Tag Archives: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Open letter to Washington Post Editor Martin Baron regarding headline of death of ISIS leader

ISISLeader

Dear Mr. Baron,

I believe it is important that you understand that this letter is being written to you from someone who is openly left of center on political issues.  Although I pride myself in being a centrist, I primarily have voted Democrat in the past, defend attacks on liberals when I feel them unmerited, and criticize Donald Trump when I feel it appropriate.  All that being said, I find it impossible to be quiet when I see a headline bordering on showing respect to a known hater of western civilization and mass murderer.

I am referring to your recent article that refers to the recent death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in which your newspaper refers to him as an “austere religious scholar”.  To be clear, my problem is not in the accuracy of the statement.  Yes he was austere and although I do not have enough facts to speak to how scholarly he was I will accept that as being a true statement.  The problem with your headline is that you used those 2 facts to define the man, and that is neither sensitive nor true.

As a media outlet claiming to represent truth and justice, your paper needs to answer for this portrayal of a man who in his lifetime made it clear to the entire world that his ultimate goal was to conquer and kill.  If you were to be true to what you claim to be, rather than calling him an “austere religious scholar” you would have referred to him as an “ambitious fanatical killing machine”.  To focus on his austerity and religious knowledge is not only insensitive, it’s hypocritical.  The headline on your paper states the words “Democracy dies in darkness”.  I consider those words to be profound and true.  However, to use them as a means of attacking Donald Trump while choosing not to headline the death of someone as pro darkness and anti-democracy as the former leader of ISIS, is indeed hypocritical.

This is not about the American political situation or the current resident of the White House, both of which I am not always particularly thrilled with.  It’s about sincerity and agenda.  If you truly believe that “Democracy dies in darkness” you should require a headline indicating that with the death of al-Baghdadi a little more light shined through the darkness.  But if as a newspaper you are either so scared of going after the worst people or so focused on your own political agenda, you are doing a disservice to the American people.

Many funny posts have come out in response to your headline.  Some of them made me chuckle. but truth be told, nothing about this is funny.  We live in a democracy with freedom of the press, speech and religion.  You want things changed here?  I am all for you using your platform in the manner in which you choose.  However, if you claim to be a purveyor of Democracy and light, you lose credibility when ignoring the worst dictatorial hatred and darkness the world has to offer.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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“Hitler” is not an adjective

Nazi_Rally_stadium_Nuremburg_1934_dbloc_sa

I’ve watched and listened in thorough dismay as people have thrown around the Hitler comparison. It started in earnest with people comparing current President Barack Obama to the Nazi leader and mass murderer, and has continued recently with numerous statements calling Donald Trump the next Hitler.  Fortunately, only for the sake of this discussion, the comparisons have been thrown around equally both in discussion about a current Democratic President, and now with the Republican front runner for president.  So it’s happened on both sides of the political aisle. Let me be very clear about my position.  Using this comparison is not besides being slanderous towards both, unintentionally diminishes the importance of remembering those murdered by Hitler’s Nazi Party.

It is believed that Adolph Hitler was responsible for the murder of close to 20 million innocent men, women and children.  6 million of these were Jewish victims of a Holocaust of devastating proportions.  The majority were murdered during World War II, but it’s extremely important to note that Hitler’s anti-Semitic intentions were made very clear long before the war started.  Yes Hitler looked to disarm the masses, but when people use this as a reason to draw a comparison to President Obama, all they are showing is a disingenuous use of a political platform.  I am not making any political statement regarding the gun control discussion, merely stating how disgusting it has been to use this issue as a justification to compare our current president to Hitler.  I hate the Iran deal.  I also believe there is plenty of reason to question whether or not this president is a friend of Israel’s.  However, unlike Hitler, there have been reasons to make the opposing argument, like a Chief of Staff with Israeli parents and funding for Iron Dome. Again, I am not making a case for President Obama being a friend of Israel’s or the Jewish people, but I am emphatically saying that he is not only not like Hitler, to say that he is like him is despicable.

Donald J. Trump is loud, abrasive, insulting, and maybe Marco Rubio is right that he is a con-artist.  It’s also possible that he is a straight-shooting successful businessman who loves America and is primarily well intentioned.  I’m not necessarily thrilled about the President Trump scenario.  But I will tell you what I do know.  Donald Trump has had too many positive interactions over the years with minorities to be classified as an outright bigot.  He even has a daughter who converted to Judaism. And yet people compare him to the most disgusting, most proud, most murderous anti-Semite that ever lived? I think a strong case can be made to not vote for Trump merely on his faltering when asked about the David Duke endorsement, but I don’t think he did it because he supports the KKK, I think he did it because all he heard was the word endorsement and it’s hard for Trump not to like anyone who likes him.  That in itself can be a dangerous thing, but it still doesn’t make you Hitler.

For those of you who have read this far, I am sure you are clear on the fact that I am not emphatically standing behind any one politician or viewpoint. I am merely stating something I wish I didn’t have to state.  If you are looking for a Hitler comparison you need to go no further than the leaders of ISIS or Hamas, people who have preached death to the Jews and persecuted and murdered groups that do not tow the line with their way of life.  It doesn’t have to be about murdering Jewish people to merit a Hitler comparison.  The ISIS leader Baghdadi’s sanctioning and ordering the murder and persecution of Christians is already enough to do so.  To compare Obama or Trump to Hitler is not only an insult to the Jewish people murdered by the Nazis, it’s a blatant insult and disregard for the treatment of the Yazidis by ISIS.

Now let me be clear about something. I am not saying I support Donald Trump.  In fact I will accept what former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman said, that Trump’s language regarding Muslims reminded her of “the kind of rhetoric that allowed Hitler to move forward.”  I take no offense to calling Trump a danger. That’s an opinion that may or may not prove valid.  But there is a big difference between calling someone evil, or saying someone’s words creates a fertile ground for evil.

Hitler was a man.  An evil man. He showed hatred to the Jewish people and other minorities from the very beginning.  He spoke early in his career about annihilating the Jewish people.  Sadly he came closer to achieving this than anyone in history.  Millions of innocent men, women and children were murdered by this man.  “Hitler” is not a word in the dictionary that means a politician with viewpoints, sometimes extreme, that represent an opposing and sometimes prejudicial viewpoint.  Hitler was a man who murdered millions of people.  Today we have people using that term to describe people of who there is no evidence they even murdered one.  There are not 2 types of people in the world.  Good and Hitler.  There are many in between.  These may be bad people who people sometimes call Hitler.  But to be a “Hitler” is something that needs to be earned by perpetrating savage, brutal, heartless  torture and murder.  Not by saying things we don’t like or even saying things deemed hateful.  Not even by merely being dangerous. If we minimize the significance of who Hitler was, we minimize the seriousness of what he did.  That may create a simpler path to another mass murdering tyrant than anything else taking place today.

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Bibi Bashing. It’s all the Rage

Europe Gaza Protests

 

 

 

 

I don’t claim to have the entire corner on reality.  Although I am by no means deluded, I am a flawed individual and therefore never claim to be that much smarter than anyone else.  I do know however, that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s not a dog.  No matter how many people say otherwise.

Let me first get something out of the way.  My personal feelings aside, I realize Benjamin Netanyahu is not liked by many people.  He is a strong-minded and ambitious politician who comes off to many as smug and arrogant.  Despite the fact that I do not share their sentiments, I realize there are even people who I have great respect for that feel that way.  That being said, the facts don’t completely change just because of a dislike for a leader’s personality or even his policy.

Popularity or lack thereof often seems to come in the form of a fad. I am by no means saying that there are not many people who have carefully thought out their reasons for bashing Benjamin Netanyahu every opportunity they get, but there are numerous people  out there who have remained silent and are only now speaking loudly about their dislike for the Israeli Prime Minister.  It’s a very polarizing issue.  Families and close friends will disagree vehemently over their feelings for him.  Non-Jews with marginal knowledge of foreign affairs now know who he is, with many having formed an opinion.  As is the case so often, people follow the hoards.

I am baffled by how so much of liberal politics has taken the form of sympathy for the Palestinians against the evil Israeli oppressors. But much of that is also caused by people being followers.  The proof of that lies in the existence of liberals who do indeed support Israel and recognize the fact that Israel lacks a true partner in the peace process.

A friend of mine once said that people buy with emotion and try to back it up with logic.  As the world is being sold a bill of goods regarding the situation in the Middle East, the salespeople are constantly scrambling to back up their anti-Israel rhetoric.  For the sake of making my argument I will pretend I not only dislike Benjamin Netanyahu, but I will go one step further and pretend I don’t agree with his policies.

So I begin by pretending that I agree with the notion that Netanyahu is an arrogant, racist, self-serving politician who has done more to hurt Israel and its relationship with the rest of the world than he has to help it.  I will pretend that I agree with the notion that he has shown American President Barack Obama no respect and is working against him in a way that is diametrically opposed to the great relationship between the United States and Israel.  I am pretending all this is true.  Now that I am doing this I have a few questions.

Has Iran threatened to annihilate Israel?

Has Israel ever suffered attacks from terrorist organizations?  Let be more specific with my question. Has Israel been attacked consistently by terrorists from Lebanon in the North, Gaza in the South, and the Palestinian Authority in the east?

Were there terrorists attacks before Benjamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister?

Did anti-Semitism exist before Benjamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister?

Have offers for peace agreements that could have possibly led to a two state solution been made by Netanyahu governments?

Has the Palestinian Authority repeatedly turned away offers made by Israel?

Was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formerly a member of the terrorist organization Fatah?

Did Abbas help fund the massacre at the Munich Olympics?

Have close to 200,000 people been killed in Syria’s civil war?

Did Hamas use its people as human shields?

The answer to all these questions is YES.

 

Now I have 2 more questions.

Do most of the people who bash Bibi know the name of the head of ISIS? (without googling)  It’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by the way.

Would Israel suddenly have willing peace partners in the region if Bibi was not Prime Minister?

The answer to both those questions is NO.

 

My point is not that Netanyahu is perfect.  I recently had a discussion with someone very close to me who does not share my affection for him at all.  Despite his feelings this person does not bash Bibi for sport.  In fact he clearly gets no pleasure at all in criticizing him.  He has his views, he speaks his views, but then supports Israel and its government with a passion and commitment greater than most of us, myself included.  There’s a difference between being someone with a free voice who utilizes it to criticize their leaders than those who bash a high-profile public figure just because it’s become popular and everyone else is doing it.

No one would ever admit to this, but I’ve watched over the years as opinions get formed, they gain traction, and then all of a sudden countless numbers share these opinions without ever having any facts to back them up.   If you want to disagree with Benjamin Netanyahu and produce facts that back up your argument, than I’ll listen.  If however you want to come at me with a statement like Israel is an apartheid state under Netanyahu, I may just ignore you. If all you can talk about is how evil Bibi is but you say nothing about Syria, ISIS, Boko Haram and many others, I will realize your agenda has nothing to do with bettering the human race.  And I will expect that in many cases, as soon as you find the next fad you’ll probably move on anyway.

 

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Trolling for Lies:”ISIS ISIS Baby”

ISISISI’ve recently been, for lack of a better term, creeping or trolling on pro-Palestinian anti-Israel websites to get a sense of the latest lies being told and what the latest propaganda is coming out what I like to call, the Hamas information center.

A perfect example of this is the story they tell behind Israel’s financial reasons for “ethnic cleansing” in Gaza, particularly in light of a current arrangement Israel made with Jordan.  Israel will be supplying Jordan, a nation primarily consisting of Palestinians, with Natural Gas.  The story being told on some of the websites is that Gaza is sitting on an enormous amount of natural gas and that the real reason for the operation was to rid the area of Palestinians so that Israel could harvest the natural gas unimpeded.  Of course it has nothing to do with a constant barrage of missiles, kidnappings, murders and years of other terrorist activity.  It has nothing to do with  a charter of Hamas that calls for the death of all Jews.  Not to mention how ridiculous it is to claim Israel is killing off Palestinians in Gaza to facilitate providing Palestinians in Jordan with a more efficient and affordable source of energy.  But again, it doesn’t have to make sense when it’s an indictment on Israel.

Then there are these claims, the first of which may enrage many as it did me, claiming the 3 Yeshiva boys actually died in a car accident and Israel used it as an excuse to attack Gaza.  One person even goes as far as claiming the Israeli government killed the boys for this purpose.

And of course this weeks Number 1 on the Hit list, “ISIS, ISIS Baby.” In this case the lie is being promoted by none other than Fidel Castro (I swear I thought he was dead and sorry, I kind of wish he was) who backs up the claim that Israel created ISIS to create division within the Arab world and did so with the likes of the U.S. and U.K.  The following is displayed on top of a picture of ISIS leader al-Bagdadi, implying he said these exacts words, “We kill every man, woman, child Shia, Sunni…Zoroastrian, Kurd or Christian.  But we don’t touch Israel”.   Yeah, that makes sense.  Israel helps establish a Jihadist organization brutally killing Christians in its own backyard and helps mold them into a group that hates Jews even more than Christians.  It’s so ridiculous that if you were watching it in the movie theater you would likely walk out because it was too unrealistic.  But when it comes to Israel the first rule of storytelling isn’t that it makes sense.  The first rule is that it makes Israel look bad to as many people as possible.  Even when logic totally destroys the premise and contradicts the lie, these people still choose to believe it if it makes Israel guilty of something.

There were 2 comments in one group that were particularly enjoyable to read merely because it showed there are actual voices of reason.  Either that or there are people who take it a little further than I do, make up names and attempt to wreak some havoc.  Here are my 2 favorite comments.

The first comment I loved was:

“I wonder from where Hamas’ propaganda machine will get more photos of dead children now that the fighting is over. Oh well, guess there are plenty of dead children in Syria and Iraq that you don’t care about…”

And my personal favorite:

“Thank you Hamas for enslaving us and protecting us! I love how you never let me out of my house and killed my entire family. Thank you!”

Of course it doesn’t matter, because for those who believe the lies, those comments are the  words of the brainwashed or misguided. They must be if they don’t think Israel does everything wrong, no matter how little sense it might make.

I’ll understand if you say, “I don’t care what idiots say”, but the problem is, there are a lot of idiots.  And occasionally they do more than just talk or type. In the meantime I admit that when I see these things I go back and forth between amused and disturbed.  Amused by how bizarre some of these claims are, and disturbed by the overwhelming amount of people who believe the lies no matter how crazy they may sound.  But what do I know about the truth?  I’m a Zionist.

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