“Financing the Flames” is very troubling, but then that’s nothing new for an Edwin Black book since all of his works studiously reveal facts and unknown information that shocks and disrupts historical conventions.
What is different about this undertaking as compared to his previous treatises is that it deals with contemporary events, events that are literally ripped from today’s headlines. Financing the Flames exposes the greatest threat to Israel’s existence since 1948, but this time the threat may succeed – because it emanates from enemies within Israel and the Jewish world.
These enemies are borne from the almost innate, often misplaced, Jewish sense of responsibility for others (misplaced, since the frequent goal of the others is to destroy Judaism itself).
Over the last decade or so, a question has been repeatedly asked and debated: “Why is Israel so successful on the military battlefield yet so unsuccessful when it comes to winning the public relations war?” This question has been especially puzzling since there are so many Jews working in the news media. The mystery intensifies when one considers the extensive care taken by the Israelis to protect uninvolved civilians and not overreact to provocations, even severe ones.
Usually the answer revolves around the vast sums of money paid by oil-rich Arab nations to anti-Israel PR efforts. Unquestionably, this wealth of funds and the media’s never ending hunger to gobble it up has played a big part in unbalancing the field. However, as it turns out, there is more to the story.
In Financing the Flames, we finally get the real answer to the question, as Edwin Black meticulously details how anti-Israel efforts are being funded by non-Arab nations (such as the United States and Great Britain) and by presumably non-aligned, well-intentioned private donor groups – some Jewish, which are then implemented by misguided Jews and Jewish organizations.
In other words, the Jewish gifts for socially-conscious fund raising and media wizardry, if indeed such things exist, are ironically being used against Israel.
We learn from Financing the Flames how these funds have created an industry-of-confrontation against Israel, and have led to careers for many of Israel’s adversaries. We also learn how our American tax regulations are being misused and subverted to support these heinous acts and spread incorrect accounts about Israel.
Additionally, we learn of the tricks and deceptions used by the antagonists to vilify Israel, even when Israel handles sensitive issues with the greatest of care. It has been said that Israel’s Middle East foes never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to achieve peace. What becomes crystal clear from Financing the Flames is that the anti-Israel players never miss an opportunity to turn every humane Israeli gesture into an exaggerated claim of cruelty.
We learn all of this because Edwin Black traveled into the belly of the beast to investigate the issues and observe, first hand, how the events play out. In the past couple of years, the world has witnessed the outrageous savagery with which Israel’s Middle East neighbors treat their fellow countrymen. One would think that we would now be aware of their deceitful, duplicitous, and evil nature. It should be easy to know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.
Unfortunately, the antagonists are unable to see past their own wallets and continue to incite hatred against Israel. Financing the Flames could and should open eyes around the world while simultaneously working to close the loopholes that have allowed the industry-of-confrontation to flourish. This is a book that should be on every politically-minded person’s ”need to read” list.
Marc J. Rauch is a multi-award winning TV/film writer, producer, and director, and has been a broadcasting and marketing executive since 1975. Marc lectures on various subjects concerning broadcasting, new media, and the Middle East at conferences and seminars throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has authored a book on advertising and has had several business and industry articles published in a variety of related magazines.