October 27, 2015
Deadly risks of being an Israeli Jew—and an Arab who tells the truth
Dear Friend of Israel:
A few months ago, a friend of mine exclaimed that he was surprised I had the guts to write and put my name on these FLAME Hotline e-newsletters. "I'm afraid you're going to get hurt," he said.
I was taken aback, because I had never thought of this work as dangerous. As I ruminated on his words, I also thought, very briefly, that he might have a
point. Some crazy who doesn't believe in freedom of the press could indeed take violent offense.
Yet we at FLAME have been doing this hasbarah—PR for Israel—for 25 years, and we'll keep doing it . . . for two big reasons.
First, a brilliant Zionist rabbi once said, "I don't speak because I have the power to speak, but because I don't have the power to remain silent."
Defending the Jewish people and the Jewish state is not an option for me, as I trust it is not for you. We simply must spread the truth about
Israel. We won't give up.
Second, of course, unlike the average citizen of Israel these days, I don't need to fear being stabbed or shot or stoned every time I leave my home, drive
my car, take a bus or walk on the streets. Living in comfort in the United States, my life is not threatened simply for being a Jew, as it would be
if I lived in Israel right now.
But believe it or not, there's a person in Palestine right now who is in even more danger than the average Jewish Israeli . . . and that is an Arab who dares to speak the truth about Israel and the bankrupt Palestinian project. This week's FLAME Hotline featured article is by just such a
man, and I truly fear for his life.
Because you are a supporter of Israel, I'm sure you feel as I do—that our cause seems so self-evident, so righteous and is so well grounded in facts and
logic. And it is. Our enemies—Arabs who would exile Jews from their ancient homeland in Palestine, terrorists who would kill them—are living a lie. They
base their argument on blatant falsehoods, bigotry and strategies that have proven devastating economically, politically and culturally for Palestinians.
This week's article (below), by Bassem Eid, founder and former director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group and Times of Israel blogger, is a classic. It exhorts Palestinians to open their eyes, accept reality and take responsibility for their destiny—to stop blaming others for their fate. When you consider the tired, unrelenting, 60-year-old Palestinian "poor-me" narrative of victimhood, this is indeed
a revolutionary concept.
It's also a seriously dangerous concept, given the violent predilections of Palestinians recently. Palestinian Arab journalists like Eid and Khaled Abu
Toameh risk their lives on a daily basis . . . simply because they write the truth about their people.
Whether the Palestinians will ever be able to rise out of their hate and self-pity is questionable. But one thing is certain: They will never do it unless more courageous Arab advocates for sanity stand up like Bassem Eid. Clearly, Mr. Eid speaks because he must speak, and I hope you will do
the same—continue speaking out for Israel and continue enabling FLAME to speak out.
Please take a few minutes to review this piece, then pass it on to your friends and colleagues who may benefit from it. Today, as Palestinian hate
draws innocent blood in Israel and as Palestinian lies fill mainstream media, we must spread the truth. We must defeat the fake narrative of
Palestinian victimhood. To this end, I urge you to see the P.S. immediately below, which describes FLAME's efforts to tell the truth about
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)
Great news: The U.S. Congress has taken steps to slash support for Palestinians by $80 million dollars this year! We at FLAME have been lobbying Congress and the American people to take this step for several years, and we're proud it's bearing fruit—and just in
time. As you know, in order to gain international sympathy, Palestinian leadership is now inciting the Arab street to acts of murderous terrorism against
Jews—slandering Israel with lies and anti-Semitic hate. Unfortunately, too many Western media, including the New York Times, are buying it! That's
why FLAME has been now publishing a new position paper in media nationwide—which includes the demand to cut U.S. "aid" to the Palestinians. I'd like you to
review this outspoken hasbarah message: "Palestinian Incitement to Terror." This piece is now
appearing 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—and Palestinian funding—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
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join us in receiving these timely updates, so you can more effectively tell the truth about Israel? Just go to
We Palestinians hold the key to a better future
Bassem Eid, Times of Israel, February 12, 2015
I am a proud Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp
and raised a large family. I want peace and prosperity for my people. I want an end to the misery and the destruction.
After 66 years of mistakes and missed opportunities, it is time for us Palestinians to create the conditions for peace and to work for a better future. It
is time that we stopped pretending that we can destroy Israel or drive the Jews into the sea. It is time that we stopped listening to Muslim radicals or
Arab regimes that use us to continue a pointless, destructive, and immoral war with Israel.
Our sad state of affairs
Let's be realistic. We Palestinians are not doing well.
In Gaza, our schools are controlled by Muslim fanatics who indoctrinate our children, and Hamas uses our civilians as human shields in a losing battle
against Israel. Hamas maintains power through violence, and it ensures that money is spent on its arsenal rather than on making the Palestinians' lives
better. While President Abbas is quick to denounce Israel whenever it attacks Hamas, he has absolutely no ability to stop Hamas from provoking Israel.
In the West Bank, while Abbas has been incapable of stopping the construction of Israeli settlements, the only good jobs are with Israeli companies, and
the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment) movement is doing its best to take those jobs away from us. Abbas runs a corrupt
dictatorship that uses international funds to consolidate its own administration rather than
to develop the Palestinian economy.
In East Jerusalem, the PA [Palestinian Authority] is so mistrusted
that most Palestinians would prefer to live under Israeli rule than under
PA rule, and yet some of us seem unable to live in peace with the Jews.
In Palestinian camps in Arab countries, our human rights are constantly being violated, and we are simply used by our Arab hosts to further their own
The facts about Israel
Despite what we tell ourselves, Israel is here to stay. What's more, it has a right to exist. It is the nation of the Jews but also a nation for Israeli
Arabs who have better lives than Arabs anywhere in Arab countries. We must accept these facts and move on. The anti-Semitism promoted by Hamas, Fatah, and
the BDS movement is not the answer for us Palestinians.
The answer is to live in peace and democracy, side by side with Israel. We missed many opportunities to do that. We missed it in 1947 when Arab regimes
encouraged us to refuse the UN partition plan. We missed it between 1948 and 1967 when we refused to create a state next to Israel. We missed it again
every time after that when we refused a two-state solution presented to us.
Yet we know that Israelis want to live in peace,
and that the vast majority of Israelis are friendly and neighborly. We know that Palestinian violence results in Israelis being discouraged about peace and
electing ever more right-wing governments. We know that Egypt was able to secure a very favorable peace deal with Israel because Egypt agreed to accept
Israel and to give up on violence. We know that the soft approach works with Israel, and yet we continue to use violence and extremist rhetoric.
Israel will never accept a large influx of Palestinians that would change the Jewish character of Israel. This means that
insisting on the return of millions of refugees into Israel is pure delusion
. In addition to this, the villages that we tell Palestinian refugees that they will one day return to no longer exist. We are simply lying to ourselves.
A new approach
To make peace with Israel, we need to change our approach. We need to accept that the right of return will be resolved through financial compensation that
will allow Palestinian refugees to settle either in Arab countries or in Palestine. We need to accept that Israel's security is a key to any solution. We
need to accept that East Jerusalem may have to remain part of Israel.
Our most important change in approach, however, and one with which we need the help of the international community, is that we need a democratically
elected and secular government that responds to the needs of our people. As I wrote in August 2008 with Nathan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and the
author of the book "The Case for Democracy," there won't be peace without democracy. As long as the so-called Palestinian leader is able to use
international funds towards consolidating his own network of corrupt cronies, Palestinians will not trust him and will look to the alternative, which sadly
happens to be Hamas.
As Sharansky and I wrote in 2008, the Israeli and international rationale that strengthening a non-democratic corrupt leader will ensure that he is "able
to fight Hamas and forge a final peace with Israel" does not work. Almost seven years later, it is even clearer that this approach leads nowhere. President
Abbas has no credibility among Palestinians, and even if he wanted a peace deal (which seems doubtful), he has no ability to sell it to the Palestinian
What we Palestinians need is a strong civil society
and strong democratic institutions, and we need an end to human rights violations, including those perpetrated by Palestinians and other Arabs.
Well-meaning international donors must ensure that their money is spent towards this goal, and not towards propping up either Hamas or Fatah. There is no
doubt that much work is needed, but at the very least we need to reverse the current trend that is causing Palestinian society to drift even further
towards corrupt and brutal rule, both in Gaza and in the West Bank. Ironically, it is only in East Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, that most Palestinians
feel adequately represented by their politicians.
Hope for the future
Despite our current predicament, I believe that our future will be bright if we do what is needed to achieve peace. We can have a secular democracy that
pursues our own best interests. We can live in peace with Israel and the Jews, and we can benefit from Israel's economic success and democratic values. We
have it within our power to transform a long-time enemy into a friend. We have a choice, and we can exercise that choice towards a better future for our
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