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

December 1, 2015

Debating Israel at My Thanksgiving Table—and at the United Nations: Proof That Our Job Is Not Done

Dear Friend of FLAME:

What every Thanksgiving dinner host fears came to pass at my family's gathering last week: A number of us at one end of the table engaged at in a passionate, animated debate about causes and solutions to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

My interlocutors were both Jewish and non-Jewish, but what they had in common was a liberal sensibility—not leftists, but moderate supporters of Israel with heartfelt sympathy for both the Palestinians and Israel's cause. "Why does Israel have to keep building settlements?" pleaded one friend. "Why does Netanyahu keep saying crazy things that turn off young American Jews?" asked a Jewish college professor.

These two questions epitomize the problem we pro-Israel advocates face when defending the Jewish state to Americans today. The first question reflects ignorance, and the second Jewish embarrassment. Let's dissect them.

When someone asks why Israel is building settlements, she believes that settlements are a problem because Judea and Samaria—the West Bank territories—belong to the Palestinians. She also believes that if only the Palestinians had their own state in the West Bank—if Israel would turn over that land to them—they would be happy and complete.

Both beliefs, of course, are false, and this bespeaks our failure to overcome the lies and half-truths perpetrated by the liberal mainstream press and, worse, ultra-left academics.

First, the West Bank is disputed territory, which the Palestinians have never owned and claim to which they have no legal rights—though of course, as a practical matter Israel has offered numerous times to turn this land over in return for peace.

Second, the Palestinians do not want a state in the West Bank and Gaza, but rather want the destruction of Israel. According to David Pollack, reporting on recent Palestinian polls, "in the West Bank, 81 percent say that all of historic Palestine 'is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to the land.' In Gaza, the proportion is even higher: 88 percent."

You will not read these truths in the New York Times or hear them on college campuses.

As for Benjamin Netanyahu's "crazy" statements and other Israeli behaviors that embarrass American Jews, this, too, is a reflection of pro-Israel activists' failure to make the truth known. Mr. Netanyahu and his occasional hip-shooting remarks are not the problem—any more than any other elected official in Israel is the problem. Liberal American Jews are mostly embarrassed because Israel "looks" bad—because "Israel has bad PR."

In other words, once again, the truth about Israel is not being told—not being disseminated sufficiently to defeat the liars and the ultra-left dissemblers. In truth, the reason we have no peace in Israel—and the Middle East in general—is because Hamas and most Palestinians, ISIS, Hizbollah, al Qaeda and other jihadists are fighting a religious (not a political) war to expel infidels from "Muslim lands."

This, my friends, is why FLAME exists, and it's why you and 30,000 other supporters of Israel and the United States support our valiant efforts to tell the truth in the media about the dangers that threaten the Jewish state and our own great nation.

The debate that went on at my Thanksgiving table also goes on, of course, in the media and in the toxic chambers of the United Nations. Israel, against all odds, puts up a good fight on behalf of the truth at the U.N. As an example, I urge you to read Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon's irrefutable defense of the Jewish homeland in an address recently at the U.N. General Assembly, that hotbed of unapologetic anti-Semitism.

Please take a few minutes to review this speech (below), then pass it on to your friends and colleagues who may benefit from it. Our mission must be to convince every American of the justice of Israel's cause. To help you articulate the true motives and desires of the Palestinians, I hope you'll also review the P.S. immediately below, which describes FLAME's hasbarah campaign to show the connection between the terror attacks in Paris and those in Israel last month.

Best regards,

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



In recent weeks, the world was shattered by the attacks against innocent civilians in Paris, just as we Israel advocates were distressed by the so-called "knife intifada" being carried out against innocents in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. Yet the press has been unable to connect the dots between this tale of two cities. That's why FLAME is about to start publishing a new position paper in media nationwide—which explains how the Paris terrorists' motivation is precisely the same as that of the terrorists in Israel. I urge you to preview this outspoken hasbarah message today: "Paris. Jerusalem." This hard-hitting paid editorial will soon appear in magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined readership of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to every member of the U.S. Congress and President Obama. If you agree that this kind 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 donate now . 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.

As of today, more than 15,000 Israel supporters receive the FLAME Hotline at no charge every week. If you're not yet a subscriber, won't you join us in receiving these timely updates, so you can more effectively tell the truth about Israel? Just go to free subscription.

Why Won't the Palestinians Say Yes to Peace?

The UN commemorated Palestinian Solidarity Day by passing anti-Israel resolutions. Israaael's Ambassador Danny Danon compares the murder of innocent Israelis to the massacre of innocents in France.

Address by Ambassador Danny Danon, United Nations General Assembly, November 23, 2015

Mr. President, forty years ago, Israel's Ambassador, Chaim Herzog, stood here at this very podium, and stood up for truth and for high principle at the lowest point in the history of the United Nations. He courageously denounced the shameful attempt to define the national aspirations of the Jewish people for a home as a form of racism , the very evil that Jews in countries around the world have suffered from for centuries. As I stand here before you today, that infamous decision has been repealed, but an endless number of biased and backward measures have taken its place.

Over the years, this Assembly has passed countless one-sided resolutions blaming Israel for any and all problems confronting the Palestinians. It is unfortunate that the 70th session has joined the pitiful UN tradition of passing more than twenty empty anti-Israel resolutions, which deepen the conflict, distance us from real dialogue, and diminish the prospects of peace.

We do not need these resolutions, because we already had the resolution we needed.

Before all the endless documents and declarations, this Assembly adopted a resolution to partition the British Mandate into a Jewish state, and an Arab state . We accepted, and established a state for the sake of self-determination, the Arabs rejected it and launched a war.

Despite all the years of distortion and disinformation, there is one simple truth about the root cause of the conflict that remains clear and unimpeachable. If the Arab states and the Arabs of mandatory Palestine had accepted the existence, the very existence, of a Jewish state, Israelis and Palestinians would have been spared decades of needless conflict, of unnecessary pain and suffering, and of the devastating loss of life on both sides.

But instead of saying yes to living side by side with Israel in peace, the Palestinians said no—no to peace, and no to the existence of a Jewish state. The echoes of that 'no' continue to this very day.

Mr. President, the resolutions before this Assembly deliberately ignore the root cause of the conflict— the unwillingness of the Palestinians—even today, even now—to accept a Jewish state in any part of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

As we are here today to debate the "Question of Palestine," let me ask this Chamber: Why did the Palestinians reject peace offers which would have granted them a state—not once, not twice, but three times? Three times. Why did they launch violent waves of terror every time they had the opportunity for statehood?

After Israel signed the Oslo accords and recognized the PLO, shooting, stabbings, and suicide bombing took the lives of nearly three hundred Israelis. Following Arafat's rejection of a state for the Palestinians at the Camp David Summit in the year 2000, the Palestinian leadership ignited a five year intifada in which more than one thousand Israelis were killed. Since Israel withdrew all, all of its security forces and evacuated all Israeli communities from Gaza in 2005, more than eleven thousand rockets have rained down on Israeli cities.

Let's stop avoiding the real, pressing question of Palestine, and ask ourselves:

— If the Palestinian leaders really want peace, why do they refuse to sit in the same room with the Israeli Prime Minister? To sit down and to negotiate?
— If the Palestinian leaders truly want a home for the Palestinian people, why do they reject the very idea of a home for the Jewish people?
— If the Palestinian leaders are concerned for the protection of their own people, why do they encourage and incite them to terror and violence?

Mr. President, looking for answers to any of these questions in the resolutions being discussed here today is harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Instead, it is business as usual at the UN—hollow decisions and empty gestures.

Let no one be fooled. No amount of biased resolutions and empty symbols will bring the change that the people of the region so desperately need. You can raise a Palestinian flag here in the UN, but as long as the Palestinians fail to raise a generation committed to peace and reconciliation, there will be no end to violence. As long as those in this chamber do not demand that Palestinian leaders make the difficult decisions needed for peace, no rhetoric will improve the lives of the Palestinian people.

Mr. President, since September, Israelis have experienced a wave of terror. Innocent Israeli men, women, and children have been brutally stabbed in the streets, and intentionally run over at bus stops day in and day out—all for the crime of being Jews living in Israel.

Here, in front of this Assembly, I would like to read out the names of those innocent victims of terror murdered in cold blood:

Alexander Levlovich
Naama Henkin
Eitam Henkin
Aharon Banita-Bennett
Nehemia Lavi​
Alon Govberg
Chaim Haviv
Yeshayahu Krishevsky
Richard Lakin
Omri Levy
Avraham Asher Hasno
Benjamin Yakubovich
Simcha Hodedtov
Ya'akov Litman
Netanel Litman - his son
Reuven Aviram
Aharon Yesayev
Yaakov Don
Ezra Schwartz
Shadi Arafa - a Palestinian
Hadar Buchris
Ziv Mizrahi

Look at the faces of the innocent victims of Palestinian terror. (Editor: Danon shows a composite photo of the murdered terror victims.)

This is a shameful day for the UN. Instead of issuing a clear and categorical statement denouncing all acts of terror, this institution has granted legitimacy to Palestinian terror. The heinous murder of innocent Israelis, just because they are Israelis, is no different than the cruel massacre of innocents in France.

Terror is terror is terror, and it must be fought against, not justified. Terror has no borders and we must fight it wherever we find it, whether it is Hamas in Gaza, Palestinian terror in the streets of Israel, or ISIS attacks in the streets of Europe.

These terrorist attacks and killings are a direct result of incitement. Palestinian officials continue to use inflammatory rhetoric and dangerous incitement, intensifying this wave of terror against Israeli civilians.

If the UN wants to play a constructive role, it must get a grip on reality, and hold the Palestinians accountable. Demand that the Palestinians leaders cease their incitement to violence. Insist that President Abbas finally, finally respond to Prime Minister Netanyahu's repeated calls to negotiate. And make it clear that peace will only come once the Palestinians accept that Israel is the home of the Jewish people.

Mr. President, this Assembly may have repealed the disgraceful resolution that equates Zionism with racism. However, 40 years later, many in this institution still display hatred and hostility toward Israel. The credibility of this institution depends on its integrity, and its impartiality. The bashing of Israel here at the UN undermines the very values and ideals this institution was intended to uphold.

If you really want to understand how unique Israel is in the region, all you need to do is ask yourself: If you are a woman or if you are gay, if you are Jewish, or Muslim or Christian, hoping to practice your faith openly and proudly with no fear - is there anywhere else in the region, in the Middle East, from Khartoum to Kabul, or from Tunis to Tehran, where you would rather live and practice your religion?

This is the Israel that I know, and this is the Israel that I am proud to represent today.

Mr. President, we look forward to the day when the Palestinians finally recognize the right of the Jewish people to a State in Israel. We look forward to the moment that Palestinian leaders follow the path of President Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, who bravely grasped Israel's extended hand for peace.

Their example is testament to the fact that peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations.

We look forward to a time when the Palestinians focus on building their own institutions, instead of attacking Israel in this institution.

When that day comes, the Palestinians will find a partner for peace.

Thank you.


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