Edwin Black's latest book, Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism in Israel, pulls the cover off the robust use of tax-exempt, tax-subsidized, and public monies to foment agitation, systematically destabilize the Israel Defense Forces, and finance terrorists in Israel. In a far-flung investigation in the United States, Israel and the West Bank, human-rights investigative reporter Edwin Black documents that it is actually the highly politicized human rights organizations and NGOs themselves -- all taxpayer supported -- which are financing the flames that make peace in Israel difficult if not impossible.
Black spotlights key charitable organizations such as the Ford Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the New Israel Fund, and many others, as well as American taxpayers as a group. Instead of promoting peace and reconciliation between Arabs and Israelis, a variety of taxpayer-subsidized organizations have funded a culture where peace does not pay, but warfare and confrontation do. Ironically, several Jewish organizations, scooping up millions in tax-subsidized donations, stand at the forefront of the problem. At the same time, the author details at great length the laudable and helpful activities of such groups as the New Israel Fund; he chronicles a heartbreaking conflict between stated intent and true impact on the ground. In addition to documenting questionable 501(c)(3) activity, Black documents the direct relationship between taxpayer assistance to the Palestinian Authority and individuals engaged in terrorism against civilians.
As I started this project, things did not seem right. In many ways, Israel appeared on fire. Human rights groups were constantly accusing the Jewish State and its security forces of abuses against civiliansâ€”primarily, but not exclusively, with regard to the territorial anomaly known as the "West Bank" as well as other relations with the Palestinians.
Israel has occupied the territory known as the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. It is now under the joint control of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This former Turkish colony, in some places gray-washed and rocky, in some places verdant and bucolic, has never achieved self-sovereignty despite many opportunities to do so. Every opportunity, beginning shortly after World War I, has been spurned by the Arab community. Hence, the West Bank is now in national limbo, claimed in different hectares and sectors by both Palestinians and some Israelis, while its approximate perimeter remains outlined by the shadow of centuries of Turkish sovereignty, converted to decades of international mandate under British control, supplanted by years of Jordanian occupation, and now subject to daily seismic movements beneath the contending forces that dwell within its valleys and atop its hills.
For me, the allegations of human-rights abuses by the Israeli government and society led to a spectacular disconnect. Here was Israel, a country of people yearning to be free even as it laments the reverberations of unspeakable personal suffering. Yet, this people, driven by history, pain, hope, and vision, now stand accused of inflicting hardship, dispossession, and separitude upon the neighbors within its midst, the powerless Palestinians. To do so would be a contravention of its own commanding norms expressed in Exodus 22: "Do not mistreat or oppress a stranger in your midst, for you were strangers in Egypt."
But I had questions. Were the allegations true?
Certainly, the abuses can sometimes look real to those who surf the Internet, watch provocative videos, and read the impassioned accounts of international activists. A picture is worth a thousand words, it has been said. But in todayâ€™s world, every picture can be viewed in 3-D. What lurks behind the image can be even more telling than the pixels at the surface.
I also wondered about the empowering dynamic behind the actions of the international protest groups. In my mind, to answer that meant follow the money. For me, the journalistic imperative has always been to follow the money. Money must be followed to understand the following that money attracts.
Human rights must know no political test and must never be used as a political tool. Throughout history, too many have suffered at the hands of those who believed their higher human-rights calling allowed them to pick and choose sides to validate a prejudice on who should live and who should die, who should be mourned and who should be scorned. In the case of Israel, a lopsided human-rights regimen appears to be a manifest and systemic problem. In many ways, the human-rights community reports to no oneâ€”they have learned to exceed entire governments, circumvent national laws, burden the legal system that tries to rein them in, and function as imperially as any multinational corporation. We have seen Big Oil and Big Data, and now we must acknowledge the rise of Big NGO or non-governmental organizations. They may also be called supra-governmental organizations.
But in this highly flammable, highly politicized, highly polarized arena, simply raising questions often provokes preemptive fire from those who prefer not to answer. All too often, the facts become a distant echo in a cacophonous international debate over who even has the right to ask. In the din, the burning reality of peace and confrontation in the Middle Eastâ€”and who is funding itâ€”reposes behind an impenetrable and insulated shield. Clearly, because some of the main accusers in the human-rights and activist communities themselves now stand accused by many leading Israeli voices, to fairly investigate and report, such a probe demands a perspective steeped in decades of human rights.
The title of this book, Financing the Flames, invokes the murky intersection I have monitored during my entire career. For four and half decades, I have been researching and writing about the Middle East and its peoples, as well as the underlying forces that impact bothâ€”all within the context of human rights. So, in many ways, this book was a project for which I have prepared during almost a half century of dogged journalism and historical investigation into the tragic world of human rights and the arrogance of corporate-based philanthropic abuse. My goal has always been to uncover the obscure forces that shape our world and the world of our ancestorsâ€”in the hope of making a better place for our descendants.
My long journey through the heart-breaking field of human rights has observed one paramount ideal: all people are entitled to equal human rights regardless of their religion, national identity, race, or social class. No group has a monopoly on human rights. None may be disenfranchised. All blood is red. All tears taste of salt. All despair dims the human spirit. For these reasons, I have investigated the pain of so many disparate groups who have suffered throughout time. So many groups. So much anguish. But in this fractious world, perspective matters.
My perspective began most earnestly with a probe of the Armenian genocide at the hand of the Turksâ€”a topic I wrote about in my first book, The Transfer Agreement, published in 1984. I detailed this crime years before the mass murder of more than a million defenseless Armenian civilians became a regular discussion point among human-rights groups.
In my subsequent book, the eugenics chronicle War Against the Weak, the victims crying out for justice were Americans. Poor whites, brown-haired Appalachians, African Americans, Mexicans, Native Americans, Asians, and those of mixed lineage were all targeted for biological elimination by virtue of an elitist complex of laws and institutional programs that coordinated coercive sterilization, marriage prohibition, incarceration, and euthanasia.
In another book that prepared me for this task, Banking on Baghdad, I delved further into the anguish of Iraq and the entire extended Middle East. I traced the generation-to-generation nightmareâ€”not just to the wars of modern times, but back 7,000 years to the recession of Ice Age glaciers that enabled the first cradles of civilizations. The disconsolate revelation that emerged was that, over the centuries, there has never been a generation in the Mideast that did not victimize or become victimized. This sad truth continued during the fiery rise of Islam and its turbulent schism into Shiâ€™a and Sunni worlds. Unhappily, those cyclical clashes were interrupted by the colonizing West, which coveted the geography and geology of the region.
Ethnic and religious groups are not the only victims in the world of human rights. For this reason, I have devoted myself to the plight of the deaf, the disabled, and disadvantaged. Three awards granted to me are constant reminders of the universality of human rights. Those three awards are the "International Human Rights Award", by the World Affairs Council Great Lakes; the "Justice for All Award", granted in a Congressional ceremony by the Association of Americans with Disabilities; and the "Drum Major for Justice Award," bestowed by North Carolina Central University. Those of us in the world of human rights are called to rally for those overlooked by the mainstream.
The compulsion to investigate human-rights abuses, for me, is powered by my own background as the child of Polish Holocaust survivors and as a chronicler of Hitlerâ€™s war against the Jews. I have written many works on the historical antecedents and submerged forces at work in the mass murder of six million Jews and the persecution of so many other peoples. My questions have always been not just who did it, but who helped? Here, again, I follow the money.
As a lifelong investigative reporter, I've discovered that when one follows the money streams, the ultimate sources generally reside atop the highest mountains of commerce. The rogues' gallery of those complicit in corporate genocide includes IBM, Ford, General Motors, and British Petroleum. Each of those firms worked hand-in-glove with the Nazi regime to propel Hitlerâ€™s war against civilization.
The unhappy intersection of big inhumanity and big money finds its most ironic dynamic in philanthropic abuse. Itâ€™s a sad reality that some of the worldâ€™s greatest charitable nameplates have earned front row positions in the hall of shame as the indispensable enablers of genocide.
In my eugenics book, War Against the Weak, I revealed that the campaign to extinguish the existence of unwanted minorities and social classesâ€”the so-called unfitâ€”was continuously orchestrated and financed by the prestigious Carnegie Institution and the gilded Rockefeller Foundation. The Carnegie Institution powered the rise of a fake science called eugenics and its implementation as the law of the land. The Rockefeller Foundation joined Carnegie in the effort to make the world a better place by destroying most of its inhabitants. Then, the Rockefeller Foundation went further and transplanted its genocidal racism into Nazi Germany. Rockefeller even funded the Reichâ€™s most notorious and murderous doctorsâ€”including the program that sent Mengele to Auschwitzâ€”all in the name of progressive improvement.
Within the photons of their corporate gleam, the shining names of business and philanthropy too often conceal a shameful particle. This hidden dark matter lurks deep beneath the albedo. That is the opacity that must be scrutinized.
The preamble above brings me to the present volume. My undertaking for Financing the Flames began not in April 2013 when I first pulled myself out of a spine-altering El Al seat at Ben Gurion Airport to discover Israel's historic soil in historic turmoil. This project actually began more than a decade before. In 2003, I produced the award-winning, multipart, syndicated Jewish Telegraphic Agency series Funding Hate. That investigation revealed that the Ford Foundation, misusing its prodigious tax-exempt, multi-billion-dollar treasury, was funding dozens of NGOs and other organizations engaged in the worst campaigns of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate in recent memory. Some twenty-one congressmen, along with numerous Jewish leaders, launched a concerted effort to stop this abuse. Ultimately, the Ford Foundation abruptly pulled its funding of those groups and instead channeled its millions into an organization called the New Israel Fund.
Since that 2003 investigation, I have received innumerable requests from editors and readers to undertake a follow-up investigation. Most of those requests were centered on allegations that New Israel Fund, run by some of the most talented minds in the Israeli and Jewish community, was perversely using the organizationâ€™s access to tax-subsidized millions to actually undermine the Jewish state. The complaint heard most loudly was that the New Israel Fund and its hundreds of grantees were lock-stepped in an ideological struggle to destabilize the Israeli military and erase Israelâ€™s Jewish identity for its own left-wing purposes. The heart-provoking realm of Palestinian human rights, the many allegations assert, was being used as a tool in a towering political agenda to remake the Jewish State into a state that was not Jewish and, indeed, might not even continue to exist as an independent state.
The anglicized Hebrew and Yiddish word chutzpah comes to mind. The word has come to represent the most outrageous form of arrogance and hubris. In many circles, the most precise definition is this: a man murders his parents and then pleads for sympathy from the court on the grounds that he is an orphan. Now, entire communities of Israeli society charge that American-financed human-rights activists in Israel facilitate and encourage aggressive and illegal activity against Israeli security forces in the hope of provoking a response, which could then be videotaped and publicly posted to cause an Internet embarrassment for the State of Israel, especially the Israel Defense Forces. This charge is vigorously denied by the New Israel Fund and its beneficiaries.
The allegations charge that confrontations are staged, financed, and well-choreographed to provoke international outrage against a State that increasingly finds itself armed to the teeth with high-tech weaponry but helpless in the face of contrived accusations. Those making these charges do not dwell at the margins of Israeli society. They come from a gamut of the nationâ€™s leadershipâ€”some shouting from the rooftops and some afraid to speak publicly, expressing the fear that the New Israel Fund collective from New York and Washington will launch a retaliatory campaign in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
In this systematic campaign of destabilization, many named critics openly charge, members of the Israel Defense Forces are being abused, harassed, taunted, and provoked until some of them react. Many of the taunted soldiers are mere teenagers who have just graduated into mandatory military service. This web of facilitation, it is charged, is subsidized by American taxpayers by virtue of the tax-deductible status of the 501(c)(3) charitable organizations in question. That makes it everybodyâ€™s business.
While those organizations are enabled under the American tax code as taxpayer-subsidized for charitable purposes, it is loudly claimed that many of them, especially those associated with New Israel Fund, are engaged in a prodigious political and electoral struggle in Israel. This would be contrary to the intent and spirit of the American tax code and the American taxpayers, who ultimately pay to fuel this supranational interference in Israel's internal affairs.
The politicking complained of includes nonstop lobbying and ceaseless legislative action in Israelâ€™s parliament, the Knesset. It even includes concerted attempts to undermine Israel's democracy by efforts to stop Knesset members from showing up to vote on certain volatile issues. Ironically, while claiming to champion democracy at all costs, it challenges credulity to understand how democracy is served by manipulating Israeli legislators to not exercise their democratic right to vote in their own parliament.
It is alleged by many critics within Israel that nothing less than an out-of-control, anything-goes Wild West has been established by American-funded international human-rights organizations. In this Wild West, as critics openly charge, video exploitation of child endangerment and the use of children as human shields is an everyday occurrence calculated to provoke outrage at Israelâ€”all to serve some greater cause. Furthermore, a famous grant-making source, sporting an iconic American name and said to supply many millions of dollars to its grantees, is in fact a completely nonexistent entity creating a massive philanthropic fiction. In this upside-down world of human rights driving off the road, videotaped protesting civilians chant to be mistreated by Israeli security forces and loudly object when soldiers decline to fall into the trap. Then, the attack wings appear, wielding skull-crushing rocks and Molotov cocktails.
As a topper, a robust human-rights system that demands equal treatment has entrenched a modus operandi that actively discriminates against Jews in Israel. All this is propelled by American taxpayers and a tax code that seek to proliferate American values of equal treatment for men and women of all religions.
Planned, coordinated violence and provocation by activists change the human-rights equation. The misuse of the banner of human rights to gain political advantage changes that same equation. In the math of the Middle East, many numbers simply never add up
If the charges are borne out, millions of American dollars are fomenting a culture of confrontation in Israel at a time when peace efforts are a precious shrinking commodity that needs to be nourished not undermined. In other words, are American taxpayers subsidizing a pernicious system that materially drives people in Israel apart rather than sets the stage for reconciliation? Can Palestinians come to peace terms when there is so much money to be made provoking antagonism and when those who labor daily to coexist in peace are dismissed and forced into the shadows by a mindset that ridicules such coexistence?
Even worse, are American taxpayers also paying salaries of convicted terrorists? If so, that would be the most perverted use of dwindling American tax dollars at a time when national institutions are teetering atop the precipice of economic collapse. More than making a mockery of American hopes to fight terrorism and shepherd our funds wisely to promote peace, the direct payment of such terrorist subventions is unequivocally illegal.
These are the tempestuous questions I was called to answer in undertaking this volume. None of this could be achieved from the comfort of a computer screen, through glasses fogged by steaming coffee, and cushioned by an ergonomic chair. This challenge required digging beneath the apparent and burrowing beneath the surface. It required a personal journey into the hearts and minds of the contending parties and an eye-to-eye experience with the war-wounded, the war-weary, and the war-eager of the area. My journey took me from the halls of power and prestige in Israel to the simple Palestinian front rooms where struggle, confrontation, violence, and mourning are a way of life and too often a way of death.
I travelled from the finest hotels in Jerusalem to the corridors of the Knesset, from fiercely antagonist Palestinian hamlets, where the entire town is mobilized to disrupt at the risk of life and limb, to the resplendent Jewish settlements next door, from remote Palestinian villages, too dangerous for most Israelis to visit, to the regaled epicenters of Palestinian prestige in East Jerusalem. I met my contacts in exquisite settings, humble homes, elaborate tents, and sometimes in the shadows. On occasion, the meeting called for a suit and tie; in some cases, it required a bulletproof vest and Kevlar helmet. On one day I heard an Israeli father mourn the loss of his son murdered by terrorists and on another I found myself in a regularly scheduled riot in the West Bank with a community that lionized such killings. In the morning, I could be rushing to a Knesset meeting and, by evening, exploring a moonlit alleyway in a remote West Bank town tracking down a lead.
Such undertakings can only be hands-on. That means holding the hand of inconsolable parents, shaking the hand of brave but uncelebrated men from both the Palestinian and Israeli communities, and nervously eyeing the hand of protesters just yards away preparing to heave rocks or worse my way. Readers will climb atop the steed for this journey through every winding hill, to the Israeli homes still in grief, to the Palestinian dwellings where seething resentment and seemingly inextinguishable anger are served up with every tray of tea and cookies, to hidden camera positions where activists lay in wait, and to classic Arab tents where prestigious men of peace stand up to be loudly counted but become a mere distant voice in the hills.
At first I tried to dig in from the extremities and report from the sidelines. Quickly, I realized that was impossible. My very presence became enzymatic for groups constantly trying to influence my judgment and this book as they attempted to provoke soldiers into cracking down so I could witness it and complain loudly that the authorities were acting responsibly only because my pen and paper were deployed.
Through this journey, I worked closely, continuously, and amicably with the men and women of the international human-rights community, the organized Palestinian popular resistance, the New Israel Fund, Bâ€™Tselem, members of the Knesset, the Israel Defense Forces, American Jewish groups, the Ford Foundation, and many others. During these months of question and question again, I found some very decent people, each with a burning vision. Unhappily, those competing visions represent a parallax. Too often they are stigmatized first and reasoned with second. Less astigmatism and more clarity would bring the divergent views closer together.
Nothing in my book should be used to drive people apart in word or deed, but rather to inspire them to find the commonalities that trace back through all the descendants of Abraham. The goal is not victory. It is a victorious peace.
The end product of my project became too vast for an article, as I originally intended, or even a multi-part series, as I did for Funding Hate. For me, the context is too important. Moreover, massive amounts of information were provided to me by my cooperating sources, including New Israel Fund vice president of communications Naomi Paiss, Bâ€™Tselem media liaison Sarit Michaeli, and many others. Even though the duty of every such undertaking is to intelligently exclude 99 percent of everything, the vast material I assembled cried out for much more.
I resorted to a genre, which I shall dub the newsbook. Newsbooks were popular in the seventeenth century, devoted to a single vast topic such as a war or a notorious trial. In our century, major newspapers and others have learned to assemble all their coverage of an election, a war, or an epic event in one dense resource, too big for any daily edition but suitable for binding. Todayâ€™s technology makes this even more possible.
This means Financing the Flames should be read like any multipart seriesâ€”but many times larger. This means that like a multipart newspaper series available forever on the Internet, readers must be date aware.
Normally, my books such as IBM and the Holocaust and The Farhud are based on immutable historic fact. Every sentence is a built on a solid factual rockâ€”good forever. In this book, titles, facts and figures, relationships, statuses and so forth are valid during the time frame investigated, as they would be in a breaking feature story in a newspaper or magazine. In this case, the work was investigated and written, day and night, over ten time zones, from late April to late August 2013. Titles, relationships, alliances, and conditions can change. In the Middle East, they can change overnight. The endnotes will aid readers in the process.
Just during the several months of this project, a number of facts changed. My contact in Bâ€™Tselem, Sarit Michaeli was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet in the very village I had visited just several weeks earlier. The ever-popular spokesman for the Israeli military, Barak Raz, retired from that particular position. The Ford Foundation announced two major grants to established Jewish causes: Yad Vashem and the Anti-Defamation League.
The saddest update we were compelled to make during these months was a description of the carnage and dispossession in Syria. In late spring we wrote 80,000 killed and 1.2 million refugees. Just before going to press, we made the disconsolate correction: more than 120,000 killed and some 2 million refugees. By the time you read these words, those figures will also be obsolete.
During the manuscript preparation, I submitted my work for close scrutiny and comment to about 30 readers, as I usually do. This includes eminent tax attorneys, military men, historians, political analysts and ordinary unaffiliated people with an interest in the Middle East. Generally, we seek typos and textual suggestions on the history or law that will sharpen precision. In this case, I was amazed at some of the comments. Knowing how political the entire topic is, Paiss of the NIF amiably warned me that every word would be â€œparsed six waysâ€ by everyone for political intent. For this reason, I tried to walk an editorial tightrope, being, like many Americans, unaligned with Israeli political factions. All truth in Israel is chanted in the dodecaphonic scale. The same note strikes one individual as a sharp and the other as a flat.
One final caution, as in all my books, I have established an explicit contract with my readers based on the complete storyline that unfolds. That contract holds as follows. If you cannot read the entire book without skipping around, please do not buy it. Close the cover, and walk away. That injunction holds supremely true for this volume. I do not seek partial readers. Partial understanding is why this book was necessary. That said, when one tackles a topic of such enormity, going back centuries, the writer must omit 99.9 percent of everything. Every chapter is a mere invitation to read a bookshelf of other excellent works about the subject of that chapter. I wrote Financing the Flames to go beyond the fragments and the fleeting phantasmagoria of selective facts.
Many people know how this saga began, but no one knows how this saga will end. For the Israelis, the resilient ethos embedded in their existence is encapsulated in their national anthem. That song is called Hatikva. In Hebrew, it means "the hope." Until that desireâ€”that hopeâ€”triumphs for all its residents, we must recognize those who are seeking the opportunity to construct the durable bridge between Arab and Jew, and confront those who are financing the flames intended to burn it down before it spans that gulf, so narrowâ€”but oh so deep.
Financing the Flames could not have been possible without the extraordinary cooperation of the many organizations, institutions, and individuals covered in this work. It may difficult for some to understand the journalistic dynamic at play. I contacted the New Israel Fund, B'Tselem, Adalah, Ford Foundation, and many others, and openly announced my investigation. My mission was to validate or invalidate widespread charges that these organizations, and many others in Israel and the Palestinian West Bank community, were engaged in systemic efforts to destabilize the Israel Defense Forces using American tax-subsidized monies obtained through 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. At the same time, I announced my other intersecting probe topics involving terrorism and interference in Israeli political affairs. So, my editorial tasks were never sub rosa.
To their credit, I received unlimited cooperation from all those I investigated, probed, and queried. It is important that the reader appreciates that level of cooperation as it speaks something about both the fair journalistic process and those I wrote about. While none knew I was writing a full-length bookâ€”because even I did not know that until the cup of information overflowed, all knew that a massive work would emerge. Ultimately, this work finalized at around 75,000 words; a typical newspaper story is 1,200 to 1,500 words, and a typical multipart series runs 5,000 to 7,000 words. In fact, the inspiration for resorting to a new genre that I call the newsbook came from two key organizational contacts in this endeavor: New Israel Fund vice president of communications Naomi Paiss and Bâ€™Tselem media liaison Sarit Michaeli. Both provided so much information, rebuttal, context, and organizational documentation that even a standard-length multipart newspaper series would be an immense disservice to the assembled knowledge.
Not enough can be said for the cooperation extended by Paiss and the New Israel Fund in general. During many weeks, we would exchange scores of emails, mainly operational micro-messages, as any team of colleagues would. I asked innumerable questions of the NIF. If the question could not be answered in the coming minutes, we would schedule a convenient time after a meeting or a lunch. The back and forth was sometimes ceaseless. Paiss is a seasoned communications professional and a devoted member of the New Israel Fund team. She never failed to rebut allegations and assert NIF positions. In addition, she also made internal documents available to me as soon as requested, sometimes before they were public; ran custom financial spreadsheets at my request; and made all key NIF staffers available to me for interviewsâ€”including some reluctant ones. I worked with Paiss in her office in Washington and also in Jerusalem. She did a great job.
Among the many key NIF staffers who also helped with information and interviews were CEO Daniel Sokatch, COO David Rosenn, executive director in Israel Rachel Liel, grants director Yuval Yavneh, Ford Israel Fund director Aaron Back, and many others. I also thank my special sources, NIF Source1, NIF Source2, and NIF Source4.
For my part, I continuously verified my documentation and quotations with the NIF, conducting many painstaking fact-checking sessions, some of them hours long. In one case, during a ninety-minute fact-check with NIF staffer Aaron Back, I reviewed a fact about his father; Back asked why I had omitted his mother. I subsequently included a reference to her. I tried to show the humanity of each of the people I was investigating. I considered their input and tried to incorporate their rebuttals and assertions.
At B'Tselem, I thank media liaison Sarit Michaeli, who responded continuously despite the oceans separating us and then squeezed and pummeled her schedule to accompany me on a visit to volatile Hebron. She, too, is genuinely idealistic. Several weeks later, when she took a rubber bullet in the leg, she did not stop filming nor did she flinch. In addition, I thank B'Tselem stealth videographer Raed Abu a-Ramila and his family for inviting me into their home and showing the various rooms and levels that were involved in one particular filming episode I investigated. Other Bâ€™Tselem field workers and office staff were also quite helpful. I also thank Bâ€™Tselem Source1 for that personâ€™s cooperation.
At the Ford Foundation, I enjoyed vibrant, continuous, week-in/week-out input from chief spokesman Alfred Ironside, a man I found to be sincere and truthful. At the George Soros philanthropies, known collectively as the Open Foundations Societies, I worked with Laura Silber to the extent she could in her situation. The Open Foundations Societies were the least responsive of the major charitable organizations contacted. There were many others in the philanthropy world who cooperated, too numerous to name, and I hereby express my thanks to them. However, not all who should have helped, did helpâ€”that was quite telling.
Others who were most helpful include Adalah spokesman Salah Mohsen, Rabbis for Human Rights cofounder and director of special projects Rabbi Arik Ascherman, and the many NIF grantees that facilitated my work and answered my many questions.
In the Palestinian Community, I acknowledge the assistance of Popular Struggle Coordination Committee liaison Abir Kopty, plus members of the Tamimi family and the residents of Nabi Saleh village, including Manal Tamimi and Bassem Tamimi, who invited me into their home and into their conversations. In the village of Deir Istiya, I thank Mayor Ayub Abu Hejleh along with other residents and leaders who I met and spoke with, as well as the unnamed taxi driver who so diligently shepherded me through the villageâ€™s streets, back roads, and alleys.
Meaningful insight was gained from talented Gaza journalist and economic analyst Omar Shaban, one of the great thinkers of his community, a man I Skyped with regularly, that is, when his electricity did not fail.
In the Palestinian Authority, I recognize the numerous government officials who responded to my many questions, including Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Karake and Prisoners Club chairman Qadura Fares as well as Nour Odeh, Meshdi Nonan, Jawad Nashi, Mahmoud Abu Shallab, Hassan Abdul Jabar, and Amr Nasser. They tried hard in spite of language barriers. I also thank PA Source1, PA Source6 and PA Source7.
My work was made more valuable through the courageous assistance of Pal Source1, Pal Source2, and Pal Source6, who provided information, insight, and an on-the-ground example vision in the pursuit of peace.
This project allowed me to work with many in the Israeli governmental, military, settler, and citizen communities. They represent some of the finest and most idealistic people on the planet. I remain forever indebted to them for their hospitality, honesty, and courage. In the defense establishment, I was privileged to have access to the most senior and most junior officers and all levels in between. This includes, legendary hero Uzi Dayan, General Avi Mizrahi, Colonel Benny Yanay from Consensus, Unit 890 Paratrooper Aharon Karov, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, IDF spokesman Barack Raz, and many others too numerous to mention. I also thank Mil Source1 and Mil Source2.
In the Knesset, numerous elected individuals made time in their busy schedules to detail their experiences and viewpoints. These included deputy speaker MK Yoni Chetboun, MK Faina Kershenbaum, and MK Yariv Levin.
Various Israelis reached out to be helpful with their insights. Among them were Joel Golovensky and Professor Shmuel Moreh.
My speaking events in Israel were important to my visit. So I thank the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Babylonian Heritage Museum in Or Yehuda.
From the community of Israeli citizens, I acknowledge Sderot Mayor Dov Bouskila and the citizens of that city. They dwell on the thin, sharp front line of terror. I was grateful when the mayor made me an honorary citizen of that brave city. Thanks are extended to Shomron Regional Council Mayor Gershon Mesika and his staff and colleagues, including David Haâ€™ivri, for their hospitality and sincerity. To the men and women of Halamish who invited me into their homes, I extend thanks. A special insight was gained from Erez and Vered Ben Saadon, owners and founders of the Tura Winery, where I learned how grapes and olives can be the building blocks of peaceâ€”but only as an acquired taste. Special helpfulness was rendered by the men and women of the Shomron factories, Palestinians and Israelis both, who have come together to work for equal pay under equal conditions to achieve a future of equanimity for all. I also thank Ariel Source1, a dedicated academic working to improve the lives of his Palestinian neighbors but who must do so in the shadows. Among those who opened home and heart, I acknowledge Dov Vardi: he allowed me to peer into both a man and a memory.
While in Israel, the David Citadel Hotel graciously extended special cooperation and accommodation, allowing me to convert part of their lobby and breakfast patio into nonstop meeting space to conduct interviews. I work with four hotels in Jerusalem, and the David Citadel is a favorite. They accommodated my many requests.
In every project, the certain restaurantsâ€”both those esteemed and humbleâ€”become important loci in the process. This held true in this project as well. As mentioned, the breakfast patio and dining services of the David Citadel were wonderful. In addition, the Knesset cafeteria emerged as an important place where business is done and insights are gained in the affairs of state in Israel. The American Colony is a center of gravity for the Palestinian, Arab, and diplomatic communities. Special memories attached to the Prima CafÃ© in Binyamina as well as the King David Hotel dining room, which has hosted some of the most eminent names in the world. There were many other pivotal restaurant moments constantly reminding that more peace can be made over a table of food than a table of documents.
Also in Israel, I extend paramount thanks to Soma and his wonderful family, remembering our moment at the Wall. In every project, great wisdoms and special people rise to the fore. Such was the case for my friend Soma. Israel has created some extraordinary people. Soma is among them and remembered for his extensive knowledge of the people, the politics, and the connective tissue between them. He made a profound contribution to every aspect of this project.
Also, making a genuine difference was my friend Yafar, who connected to key people. I also extend thanks to photographer Boaz Mottes who helped capture the burning moments as they occurred. I also salute Moti, whose help was indispensable from our first coffee in the morning to journey crisscrossing Israel hour to hour, day to day, and sometimes into the dark of night.
Many outstanding journalists in Israel, the Palestinian community, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere assisted me by providing valuable and necessary insight and information. They greatly assisted the clarity of my project. The fraternal spirit of journalism was in evidence everywhere. Palwatch functioned as an indispensable font of revelation.
In the United States, I give thanks to the Government Accounting Office, my contacts at the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department, various Embassies, and key Congressional legislators.
The project was made possible by my several editors; several supportive venues, such as the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, a Salt Lake City scholar-in-residence, the Beverly Hills Forum and many others; Dialog Press and its global Amazon.com network; and by IBC-TV, which has commissioned a twenty-part series on The Edwin Black Show featuring Financing the Flames.
Each of my books is preread by dozens of expert readers. Among them, a special thank you is extended to Tax Attorney1, an expert in 501(c)(3) issues, and Gen Attorney2 for statutory information.
This work would have been impossible without the tireless work of my team of volunteers, researchers, footnoters, documentarians, copy readers, editorial style experts and production talents, who, for the most part, have worked with me year in and year out. We have been through many books together and their fingerprints can be discerned on every page. Each sentence was cross-examined, read and reread, written and rewritten many times. There is no good writing, just good rewriting. This includes Eve Jones in New York, Annie in Arizona, Paul Dwyer in Northern Virginia, plus Russell Grayson in South Florida. Also on the team is Juda Engelmayer in New York, Martin Barillas in Michigan, and Erikka De Bronac in the state of Washington.
My indispensible production team includes Tallgrass Studios, Richard Farkas, Marcia Escobosa, and others.
In every book, I pay homage to the musical inspiration that propelled the writing. In this project is was Hans Zimmer in Man of Steel, especially "Terraforming", Tears of the Sun, plus Oblivion by Anthony Gonzalez, and the incomparable Jerry Goldsmith in Total Recall, Capricorn One, First Knight, and many others.
No words would have been written, no periods placed, and no ink dried without the constant companionship and involvement of my partner, Carol DiSalvo.
Most of all, I thank all the many people I have never met who are yearning to live in a world of peace. They and their children deserve a chance. It is my hope that the result of this work will make it possible for that chance to emerge. They will not get that chance unless the world gives peace a chance.