Monthly Archives: May 2014

My Response to Roger Waters

Holland's Heroes

picprHere 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…

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How the Oscars Helped Show the BDS Movement’s Lack of Credibility

Holland's Heroes

Omar_poster_croppedBy now I know I was not alone in cringing when a film from Palestine was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.  My personal discomfort wasn’t out of any objection that a film was made in the Palestinian territory, but rather for my immediate nervousness at the prospect of an acceptance speech.  When I thought about it further however, I was actually quite pleased by the nomination.  Not so much because I feel any personal investment in the growth of the Palestinian film industry, but rather because of the damage it does to the argument made by the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) Movement.

The movement, one that has influenced wealthy corporations and high-profile entertainers to boycott Israel, pushes the agenda that Israel is an apartheid state where Palestinians are persecuted with no hope for any sort of future.  Along comes a movie, “Omar”, a movie…

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Who are you calling fat?

Why-fat-people-stay-fatAs someone who has altered his eating habits and added regular exercise to his daily routine, I decided to broach a subject that I find important on many levels.  Self-image.  First let me start by saying that I understand how much more complicated it is for women.  At least let me say I understand it as well as I may be capable of as a man. Motivated by the article written by Taryn Brumfitt in the Huffington Post, I wanted to share my perspective not only as a man, but as a man who lost significant weight and subsequently changed his appearance in the last 11 months.

It starts off with one very basic and simple premise.  Your self-image is something that should never be dictated to you or controlled by someone else.  When that takes place, the source of the problem is likely not weight or even physical appearance, but a person’s basic sense of self-worth and self-confidence.  It is true that everyone likes to be flattered on their appearance, and when one does attempt to lose weight they like their hard work to be acknowledged, but that is not the true measure of the man or woman.

So far what I have written is of course somewhat cliché, but that by no means changes the fact or diminishes its substance.  Where I will possibly differ is in sharing my personal perspective based on the lifestyle change I made just under a year ago and how it has impacted my perception of others.  I now live a life where at least 95% of the time I eat foods I have identified as healthy, based on reading and the suggestions of others, and I go to the gym 4-5 times a week.  As of today I have lost 37 pounds, as my weight has dropped from 206 to 169 pounds.  I weigh less than I have in over 30 years and may very well be in the best shape of my life.  Does this make me better than anyone else?  In my eyes I am only better than one person, and that is me 11 months ago.  But why is it that I feel I am better?  Because I have made taking care of my health a priority, I feel better than I did, I put better food into my body, and although no one knows what will happen in life, I have done what I feel I can do to increase my chances of a longer and healthier life.  Be that as it may, despite the fact that I will not call unhealthy habits healthy ones in order to appease anyone, I don’t force my lifestyle choice on anyone else.  And here is the reason why.

No one can or should tell anyone why they should love anyone, especially oneself.  Freedom of choice is a God given freedom and just because the choice I made 11 months ago makes me happier and makes me feel better about who I am, what right do I or anyone else have to say another person needs to make that choice to be happy?  Who am I or anyone else to decide how someone else needs to live, or look, in order to be happy?  I have only one person I need to be concerned with, and that is me.  My one statement towards others would be this.  Understand that there are two legitimate and positive choices.  Either love the person that you are or change it?  If you love who you are then no one has the right to decide if you look attractive or whether or not you treat your body correctly. Loved ones can care about your physical well-being, but if their intentions are genuine it will never be about appearance, merely health, and unless there is a specific issue present, no one ever knows for sure what will happen regardless of one’s habits and weight.

So for those who feel the need to put someone else down because their body may not be the shape they feel is the correct one, I say this.  Look to yourself and worry about yourself only.  Because if you have the need to put someone else down to pick yourself up or increase your own self-worth it is you who is the lesser person, not the one you call fat.

Why Now?

obamaUnfortunately the current situation in Nigeria and the public outcry regarding the kidnapped school girls brings to the forefront the misplaced priorities running rampant in today’s world.   Make no mistake, the kidnappings are horrific.   However, it sadly is another example of people finding a cause without knowing what has really been going on for quite some time.

Boko Haram is one of the most vicious, heartless groups of evil murderers roaming the planet.  For years they have been killing people in Nigeria in the most callous and terrifying ways imaginable.  Primarily targeting Christians and law enforcement officials, these terrorists have crucified people and burnt them alive.  Their behavior is reminiscent of the Nazis in the way they show absolutely no remorse or mercy in how they kill.   As awful as the kidnappings are, this action of terrorism is by no means their first act of terror and begs the following question.  Where has everyone been till now?

I won’t criticize Michelle Obama or anyone else for tweeting to release the prisoners nor will I criticize anyone for being an activist in the release of these poor girls, because regardless of the motivation the behavior is good behavior and not where the problem lies.  Even though I agree with George Will when he makes the statement that the exercise is one in futility and an exercise in self esteem, I also believe in the concept of a good action for the wrong reasons still being a good action.   And to be quite frank, that’s not the part that disturbs me.  What disturbs me is that we live in a world when no one cares enough when people get murdered and burned alive to take action.  Our leadership and the leadership of other nations around the world keep silent until it becomes a popular cause.  And the so-called activists who call Israel an apartheid state will never, and I say that confidently, NEVER find any Israeli behaving in the vicious and callous way that the member of Boko Haram have behaved.   Yet they have all remained silent.  Why?  Simply put it is because there is no financial gain or benefit towards their popularity.  That and the fact that some people hate Jews more than they value human life.

I hope and pray these girls get returned safely, but I hope and pray even more that somehow the world starts turning into a place where innocent human life is valued.  Sadly I am not confident at this time that it will happen any time soon, but in the meantime I’ll keep hoping and praying.