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

October 13, 2009

What would happen if Israel successfully attacks Iran's nuclear installations? What will happen if she doesn't?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, and we congratulate him for it. We hope that he can be successful in decreasing tensions in the world and bring feuding peoples together. However, we should note that peace does not always come from diplomacy.

To pick one notable example, diplomacy was an utter failure with Germany and Japan prior to World War II. Their leaders did not want peace---or at least not a peace that left the rest of the world free and intact. We ultimately achieved a lasting peace, but it required militarily defeating our sworn enemies.

Likewise, Islamic fundamentalists give no indication that they want peace with non-Muslim nations. To the contrary: Their demands are absolute---domination of Islamic dictatorships around the world. From Osama bin Laden and the Taliban to Hamas, Hizbollah the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmahdinajad's Iran: All express the desire to conquer non-believers---especially the Jews and especially the Jews in Israel.

Among these groups, of course, the greatest concern for Israel is Iran, since once Iran has a nuclear weapons capability, Israel could be effectively destroyed by a single nuclear strike. Retaliation at that point, even if Israel or the United States were to mount a response, would be moot. Israel would be gone.

This week's FLAME Hotline, by Yoram Ettinger, examines the existential question of what Israel should do about the looming danger of Iran's developing an atomic weapon. While an Iranian bomb would specifically only threaten Israel directly, the radical Islamic state's possession of such a weapon would unhinge the power relationships for the whole word, starting with the assured oil supply through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

Because of President Obama's apparent commitment to following a diplomatic path with Ahmahdinajad---despite the fact that this approach has over the past seven years failed to deter Iran in the slightest---it is unlikely that the United States will take any military action. Rather, it is quite likely that the burden of action will fall on Israel.

We have previously published in this space essays about Israeli military and political matters by Yoram Etinger, a former Consul General of Israel in the United States (Dallas), who carries the rank of Ambassador. He is one of the best-informed and knowledgeable observers of the scene.

As Iran's nuclear efforts continue unabated and the stakes for Israel increase dramatically, so do the chances that the Jewish state will attack Iran preemptively. It behooves us to understand the world political ramifications and Israel's chances for success. In contrast to other commentators, Mr. Ettinger seems to be quite confident that Israel could be successful in such an action.

Best regards,

Gerardo Joffe, President


If you agree that Iran presents one of the greatest dangers to Israel, the United States and to world peace in general---please review the recent FLAME position paper---"The Deadly Threat of a Nuclear-Armed Iran: What can the world, what can the USA, what can Israel do about it?" While the Obama administration wants to focus on an Israel-Palestinian agreement before resolving the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, common sense---and this powerful FLAME position paper---tell us otherwise. This editorial piece has run in national media delivering more than ten million impressions, including to college students and all U.S. Senators and Representatives. Above all, if you agree that FLAME's outspoken brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's ability to influence public opinion---including the administration's tendency to hold Israel solely responsible for peace in the Middle East---comes from Israel's supporters 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---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

P.P.S. President Obama has asked for input from U.S. citizens on his Middle East policies. To give him your opinion about the need for crippling sanctions to stop Iran's nuclearization now, please write the President---immediately.

To Attack a Nuclear Iran? The Israeli Challenge
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, October 9,

The options of deterrence and retaliation are not available in face of the Iranian terror regime, which sacrificed hundreds of thousands of its people during the 1980-88 war against Iraq. The only option available is that of prevention and preemption.

The Jewish state cannot rely on the US to prevent Iran's nuclearization, especially not on a US, which opposes the military option and embraces the options of engagement and sanctions, which have played into the hands of Iran during the last seven years.

In 1981, the heads of Israel's Mossad and military intelligence, then Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Opposition Head Shimon Peres lobbied Prime Minister Menachem Begin against the bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor. They contended that the chance of success was negligible and that the prospect of watching the pilots dragged beheaded in the streets of Baghdad was higher than welcoming the pilots back in Israel. They warned that the operation would cause a deep rift between Israel and the US with devastating political, economic and social consequences. They projected the collapse of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, an all out Muslim war on Israel—without US support—and a significant deterioration of the personal security of Jews around the globe. However, Prime Minister Begin demonstrated a pre-requisite to leadership, asserting that the cost of inaction (a nuclear Iraq) would dwarf the cost of action. He sacrificed short-term convenience on the altar of long-term national security.

In 1981, the US did not fully appreciate the severity of Iraq's nuclear threat. In 2009, the US is fully aware of Iran's nuclear threat. Would Prime Minister Netanyahu follow in the footsteps of Begin, or Peres, in face of a clear and present lethal, nuclear danger?

An Iranian nuclear cloud, hovering above Israel, would not require the launching a nuclear bomb, in order to wreck domestic and external confidence in the future of the Jewish state. Aliya (immigration of Jews) would come to a halt, emigration would surge dramatically, Israel's credit rating and growth projection would collapse, oversea investors would stay away, causing economic, social and security devastation. Therefore, the Jewish state cannot await a smoking nuclear gun in the hand of Teheran; the Jewish state must prevent the nuclear gun from reaching Teheran's hand.

In 2009, Iran's nuclear infrastructure benefits from defensive means, which are superior to Iraq's 1981 defense capabilities: proliferation throughout Iran, deep and heavily fortified facilities and most-advanced Russian air defense systems. But, in 2009, Israel's offensive capabilities have improved geometrically, compared with 1981: destruction, precision, penetration and the capability to launch missiles away from the range of enemy radar. In 1981, Israel had only one-time offensive option, which was based on untested modifications of the F-15 and F-16. In 2009, Israel benefits from a number of offensive options, which are based on proved military systems and on superior human and satellite intelligence.

In 2009, the destruction of a few critical nuclear installations would paralyze, or substantially delay, Iran's nuclear effort.

In 1981, the American public and Congress shared the relative-indifference of the Free World toward Iraq's nuclear threat. In 2009, the American public and Congress are fully cognizant of Iran's nuclear threat to US soldiers in the Gulf and in the Indian Ocean, to the US mainland and to Israel. They push President Obama to adopt a more hawkish policy on Iran and they identify with Israel's right of self-defense. Would Israel leverage such attitude by the American public and its representatives in both chambers of Congress, their traditional solid support of the Jewish state and the power of Congress to initiate and stop the supply of sophisticated military systems, in order to enhance Israeli capabilities to prevent the nuclearization of Iran?

A unilateral military Israeli action in 1967 (Six Day War) and in 1981 (bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor) triggered painful short-term condemnations and sanctions, but accorded the Jewish state with long-term strategic respect. The destruction of Egypt's pan-Arab clout and Iraq's nuclear capabilities reduced Middle East turbulence, dealt a blow to the USSR, bolstered the stability of Saudi Arabia and other pro-US vulnerable regimes, advanced US interests and upgraded Israel's posture of deterrence.

The elimination of Iran's nuclear threat would trigger similar results, in addition to a possible shower of Iranian, Hizballah and Hamas missiles on Israeli population centers, accompanied by reinforced PLO terrorism. As severe as the cost of a military offensive would be, it would be dwarfed by the cost of avoiding military offensive: A nuclear attack on the Jewish state.

The Iranian nuclear challenge constitutes—for Israel's Prime Minister, Cabinet and Knesset Members—the ultimate test of leadership. Will they follow pragmatism, driven by tenacity and the long-term survival interest of the Jewish state, or will they demonstrate "pragmatism," driven by vacillation and short-term needs, which has characterized all Israeli governments since 1992, thus eroding the foundation of the Jewish state.

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