Tag Archives: BDS Movement

Open Letter to Nassau Coliseum Senior Vice President, Booking – Keith Sheldon Regarding Upcoming Roger Waters concerts

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Dear Mr Sheldon,

Although I am not certain you are the correct person to address regarding this matter, I will start with you and go from there depending on the response.  As I am sure you are aware, there are a large number of people, not only from Long Island but from all over the tri-state area, and the entire world for that matter, that find Roger Waters to be an offensive anti-Semite with views riddled with hypocrisy and hate.  While I agree with the concept of keeping musical performances separate from political ideology, in essence meaning an entertainer can believe whatever he or she chooses to believe without having concern for their right to perform, in the case of Roger Waters this very issue is what makes it imperative that his upcoming concerts at the Nassau Coliseum get cancelled.  Please allow me to explain why.

As a Jew and a Zionist my personal views for Roger Waters are anything but positive.  His unrelenting attacks on the State of Israel, much of it through his activism in the BDS Movement, attacks that border on obsession, are so filled with a one-sided hate for the Jewish element in Israel, I would believe that alone would be enough to have him unfit to perform at your venue.  I do not sit here writing you this letter to make an argument for Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians, but I will make a point of saying that anyone who refuses to even entertain at least some culpability on the part of Palestinian leadership is clearly biased in one direction.  Since that bias is directed towards the Jewish leadership in Israel it is clearly more than just anti-Zionism, it is unquestionably anti-Semitism.  In allowing his shows to go on, you are allowing an individual filled with hate to represent himself on your stage, a stage located in the midst of a vast Jewish population.

All that being said, there is a far more basic and solid reason to be made against his performance.  To quote his very own words, words he spoke in response to hearing of the efforts to stop his shows from going on,  Waters said his shows would not be cancelled, “insisting a performer’s rights should not be under attack because of his or her beliefs.”  This glaring hypocrisy from a man who has attacked and harassed some of the most established and successful musicians in the world for performing in Israel.  Here are a few examples of comments he made to fellow musicians.

 To Bon Jovi:

“You stand shoulder to shoulder with the settler who burned the baby. The dead can’t remind you of the crimes you’ve ignored.”

 

To Thom Yorke of Radiohead

“My answer to people who say we should go there and sit around the campfire and sing songs: No, we shouldn’t. We should observe the picket line.  Anybody who’s tempted to do that, like our friends in Radiohead, if only they would actually educate themselves. I know Thom Yorke’s been whining about how he feels insulted, people are suggesting he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

 

To the Rolling Stones

“Regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime.”

Star like Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys and Neil Young have all been pressured by Waters to cancel performances in Israel.  Sir Paul and Keys even revealing being the victims of death threats and intimidation, all spurred on by the same Waters who insisted  “a performer’s rights should not be under attack because of his or her beliefs.”

You have an unprecedented opportunity here.  Rather than cancel his concerts, you can make them conditional.  Conditional on Roger Waters publicly declaring the same stance towards performers choosing to perform in Israel that he feels he is entitled to on Long Island.  That being as he said, the right to perform somewhere regardless of one’s beliefs. Should he accept the terms, he will be exposed further as the hypocrite that he is, but in doing so an enemy of the only democracy in the Middle East will no longer harass his fellow musicians. Should he refuse and cancel his own concerts, the message you will send to the people of Long Island and many miles beyond will solidify the Nassau Coliseum as more than just a building with a big hall, it will establish it as a place where true performers and artists are showcased.  It will unquestionably be better for business in the long run and will establish a close bond with the community.

I am sending this letter to you first, but also intend to attempt to work on having it signed and presented as a petition in the hope that the number of signatures gives you an indication of how important this is to many people wishing to be future patrons of your venue.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Open Letter to Marsha Levine; BDS supporter who snubbed an Israeli girl’s question about horses

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Dear Marsha,

It was recently suggested to me that when I write one of these letters I refrain from personal attacks.  While I acknowledged and have even tried to follow that advice, it is next to impossible to express my feelings towards you without doing so.  The reason being that your attack on my people is not only infuriating but very personal as well.  I could make this quick and easy, call you a stupid idiot and sign off, but I first wish to make some critical points. Once I am done I promise to make my personal feelings very clear.

As a Jew whose parents survived the terror of Nazi occupation while 6 million of their brethren were murdered all over Europe, I take serious offense to you saying that “Jews in Israel have become Nazis”. Consider this the educational portion of the letter “Dr.”  To properly address this I first need to thwart your contention that those persecuted and killed by Hitler’s Nazi Party are similar to the Palestinians in the territories.  The Nazis were never threatened by the Jews in Europe.   Jews in Germany, the land where the Nazi party was formed, and I state the obvious because you give no indication of having knowledge of the obvious, were law-abiding contributors to society.  Jews in Germany did not form terrorist organizations that murdered women and children.  They did not have elements within their midst with an ideology committed to the destruction of the German people.  They were not claiming land and using that claim as justification to murder innocent people.  The Jews never asked for half of Berlin.  Palestinian leadership has been offered significant portions of land and refused each offer, preferring to continue the cycle of violence instead.  So to compare the conditions of the Palestinians to the victims of the Nazis already shows your lack of wisdom and credibility.

Second of all, to compare the actions of Israel’s government to the actions of Nazis is not only factually incorrect, but an insult to the memory of all the Jews killed by the Nazi Party.  Does Israel have death camps created to solve the “Palestinian problem”?  Are there chimney stacks in Israel spewing ash that is the last remnant of exterminated Palestinian men, women and children?  Do Israeli doctors perform experiments and torture Palestinians?  Are Palestinian being shoved into cattle cars and shipped to hard labor and concentration camps where they are starved to death, worked to death, shot or gassed? Are Palestinians being publicly humiliated for the amusement of Israeli soldiers?

Do you have any understanding of how ridiculous your comments are? I am guessing you know fully well and are driven by your own personal emotional issues. I do not know you personally, and frankly I don’t care to, but I do know that anyone who has so much self-loathing that their response to a little girl asking about horses would be a political and verbal slap in the face is likely very scarred from events in their early life.  Frankly I don’t give a horse’s hind quarters what you went through in life, I just wish you would shut up and stop showing this juvenile enjoyment you seem to be getting from insulting my people.

I end with 2 things.  First of all I want to make it very clear that referring to the Jewish people as my people and not your people or our people is not an oversight.  As far as I am concerned there is nothing Jewish about you and we’re better off without you.  Second of all, as promised, I will end by saying that  you are indeed a stupid idiot who has traded decency and morality for your 15 minutes in the spotlight. Ironically that makes you more like a Nazi than the people you criticize.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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Open Letter to Lauryn Hill

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Dear Ms. Hill,

I’ve written many letters over the past few years to various celebrities regarding their stance on Israel and in many cases I have very little trouble putting my sentiment into words.  However, if I am to take your statement on face value I find myself in a more difficult position today, because on one side there is the indication of genuineness on your part, while on the other side, even if your intentions started off pure, you now have a greater responsibility as a result of your actions.  That responsibility is to the truth.

I am of course referring to your recent decision to cancel your performances in Israel.  While you did not make any indication that you were challenging the position or behavior of the Israeli government, many on social media have taken your decision and used it as an opportunity to express their vile and unwarranted hatred for Israel and the Jewish people.  You made the following statement:

It is very important to me that my presence or message not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans.

My entire motivation for this letter to you can be taken back to that statement included in your letter in which you stated your decision to cancel the trip to Israel.  For all the times I have confronted blatant anti-Semites, unapologetic haters of Israel, and celebrities biased against fairness towards the Jewish people, I personally will choose to give you the benefit of the doubt and take your words as being honest and well-meant. However Ms. Hill, the catch to all of this is that for your words to carry meaning you need to back them up with some action.

I have often said that as a human-being I have no problem with people caring about the well-being of innocent Palestinian civilians as long as they do so with acceptance of the facts as to the true factors causing their plight and most importantly, that their concern is not at the expense of the citizens of the State of Israel.  If it is truly very important to you that your message not be misconstrued, now is the time to make certain it is not.  Follow up your statement with a comment stating your cancellation was based on logistical problems not on protest against Israeli policy. Based on your own words you have a responsibility to do just that, for your message is not only being misconstrued, it is being misrepresented, manipulated and exploited by those who look for every opportunity to attack Israel and the Jewish people.  To be quite frank with you Ms. Hill, this will also tell the world whether or not you truly did run into logistical issues or you were merely succumbing to pressure from the haters of the Jewish state.

So yes Ms. Hill, I am challenging you.  I do so because you have an unprecedented opportunity. You can show an equal concern for both Palestinians and Israelis in a manner not often seen in today’s world.  However to do so honestly you now have to stand up and defend Jewish people.  Please don’t let us down.  Please be true to your word.  How you respond to these concerns will determine whether or not you are just another hater without the courage of your convictions, or a genuine woman trying her best to use her art to make everyone’s life better.  I certainly hope it turns out to be the latter.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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Time to Change the Liberal Discussion

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I am not a Liberal.  Maybe I was once, but with my views on foreign policy as they are today I just don’t fall in line with what has become the “liberal” way of thinking.  Sadly, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the liberal way of thinking has been hijacked by those with self-serving devious agendas who have no willingness to truly advance a liberal viewpoint.  What they are doing instead is manipulating the minds of those who think being liberal means listening to anything new, even if it means hurting the innocent.

I’ve been very bothered in recent weeks by one question.  When did the Palestinian cause become a liberal anti-Israel cause?  If a liberal is to say that all they care about is peace at all costs, and they are against anyone who opposes or obstructs that peace, I would be happy to accept any logical conclusion that might come from that position. But when looking at Israel and its ongoing conflict, a true analysis of the situation should result in that liberal being anything but against Israel’s position.  To be liberal is one thing.  To be partisan at all costs, or even worse to be ignorant and stupid, doesn’t justify a misguided stance on a very serious situation.

There are both Liberals and Conservatives out there that are outspoken and loudmouthed who consider themselves smarter than everyone else.  If a Liberal is to take a strong stance on the situation in Israel and oppose Israel, he or she may think they’re smarter, but their very position shows stupidity and ignorance.  Anyone who looks at the situation with a clear and open mind will see 67 years of evidence to prove that Israel has always wanted peace.  Just because that desire has translated more often into strength than weakness does not mean that desire is not there.  A liberal stance may be to back the weak, and that is fine, but does that mean it should oppose the strong, especially when the strong are doing more to pursue good than bad and more often than not merely defending their right to live in peace?

The Palestinians are weak. But is it really Israel’s fault?  Money has been plundered by Palestinian leaders for decades.  Yasser Arafat, “the statesman”, died a very wealthy man.  Statesmanship clearly has its privileges, especially when you take billions of dollars meant for your people and keep it for yourself.  Similar “privileges” have been taken by the leaders of Hamas.  Meanwhile the Palestinians are taught by their leaders to hate Israel and the Jewish people, to some extent at least to make sure the profit remains in “statesmanship”.   After all, if you teach Palestinians to hate Israel, they may never realize where the money is really going and who it is that is actually keeping them down.

If I am to be as objective as possible I would say I have compassion for a people who don’t know better because their leaders keep them from the truth.  But people in the western world need only to open their eyes to see the truth, and the truth is that Israel’s government’s may not have always done everything right, but they do not hold most of the culpability for the Palestinians’ plight.  Yet somehow organizations like the BDS Movement and terrorist groups like Hamas have hijacked the narrative and led those either too lazy to research the truth, too dumb to understand, or far too willing to distort it into believing Israel stands for everything intolerant in the world.  That distortion of reality doesn’t make it a true liberal position, it makes it a destructive one.

If you are someone opposed to right-wing governments, and you are a liberal in another country, than be sincere about your efforts. Realize that as right-wing as you might conclude Benjamin Netanyahu is, he is still a democratically elected official in a free society.  If you have chosen to stand against Israel in favor of its enemies, you have somehow come to a choice that is diametrically opposed to one of the most important things you claim to believe in, the right to a free society.  I always thought that to be liberal meant to be tolerant, sometimes to a fault.  If the debate of the Conservative against the Liberal is over what one should be tolerant of or not, that is fine, but both sides need to be true to their position. Israel is a country where women are treated as equals, where gays can live openly and politicians are elected democratically.  Israel had a great woman as Prime Minister before many young people with the new distorted liberal stance were even born.  To oppose Israel in favor of totalitarian governments and societies just because you believe what is written and said by devious manipulators doesn’t make you a Liberal, it makes you a fool.  If you really want to forward a liberal agenda than do so with some semblance of intelligence.  Not all will have the brilliance of an Alan Dershowitz, but that doesn’t excuse the stupidity of so many today who claim to be liberal.  We all have a lot more to gain if the argument is between the Conservative and the Liberal as opposed to what some want to turn it into, a debate between the educated and the ignorant, all to suit their ultimate goal of dividing what would otherwise be primarily decent people.

It is my hope that those Conservative Republicans who are vehemently opposed to anything Liberal and Democrat will be put into a position to battle them based on issues that really are issues of how much tolerance is acceptable.  I believe both sides should be fighting against this for the following reasons.  Conservatives who love Israel more than partisan politics should want the discussion to change because it will unite people in support, and Liberals should realize if the discussion does not change, not only are they losing a lot of support, they are basically aligning themselves with evil forces that ultimately want their destruction.  So you see, it benefits everyone to change the discussion.  We just need to help everyone see how important it really is.

 

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Palestinian Flag on a New York Bridge

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A little less than a month after 2 American flags were replaced with white flags on the Brooklyn Bridge, a Palestinian flag with the words Boycott Divestment Sanctions was unfurled on the Manhattan Bridge.  For those who do not know,the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) Movement, is the movement set up by Palestinian Omar Barghouti, ironically a former student of Tel-Aviv University, to conduct economic warfare against the State of Israel.  One of the most high-profile and outspoken members of the BDS Movement is Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters.

I hope this most recent turn of events will be taken seriously by New York City Mayor Bill de Blassio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, not only because it is the same breach in security that occurred one month ago, but also because of the hostile message behind the BDS Movement towards not only Israel, but Jews worldwide.

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The New Wonder Woman is a Former IDF Soldier

254166-gal-gadot-wonder-womanYou can’t help but wonder how long it will take for those who hate everything Jewish and Israeli to cry foul once again, but it turns out that the most recent superhero revealed to the world this past weekend at San Diego’s Comic-Con  is Israeli model and actress  Gal Gadot.  The gorgeous Gadot, a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will play Wonder Woman in the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” scheduled for release May 6, 2016.  The BDS Movement is waiting to see what side Wonder Woman is on before they decide whether or not to boycott products from Krypton or Gotham but we promise to keep you updated as news filter in.

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Attention World: Jewish Life has Value

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Let me start by saying that I believe in the value of all human life.  I do not sit down with the intent of portraying Jewish life as being more valuable than other life, rather to defame those who do not, never have nor ever will see Jewish life as being equal in value.

I am blessed to have visiting in my home the daughter and son-in-law of Bertus and Geeske te-Kiefte, the couple that saved my mother’s life in Holland during Nazi occupation.  During the time we have spent together we have had conversations revealing our similarity in values and our respect for all that is decent and good in the world.  We recognize the value of all human life and speak with tremendous honor and respect for those who put their lives in danger to protect others.  We share a common value for human life.  As a Jew in today’s world it has become strikingly apparent that many people out there do not share the same value for Jewish life and even more worrisome is that it has become clear to me how the world allowed the Nazis to do what they did to the Jewish people.  It just didn’t care.  Or even worse, it approved.

I do not have a persecution complex by any means.  In fact I make the argument that there is no reason to go after those who do things that appear to be anti-Semitic if they make claim to not be anti-Semitic.  First case in point is Macklemore, who dressed up in a costume during one of his performances that was seen as being a stereotypical caricature of a Jewish man with a big nose.  Whether that was his intent or not, his strong claim that he did not mean it to be a portrayal of someone Jewish and that he was not at all anti-Semitic is enough for me to not see him as the problem.  Second case in point is the Nike commercial with evil clones taking over international soccer with images on their uniform that could be construed as Stars of David.  Nike issued a statement that the image was not intended to resemble a Star of David at all and that they were not trying to draw any connection to Israel or the Jewish people.  The Nike statement was also enough for me to not see them as the problem.

Is it possible that in both situations we are being lied to and that these are two instances where high-profile celebrities or corporations are subtly trying to demonize Israel and the Jewish people? Sure.  But sadly in a world where there are so many blatant, callous, disgraceful and violent attacks on Jews, the subtle attacks are not our problem.  The rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, most notably in France, is our problem.   The BDS movement’s attempt to cripple the Israeli economy by spewing lies about Israel’s human rights record is our problem.  And the kidnapping of three young boys just because they are Jewish and living in Israel is our problem.

The kidnappings are telling in so many ways.  First of all it identifies the insincerity of the pigs committing the act.  They are not freedom fighters battling for the well-being of their people who are attacking enemy combatants.  They are cowards filled with hate and evil-looking to harm any Jewish person they come in contact with. The second telling fact is how once again this exposes the fraud that is the United Nations.  When a statement comes from the UN stating that it has no evidence that these boys were kidnapped, they sound no different from the standard anti-Semite denying the Holocaust ever happened. And the third and possibly the most telling fact, is the media campaign throughout the Arab world glorifying the kidnapping.  The three finger salute gaining traction and popularity, even being performed by Palestinian children, incidentally children looking happy not persecuted, might as well be accompanied by a resounding Heil Hitler, because it shows as little respect for Jewish life as the Nazis did when they terrorized Europe.

I am very careful and reluctant to compare anything to Nazi Germany, but when Jewish life is turned into something of no value, the comparison is dangerously justified.  For me to have this forum, a forum established to promote a book telling the story of my parents, survivors of that horror of the Nazis, and to not speak up and speak my mind at this scary time in Jewish history would make me remiss in my responsibility as a Jew and a human being.

Never Again means Never Again will we remain silent when we see anyone in the world act as though Jewish blood is cheap.  Too many people suffered and died in the past and we can’t allow the same to happen in the future. This is no longer the time to be silent.  This is the time to raise our voices and proclaim to the world in the name of all that is decent, Never Again!