Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

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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Maybe they should Hate us

antiseFrom the age of 15 to 18  I lived in London in the house of a Rabbi and his family.  He and his wife were wonderful and genuinely religious people who always looked for the good in people. Whenever you would declare a hatred for another person, the Rabbi’s wife would always respond by saying how one should never hate people. Setting aside her words of compassion and decency, one can make an argument that sometimes hatred is not only reasonable but justified. Ironically over the past few days I came to the conclusion that the hatred felt towards Israel and the Jewish people may not actually be reasonable or justified, but it may not be too difficult to understand.  This is not because the people who hate us are good people, or that there is anything ethical about their hatred, this is merely because with what they are looking to accomplish and the message they are trying to get out there, the Jewish people may indeed pose a problem and a threat.

So to which group of people am I referring to?  The short answer is anyone who believes their religion needs to achieve world domination at all costs.  I could mince words and be politically correct, but since I believe in writing with integrity and honesty I will just state the reality.  Most of these people are Muslims.  Sure there are people of other faiths who hate the Jewish people as well, and I recognize that not all Muslims hate Jews, but to deny that most of the hatred is coming from those of the Muslim faith would be incorrect and irresponsible.

This whole discussion creates an interesting, and to be quite frank, a rather bizarre dynamic.  There are countless Muslims who are outspoken about their hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people. There are thousands upon thousands of people who have expressed that hatred in one form or another.  Anyone who is Jewish, especially someone who is a Zionist, finds themselves in a no-win situation.  You are expected to be quiet and just accept that hatred, for if you actually identify it, you are identified as the racist.  It’s not only bizarre, it is also a sad statement on what the world has become.

Depending on who you consider a Jew, there are anywhere between 13 to 19 million Jews on the planet.  By some estimations there are 1.6 billion Muslims.  Yet somehow the Jews are the threat.  Why is this?  Personally, this question has risen to the top of the list of the most important questions in today’s world.  Since I believe unequivocally that there is a God, and I believe the pursuit of the meaning of life is actually a fun venture, no other question has become more important to me than the question, “why do they hate us?”

I’ve come up with numerous answers and would not be surprised if I come up with more as time goes on.  The number one answer I always fall back on is that despite all efforts, us Jews just won’t go away. It sounds simplistic but as I sat in synagogue this past Saturday I was struck by the deeper meaning of it all.  The portion read from the Torah this past week spoke of how Jacob, the Biblical Patriarch whose name would later be changed to Israel, had a dream of a ladder ascending to heaven from earth.  He had this dream in what would be known as Beit El.  Beit El which is in what we know as the West Bank and is right in the heart of the conflict the world hears so much about.  The Children of Israel, who we now refer to as the Jewish people, run a government that controls this land.  Still to this day, thousands of years after the story of Jacob, aka Israel, had the dream at Beit El, this same location is now a thriving town populated by Jewish people and part of the modern nation of Israel. After all the persecution, the pogroms, the gas chambers and the suicide bombers, the Jews are still living right there in this location designated by God as special to the Children of Israel.  We may be small in number, but when you consider that it all started with a relationship with God, if your life is based around the belief that only your religion is right, of course we’re a threat.

Then of course there is the scapegoating concept.  Jews have always been a good target.  The character flaw that leads one to believe that everything wrong in the world is someone else’s fault, also exists on an organizational or national level.  Case in point, the people of Gaza live in poverty and it is all Israel’s fault.  Of course it has nothing to do with the misappropriation of funds and corruption that has a small minority living a billionaire’s life or the building of terror tunnels.  It has nothing to do with self-serving politicians rallying their people to hate Israel and the Jewish people.  It’s someone else’s fault, and the best and easiest people to blame always seem to be the Jews.

And last but definitely not least, it is plain old ignorance.  Are the Jewish people perfect?  Definitely not.  There are some high-profile Jews that have committed acts that no normal decent person would condone.  Israel as a nation makes mistakes and most likely has politicians that will manipulate the situation to benefit their personal career even if it hurts others in the process. That being said, that makes the Jews no different from any other people on the planet, and to somehow move us to the top of the list of evildoers is based on an ignorant perception caused by the choice to believe misrepresentations, or even worse being a victim of an education against the Jewish people.  The misrepresentation of facts to adults and the education of young children in many parts of the Muslim world is creating millions of people who almost have no choice other than to hate Jews. This reality is frightening, sad, and for lack of a better word disgusting.  But it certainly explains a lot.

The hatred is unreasonable, despicable, unjustified and bizarre, but if you look at what is driving those who hate us, it makes an awful lot of sense.

 

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Stupid Mario

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In the category of “too many soccer balls to the head”, Mario Balotelli has managed to insult the very people who helped make him the man he has become.  Balotelli made the following comment next to Nintendo character Super Mario; “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”  What you may not know is that Balotelli’s foster mother is a Jewish woman and daughter of Holocaust survivors.  Balotelli, who was born in Italy, is the biological son of parents from the African nation of Ghana.  So he coined, pun intended, 2 stereotypes in 1 sentence, making comments about black people and Jews he clearly thought was funny, but in reality was offensive and stupid.  I found this BBC article on how too many headers can damage the brain and figured this might explain a lot; CLICK HERE TO READ BBC ARTICLE.

I read his apology and find it acceptable, but what people like Mr. Balotelli need to realize in the future, is that we live in an age when anti-Semitism is so popular it gives the appearance of a high-profile soccer player getting caught up in the thrill of it all. Either way nothing about this is very impressive.  It would be nice to see him use his Jewishness in a positive way in the future, and truly become Super Mario.

 

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I only Hate Muslims when they Hate me

Pro Palestinian protester burns an Israeli flag during banned demonstration in support of Gaza in central ParisWhy is it not being called what it is?  Why the pretense that this is something far less specific than it is?  Why are people not identifying those responsible?  Over the past few months we’ve been hearing a lot about the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. Although it’s been far worse recently, the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment is hardly a new development, particularly in some notable parts of Europe.  Cities like Paris, Antwerp, and Malmo, Sweden have been notorious for increasing incidents of vandalism and violence against Jews for quite some time now.  If you hear the reports, it clearly sounds like the Jewish people are becoming increasingly unwelcome in the European community.  There’s a catch though.  It’s not the overall European community primarily guilty of this expression of hatred. From all accounts most of the hatred is coming from within the Muslim community.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article in which I renounced my status as a Liberal.(CLICK TO READ) This issue is one of the reasons I’ve done so.  I have friends and acquaintances that still do call themselves liberal who are not squeamish when it comes to identifying the root source of the danger to the Jewish people, but there are many within the liberal community who would turn around and call this article the epitome of Islamophobia.  Those are the ones  I know longer align myself with.  Call it what you like, but it’s no phobia.  A phobia is something irrational.  I don’t hate a person because they’re Muslim.  But I do hate a person who hates me, those like me, and anyone else who doesn’t think like them.    That’s not irrational, that’s logical.  Interactions I’ve had in the past with Muslims who wanted an equal relationship have proven that I indeed do not have some automatic dislike because of what religion they were born into. That goes against everything I believe in.  But that also doesn’t prevent me from identifying the sad truth, and that is that an overwhelming percentage of anti-Jewish sentiment in the world today comes from within the Muslim population.

Although the BDS  Movement has non-Muslim followers and participants due to its excellent and cynical marketing, it’s a group formed by a Palestinian. Anti-Jewish demonstrations and violence against Jews in Paris consist primarily of Algerian Muslims.  Anti-Jewish behavior in Holland comes primarily from Moroccan Muslims.  One third of the population of Malmo is Muslim.  Is it a coincidence this small and once cute city in Sweden that I visited with my parents and sister in 1976 is a powder keg of anti-Semitism?

Although there is an element within the so-called liberal elite behind some of the anti-Israel activities on college campuses in the U.S., I have no doubt you would find that at the very least a significant number of those active against Israel in these institutes of higher learning are Muslim.

Here’s the point people conveniently miss.  No one is happy about this.  We want to hear the Muslims within these cities and institutions take a stand against hatred. But where are they?  Where is their voice?  These people would be my friends. They would be my partners in moving towards a better world, and in return it would be easy and enjoyable for me to respect and support them in whatever life they might choose to live, be it Muslim or something else.  But that element within the Muslim community is silent, most likely out of fear, and therefore missing the opportunity to alter the perception that all Muslims feel that way.  You see, if I was guilty of Islamophobia, I might say all Muslims feel this way.  But I don’t.  At the same time I am not willing to deny the basic truth, and that is that if you took the Muslims out of the equation, we most likely wouldn’t even be talking about anti-Semitism today.

It’s time we accepted the truth.  It will catch up with us whether we do or not. The funny thing about reality is that it doesn’t go away just because you ignore it.  If anything, when the reality is that one large group of people is out to get you, if you ignore it, it only gets worse.

 

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Open Letter to Brigitte Bardot

BBArDear Ms. Bardot,

I’ll be honest.  I’m not even mad.  I actually feel sorry for you.  It seems as though you have not aged happily.  I say this because all your recent pictures make you look like a sourpuss and the only time anyone hears anything from you is when it has to do with animals.  I wouldn’t have said anything at all but since you decided to give your expert opinion about Jewish Dietary laws in your Open Letter, I decided to share my opinions with you in an Open Letter of my own.  The difference is, I have every intention of enjoying the writing of mine. You honestly don’t give the appearance of someone enjoying much of anything anymore, and that’s just sad.  For the record, I do hope I am wrong about that.

Anyway, you referred to Shechita, the Hebrew word for the Jewish ritual slaughter of animals, as a “ritual sacrifice.”  Well Ms. Bardot, as hard as you may find it to believe, I love animals as well as Kosher meat, especially when my mother or sister-in-law prepares it.  You see you can actually love both.  I don’t know if you’ve actually studied the process, but without getting into too much detail, the animals are killed in a way designed to eliminate as much suffering as possible.  So much so that one of the requirements is that the knife used must be sharpened extensively.  By the way, did you know that Jewish law looks so negatively on cruelty to animals that in its teachings it consider non-Jews to have 7 basic commandments, of which one is based on humane treatment of animals?  Although I don’t know that your comments are rooted in any anti-Jewish sentiment, especially with your track record on animals and the fact that you go after Halal rituals too, but they do show an ignorance to the careful process of Shechita.

But here is the issue I really have with all of this.  Like I said in the beginning of the letter, I love animals.  I really do.  I even choose not to have a dog because I’m afraid I wouldn’t give it the proper attention.  I really don’t like cats much, but other than gently pushing one away from me, I could never imagine using any type of physical force on one.  So I agree with the idea that mistreating animals is inhumane, so much so that it is correct that it be punishable under the law.

My problem is when someone who seems to not like people anymore and is high-profile like yourself puts animals way ahead of people.  I mean really. Shechita?  Now? Rising anti-Semitism in your native land and this is what you write a letter about?  Do you realize that your words in the name of humane treatment of animals may give additional fuel to those who want to hurt Jews, who are people by the way, more so in your country than maybe any other in Europe. Don’t get me wrong.  There is anti-Semitism in France whether you say anything or not, but this certainly doesn’t do anything to help.  And if you watch the news you’ll see there are a lot worse things going on, like beheadings, and terrorists overrunning countries and killing and raping and beheadings again.  It’s a nasty world out there. Especially now.  Shechita? Really?

So please, you want to help animals? So do I.  Maybe start by showing some compassion to people.  Because there are plenty of those who are defenseless as well. I know, well I don’t know but I’ve heard, that you are disappointed with people, but that really doesn’t mean you have to put animals first all the time.  Please don’t forget that people matter too.

Anyway, off to dinner.  Won’t tell you what I’m having though.  I don’t think you’d like it.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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