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Tell the Bethlehem Story to Millions of Americans

*Help CNI Tell the Bethlehem Story to Millions of Americans*


/"Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus and Mary traveled on the few miles of road
between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on their journey from Nazareth. Today,
making this celebrated crossing is almost impossible due to the
construction of Israel's 'security fence.' In reality, that 'fence'
consists of a 25-foot high concrete wall built across 26 miles inside
the West Bank and through what used to be the main road between the two
holiest cities in the Bible."/
/* - Proposed CNI Foundation ad, "Is Bethlehem Dying?" for the Christmas
Eve edition of the New York Times. Please read on.*/

Dear Friend of the CNI Foundation,

This has been one of the most exciting years for us at the Council for
the National Interest Foundation. Our fifth and final full-page /New
York Times /advertisement of the year is set to run on *Sunday, December
24th, Christmas Eve*, in the "Week in Review" section opposite the
editorial page. The title of the ad is *"Is Bethlehem Dying?"* and the
text and cartoon are devoted entirely to the plight of Bethlehem, now a
town of hardship and injustice that the American press has entirely
ignored. Israel's wall, settlements and land confiscation policy are
destroying one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

As the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem is a sacred city for Christians
and is home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities in
the world. Many Christians may not be aware, however, that Muslims also
revere Jesus as one of God's most-beloved prophets, whom they refer to
as Issa, and that Bethlehem has special significance for them as well.

Despite Congress's repeated attempts to characterize Hamas as an
anti-Christian terrorist organization, the fact is that Hamas has just
announced that they will give $50,000, at a time when Hamas is being
denied funds by the United States and European countries, for
Bethlehem's Christmas celebration this year. The Acting Palestinian
Authority Finance Minister is quoted as saying, "As a Palestinian
government, we hope our Christian brothers have a happy celebration.
They are an integral part of Palestinian society."

Our previous Sunday /New York Times/ ad, titled "Who is Holding Peace
Hostage?," was declared "vile" by Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chair of the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and
cited by him as evidence of the Times' "anti-Israel" bias. When asked by
the /New York Jewish Week /about the decision to run our ad, a /Times
/spokeswoman responded by saying that they "accepted this advertisement
in our strong belief that all pages of the paper – news, editorial and
advertising – must remain open to the free flow of ideas."

We applaud the Times for their support of the free flow of ideas, and we
hope that our ads play a part, along with the Walt/Mearsheimer paper,
Jimmy Carter's book and the Iraq Study Group report, in pushing the
debate beyond the advertising pages and into the rest of the paper. The
Israel lobby insists on closing down debate or even discussion of U.S.
Middle East policy by claiming that criticism of Israel is, by itself,
anti-semitic. It is not anti-Semitism to point out how providing
uncritical support for Israel's right wing is contrary to our national
interest.

*The CNI Foundation has run four full-page Sunday New York Times ads
this year*, one every two months, on the following themes: "America,
Hamas and the Israel Lobby" published April 16; "America and Israel: A
Troubling Alliance" published July 2nd; "What Next in the Middle East? A
Commission of the Wise," which urged the President to call for a
ceasefire during the Israeli assault on Lebanon, published August 13th;
and "Who is Holding Peace Hostage?" published November 5th, two days
before the U.S. Congressional elections.

Please click on the link below to read the draft of our Bethlehem ad and
share it with friends. *If you agree with us that the story of Bethlehem
must be told, in its heartbreaking detail and without bias, please make
a donation to support its placement in the Christmas Eve edition of the
/Times/. *You, as a friend of the CNI Foundation, have been very
generous this year in donating to our advertising campaign, and I thank
you so much for your previous support. Please consider an end-of-year
donation to help us place the ad.

*Click Here to See the Bethlehem Ad*
< http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=248213482&url_num=2&url=http://www.cnionline.org/nyt5.pdf>
*as a PDF
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=248213482&url_num=3&url=http://www.cnionline.org/nyt5.pdf>
**or as a JPEG file
<http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=248213482&url_num=4&url=http://www.cnionline.org/nyt5.jpg>*



Sincerely,


*Gene Bird*
President
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