Tag Archives: BDS Movement

Open Letter to Demi Lovato

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Dear Demi,

In light of recent attacks against you from all sides, I write this to you as a voice of reason and support.  While many jumped at the headlines, I took a few minutes to read what you did, what you were criticized for, and how you subsequently reacted on Twitter.  As a Jewish American and a Zionist,  I find it incumbent on me to write you this letter of support.

Not surprisingly, the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish mob came right after you.  For what? For doing nothing other than visiting the holy land, having a very spiritual experience, and thanking those who welcomed you and took care of you while you were there.  Since nothing less than a land without Jews is acceptable to those who ambushed you, they predictably made every attempt to shame and intimidate you.  Since I am not one to speak to another’s feelings, I do not know if they were successful or not in their efforts.  I do know that it is very possible and very forgivable if your reaction was something along the lines of  ‘I don’t need this shit. I was just taking a vacation’, and since it is not what one might call ‘your fight’, you did what you felt was the decent thing and apologized to anyone you might have offended.

A pet peeve of mine has always been when people go after the wrong people. This is one of the reasons I am taking the time to write to you.  I believe almost nothing exists in a vacuum.  I recognize the fact that you are not far removed from personal issues that put your life at risk and I respect and appreciate the fact that Israel was a place you chose to visit as part of your healing process.  Regardless of whether or not you and I share the same religious beliefs.  I also know that in this situation you are the victim.  These people who came after you do so from the position of one of the most disingenuous and corrupt false narratives ever perpetrated and come after you in an effort to use you as a pawn in their self-serving, Jew hating, power driven agenda.

When these same people, the supporters and activists of the BDS movement came after the Rolling Stones for performing in Israel, guess what they did? They added another concert.  When they came after Paul McCartney he basically told them to shut up and leave him alone.  When they attacked Lady Gaga for having the time of her life in Israel she ignored them.  And if they criticized Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez for their trip to Israel, it was drowned out by their praise of the country.  But in fairness, the celebrities I mentioned are significantly older than you are and are more seasoned in responding to attacks from various people and at least on the surface seem to not be recently overcoming battles to face personal demons that almost cost them their life.  Of course nothing would make me happier than for you to stand up to these people,  but in light of what you’ve recently been through and what you are fighting to overcome, I have no trouble understanding why you do not want to be in the middle of a political firestorm over an issue you never intended to be involved in.

So Demi, I am glad you had a wonderful time in Israel and when the time comes that it enters into your mind to go back and visit once again I hope you won’t let those who master intimidation and fraud stand in the way of what you want to do and I believe know is right.  I wish you good luck in all the battles you face in the future and a wonderful time on all your future trips.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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A Rosh Hashanah Message

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Being very flawed myself, I make every effort to avoid ever sitting in judgment of others for behaviors that can be considered nothing short of human.  Human behavior allows people to make choices not everyone else will agree with as well as permitting people to do that one thing we all do.  Make mistakes.  So since I try my best not to be a hypocrite or cross the line, I am not going to spend any of my time criticizing my fellow Jews that make the choice not to live in accordance with Jewish law.  Having come pretty close to making that choice at certain points of my life, I get it. I also believe these choices to be between man and God only.  The issue I want to address is pride in being Jewish. Or lack thereof.

I am not afraid to call someone out if I feel there is blatant self-hatred, but since this post is directed more to the many in that grey area I realize it is important to be careful about stepping over a line.  If I am to address a subject that goes after people for something as reprehensible as being ashamed of who you are, I need to speak in generalities.  After all, I may have an opinion, even one shared by many, but even so I do not know what is in someone’s heart.  Let’s just say that if what I am to say applies at all to you, or wakes you up to a different perspective, then maybe I’ve done something right.

It should not be a surprise that much of this discussion comes back to the Holocaust. Specifically in regard to the main issues I wish to address.  The first being support for the State of Israel.  Support does not mean blind agreement in all policies and actions of whatever government is in place. There are many people who have done more for Israel than I may ever have the opportunity to do that are much more opposed to the decisions made by the Israeli government than I am.  This is not about stifling opinions.  This is however about being balanced and fair as well as addressing the disingenuous motives of the BDS movement.

Fair and balanced means if you are to criticize Israel for its actions, you don’t fail to mention the years of dealing with a Palestinian Authority showing no indication of being a willing partner in peace.  It means if you are going to go after Benjamin Netanyahu for a hard line approach you also recognize that he is not only dealing with officials that reward terrorists financially for killing innocent Jewish residents of Israel but in many cases officials who once lead or performed acts of terrorism themselves.  And it means that when you criticize Israel for collateral damage that leads to the death of innocents that it happens when targeting enemies not looking for peace but preaching the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel.  So yes, criticize Israel if you feel it is appropriate, but realize that if you do so in a vacuum that ignores the actions of the other side that you are not only wrong for doing so, you are part of the problem.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, aka BDS, had proven time and time again that it is not about helping Palestinians, it is about ridding the land of Israel of Jewish people.  It is a movement designed to cripple Israel economically regardless of who it hurts, Jews or Palestinians.  If an organization is to claim that its purpose is to advance the cause of a people, what does it tell you when it causes the closing down of factories employing the very people it claims to be helping.  But don’t take my word for it.  Just look at the name of the organization. It is all about hurting the Israeli government with no mention about helping the Palestinian people.  Partially because the people running the organization work hand in hand with the leadership that has for decades pocketed and misappropriated funding desired to help Palestinians and use hatred against Jews as a means of motivating the masses, much like Hitler and the Nazi Party did in Germany.  So if you are Jewish and support the BDS movement you need to know that the goal of the organization is to destroy a country created to keep you safe.  A country born from the ashes of 6 million murdered Jews.  Which leads me to my final and most important point.

You can find Jewish practice antiquated, pointless or even wrong, but make no mistake. You can’t hide from who you are.   You might try, but history shows us that our enemies don’t care how you feel about being Jewish, they care that you are and want you gone.  And with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year approaching I would be remiss if I didn’t ask this question. Why would you want to hide from it? The Jewish people have major global impacts on education, science, medicine and pop culture. And for those of is who believe in it from a religious perspective, it has given us the Torah, a moral compass of how to live a good and productive life, regardless of how precisely or traditionally one chooses to interpret it.

Finally I want to wish all my fellow Jews a happy and healthy year ahead. Whether or not you believe or not, and even whether or not you accept who you are or not, I wish you blessings in the coming year.  I may not like how you think and I will call you out, but that very thing you want no part of is the very thing that teaches me to wish good upon you.  And when all is said and done, only you know what is truly in your heart.

A Happy and Healthy Year to all.

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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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