As a supporter for Israel I have no difficulty in saying that I despise the current Syrian regime. Starting with the current Assad’s father, this dictatorial fascist government has been a catalyst in attacks on Israel and a financier of worldwide terrorism specifically against Israel and world Jewry for decades. With that said one would think I would be in favor of a U.S. lead attack on Syria in response to the evidence of chemical weapons being used by the government against the rebels in the ongoing civil war. This is not the case at all. Not only am I not in favor of United States involvement in Syria, I’m more opposed to it than I have been to any military action in a very long time. The reason being is that it is clear to me that nothing good will result from any type of US lead attack.
The first question that comes to my mind, one that I asked a week ago, is why now? Why is it so much worse that people get slaughtered with chemical weapons than it is that they get blown apart by a bomb? My mother, who is 91 and a survivor of the Holocaust, gave me what I consider to be the best answer to that question. Her response was, and I am paraphrasing; ‘others get involved when it scares them and they are in danger. If Syria has chemical weapons they can use it elsewhere. They don’t care about the other people. They only care about themselves.’
If we think the people we are pretending to care about don’t see this as well then we have become blinded by our very arrogance.
I don’t have a problem with our government or any other government looking out for the safety of its citizens, but I do have issue with it being done behind the smokescreen of concern. It eliminates the full and honest disclosure necessary to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. And make no mistake. This is a major crisis. The Syrian government is backed by Russia, a powerful and important player in world politics and one we are already at odds with. The collapse of governmental structure in Syria could lead to chaos that could indeed start a major conflict involving multiple nations aligning on different sides. The Syrian crisis has immediate impact on Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Jordan. This would follow with a multitude of other countries likely getting involved. Although Russia has not taken a hard stance against US involvement, the relationship it has with Syria is a wild card that makes this an even more dangerous venture.
I am generally in favor of anything that protects the State of Israel. This would not protect Israel nor would it bring any additional stability to the crumbling region. Syria is already an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people and has and will continue to harbor and support terrorists committed to its destruction. The Israeli government is fully aware of this and has and always will take the appropriate action to ensure the safety of its people and neutralize the enemy. A US attack on Syria does neither.
I am not a bleeding heart who is opposed to any type of war. However, of all the reasons to go to war, going to war to send a message is one of the most barbaric and unproductive. If someone can show me how bombing Syria accomplishes anything more than that I am willing to listen. I just don’t see it that way.
It is tremendously unfortunate that I need to follow up my post about Bar Rafaeli by defending a woman who made global news in defense of the Jewish state. Since the time I wrote the last post, I’ve been told she is a draft dodger who has been highly criticized in Israel for not going into the army. I’ve even been told that she is widely criticized for her Liberal views. Since when does having Liberal views automatically label you as being bad for the Jewish people or State of Israel? Bar Rafaeli came right out and went after an individual, Roger Waters, who is and enemy of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I appreciate the passion felt by former soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a Jew I am forever in their debt for their service. This I say with total sincerity and conviction. However, to those criticizing Rafaeli I say this. Go after your enemies not your friends. Here is a public figure using her high profile status to try and combat a subtle but significant evil and what she deserves is gratitude and support. It is not everyone’s responsibility to be part of the solution, but in going after Bar Rafaeli you become part of the problem.
As a follow up to my post attacking the self-serving, hypocritical, anti-Semite Roger Waters, I present to you this post about a person who is everything he is not. The great and I say this with conviction, the great Bar Rafaeli. All of us who appreciate the beauty of a woman have already been fans to some extent of this stunningly sexy and beautiful model, but God given looks are not enough to make a person great. One’s greatness comes with what they do with what they have. I do not know Bar Rafaeli, so unless the good Lord decides I’ve done something so right in my life that I do actually get to meet her one day, all I have to go by is what I read and hear.
As a Jew I am tremendously proud of how Bar Rafaeli has represented herself to the general public in defense of the honor of Israel, the Jewish state. In declaring to the world that she wants her image removed from Roger Waters show due to his call to boycott Israel, she is showing herself to be someone with great integrity, honor, and courage. She is showing the world that she is something very special and something traditionally every Jewish woman strives to be. She is a Woman of Valor. It is easy to stay quiet. It is sometimes even better for business. Bar Rafaeli has shown character and strength in defending her people and her land. As far as I am concerned she can represent the Jewish people any time and as a Jew, I thank her.
On August 4, 2004 I gave up smoking cigarettes. That means that I am one of the fortunate ones to no longer be a prisoner to what is a brutal addiction. When you’re a smoker you go to bed at night after you’ve had your last cigarette, and wake up in the morning immediately ready for your next one. When you travel, be it on a plane or train or bus, you are looking forward to the moment you arrive so that you can light up a cigarette. When there’s a foot of snow outside and you have run out of cigarettes, you will go out and find a place that is open. The discomfort of going out in any type of storm pales in comparison to wanting a cigarette and not having one. So in reading this piece, all you smokers please understand that this is coming from someone who knows how difficult it is to quit the habit. So how did I do it? Here is my method. But remember in reading this that there is a twist at the end of the story.
When I stopped smoking 2 years ago it was not the first time I had done so. I had previous instances where I had stopped for years at a time and succumbed to temptation and started again. So needless to say, I was rather good at it. I had developed an entire system. The system starts with preparation. You set a date to quit, maybe 2-3 weeks down the road and schedule it as a big event. During that time period you smoke any time you get the urge. This usually means you’ll smoke up to a half a pack a day more than you normally would. You then imagine not smoking a cigarette at those moments when a cigarette is most special. After a meal, after sex, with an alcoholic beverage, or with a cup of coffee. Each time those moments arise, just before you light up, you imagine not smoking. This way when you actually do quit, you are at least somewhat prepared for the feeling you experience. Then you need to talk yourself through it. Understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. And the further you go without a cigarette the easier it can become if you use this little trick. Tell yourself that the agony you are experiencing by not smoking can’t be for nothing, and if you light up, all you’ve done is cause yourself unnecessary discomfort. And finally, if you have to, turn to something else. Have a glass of wine or a beer, not too much though because we don’t want you to go from being a smoker to an alcoholic. Or even smoke a cigar. But don’t inhale it because that will just make you sick and angry and you’ll want a cigarette even more. And finally, if you try all this, and you end up starting again, don’t beat yourself up over it. That will just make it harder to attempt to quit the next time. And for many people it takes a few tries before it takes. In fact, I had tried once before this successful attempt about 3 months earlier and I was not successful. I lasted about 3 days before I smoked again. This is where I bring you the twist I promised in the beginning of this piece.
Although I do truly believe that my method works, because I had quit twice before by using it, it is not what actually got me to quit. In the months leading up to August 4th I had been chatting online with a woman who I was getting along with quite nicely. However the one thing she made clear to me from the beginning was that she did not want to be anywhere near a man who was a smoker. Now the truth is that any time I was a smoker I did want to stop. After all, it is terribly unhealthy, smells awful, and takes away your physical stamina, among other things. So some time around May I tried to stop smoking. Naturally I told the woman that I had stopped since I certainly knew it would only make her like me more. However, 3 days after I stopped, I started again. But when she asked me a week later how I was doing as a non-smoker, I chose the easy way out. I lied. Saying that I still was not smoking and that I was doing fine. Well then when we made a plan to meet in person in the middle of the summer, and knowing that I had fed her misinformation for about 3 months, I had 2 choices. Come clean and tell her I had been lying, or actually quit smoking before I meet her and have it never be an issue. The decision was easy. I decided to quit one week before I met her. This way the smell would be gone and I would have enough time to adjust so that I would not be a nervous terror without my nicotine. Well at least the smell went away. The bad attitude I blamed on being in a bad mood when I was hungry in the morning. Needless to say I was not the most fun to be around that weekend and subsequently never saw the woman again. But at least I stopped smoking.
Here is my response to Roger Waters’ “Open Letter”.
From the time I was a teenager I enjoyed the music of Pink Floyd. Sadly, the devious and disingenuous behavior of Rogers Waters has so disgusted me that the very sound of the music has been tarnished. I am a Jewish man and the son of Holocaust survivors yet I will first make a point not connected to my personal background. To call Israel an Apartheid state is an insult to every person of color who suffered under the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The South Africans who were victimized were never given any opportunity to live as equals in the society and I dare say would have been happy to have received the rights that Israeli Arabs have been given in the past, including the opportunity to be members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. And unlike the victims in South Africa, the so-called representatives of the Palestinians have unleashed terrorist attacks on Jews worldwide for decades, killing scores of innocent men, women, and children. Hamas controls Gaza, not Israel. The PLO stole from the West Bank Palestinians, Israel did not. Even when Israel has put restrictions on Palestinians, they have never been as active in keeping the people down as Fatah or Hamas have in their attempts to make terrorist activity against Jewish interests the number one business export in the “occupied” territories.
On a personal note, Mr. Waters, and I believe I speak for many Jewish people when I say this, I am on to you. You’re music, some of the most intelligent music I enjoyed in my early years reveals an intellect too advanced for you not to know the truth and reality. Your behavior and so-called cries for justice are merely an expression of a hatred for Jewish people and their right to live in a free and sovereign state. I have seen it too often in my life and I recognize the methods people use to hide their true motivations. I suppose you question the number 6 million as well? Maybe not publicly, that would be really bad for business, but most likely in the privacy of your own home. And it is very much about business isn’t it? That is why you have taken what was once the most successful non-commercial piece of pop culture and recycled it ad-nauseum. Because it sells. Well I am no longer buying it, for a true artist, like Alicia Keys or Sir Paul McCartney, a gentleman whose shoes you can’t even shine, will take their true art and attempt to spread love and joy, not use their platform for self-serving, hypocritical, political revisionist history. I would tell you to learn the truth but we both know you do know the truth. You just have made the unfortunate choice to distort it and in the process destroyed every ounce of integrity you ever had.