Friend of FLAME:
Easy question: How should you act if you want to make peace---belligerent or conciliatory?
I'm really steamed!
Just a few weeks ago, in April, North Korea, for no apparent reason, torpedoed and
sunk a South Korean submarine, killing all 48 sailors aboard. There have been
no peace demonstrations against this act of war, and the U.N. Security Council has not
met on the issue.
This is because the single greatest focus of the U.N. Security Council is one of
the tiniest, most beleaguered countries in the world---Israel. Indeed, despite the murderous
actions of Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China, more than 90 percent of
all U.N. Security Council resolutions have been leveled against Israel, whose greatest
crime is self-defense.
This week the Security Council convened, prior to any investigation of last weekend's
Gaza flotilla incident, and condemned Israel, yet again---this time for exercising her
sovereign right to deter a ship that was blatantly, intentionally attempting to violate
the Jewish state's blockade of Gaza, territory controlled by the internationally recognized
Islamic terrorist group, Hamas.
As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman states, "I have
a big problem when people get so agitated by Israel's actions in Gaza but are unmoved by
Syria's involvement in the murder of the prime minister of Lebanon, by the Iranian regime's
killing of its own citizens demonstrating for the right to have their votes counted, by
Muslim suicide bombers murdering nearly 100 Ahmadi Muslims in mosques in Pakistan on Friday
and by pro-Hamas gunmen destroying a U.N.-sponsored summer camp in Gaza because it wouldn't
force Islamic fundamentalism down the throats of children."
What Friedman is describing is outright, shameless hypocrisy, which translates to nothing
less than anti-Semitism. If the U.S., Japan, France, Libya or any other country
in the world had killed nine people on a ship that was disobeying sovereign orders to
turn back, not a word of condemnation would have been heard. There can be no other
explanation for the outrageous double standard being applied---again---to Israel.
Yet the world press and many of the world's nations continue to heap harsh condemnation
on Israel. It has created one of the darkest, direst and most unjust crises for
Israel in decades. That's why it's so important that we respond.
Time is short, our anger is high, and there's much information I want to make sure
you receive to back your efforts to support Israel. Let me give you links to several
of the best resources I've read about the current crisis. Then it's time to get to
work: I hope you'll join me in lending your hands (and pens and computers) to defend
Israel. If you have time, please review the following:
from Israel Defense Forces showing the violent reception its soldiers received upon boarding
the "peace activists'" ship
Alan Dershowitz on "Another Rush to Judgment" which clarifies the provocative intention
of the Gaza flotilla
Terrorist connections of I.H.H.,
the Turkish foundation sponsor of the Gaza flotilla
Once you've had a chance to review some of this material---including the important
article below by Noah Pollak on "The Problem with Playing Defense"---I urge you to write
your Senators and Representative, imploring them to support Israel at this time.
It's time to get tough, it's time to get going. Israel needs us.
Please take a few minutes right now to urge President Obama to support
Israel's right to prevent arms from entering Gaza: Write
the President immediately. Please do the same with your Senators and Representative:
Just go Contacting the Congress. (You'll
need your nine [5+4] digit zip code to find your Representative.) Please do your
part to help Israel today.
If you agree that FLAME's brand of public relations effort
on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability
to influence public opinion comes from individuals 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 http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html.
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.
The Problem with Playing Defense
By Noah Pollak, Commentary Magazine, June 1, 2010
Given past performances, I'd say that Israel and its supporters are doing a better-than-average
job of quickly beating back the international lynch mob that loves nothing more than propagating
lies about Israel. The key weapon in this fight for truth has been this
particular video of the IDF commandos descending onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara
and into a hornet's nest of murderous "peace activists."
This kind of after-the-fact truth-telling is good as far as it goes, but it actually doesn't
go very far: it is restricted to responding to lies, exaggerations, and accusations. Israel
is on the receiving end of a viciously negative political campaign, and as any campaign
strategist knows, you don't respond to a negative campaign by expending all your energy
trying to explain why the lies aren't true -- you go negative and play offense in return.
What would it look like if the Israeli government played offense? First
and foremost, this would require some serious criticism of the Islamist government of Turkey,
which masterfully created this crisis and is now denouncing Israel for it. Turkey's thuggish
prime minister certainly understands the benefits of being on offense. He
says that Israel committed a "massacre" and is guilty of "state terrorism," "piracy," has
struck "a blow to world peace and against international law," threatens that "if
Israel does not immediately free all the detainees and wounded, the rift in relations with
it will widen," and thunders that "Israel will not be able to show itself in
the world until it apologizes for what happened and undergoes self-criticism."
Quite a performance! Wouldn't it be remarkable if the Israelis had gotten ahead of the
story by making their own accusations and demands? Here are a few ideas of the kind of
concrete action the Israelis could take -- if they had the stones to really take a stand.
1. Expel the Turkish ambassador and declare his return contingent on
a full, credible, and public Turkish investigation of the
terrorist organization that planned and funded the "aid flotilla."
2. Publicly demand reparations from Turkey for the costs of the operation,
including the medical bills of the thugs and Jew-haters who have been given such lovely
medical care in Israeli hospitals.
3. Demand a UN investigation of why Turkey is funding terrorist organizations
that are involved in attacks on Israel.
4. Fund a Kurdish human-rights NGO in Israel -- there are lots of Kurdish
Jews who I'm sure would be happy to help -- that raises awareness of the plight of Kurds
in Turkey. (Short answer: they are treated horribly.) This organization must publicize
the apartheid conditions of Kurdish life in Turkey and churn out op-eds, studies, videos,
and press releases denouncing Turkey's brutal and racist treatment of its own minorities.
5. Fund a Turkish-language documentary on the Armenian genocide, upload
it to YouTube, and promote it heavily in Turkey. If Erdogan wants to call Israel a criminal
and a murderer, there's no reason why Israel shouldn't return the favor on this most sensitive
The model of hasbara, or public diplomacy, that
Israel has employed for decades is premised on the persuasiveness of reason, evidence,
context, truth, fairness, and apology. Anyone who has been following events in Israel over
the past few years understands how
profoundly this strategy has failed. For obvious historic reasons, many Jews have internalized
the dangerous belief that the best way to respond to condemnation and lies is to show how
unthreatening and willing to criticize and investigate themselves they are. The problem
is that not only doesn't this work; it actually invites further attack by rewarding those
who defame and incite against the Jewish state.
Israel's hasbara strategy must shift to one that is based on power, self-confidence,
and an eagerness to vigorously condemn its defamers. This is the difference between driving
the debate and reacting to it, refuting lies and validating them, offense and defense,
setting the agenda versus being on the agenda. If the Israelis wish to see a good model
for how to set the terms of a controversy, they need only look at the Turkish prime minister's
brilliant performance this week.