledger, while not the largest Jewish newspaper in the United States, features consistently excellent editorials, which are quite in tune with our own positions. We have often addressed -- in our published hasbarah messages and in our website messages -- the importance of transferring the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. This transfer was mandated by Congress several years ago. All presidential candidates have promised during their campaigns to implement this mandate of Congress as soon as they were in office, and, after having been elected, all of them have reneged on it under the pretext of "national security." The following editorial from the Connecticut Jewish Ledger illuminates the fallacy of this argument, of this excuse. Please consider this matter, the importance it has to you personally, and what, if anything, one can do to see that after this upcoming election — whoever may prevail — it finally gets implemented. Having said that and hoping that it will not be misinterpreted as electoral advice, I have written the letter that follows to President Bush. If you agree you may wish to write a similar letter to President Bush or, if you prefer, to Senator Kerry, who may well be our next president. I have also written an almost identical letter, suitably modified of course, to Senator Kerry.

Gerardo Joffe
President, FLAME

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Jerusalem and the 9/11 Report

Editorial, Connecticut Jewish Ledger, July 30, 2004

Now that it’s campaign season again, we are sure to hear that both candidates want to move the United States’ embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would give de facto recognition to Israel’s sovereignty over that city and allow it the right that every other nation has to designate its own capital city.
All presidential candidates say they want to do that, but when elected, none of our presidents make it happen. This despite the fact that Congress demands it regularly and a majority of Americans support Congress’ resolutions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving our embassy there.
A key conclusion of the 9/11 report released last week is that America is fighting an insidious ideology today and not just dealing with “terrorism.” Terror is the tool being used by that ideology and is evidenced by the violence it wreaks in Israel, Iraq and every other place around the world where fundamentalist Islam attempts to assert its hegemony.

The United States …”should offer an example of moral leadership in the world,” says the report, and “just as we did in the Cold War, we need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously… If the United States does not act aggressively to define itself in the Islamic world, the extremists will gladly do the job for us.”

One place where the U.S. fails to define itself on a regular basis is Israel, and the most striking example of this equivocation is its obtuseness on Jerusalem.

By consistently opting to leave our embassy in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem all of our presidents defer to the State Department view of what is right. In a diplomatic sense, being overly sensitive to the demands of our Arab “friends” might be the most expedient thing to do, but as far as “moral leadership” and “defining ourselves” goes, it is a failure. Not only does it send the wrong message, but also translates into a deadly policy for Israelis. By avoiding the issue of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, State keeps Jerusalem’s status on the negotiating table, and in the doing reaffirms for our enemies the viability of their efforts to wrest Jerusalem from Israel and reinforces their desire to end Israel’s existence. It is a policy that sanctions violence and invites the intransigence and terror that Israel faces daily. America’s interests are not served when Israel is damaged or when she is weakened.

When America sends mixed signals about Israel’s right to exert full sovereignty over Jerusalem we embolden her enemies and ours. Now that we finally recognize we are at war with the same ideology that Israel has been fighting for years, we have to change our thinking. Our successful military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that we are long past our dalliance with the pique of the mythical “Arab Street” and that we need to focus instead on our own role as a moral leader for the free world. Moving our embassy to Jerusalem would serve notice that we are abandoning the failed policy that panders to Arab killers and terrorists and would give Israel the right we give to every other sovereign nation: to designate its own capital.

Jews have lived in Jerusalem since time immemorial. A Jewish majority has been in Jerusalem for as long as people have been keeping count, and Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. The State of Israel should, like any other nation, be able to name its own capital city. A new American message to the world should be that from now on America will support what is right instead of what is expedient and in that way will we define our moral leadership. We will lead by example.

It is time for both candidates to put the State Department on notice that the United States’ broader interests must be served, and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, serves them best.

A Letter to President Bush from Gerardo Joffe, President, FLAME

Dear Mr. President:

You have many things on your mind, mostly, I suppose, our war in Iraq and the state of the economy. And understandably, you are concerned about your chances for reelection. With the confused situation in Iraq and the economy still being in somewhat of a slump, you have the right to be concerned about that.

I believe your reelection would be assured if you were to do one thing NOW:
Follow the demand of Congress and declare (at least West) Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

By doing this you will likely gain a majority of the Jewish vote, which would greatly improve your chances for reelection.

Also, many Christians are much concerned about our government's ambiguity about Jerusalem and that Congress's will in that matter is being thwarted.

I am writing you in my personal capacity, but I am the president of a major Jewish organization (FLAME—Facts and Logic About the Middle East). I have my ear close to the Jewish community, and I know what I'm talking about. In addition, many of our most devoted supporters are Christians.

Respectfully yours,

Gerardo Joffe
San Francisco, CA


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