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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
(415) 356-7801

Announcing a FLAME mission to Israel:
Truth in the Promised Land

Join us May 2 – 12, 2008 for a fact-finding tour of Israel, including celebration of Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut. You’ll see major geopolitical, religious and tourist sites, meet politicians, learn from experts and take part in Israel’s most joyous and uplifting secular holiday. To receive more information about this exciting trip as details are arranged, please email us now with your name, address, phone number and email address in the body of the email. In the subject, please write: FLAME Mission to Israel Information.
Next year in Jerusalem!

May 17, 2007

Olmert’s War Weariness Plus Lack of Leadership Pose a Grave Danger to Israel

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Perhaps you cringed as I did when reading this week that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is effusively welcoming peace talks with his Arab neighbors. I had the sudden fear that Olmert, in a desperate move to shore up his sinking political stock, would agree precipitously with Syria to give up the Golan Heights or make a deal with Jordan to allow Palestinian “refugees” (or more accurately, relatives of refugees) to flood into Israel.

We are very careful not to criticize the Israeli government, even though we may disagree with them from time to time. The reality is, however, that Ehud Olmert has totally lost the confidence of his people. As Mr. Jacoby puts it, “zero per cent” of Israelis would vote for him given the chance.

As Jacoby forcefully notes below, Israel badly needs a shot of strong new leadership and a redoubling of determination to protect its existential interests---and those of the United States---in the region.

Without further comment, we give you Mr. Jacoby's view, which I am sure your will find interesting and thought-provoking.

Best regards,

Gerardo Joffe
President, FLAME


I hope you will seriously consider joining us in Israel next year on our May 2-12, 2008 mission---which we’re calling “Truth in the Promised Land”---and during which we will meet many fascinating experts and get the facts on the ground about what we can only read about here in the U.S. See the box at the top of this email, and send us your contact information if you’d like to receive more details as they become available. I hope also that you’ll continue to support FLAME financially. Our work of publishing an explanatory hasbarah (clarifying message) every month in mass media that reach 5 million homes is immensely effective and gratifying, but it is also costly. Remember that all our support---every penny---comes from individuals like you who care about Israel’s survival. Please help us now as you are able: A donation of $18, $36, $50, $100 or $500 helps us keep the flame alive---helps us support Israel’s struggle on the front lines of the war against Islamist terror. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to Thanks for your continued support.

Israel’s Deadly Stupor
By Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe, May 9, 2007

If Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert had been as adroit and resolute in defending his nation from its enemies as he is in defending his grip on power, Hezbollah today would be a disgraced relic of its former self, while Olmert would be esteemed from Dan to Beersheba. Instead, the terrorist organization is hailed throughout the Arab world for its attack on Israel last summer, while Olmert—despite surviving no-confidence motions in the Knesset on Monday—is so reviled by his countrymen that according to the latest poll, 0 percent of Israelis—that is not a misprint—would vote for him today.

The poll follows the release of the interim report of the Winograd Commission, a blue-ribbon panel appointed last September to investigate Israel's failings in its second Lebanon War. The report is scathing. It documents in damning detail the bungling, the willful blindness, and the almost criminal ill-preparedness that pervaded the highest levels of Israel's government during the war and the years leading up to it.

The commission blasts Olmert for making rash and uninformed decisions, and pronounces him guilty of “a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility, and prudence.” It is equally critical of the inept defense minister, Amir Peretz, whose incompetence crippled Israel's ability to defend itself from Hezbollah's attacks, and of former military chief of staff Dan Halutz, who never warned his clueless superiors that the armed forces were unprepared for a ground offensive in southern Lebanon.

For anyone used to associating Israel with military brilliance and nerve, the Winograd report makes excruciating reading.

The immediate trigger for the war was Hezbollah's July 12 incursion across the Lebanon-Israel border, in which three soldiers were killed and two others kidnapped. But Hezbollah had been openly preparing for war for six years, ever since Israel's unilateral retreat from southern Lebanon in May 2000. Making no attempt to disguise its intentions, Hezbollah swept into the territory Israel had abandoned, creating a network of fortified bunkers and launch sites and deploying thousands of missiles and rockets along the border. All the while Israel looked on, doing nothing about the mounting threat.

“Every alarm bell should have been ringing,” Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz writes. “But many of the warning systems had, literally or figuratively, long since been disconnected. And those who did try to stress the unmistakable imminent dangers were often ignored.”

How could Israel have been so complacent? What accounts for such lethargy in the face of a deadly menace that was growing more dangerous by the day?

The answer, says the Winograd Commission, is that too many of “the political and military elites in Israel have reached the conclusion that Israel is beyond the era of wars.” Unlike their forebears, who understood that the Jewish state would never have peace until its enemies decided to lay down their arms, today's Israeli leadership imagines that it can achieve peace by means of restraint and retreat.

“Since Israel did not intend to initiate a war,” the report concludes, senior officials decided that Israel “did not need to be prepared for 'real' war.” And that being the case, “there was also no urgent need to update in a systematic and sophisticated way Israel's overall security strategy and to consider how to mobilize . . . all its resources—political, economic, social, military, spiritual, cultural, and scientific—to address the totality of the challenges it faces.”

Fed up with fighting, aching to live normally, Israelis lulled themselves into a stupor. They shook hands with Yasser Arafat and ran away from Lebanon and expelled the Jews from Gaza. They blamed themselves for their enemies' hatred and turned the other cheek to suicide bombings and Kassam rocket attacks. They tried to be Athens, one Israeli commentator wrote last year. But to survive in the Middle East, even Athens must sometimes act like Sparta.

“We are tired of fighting,” Olmert moaned in a 2005 speech. “We are tired of defeating our enemies.” Unfortunately, those who grow tired of defeating their enemies generally end up being defeated by them.

As America's beleaguered ally searches for new leadership, one voice worth heeding is that of Hebrew University game theorist Robert Aumann, a Nobel laureate in economics.

“We are like a mountain climber who gets caught in a snowstorm,” Aumann said at this year's Herzliya Conference in January. "He is cold and tired, and he wants to sleep. If he falls asleep, he will freeze to death. We are in terminal danger because we are tired. I will allow myself to say a few unpopular, unfashionable words: Our panicked lunging for peace is working against us. It brings us farther away from peace, and endangers our very existence.”

“Roadmaps, capitulation, gestures, disengagements, convergences, deportations, and so forth do not bring peace. On the contrary, they bring war, just as we saw last summer.”

With enemies like Hezbollah, weariness is a luxury Israel cannot afford. And lest we forget, Hezbollah is our enemy too.

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