Monthly Archives: November 2015

Syria America Line

600w-CoralPrincess-CruiseShip1

Those of us who have an avid interest in current events will go as far as sitting around a table in a New York City restaurant on a Friday night attempting to come up with the solutions to those issues that we feel need the most immediate and secure resolution.  Last night, one of my friends  Denise Marie Overton Magidson shared with me the following idea that, even if it does not resolve the entire refugee crisis, would certainly alleviate the pain and suffering of many thousands.

Her idea, in 2 words; cruise ships. While at first I thought she was being tongue and cheek, when she elaborated on it I realized what an original and compassionate idea it is as well as a potential means of providing immediate, safe, and livable conditions for the Syrian refugees living under hellish circumstances and desperately seeking a new home.  These people would have shelter, food and running water and it would also allow for a more careful and accurate vetting of those attempting to enter other countries.

What I particularly like about this idea, although admittedly I have no clue of whether or not it could work on a practical basis, is the fact that it represents an idea which combines concern with our safety with the well-being of the suffering of others regardless of where they come from.  Like many Americans, Denise Marie is not a heartless and hateful person who couldn’t care less about the plight of the others.  On the contrary, in coming up with this idea she represents what to me is more the American way than those who propose to blindly and haphazardly allow the entry of thousands upon thousands of people who could easily and unwittingly be camouflaging terrorists.  Her proposal combines a practical way of protecting our interests while in the process helping the needy and protecting our collective soul.

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Now is not the Time to Judge Our Own, Now is the Time to Get Down & Dirty

ezra

Much is being written about the importance of maintaining our ethical behavior as westerners living in civilized nations. The issue of Syrian refugees has moved to the forefront and become a polarizing political issue. While the statements may be based in an unquestionable truth, to put too much focus on this now deflects attention from the bigger problems facing western civilization.  War is being waged against our entire way of life and to put too much emphasis on our behavior, be it in action or rhetoric gives those who want to kill us more time to implement their strategy and puts all of us in serious danger.   First we must deal with the enemy, then we can deal with ourselves.

I am writing this partially as an indirect response to an excellent article written by a friend of mine in which he discusses immoralities that we, as decent people have no right to commit.  The article shows his extreme decency as a human being and extraordinary intellect, however in my mind as much as I respect him for his words, I believe the timing of the message to be off. This is a message we need to save for when this war is over.

The reason I say this is because we are dealing with an enemy that knows no morality, no decency, and has no heart.  As much as I believe good ultimately triumphs over evil, that doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes you must fight fire with fire.  As is so often the case when I espouse this type of action, I feel a pang of guilt.  After all, I am likely not going to be one of those people committing what otherwise might be deemed as questionable acts or even atrocities.  That being said, I fear for our future and know that if we are, for lack of a better term too nice, we’re in very big trouble.

Maybe I am one of the bad guys after all.  I believe that if it us or them it’s an easy decidsion.  I recognize the tragedy in the millions of suffering people living in Muslim countries, and although I wish it were different, now is no longer the time nor is it once again the time for us to concern ourselves with their plight.  The time will come when we do once again have the prosperity of a peaceful life, but until that time comes once again, our priority must be protecting our way of life and even more importantly, keeping each other safe.  If that means becoming something that we do not want to become, as long as it is temporary, I believe it is something we must do.  A true victory means doing so under our terms as they exist today, not defeating the enemy and becoming like them in the process.  As long as we stay focused on what it is that needs to be accomplished, taking the harshest of measures to see it happen is acceptable.  If as a society we have to slip backwards morally, I am confident we can address and fix that later.

If leading by example, taking the moral high ground, not letting the enemy drag us into the mud could work, I’d be all for it.  Sadly we are dealing with animals and sometimes the only way to defeat an animal is to become an animal.  Once good triumphs over evil and we are free of the cancer plaguing our planet we can focus on demanding ethical behavior from each other and the rest of the civilized world.  Until then survival is paramount, almost at all ethical and moral costs. As well intended as those focusing on our behavior may be, our energies need to be applied to a ruthless and barbaric enemy, one that will only see our decency and morality as weakness and exploit it to a tragic end.  Preventing that from happening takes precedence over everything else, no matter how unethical it may seem.

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TheThreat of a Terror attack and its Psychological Impact

New-York-Times-Square-Night-Life-1920x1080-Wallpaper

Yesterday ISIS came out with a video warning of an impending attack in New York.  A few days earlier in Washington, D.C.  No one in Paris will ever again doubt the threat of an ISIS attack until the organization is destroyed.  Part of the threat on New York is specifically aimed at Times Square.  Although one expert says the specific warning might indicate that there actually are not any sleeper cells in New York since no place that has been attacked received such a specific warning, I’d still be pleasantly surprised if a camera shot of Times Square this Friday or Saturday night would show crowds as large as what we are accustomed to seeing.  Terror cell or not, the threat is out there, and that scares people.

It should go without saying that an actual attack is far worse than a threat.  The devastation caused by last weeks loss of life and innocent people injured in Paris is as bad as it gets.  That doesn’t mean ISIS doesn’t have other ways of attacking us. Displaying an evil cleverness unlike any previous terrorist organization, it would hardly be surprising if ISIS was actually cashing in their psychological chips and using the threats purely as a way of damaging the morale and economy of people in western countries, particularly the United States.

Americans by and large are a tough people.  I think there will still be crowds of people at Times Square in the coming weeks, but I also believe that some damage will most likely be done just from the threats put out there.  If the nations of the world show a strong resolve and display an indignant attitude towards the threats, then at least we’ve won one of the battles.  Of course that’s easy for me to say, since I may or may not be at Times Square this weekend.  I’ll let you know on Monday.

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A Show of Disrespect from Turkish Soccer Fans during a Moment of Silence

Turkey-Fans-at-Soccer-Match-Boo-Chant-Allahu-Akbar-During-Moment-of-Silence

Yesterday I listened to a discussion between an interviewer on CNN and Iranian born Muslim author Reza Aslan who is using his voice as a means of battling Islamophobia.  As a citizen of the world and a lover of the human race I made every effort to keep an open mind to what he was saying.  Then I saw the video of Turkish soccer fans booing and shouting Allahu Akbar during what was meant to be a moment of silence for the victims of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris and I was startled back into the harsh reality. The problem is not how we perceive Islam, the problem is how Islam perceives itself.

I need to start by saying that I am inherently not a bigot.  I am the guy who doesn’t distinguish between people I interact with, work with and socialize with based on color, race, religion or sexual preference. I generally distance myself from anyone I feel does make that distinction.  That being said, the Muslim world has a major problem, and that problem is not that people fear them or identify Muslims as a dangerous threat.  The true problem facing the Muslim world is an out of control growing mentality and ideology of intolerance and hate.

I don’t know enough to sit here and put this on the entire Muslim world, and quite frankly I really don’t want to.  Very little would make me happier than for the peaceful and rational Muslim countries and elements within countries to rise up against the elements not just bringing their entire culture down, but attempting to destroy other cultures as well.  But when Turkey, a NATO country, a European country, a country touted as moderate Muslim state displays this degree of disrespect and heartlessness towards innocent victims, purely because they are not Muslim, we get a clear picture of how serious this global situation really is.

Turkey in itself is a major problem.  It’s Prime Minister shows a passionate hatred for Israel and its government, practically standing on a proverbial mountaintop and shouting to the world how evil its Jewish leadership is, but when well over 100 people get slaughtered in Paris I can’t find a comment from him anywhere. Many suspected ISIS terrorists who come from European countries and the United States are found to make passage through Turkey. To be clear, the battle against ISIS doesn’t really get serious until Turkey is held accountable for its actions and failure to take proper actions.

But here is the reason this reflects so poorly on the entire Muslim world.  Reza Aslan gets in front of the news media, battles what he calls undue bigotry against Muslims, and touts Turkey as an example of one of the decent, more tolerant countries.  Mr. Aslan, if Turkey is one of the good guys, the problem is not how we perceive Islam, the problem is what you perceive as good.  One thing I know for sure, booing during a moment of silence and shouting the same phrase used by a terrorist before he guns down scores of people or blows himself up does more to harm Islam’s image than anything Bill Maher can say. Until People like Reza Aslan understand that, we as a global society are just spinning our wheels and deteriorating into what will be a total catastrophe, not just for us but for Muslims as well.

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Open Letter to the Foreign Minister of Sweden

swedi

Dear Ms. Wallstrom,

I assume that part of what made you choose to draw the connection between the conditions in which Palestinians live in Israel and the terrorist attacks in Paris was done to placate part of your base, but in doing so you did something so egregious you should resign or be removed from your position immediately.

Ironically in choosing to insinuate Israel’s share in the blame for what happened, you actually let everyone know how you yourself actually share part of the blame. Although I do not believe you have any direct connection to the terrorists that committed the atrocities in Paris, in taking such an illogical and thoughtless approach against the democratic country spending more time fighting terrorists than any other, you actually brand yourself as a philosophical accomplice.

Whether it is because you have strong Muslim support in your country or because you are misguided in your opinions, or maybe just an ardent anti-Semite, your words are part of what empowers radicalized Muslims. What you may fail to see and certainly failed to articulate, is that the poor living conditions in which the Palestinians find themselves is primarily caused by misappropriation of funds by their leaders as well as a constant indoctrination of hatred towards the Jewish people. If you would take time to look at it more closely you would see that the government of Israel has made countless efforts to better the lives of the Palestinians. What you choose to see instead is Palestinian Authority and Hamas propaganda that blames everything on Israel.

I am sure the leadership of ISIS is very pleased to have people such as yourself deflect the blame from where it belongs and place some of it instead on the State of Israel. Just understand that in doing so you play so much into the terrorist organization’s hands that you show yourself to be like-minded in many ways.

It may seem harsh to see someone draw a connection between yourself and something as evil and vicious as the terrorist attacks in Paris, but to that I only say the following to you. Now you know how we Zionists feel when you do it to the government of Israel.  Except in your case it is actually accurate. In philosophy if not in practice.

I urge you to take a good look at what you are doing and understand the magnitude of your words and the responsibility you have as an important politician in an otherwise respected and liked European nation and hopefully realize that your words ultimately put more innocent lives in danger.

Sincerely,
David Groen

 

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The Accountability of World Leaders

Barack Obama, Francois Hollande

I have often said how important it is to identify your enemy.  I never have been one to blame Presidents Clinton or Bush for 9/11. I blamed bin-Laden.  World leaders can sometimes be tragically inept, but the blame for acts of barbarism and terror falls directly on those who commit them.  That being said, our leaders do have a responsibility to defend us and in light of the recent events in France, and even more so in light of the reaction, leaders such as American President Obama and French President Hollande owe their citizens the answer to one very important question.  Why did it take the terror attacks in France for them to get serious?  That’s assuming that now they truly are serious.

This approach of reacting without pity, intensifying the airstrikes, doubling and tripling the efforts is all well and good and naturally something I support, but questions needs to be asked and answered.  Did they not know this was coming? Has ISIS not made its intentions very clear for quite some time?  Let’s say ISIS keeps their word and attacks Washington, D.C., will the president then take the strong action needed to stop this? When France sends its air force to wipe out key ISIS locations in its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, again something I support, I can’t help but wonder why this was not done last week, last month, or even last year. It is easy to understand why it was done yesterday, 2 days after the terror attacks,  but knowing full well that ISIS had every intention of attacking innocent people anywhere they could get to them, and having already proven their willingness and desire to murder multitudes of people, did they really need a catastrophe to take proper action?Apparently so.

The time to be concerned about collateral damage has passed.  Now is the time to unleash the gates of hell on the very same people who want to kill every last one of us.  I am not barbaric, in fact I’m a particularly peaceful man, but if it comes down to taking out a village in Syria or Iraq that is  being used as a shield for their operations or even 1 person that I care about being hurt, I am in favor of wiping out that village.  It is likely too late to stop further acts of terror in the United States and Europe, but in wiping out their cities that are being used as bases of operations, we have a much better chance of averting a global catastrophe. Furthermore, it’s time the world recognized that the enemy Israel is fighting is of the exact same ilk, and that the Jewish state needs to be left alone to do what is necessary to bring peace to its borders.  If this is not part of the entire philosophy, then these very same leaders, not just Obama and Hollande but all the leaders of the west have learned nothing from the events of this past Friday in Paris.

The great thing about democracy is that when our leaders aren’t doing what needs to be done we can elect new ones. Until that time let’s hope our leaders take the actions that gives us reason to believe they understand what is truly at stake and preserve our crumbling future.  Before it’s too late.

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Why I Do Post the French Flag

dgfrenchflag
A few days after the terrible events in Paris, it becomes more and more apparent 
to me that the difficulties we face are far more complicated and muddled than I 
originally thought.  I was hoping that the bright side of an otherwise tragic and 
overwhelmingly sad day would be an unparalleled unity. While there does seem
to be a tremendous support for the French people throughout the western world, 
I have unfortunately seen somewhat of a schism forming from within my very
own Jewish people.

Not only do I not feel that anyone needs to change their profile picture on 
Facebook to show the silhouette of the French flag, I'm not so arrogant that I feel 
someone who chooses not to do so cares any less than someone who does.  I 
certainly do not think I am a better person that anyone else for doing so.  What 
concerns me is the inability some are having in distinguishing between supporting 
a civilized nation in shock and mourning and supporting Israel and its perpetual 
battle against similar murderous terrorists. 

My website Holland's Heroes began as an online forum in support of my book 
detailing the experiences of my parents during the most devastating time in Jewish
history.  My activism took a greater role in my life after the murder of 3 innocent 
boys in Israel.  I know for a fact that not everyone agrees with me, but my passion 
and love for the Jewish people should not be in question, even if my Facebook 
profile does silhouette with the French flag.

I've often said that the first step in defeating the enemy is identifying the enemy.  
This is where I usually encounter my most significant disagreements.  While some 
put  strong emphasis on what I see as the misguided and frightened, I see the  enemy
we need to focus on as the one that wants to wipe us off the planet or destroy 
our way of life.  The word traitor is thrown about with regularity.  There may be, 
or may not be an entire segment of Jewish society making the wrong choices, 
but unless they are doing so with the intent of hurting Israel and or the Jewish 
people, they are not traitors.  Even if their viewpoints and even actions are 
damaging, something too many people feel they can determine in advance, 
they are not the enemy.

German Jews who believed it could never happen in their country were 
tragically mistaken, but did that make them bad?  Did it cause the Nazi party to 
rise? It did not. Would it have been better had they accepted the awful reality? 
Maybe, maybe not.  We will never know.  What we do know is that the majority 
paid a terrible price.

I often say the phrase Never Again and know how important it is to be aware of 
one's enemy.  This is indeed why I personally chose to change my profile.  
Just as in the days of Hitler, the world faces an enemy with global ambitions.  
Our survival rests far more on battling that enemy than it does on separating 
ourselves from those facing the same enemy, even if those very same people 
have not always been on our side.  The French people and government may 
not be the best friend of Israel and the Jewish people, but it is a civilized 
western society that doesn't want to see us killed.  And I think it's safe to say 
that the majority of the people killed and murdered in these terror attacks 
were people not that much different than we are.  

I go back and forth between a feeling of anger and sadness every time a Jew 
gets murdered by a terrorist.  Sadly for us Jews it's old hat.  That doesn't mean 
there's no room in my heart to feel the same today for people who suffered the 
same fate and just like our fellow Jews, didn't deserve that fate. 

As Jews and as human beings it is my belief that we show a  special side of 
our character if we focus on compassion over criticism and in the process we 
help preserve our collective souls.

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