Tag Archives: BDS Movement

Attention World: Jewish Life has Value

girls-with-3-salute-mocking-kidnap-victims

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!

 


How the Oscars Helped Show the BDS Movement’s Lack of Credibility

Omar_poster_croppedBy now I know I was not alone in cringing when a film from Palestine was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.  My personal discomfort wasn’t out of any objection that a film was made in the Palestinian territory, but rather for my immediate nervousness at the prospect of an acceptance speech.  When I thought about it further however, I was actually quite pleased by the nomination.  Not so much because I feel any personal investment in the growth of the Palestinian film industry, but rather because of the damage it does to the argument made by the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) Movement.

The movement, one that has influenced wealthy corporations and high-profile entertainers to boycott Israel, pushes the agenda that Israel is an apartheid state where Palestinians are persecuted with no hope for any sort of future.  Along comes a movie, “Omar”, a movie that tells a story of a young Palestinian man accused of being an accomplice in the murder of an Israeli soldier.  In the movie the man is beaten by an Israeli interrogator and convinced to collaborate with Israeli intelligence.  Having not seen the movie I can not speak to how good or bad it makes the Israeli authorities look, but I do know that in an apartheid state a film of this sensitive nature would never have been made.  This movie was made in Nazareth, in what is territory ultimately under control of the Israeli government.  It is hard to imagine a film like this would even get off the ground in China or Russia if a filmmaker from one of those countries showed either of those governments in a similar light.  So when the nomination of this film was read out loud for the entire world to hear, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was making the statement for those who needed to hear it that Israel is not only NOT an apartheid state, but a country where people can express themselves freely, be they Arab or Jew.

I don’t expect the anti-Semites who mold the BDS Movement to their agenda to be influenced by this at all, but I am hoping that the message was loud and clear to anyone out there who is objective and maybe not as educated to the reality of the situation.  For this I would like to thank the Academy.


Taking the Fizz out of Hypocrisy

M7u7PRhAs someone who is always keeping his eyes open for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment, something that most honest people know to be one of the same, I tried to find evidence that the banning of the SodaStream ad from the Super Bowl by FOX was one more example of hatred of the Jewish people.  Despite any solid evidence to back this up, the ripple effects of this story have been enormous in a variety of ways.

Although diminished over the years, I have a personal connection to SodaStream.  This personal connection has caused me to pay a little extra attention to the company and the success it has generated.  When I heard that Scarlett Johansson had agreed to be a spokesperson and would be in a commercial airing during the Super Bowl, as was the case with many other Jews and Zionists, I felt a tremendous degree of excitement and pride.  Not only was this a blow to the BDS  (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement  inasmuch as it had a major Israeli company on the public stage, it also represented a high profile, popular and beautiful actress showing the character and strength to support an Israeli company with no apparent concern for the backlash she might receive from others within her industry and from other industries.

But it gets better.  As many already know, SodaStream is an example of everything that is right in modern Israeli capitalism.   Here is a company, providing a good product, environmentally sound and beneficial to its users, seemingly providing great success to its owners and management team while providing fair and equitable employment to residents of the areas of Israel where the product is manufactured.  Let me repeat that for Roger Waters and other proud supporter of the BDS Movement.  Providing fair and equitable employment to residents of the areas of Israel where the product is manufactured.  That encompasses what they like to refer to as the “occupied territories”. 

The best news of all however, is that not only despite the fact that SodaStream’s ad was pulled from the Super Bowl but maybe even because it was, the company has become more well known in the past few days than it may ever have dreamed of becoming.  In some ways I’ll go as far as saying that a situation that was supposed to be nothing more than a business venture has turned into a political gain for the State of Israel.  The United States of America, a country I am proud to call my home, is now the setting for one of the most blatant examples of corporate censorship you will ever encounter.   The control that Coca-Cola and Pepsi have over the Super Bowl is so tremendous they have basically forced the network covering the event to not allow an advertisement that attacks their product.   The fact that the company that manufactures this product, SodaStream, is being unjustly attacked for making a product at the expense of the human rights of others, will totally expose those whose activism against Israel is based on anti-Semitism rather than a genuine, albeit misguided pursuit of justice.   The irony practically makes me giddy and although I myself am not a soda drinker, the impact this has had will cause me to purchase SodaStream as a gift for someone at my first opportunity.   

Of course the one sobering fact is that logic and truth have never stood in the path of those who have wished to cause pain to and destruction of the Jewish people.  With that said the fight needs to continue on many fronts, and today as a Jew and Zionist I thank Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream for what in the minds of many is a victory in one of the many battles we will unfortunately continue to have to fight.  Then again the personal connection I mentioned earlier makes it very easy to believe that SodaStream would be in the middle of something so significantly helpful to Israel’s image at a time it needed it the most.