Monthly Archives: January 2015

Open Letter to Tim Wilcox, BBC reporter at Paris Rally

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Dear Mr. Wilcox,

I write this to you regarding your unprofessional and inappropriate actions as a BBC journalist at the Paris Rally.  The other day I was sitting in a meeting with 3 African-American women.  When they commented on how they appreciated the respect I was showing them and that they felt that people of color are not always treated with the necessary respect, I responded with a theory I have maintained for quite some time.  I said that no matter what a person says, when you are any type of minority, you know who has a problem with you based on what you are as opposed to who you are. I spoke of the fact that 2 people can say the exact same thing to me, and I can feel who is the anti-Semite and who is not the anti-Semite. It is with this in mind that I say that regardless of your veiled attempt at merely playing devil’s advocate, we know that the words in your interview come down to the fact that you just don’t like Jews.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH INTERVIEW

Why else would you pick this time Mr. Wilcox, a time when the Jewish people are in pain, when all people of decency are in pain, to make this argument in such a public forum? Is it because your own career is more important to you than the 12 murdered artists from Charlie Hebdo?  Is it because the 4 murdered people in the Kosher supermarket have no importance to you?  Personally I am guessing both of those statements are accurate. Why else would you pick yesterday to make this sort of statement?

Whether you understand what you did wrong or not, it is important that you hear this from as many people as possible.  On a day when the French people were in mourning, when Jewish people worldwide were saddened, frightened and angered, to inappropriately use this moment to express a political commentary supposedly through a leading question was nothing short of despicable.

I could go into a long essay as to why your question wasn’t even based in accurate fact, but to be quite frank Mr. Wilcox, that is not the most important point here.  It is often said that the reporter should never become the story.  By using this platform to show the world your bias against Israel you became the story.  Your lack of professionalism and clear anti-Semitism is a disgrace to journalism.

Before I end this letter I wish to make one very ironic point regarding your inappropriate question and clear anti-Israel sentiment.  Had you committed the same unprofessional act of self-serving bigotry against an even somewhat radical Muslim nation, your life would very likely have been in danger today.  After all, don’t forget why you were in Paris in the first place.  Instead you inaccurately went after Israel, a nation where people are allowed to criticize without threat of death or physical harm.

You may be enjoying the notoriety you are receiving today, but in the end the cream always rises to the top, and therefore I am fairly convinced this will do little to benefit your career.  To be quite honest, that is my hope.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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The Promising, the Disappointing, and the Dangerous on a Day of Unity

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I admit I am somewhat encouraged.  It’s not often that Jewish life is given the global importance it’s been given since the murder of  hostages in a Paris supermarket.  I watched CNN and saw a focus on the French Jewish community I find moving and important.  It may be significant and it may be very helpful to the big picture, but it doesn’t change  one important fact.  The enemy is still coming for us.

Despite what some might think from reading some of my articles, I am actually an optimist.  I believe good can triumph over evil.  Call me naive, but it has happened many times before.  I sit here writing today because in 1945 good triumphed over evil.  So I know it has happened and can happen again.  I just would prefer it doesn’t happen with the high price we have paid in the past.  I am also aware of those politicians who are devious and looking to achieve personal gain.

Should we be impressed with a Turkish delegation at the march just 10 days after the female suspect in the attacks happened to travel through Turkey back to Syria.  Should we be impressed with seeing Mahmoud Abbas walking as close as he can to French President Francois Hollande during the rally? Should we be impressed with Hamas condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo?  I think not. But here are the things we should be impressed with.  A young Muslim man saving Jewish lives in the Kosher supermarket in Paris, a Muslim woman holding up a sign that says “Je suis Juif”, “I am Jewish” during the rally, and coverage from a Paris synagogue that acknowledged the value of Jewish life.  There is some reason to be hopeful when millions of people speak up for good.  Problem is, some of this is mere political positioning and much of it is not enough.

We must be mindful of an attempt by those who are anti-Israel to separate the terror attack from the assault on the Jewish state.  In rallying against this attack and speaking out against terror everywhere, there are those who will attempt to lump Israel into that status of aggressor.  I love the idea of opposition to terror becoming a popular fad, but let’s make sure the dialogue remains accurate and that those trying to destroy Israel don’t try to change the reality in their favor.

I won’t mince words when discussing the one major disappointment of the day.  Shame on this current administration for being so conspicuously absent from the rally.  It magnifies for the entire world the major failings of this presidency.  There truly is no legitimate excuse for not having some sort of American representation at an event of this importance.

On the surface, since the attacks took place we have seen more good behavior than bad, but as Jews and supporters of Israel we do no have the luxury of trusting everyone’s intentions.   We need to watch carefully and expose those who would exploit this tragic week to forward their agenda and to remember that the fight is far from over.

 

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The Harsh Reality

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This is one of those days when the emotion of the situation has impacted me so greatly that I almost need to express myself through the written word.   I am the son of Holocaust survivors.  I grew up knowing not only the evil the world was capable of, but the hatred it was able to show the Jews as well.  Even with that knowledge I never believed I would see what I see today, and that saddens me and simultaneously angers me to no end.

The fear I have is for others, not for myself.  I know we are all in danger at this point, and therefore I fear for the children, the elderly, or the helpless.  This is not a situation that can be ignored. This is not someone else’s problem.  I speak to those in places like London, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and my home of New York.  Do not think you are immune from this disease.  I assure you many in Paris thought they were, and now the whole world sees otherwise.

As disturbing and depressing as this may be, I am not writing this to upset people, but to wake up those who believe you can just go on with your life without recognizing the harsh realities.  We must be vigilant, aware, and look out for each other.  We must also use our voices to wake up those in power, or better yet elect into power those who are willing and able to take the necessary actions to not just save us, but to save the entire world.

How long do people like myself need to say this is World War III before the powerful democracies of the west wake up and take the harsh actions necessary to save millions of lives?  What will it take? Maybe we need to see this week’s events in Paris as being similar to a “TIA”, a Transient Ischemic Attack, otherwise known as a mini-stroke.  A TIA is often seen as a warning that sometimes allows someone to straighten out their health before they get a major stroke which can either debilitate them or even worse, kill them. Anyone who does not see these events as a warning as to what is yet to come, is either misinformed or too frightened to face the truth. But the funny thing about reality, is that even if you run from it, ultimately it chases you down and finds you.

Let’s all do whatever we can now.  Before it is too late.

 

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Paris Hostage Update

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At least 4 hostages killed in Kosher supermarket in Paris.  All hostage takers were shot and killed.

 


Paris at War

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There are now 2 reported hostage situations in Paris including a Kosher grocery store.  The hostage takers in the supermarket, a Muslim couple, have threatened to kill the hostages unless the authorities release the Kouachi brothers.  Now, do we have any question as to whether or not this is a coordinated effort? Do we still want to question whether or not this is a war taking place against civilization of which Paris is today’s ground zero?  And most importantly, do we still wish to dance around the fact that this is indeed a Muslim problem?  People who know me well know that I am the furthest thing from a bigot.  That doesn’t make me blind or stupid.  The world is under attack from Muslim extremists, and as I have said before, the time will come when a world leader or some group of people have had enough.  When that time comes claims of Islamophobia will mean nothing if those who cry foul then do nothing now.

Things are bad today, but they will only get worse unless those who can effect change stand up now.  Soon it will be too late.

For the record, I am an optimist by nature.

 

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Open Letter to Greta Berlin in response to her claim of Mossad responsibility for The Paris Massacre

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Dear Ms. Berlin,

Normally I wouldn’t give someone like you the time of day, but since your insane blubbering has gotten quite a lot of play I find it imperative that I address you.

I’ll get back to the fact that you are delusional later in the letter. First let me paraphrase a great statement I heard someone make this morning on one of the news channels.  “Attacking a group of people you know won’t do you physical harm is false courage.”  The guest commentator was using this as a way of magnifying the courage it took the people at Charlie Hebdo to make satirical comics about Islam.  He used the example of going after Buddha in the United States, stating that if he did so he might make some angry and face criticism, but he would not be putting his life in danger. That doesn’t imply that one is automatically a coward for criticizing a non-violent group, but let’s be real here.  It takes a lot more guts to blame Muslims than it does to blame Jews.

Your fabrications are not ideological, they are not based in any reality, and they are from far brave.  I am proud to write this letter to you and not threaten you.  That is not how us Jews work.  Despite your delusional insane rantings, the Jewish people and the government of Israel are not designers of elaborate schemes to change the world order.  We do not threaten those who disagree with us, ridicule us, or mock us.  But we do speak up with reason and intellect and more often than not we do so with a basis in fact and reality.

There is always some crackpot that uses the suffering of others to propel themselves to the forefront.  You decided to do that yesterday.  You somehow felt that you would take the murder of innocent people and turn it into a tool to spew your nonsense. Congratulations Ms. Berlin.  You are now not only not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.  You are the equivalent to a modern-day Nazi sympathizer and quite frankly an embarrassment to your country and ironically very little help to the people you claim to want to help.  You would help everyone a lot more if you would just be quiet and go away.

Of course unlike those you defend with so much exuberance would do if the situation was reversed, I wish you no physical harm.  I am sure if those you attack felt otherwise, your voice would not be nearly as loud.  All you are doing with your comments is helping those that wish to murder innocent people. Although that is a fact you will just have to live with, I have a feeling you are able to do so with very little problem.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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The Increasingly Rapid Destruction of Freedom

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Anyone with any degree of normalcy and decency is of course horrified for the victims and families of the victims of today’s terrorist attack in Paris.   That being said, if people continue to deny the realities of the situation, what happened today will become increasingly more commonplace.

What we are witnessing is an attack on global freedom.  Working in a satirical magazine’s office should not be a dangerous job. However, forces within the Muslim world are choosing to make it one, and to deny that fact is tantamount to folding up the tent and running away.  As a Jew, and specifically as an American Jew, whether I speak up or remain silent I am ultimately in some danger anyway.  But for a citizen of France or any other western country who is not Jewish, their life is now clearly threatened by what they say or do in the name of freedom. Most importantly, this may have happened in Paris, but it was an attack on anyone on the planet who dares to make statements offensive to Muslims.

Earlier today I heard someone on CNN make the comment, and I paraphrase, “Muslims find killing innocent people abhorrent”.  I found it to be an interesting statement and predictably unchallenged on CNN.  Let’s assume his comment to be true. The problem with the statement is, what do radical Muslims consider innocent?  Is someone who commits blasphemy against Islam innocent in their eyes? If not, this commentators comments indirectly and possibly unintentionally justify today’s attack.  The other problem with this statement is very simply put, it is too little too late.

The comparisons between Nazi Germany and radical Muslim are becoming more and more prevalent.  For the most part this is due to the behaviors of those most vicious.  Sadly there needs to be one more comparison made.  Until Germany was not only defeated, but crushed, we did not have the luxury of distinguishing between good Germans and bad ones.  The only distinction was between those Germans fighting against the Nazis and those either staying neutral or participating in their activities.  If Muslims want to avoid Islamophobia and ultimately global catastrophe, they need to stand up against the evil within their midst.  It is no longer enough to assume that we know you don’t support murder.  You need to fight it with the rest of us.  If you do not, there will come a time when you will be victims of the same evil, albeit from the source or from those reacting to the source.

This is of course a much more complicated battle to fight than the battle against Nazi Germany.  After all, that evil was centralized in one country, while this evil has tentacles reaching all over the world.  But it must be fought, because ultimately it looks to encompass all those who cherish freedom and tolerance and subsequently may be the greatest global danger we’ve ever seen. I am certain it has already made many fearful of expressing their views, something that can only be seen as a victory for the enemy.

I know this attack was reportedly committed by only 3 men, but make no mistake, culpability falls on a large percentage of the Muslim world, for it is now no longer enough to meekly say you don’t like it once it has already happened.  The burden now falls on those claiming to cherish peace, to demand and fight for peace. Otherwise those words are hollow shells that do nothing to improve the situation.  Otherwise how do we even know you truly want a peaceful and tolerant world?

Peace, freedom and tolerance have no religion or passport. Those who truly want it, want it for everyone and will stand up to their own in order to make it happen.  We no longer have the luxury of assuming those who claim to want this freedom actually do if they do nothing to help make it happen.  Just as we couldn’t hope the quiet Germans didn’t support Adolph Hitler.  Had we assumed otherwise, freedom would have been destroyed many years ago.  Let’s not allow it to be destroyed today.

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