Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

There is a time to be critical. Yesterday was not that time

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The complaint I heard yesterday from some was that Donald Trump waited too long to speak out against anti-Semitism. Although I have found issue with much of what I’ve seen and heard from the new President of the United States, emphasis in this case on the word NEW, I believe yesterday’s criticism, a perfect example being the criticism from the Steven Goldstein of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect,  to be out of line, poorly thought out, and damaging to any left wing agenda.

READ MY OPEN LETTER TO STEVEN GOLDSTEIN OF THE ANNE FRANK CENTER FOR MUTUAL RESPECT

It is now 1 month since Donald Trump took office. It therefore needs to be asked of anyone that wanted it to be done quicker, how much quicker would you have liked?  I believe the President deserves much of the scrutiny and even criticism he is getting, I have dished plenty of it out myself, but if you are to criticize him for everything, even that which he does correctly, you lose your credibility.  Case in point.  Not only does the General Flynn issue with Russia look like it might very well be a problem, it’s an issue that merits intense investigation, that if done correctly could reveal potentially serious issues and consequences for this administration. Does that negate the fact that picking H.R. McMaster as the new National Security Adviser was an excellent choice? Absolutely not.  If we are to battle this administration on those matters we deem critical, we do a lot better if we do so in a fair and balanced manner.

Furthermore, as a Jew I understand the delicate nature of the position President Trump finds himself in when fighting against anti-Semitism.  As I have said before, anyone who questions his favorable attitude towards the Jewish people needs only to look at his very close relationship with his Jewish son-in-law and daughter Ivanka who converted to Judaism.  However, and this has always been one of, if not my biggest fears and issues when it comes to Donald Trump, he energizes and gets support from the worst type of racists and bigots.  I don’t believe he is pandering to them when carefully choosing his words regarding anti-Semitism, I believe he is attempting to guard against backlash, and I admit that as a Jew who has opposed him vehemently, I greatly appreciate what I perceive as a concern for the Jewish community’s well-being, regardless of whether the motivation is philosophical or personal.

Those of us with views that are left of center are making a big mistake if we fall into the trap of behaving like so many on the right and far left where we automatically criticize anything coming from the other side of the aisle.  It destroys credibility, eats at the fabric of society, and obstructs anything resembling progress.  Attack what needs to be attacked, but when you see your President sticking up for you, finding something wrong with it does nothing to help your cause.  Save it for what he does wrong.  I have a feeling you’ll get your chance.  In the meantime be happy when he does something important the right way.

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Open Letter to Steven Goldstein of the Anne Frank Center regarding his statement to the President

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Dear Mr. Goldstein,

In some ways this is the most ironic letter I’ve written to date.  Here I am, the son of Dutch Holocaust survivors and a critic of Donald Trump, writing a letter of opposition to the Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in response to his criticism of President Trump.  It must be clear from my background and personal introduction that despite my disagreement with you on the subject I am about to discuss, you and I are unquestionably on the same side.

My issue is with the following statement you made regarding the President’s comments made earlier today on the increase in anti-Semitic activity, threats and rhetoric.

“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Antisemitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment.”

Although both you and I agree that more needs to  be done, I also believe there is a time and place for everything.  I agree the president’s words mean nothing without action, but that does not negate the positive step taken today.  Your statement focuses more on what hasn’t been done before today rather than what actually was done today.  If we are to demand our leaders take action, it is my belief that the time to criticize them is not immediately after their acknowledgment of the problem.  As we have seen time and time again, the words of the President of the United States are more than just words, they are instruments of action.  Furthermore, if you look back at what I have written you will see that I not only am not an apologist for Donald Trump, I am a vocal critic.  But I also try to be fair and reasonable.  It is my contention that as I sit here today, the President of the United States did today what he needed to do today.  That does not mean he will do the right thing tomorrow or the day after.  If he doesn’t do what is needed in the coming days, that will be the time to criticize him for lack of action.  Today I find it far more reasonable to be pleased he is acknowledging the problem.

As the son of Holocaust survivors I have never backed away from attacking those I feel to be enemies of the Jewish people.  I heard the stories from my parents, read the history and know of the death and suffering of my relatives and the relatives of so many others.  I subsequently feel it is crucial to go after those who declare their hate towards us before we go after those who at least say words of support for our well-being and safety. Although I wholeheartedly agree that we must hold the President of the United States accountable for his actions and what happens moving forward, today he at least verbally declared he is on our side, and for that I am far more likely to thank him than criticize him.

As I have said in previous writings, I am not yet convinced this President will be anything close to what I want him to be, but regarding the issue of anti-Semitism, as a Jewish American, today he was what I needed him to be.  I believe we have more to gain by acknowledging that than criticizing it.  It would appear that is where you and I disagree.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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In Defense of Trump; from a Never Trump Jewish guy

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I write this as a Jewish man, not as a voter.  As a voter I have absolutely no intention of casting my vote for Donald Trump.  There are many qualities he displays, all qualities discussed in the media ad-nauseum that makes me not only not want to vote for him, but fearful at the prospect of his presidency.  Trump is many things that are abhorrent to many American voters.  I will not only not dispute many of those criticisms, I will very likely agree with many of them.  But the one thing I will dispute is the notion that Donald Trump has displayed anything resembling anti-Semitism.

I personally do not believe Donald Trump is a racist or bigot of any kind.  I believe he says some very irresponsible and thoughtless things that are not only insulting but potentially very damaging as well.  I also believe his incendiary comments resonate strongly in a very racist element of American society making them potentially very dangerous. As president these comments would carry even more force and would subsequently have an even more damaging impact.  That being said, even as someone very sensitive to attacks of any kind on my religion, I did not find the tweet with the star calling Hillary the “most corrupt candidate ever” to be a racial slur or an indication that Trump has a problem with the Jewish people.

There are many factors that point to why this is not the case.  The most obvious would be the fact that Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before marrying her husband, Jared Kushner, who has a strong and positive relationship with his father-in-law.  The next fact is that as much business as people have done with Trump, as many companies as he has owned and as many people as he as employed,  if Trump was a racist of any kind, including an anti-Semite, we would have known this long before he ran for president.  And that is not because his activities have gone under the radar. There has certainly been plenty of buzz showing him to be a heartless and self-serving business man. And finally, and this is just simple logic, with an ad designed to bring attention to the Trump campaign’s stance that Hillary is too corrupt to be president, why would they deflect attention from that message by going after Jews.  The answer is that they would not. The truth is that what the star represents, and I refer to it as the star rather than the Star of David because I do not believe it was meant to represent a Star of David, is more stupidity and carelessness than bigotry and racism, and as a proud Jew I can forgive that, at least from a personal and ethnic standpoint.

Unfortunately the tweet does represent much of what is wrong with the Trump candidacy. Just because it is not anti-Semitic, that does not mean it is acceptable. The lack of understanding and preparedness that this represents is very much  part of the reason I am a Never Trump guy, but as a Jewish man I don’t hate him, I merely hate him as a voter.

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Open Letter to Roger Waters

Robbie Williams

Dear Roger,

I wonder if you realize how transparent you truly are. You claim to be concerned about human rights when in truth your agenda revolves more around the fact that you clearly despise the concept of a Jewish government.   It is obvious to anyone listening that the only time you use your voice is to either rake in the cash on music written 30 plus years ago or to try to destroy the State of Israel.

It’s very sad really.  You could have used your fame and fortune for so much good.  Instead you’ve chosen the path of destruction against a country with the best human rights record in the Middle East.  The facts show how disingenuous you are in your persistent attack. As much as I believe Israel does the right thing, if your voice was proportionately loud in regard to true humans rights violations I’d pay less attention to you.  How come I don’t hear you going after ISIS?  Why do you remain silent about 200,000 dead in Syria’s civil war?  We all see how you are trying to bully Robbie Williams into not playing in Israel by speaking of the 500 children who were victims of the war in Gaza.  I saw an estimate that said at least 7,000 children have been killed in Syria.  Is that not worth your time Roger?  Even if the death of those 500 children are solely the responsibility of the government of Israel, something honest people know not to be the case, I still wonder why 500 children matter so much more to you than 7,000.  Maybe because it is not really about the children.

What about the thousands of women being raped and abused by ISIS? You are so quiet about that as well.  If you are such a humanitarian wouldn’t you be spending most of your waking hours fighting for causes that involved tens, even hundreds of thousands of victims. Victims of regimes and organizations making no bones about their intent to rape and murder their victims.

I noticed you played a few concerts in Russia.  Do you have anything to say about the treatment of gays and lesbians in Putin’s Russia?  Of course you don’t, because Russia isn’t the problem in your eyes, Israel is.

People like you are partially responsible for the change in discussion from those claiming to be Liberals.  They look at someone like you, a famous musician, and feel that you have a true understanding of moral and tolerant values.  In truth what you really are is a high-profile anti-Semitic con-artist.  You clearly hate Jews and subsequently hate the idea of a Jewish government. Your continuous onslaught makes it very clear that you will be happy with nothing less than the destruction of the State of Israel, and in your perfect world based on how you have behaved over the years, I assume you are more than happy to see it come along with as many dead Jews as possible.

Be aware that the only people who accept your crap are those who want to believe anything that hurts the Jewish people.  For a man whose music was once perceived as being so thoughtful and clever, your actions and words against Israel are remarkably ignorant and very obvious.  I would say that what you are really doing is making a fool of yourself, but unfortunately there are enough Jew-hating idiots out there for you to have quite a following.

You could have represented a modern-day growth and development of culture in society, but instead your hatred for the Jewish people has driven you towards a narrow and destructive way of thinking.  I have no problem saying that I would be very happy to see you so consumed by your hate that it ultimately destroys you.  It would appear to some extent that it already has. You are just too blind to see it.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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Open Letter to Lena Dunham

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Dear Ms. Dunham,

To be honest with you, I’ve never watched the show Girls.  My understanding is that it is a show which is somewhat controversial inasmuch as it pushes the envelope when it comes to what many consider acceptable behavior.  I really don’t care if it is or not. It’s a TV show which people have the choice of either watching or not.  So whatever role you play in its creation is of no importance to me. When however you transform your celebrity into expressions of anti-Semitism, I not only care, I get deeply embarrassed and infuriated by the fact that the words are actually coming from a woman who is born a Jew.

In your article in the New Yorker Magazine you start by asking the question, Do the following statements refer to a) my dog or b) my Jewish boyfriend?  Your next line should be; He is no longer willing to be associated with me due to mindless and offensive insult of the Jewish people.  If it is your dog that applies to I can understand it, but if it is your boyfriend than I ask myself, why would any decent person, particularly one who is Jewish wish to be that close to you?

You see Ms. Dunham, you’ve crossed the line.  Clearly you think you are funny, but neither I nor many others who think like me are laughing.  In trying to draw a comparison between your dog  and your Jewish boyfriend you are either showing tremendous insensitivity, mind-boggling stupidity, or immense hatred for my, excuse me, our people.  Although I have not watched the show, it is my understanding that it is meant to empower women. Apparently you are a feminist, an idealist, and a thinker.  Or so you claim.  It seems to me that what you might actually be more than any of these things is a hypocrite.

You can’t really claim ignorance.  I am sure you know this is a rough time for the Jewish people.  Anti-Semitism is on the rise, Israel is threatened, and somehow people think it’s OK to treat us anyway they like while talking about us in the most insulting fashion.  As you are a feminist I ask you this; is this how you want women to be treated? With total disregard for their feelings?  With an undignified comparison to a dog?  You claim to be fighting against that sort of thing yet here you are doing it yourself.  Would you show that same insensitivity and thoughtlessness to other women?  What you may be saying, be it consciously or not, is that being a woman is important to you, being a Jew is not.

We live in a global climate in which people who say they want to massacre Jews and annihilate Israel are being considered parties with which to negotiate openly.  It is a world in which a growing number of Muslim extremists believe that Jew are the descendants of pigs and dogs.  Your comments show that standing up for what is right just isn’t as important as you portray it to be, for if it was, you would use your public persona for all things positive, not just for a big paycheck.

Of course you will probably get away with this behavior without any serious consequences because us Jews are not only generally civil in our reactions, to put it in your terms, our bark is a lot worse than our bite.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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A Shining Light for us all

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This past Sunday afternoon I was looking forward to watching the football game between Dallas and Green Bay when I decided to take a quick look at the major cable news channels’ coverage of the Paris terror attacks.  One hour later I was still watching CNN.  Part of the reason was the fact that I was somewhat moved by the significant coverage given to the murder of 4 Jewish people, something we as Jews are not accustomed to nowadays.  The main reason however was the courageous and eloquent representation of the plight of French Jews as put forth by Simone Rodan-Benzaquen.

Simone is the Director of the AJC, “American Jewish Committee”, and a long-time resident of Paris.  Her representation as a Jewish citizen of France  was what is known in Jewish teachings as a “Kiddush Hashem”.   Literally translated as a “Sanctification of God”, a Kiddush Hashem speaks to when a Jew’s behavior represents the people in a positive light, particularly to fellow Jews.  In the case of Simone, her representation was a Kiddush Hashem to the entire world.

Her accounting of the anti-Semitism that the Jews of France have been dealing with for many years was important for everyone to hear.  Thanks to people like Simone, we no longer live in a world where Jews remain silent when attacked, and no longer do they quietly hope it just goes away.  In fact, the most inspiring words she spoke were the words that spoke of French Jews not fleeing the country, but rather staying, fighting, and remaining in the country they have called home for quite some time.  She spoke positively of those who choose to go to Israel for ideological and positive reasons, but strongly encouraged no one to leave out of fear.  As someone who is staying and fighting, she has every right to make this bold and courageous statement.

I want to thank Simone Rodan-Benzaquen for her permission to write this piece, but most of all for standing up for all of us in defense of good over evil.  She is a shining light in this very dark world and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for what she has done, and continues to do for all of us.  France may be in the forefront today, but we are all in this together.

 

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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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