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Melissa Seligman
Rebecca Walker
who are posting all week.
Coming up:
  • 02/23:
    Melvin Konner
  • 03/02:
    Jeremy Benstein
  • 03/09:
    Liz Funk
  • 03/09:
    Edgar M. Bronfman
  • 04/06:
    Joanna Smith Rakoff
 The Holocaust Will Be Mass-Mailed

The Holocaust Will Be Mass-Mailed

How To Read A Jewish Fundraising Letter
Eli Valley

Eli Valley's Envelope Slideshow of Terror: See real examples of actual Jewish fundraising literature.Eli Valley's Envelope Slideshow of Terror: See real examples of actual Jewish fundraising literature.

If you’ve ever subscribed to a Jewish newspaper, if you’ve ever signed a Jewish petition, chances are you’re on a donor list. You receive dozens of similarly-worded pitch letters from organizations ranging from The Simon Wiesenthal Center to the American Jewish Committee. What is the secret to the success of these letters? How do they help the Jewish organizational world raise millions of dollars from its constituents every year?

Below are excerpts from an actual fundraising letter mailed by B’nai Brith International. In order to facilitate transparency, we’ve added helpful translations in red.

Note: According to its website, the mission of B’nai Brith International is “to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening Jewish family life and the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.”

Dear Friend,

Six Million Jews were exterminated during the Holocaust because the world ignored the genocidal ranting of Adolph Hitler and his maniacal followers.

Translation: You will die.

Today that same number – six million Jews – live in the State of Israel.

Translation: You cannot run, nor can you hide. Every single Jew, no matter where he lives, will be hunted down and killed.

Just consider what Israel sees when it gazes upon its regional neighbors.

Translation: Jewish rat!

Syria – upgrading its Air Force with the latest Russian fighters even as it builds fortified underground bunkers and arms itself with offensive missiles.

Translation: That new iphone you bought? It will look spiffy in the hands of the roving Muslim marauders feeding off your bloated carcass.

Hezbollah – after devastating Israel last summer with missile attacks, has restocked its armaments, boasting today of more than 33,000 missiles...

Translation: The upcoming Holocaust will make the first Holocaust look like a simple dress rehearsal.

Hamas – now in control of the “Palestinian Authority,” is turning Gaza into a launching point for the next war, importing tens-of-thousands of rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, armor-piercing artillery shells and missiles.

Translation: A dress rehearsal where the costumes don't fit and everybody is forgetting their lines.

Iran – could acquire a nuclear bomb within three years according to U.S. intelligence officials; even as it continues to fund and arm the most radical terrorist groups.

Translation: Nobody will forget their lines in Holocaust II.

Facing such dire circumstances, we must all take responsibility – each and every one of us – to do all that we can to support international efforts to put a halt to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and to restrain the murderous rampage of global Jihadists.

Translation: Think of your favorite magazine. Got it? The editor hates Jews. The editor wants to see you dead.

…Let me put the whole story in context for you.

Translation: Rigor Mortis.

... Terror threats have now placed the U.S. Jewish community on alert.

Translation: You think you’re safe in your terrycloth bathrobe, scratching your crotch and watching reruns of “24”?

The Palestinian terror group, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announced that they would target Zionists outside of Palestine in order to take Jews as hostages that could be traded with Israel for the release of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel.

Translation: Even if they have to swim the ocean, they will come here with photos of you, and they will knock door-to-door until they find you, drag you in the street, and chop off your head before salivating throngs.

These are real events taking place today, with very real consequences for the people whose lives and freedom hang in the balance.

Translation: Do we need to spell it out? Okay. Your parents and your children, your spouse and your siblings, will all be dead.

But this is not a time for despair. It is a time for action.

Translation: You know how your cat does that cute thing where she rubs her nose up against your ear? If you don’t act now, your cat will be killed too.

… B’nai B’rith has been instrumental this past year in getting the United Nations to take responsible actions that were quite unprecedented – such as the convening of its first meeting ever devoted to the problem of anti-Semitism; its official commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps; and its selection of Israel to chair a session of the General Assembly.

Translation: B’nai Brith is your only hope of surviving the onslaught of vampires famished for the blood of pasty-skinned Jews.

… With your support, B’nai B’rith can launch an all-out effort to use our extensive network of international contacts and influential opinion leaders throughout Europe, South America and elsewhere to help ensure that the United Nations will not fail to rise to these historic circumstances.

Translation: There is a chance, however remote and quixotic, that we can avert the next Holocaust, but it will not be possible without your generous help.

Failure under these circumstances is too terrible to contemplate.

Translation: Did we mention your imminent doom?

Please tell us that we can count on your support at this time.

Translation: We cannot guarantee success in averting the next Holocaust. But maybe we can reduce its magnitude. Maybe, if we try hard enough, we can save you.

Just take a moment right now to write the most generous check you can afford.

Translation: Who knows, maybe we can save your family, too.

Whether you can afford just $36, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or more, you can be assured that your contribution will be effectively put to work.

Translation: It comes down to this: If you can't scrape together a minimum of, say, $500, our chances of averting Holocaust II will be diminished accordingly. Are you willing to roll the dice? Are you feeling ... lucky?

You know what’s at stake. History has taught us the extraordinarily painful costs of failing to act in time.

Translation: Remember that old friend of yours from Sophomore Year of High School? Remember your pact? How if the world were about to end, you'd drop everything, declare your love for one another, and have wild sex on the brink of oblivion?

Won’t you please stand with us now?

Translation: Write that check now or your childhood friend will be the first to die, studmuffin.


Daniel S. Mariaschin

International Director

Translation: I am Edward Mambo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and the former aide de camp of the late President Laurent Kabila of blessed memory.

P.S. In every area of Jewish life—from fighting for Israel in the world’s great forums to helping to educate our young people and providing assistance to Jewish seniors to combating anti-Semitism, B’nai B’rith makes an enormous difference.

Translation: I am presently living in Nigeria on asylum. In case you are wondering, I got your contact form the foreign trade office of the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The events of the past one year in my country has been very unfortunate. The late President Kabila successfully toppled the very corrupt government of the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and ruled justly and peacefully for a few months. Unfortunately, the Tutsi from Goma, the northern part of the country rebelled against his government and since then my country has been at war.

But we can’t do this alone.

Translation: After the late President Kabila was assassinated under very questionable circumstances, I knew I was in danger of losing from both ends. I have in my possession funds amounting to U.S.$15.5 million. In the usual manner of conveying such funds, the money is in defaced form in a trunk box for security reasons. It is now in the safe custody of a security company.

We need men and women who really care about what we do – and about issues like Israel’s security – to give and give generously to support what we are working so hard to do.

Translation: Now I am seeking foreign assistance to transfer the funds overseas. You will understand that my entire life and future depend on this money and I shall be very grateful if you can assist me. The major thing I demand from you is the absolute assurance that the money will be safe and you will not sit on it when it is transferred to your account.

I hope you are one of those people. Please help us continue this work by responding to this letter today.

Translation: If you are ready to be of assistance, please contact me immediately, so that I can furnish you with the modalities for the transaction and what is expected of you. I shall be most grateful if you maintain utmost confidentiality and keep this message entirely to yourself.

Best regards,

Mr. Edward Mambo



Another lame Eli Valley post.


I hope you move ot eastern Europe and you get attacked by a gang of antisemitic thugs.


You want be writing such insanely lame  parodies.



Or maybe it's the modern-day Max Beerbohm. Either way - and yes, I am slightly compromised -- Eli Valley is a genius. It should offer the Jewish establishment no solace to know that such barbed wit can only come, as any member of a family can attest, from a place of great love. Ignore the inane guff from the hoards of fearful, timid swine -- there's a lot more work to do.




"It should offer the Jewish establishment no solace to know..."


"What Jewish establishement?"  It's a crock there is no one Jewish estabslishment. Satirist, especially bad ones always need an "establishment" to parody. If there isn't one they will invent it.


You are all a bunch of losers with a lot of time on your hands. You ain't funny and your satire isn't true.


Try satirizing yourselves.


"Hezbollah – after devastating Israel last summer with missile attacks, has restocked its armaments, boasting today of more than 33,000 missiles...

Translation: The upcoming Holocaust will make the first Holocaust look like a simple dress rehearsal."

This is stupid. Valley.

Did you know that Hezbollah rockets destoryed thousands of trees in Israel? They caused an environmental catastrophe. I doubt you jerks care much about nature, but it ain't funny.



You are all a bunch of losers with a lot of time on your hands...

....says the anonymous blog commenter. Is there a greater irony or example of self-satire?

Joey Kurtzman

Joey Kurtzman

Shit. Eli's tone here is so indignant that only a bit of quick and well-calculated Jewcy self-effacement (adorable, endearing, cool, self-satirical, I'm talking the whole enchilada/megillah) could block our enemies from swinging bloggers' sentiments against us.

But then the above commenter demanded that we self-satirize, and did so in the context of his own self-satire. There's nowhere left to move, no imaginable posture we can adopt to the devastation of Jewcy's enemies. How could it have come to this? 



The last bit doesn't at all resemble a real Nigerian scam appeal.  The grammar and spelling are impeccable, unlike that of actual Nigerian spam, or for that matter just about any spam no matter where it originates (especially those penis enlargement ones).

David Kelsey

David Kelsey

Not all of the letters in the slideshow of shrill clearly identified each organization, but it looks like the American Jewish Congress was not targeted by Valley.

Pre-passover fundraising conspiracy: Is Eli Valley a secret American Jewish Congress sympathizer? 


try satirizing this:


"B'nai Brith reports anti-Semitism hits new record in Canada"




Updated: 10/Apr/2008 16:01

"OTTAWA (AFP)---For the second year in a row, the number of attacks on Jews in Canada has hit a record high, a leading Jewish advocacy group reported.

In its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, B'Nai Brith Canada reported a total of 1,042 death threats, assaults and intimidation of Jews last year by Canadians.


This figure has increased four-fold over the past decade, the group noted.


As well, incidents have spread from cities to rural areas for the first time, the group said in a statement.


"The 2007 findings indicate that anti-Semitism is not just at the fringes of Canadian society, nor the work of a few lone bigots," said Frank Dimant, vice-president of B'Nai Brith Canada.


"Anti-Semitism's reach is far more systemic," he added, noting: "This form of hatred appears to be increasing in rural areas, whereas before incidents were primarily confined to urban centers."


Incidents included an assault on a rabbi in Toronto, the words "kill Jews"

scrawled on a Toronto public school wall, swastikas painted on Edmonton's oldest synagogue, and the firebombing of a Jewish community centre in Montreal."

It's a pity you don't live in Canada!




OTTAWA (AFP)---For the second year in a row, the number of attacks on Jews in Canada has hit a record high, a leading Jewish advocacy group reported.

In its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, B'nai Brith Canada reported that New York Jews still do not believe that Montreal bagels and smoked meats are superior to their own, an act viewed as an assault on and intimidation of Canadian Jews. Leading Canadian Zillionaires Bronfman, Belzberg and Black could not be reached for comment because they were all too busy enjoying subsidized prescription drugs and pleasuring themselves to Hockey Night in Canada.

 In related news, the Ottawa Senators are expected to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins this Monday night in spite of a last minute attempt by Ottawa resident Irwin Cotler to put what he called "a hex" on the Penguins. The Sens would never have beat Detroit in the upcoming Stanley Cup anyway, but that's another matter.


My daughter was attacked by some bigoted hoodlums when she was in Paris. Her necklace with a mogen david was ripped off and she was lucky that there other Jews around who chased them away.

I might have laughed at your insensitive sense of humor before that event but these stories are not funny to me now because of this incident.

You seem to intelligent to make fun of stories like the one about the Canadian attacks on Jewish people. Firebombing of Jewish centers are not the occasion for jokes.


Only a cowarldy bully laughs at the suffering of other people.

Anonymous Schmock

Sometimes the discussion is even more fascinating then the article itself... while I always thought that the worst Zionist slogan was the one telling me "One out of three children in Israel will be hungry this Pesach" (and therefore I shall support the State, while simple logic commands that I shall not support a state that lets its Jewish children go hungry, not even talking about emigration to such a horrible place), now I have been introduced to even better one: "I hope you move to eastern Europe and you get attacked by a gang of antisemitic thugs" (and therefore I shall love stupid idiots running fundraising campaigns of murky Jewish organizations with no clear goals.) Not only was the author unmasked as a racist and a xenophobe, as the further commentators clearly explained these antisemitic thugs actually do reside in Canada and Paris - but why would anybody really believe that supporting Bnei Brith has any connection to the fact people hate the Jews? Or that because it is a Jewish organization it can act stupid? Bnei Brith was founded as a Freemason lodge, a Jewish Masonic organization, and as such it may actually be the source of antisemitic prejudice and stereotyping, rather then a tool of combating it. The sillier its written materials are, the stronger these stereotypes will be. The more stupid the Jewish leaders will act, the worse off the Jews will be. Jewish leaders are not saints - at least outside of the Chabad movement. So why not laugh at stupidity if it is stupid? If you want defense, buy a gun. If you want to waste your money on stupid Jews, send some dollars to me. Thanks.


There are neo Nazis in the US who hate us too. Imagine going to your local  shul on a Shabbos morning in 2008 and finding that a neo Nazi had drawn swastikas and written german slurs on Jews on the front door of the shul. That couldn't happen here in 2008, right? But it in fact did a few weeks ago in Wilkes Barre, Pennyslvania.


Does B'nai B'rith really still exist?

David Kelsey

David Kelsey

Anonymous schmuck and Mr. Portnoy,

 You are correct that major Jewish organizations need to awake and realize that mass immigration from populations hostile to the Jewish community, from say...oh, I don't know...maybe Pakistan and Saudi Arabia perhaps, just a very, very bad idea for the Jewish community to support.

But don't ask Jewcy or ANY major Jewish periodical to concede that. Just be glad they don't insist on the opposite of reality, or denounce you publicly in the hopes you will shut the fuck up about it.

I'm not bitter or anything. 



What's funny about this is the central point--not that there is anti-Semitism or that horrible incidents occur, but that nearly every Jewish organization loads its pitch letters with the message, "if you don't give...Holocaust happens." Scare tactics like that aren't effective methods of fundraising among members of a younger(your definition here) generation.

What's ironic is that after writing this piece for Jewcy, Eli Valley wrote out checks of support to B'nai Brith. But you could tell his signature was laced with sarcasm.



The inclusion of the Nigerian spam language was an insightful and thought-provoking juxtaposition: two types of alarmist appeal language, both intensely familiar, and treated utterly differently...


The problem with people like Portnoy (a Roth character really and not a real person) think that they are invuulnerable that they will never be beaten up by Jew hating thugs.

Their stupidity which they hide behind stupid jokes is mindblowing.  




Eli isn't denying that anti-Semitism is a concern.  He's attacking the cynical, self-serving use of hectoring fear tactics to solicit donations.  Yes, anti-Semitism, regardless of the source, is a problem--nothing new about that.  No, another Holocaust is not right around the corner.

There's got to be a better way for advocacy organizations to keep themselves running.


Eli Valley,

I am puzzled by your bringing up the Congo in your satire. Is this what inspired you to do this?

Rabbi Yonah

Rabbi Yonah

This issue is a hot topic here on the Left Coast. We have our share of organizations that use these scare tactics. A few points:

Where there is an ACTUAL threat, to Jewish students at UCI,
I have been unable to raise any money to help them. People give to
the big orgs and assume they are taking care of things. Only Stand With
Us, and ZOA have tackled UCI, and they are perceived as outside the
mainstream. Local orgs are playing patty-cake with the Chancellor.

Secondly: I fell over laughing at the end. ON THE
FLOOR. Thank you Eli, we need to laugh more and not take our selves so
seriously. I am still laughing, plotzing.



I love this article... Thanks.