NETANYAHU, BENJAMIN. (b.1949). Former prime minister of Israel. TLS. (“B Netanyahu”). 2/3p. 4to. Jerusalem, January 31, 1990. On his Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs stationery headed with the seal of the State of Israel. To GERARDO JOFFE (1920-2018), founder and president of FLAME (Facts & Logic About the Middle East).
“I have been following the advertising campaign in the national media that you have organized under the title of Camera with great interest. I am impressed with your tireless efforts to bring the facts about the Middle East, and especially Israel, to the attention of the general public. These efforts are particularly appreciated today, at a time when Israel’s enemies are assaulting public opinion with an endless barrage of defamation and slander against the Jewish State.
I understand that you have decided to continue your educational and promotional activities under the name of FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East). The goals that both CAMERA and FLAME have set out to achieve are crucial to the State of Israel and the Zionist cause…”
A secular Jew raised in Jerusalem and the United States, Netanyahu distinguished himself in the Israel Defense Forces during the late 1960s, joining the elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal. After leaving the IDF with the rank of captain, Netanyahu earned a degree at MIT, returning to Israel in 1978, where he founded the Yonatan Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute, in honor of his brother who had killed rescuing passengers from a hijacked airliner. Netanyahu represented Israel in the United Nations from 1984-1988, after which he became chairman of the right-wing Likud party and leader of the opposition. Netanyahu became Israel’s prime minister in 1996 but was defeated three years later. Although he had retired from politics, Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon convinced him to return to public life and Netanyahu served as minister of Foreign Affairs and minister of Finance before his reelection as PM in 2009, an office he held until recently. Netanyahu’s political career was tarnished by a series of criminal investigations and indictments for corruption, the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister has been criminally charged. In June 2021, he was ousted by a coalition government, which brought his 12-year tenure to an end.
German-born Gerardo Joffe fled the Nazis, living as a refugee in Bolivia, where he worked in the tin mines, before immigrating to the United States and earning a degree in mining engineering and, later, an MBA from Harvard. In 1985, he founded the San Francisco-based FLAME (Facts & Logic About the Middle East), countering what he perceived as anti-Israel media coverage with pro-Israel editorials and advertising, the subject of our letter. He remained at the helm of the sometimes-controversial organization until his 96th birthday.
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