Tag Archives: Benjamin Netanyahu

You’ll have to forgive me Mr. President. I’m a Jew and I’ve been hurt before

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I know as a Jew and a Zionist I am supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy today.  After all the President of the United States did greet the Israeli Prime Minister with great respect and they expressed their long lasting friendship.  To make it even better, President Trump went as far as saying that he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  That’s never been said before. Oh wait. It has been said before. By just about everyone else to run or step into the office since at least the mid 90s.  So although I appreciate the nice words, right now they are nothing more than that, and as a Jew I am yet to be convinced.

For example, outgoing President Barack Obama, a disappointment to so much of the Jewish community started off by making the following comments.

“Let me be clear,“Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. … Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state with secure, recognized, defensible borders.”

“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.”

Go back to recently defeated candidate Hillary Clinton who wrote the following in a letter, dated July 2, 1999 to Dr. Mandell Ganchrow of the Orthodox Union in New York.

“If I am chosen by New Yorkers to be their senator, or in whatever position I find myself in the years to come, you can be sure that I will be an active, committed advocate for a strong and secure Israel, able to live in peace with its neighbors, with the United States Embassy located in its capital, Jerusalem.”

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton declared in February 1992, at the height of the Democratic primaries, that he supported recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that would alter U.S. policy, but never signed the 1995 congressional mandate to move the embassy.

Senator John McCain pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel “right away” from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as did Senator Robert Dole and George W. Bush who actually did become president.  Candidate Bush made the pledge to move the embassy on his first day in office. Once in office he said he went from doing it on the first day to saying he would begin the process on his first day.  Instead he signed a waiver every 6 months delaying the same 1995 congressional mandate and in the end never did it.

Enter President Donald J. Trump.  Yes he has said some very nice things. He too promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem.  But now he is looking into it. He promised to rip of the Iran deal on his first day.  We must have missed it. And he publicly stated the following at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“I would like you to hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

Donald Trump may end up being the best friend Israel ever had in the Oval Office.  I certainly hope so.  But forgive me if I’m not ready to throw a party yet. I’ve heard this song before.

 

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Never Defend the Indefensible

World Leaders Gather In New York For Annual United Nations General Assembly

I have spent the past year, over the course of the US Presidential election cycle speaking out against the concept of what many might call the concept of defending the indefensible.  I take pride in being anything but a hypocrite.  So much so that I sometimes have views that are not in line with where I appear to stand politically. Therefore I can no longer keep silent regarding the current administration’s recent stance regarding Israel and the United Nations condemnation of the only true democracy in the Middle East.

This piece is not about Donald Trump, so I will only refer to him this one time, merely to make a point.  Those who have read my work over the past year or so are fully aware that I did not support him.  I found it bizarre and a bit scary when his supporters defended words and behavior many of us saw as indefensible. I can not be sure of what kind of person he actually is, but as president, to be blunt, I just don’t like him.  That being said, when I speak of dislike, my feeling towards the United Nations is on a different level.  So as I sit here and realize that my president, a man I voted for, has chosen as one of his last acts as leader of the free world to align himself with this bastion of corruption, I find myself in the position where I can not and will not defend the indefensible on a level far greater than any over the past year.

Ironically the issue, at least in my opinion, is not so much in the details.  There are many people in Israel who are opposed to the settlements.  There are also many people who believe the only real solution to the conflict is a two state solution.  But that’s not the issue. What is more significant here is the condemnation by the United Nations and the lack of loyalty and support the United States has shown to Israel in not only not obstructing this condemnation, but very possibly being a driving force behind it.  The United Nations has made a very lucrative business out of criticizing and condemning the Jewish State.  While nations have murdered and tortured their citizens, while terrorist groups have begun to form in various parts of the Middle East, and nations like Iran have called for the death and destruction of Israel and the United States, the United Nations has encouraged and arguably promoted the idea that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians.  For any United States government to do anything other than oppose this, truly falls in the category of indefensible.

Just as a lie of omission is  still a lie, an abstention by the United States at a United Nations vote of this significance is the same as a show of support for the vote.  I truly believe Israel will get through this, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a clear act of disloyalty towards an important friend, and if it is personal and based on the relationship between President Obama  and Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is far worse than that. It interferes in Israeli politics in a manner not too dissimilar from a foreign government hacking America’s political parties and possibly influencing the election.  It tells the Israeli people, I don’t like the person you elected through your democratic process and subsequently as a result I am turning my back on you as I walk out the door.

This is not about being a Liberal or Conservative.  Alan Dershowitz, a man as liberal as anyone in the public forum has spoken out against this without any filter, and clearly feels the same sense of betrayal so many of us do at this time.  This is about how to treat a friend and knowing and acknowledging the difference between right and wrong.  Israel is a nation of equality.  A nation where people of all religions, races, nationalities and orientations have the opportunity to live in peace.  If an outgoing president and an international body decide to end the year attacking Israel instead of going after the real manifestations of evil in the world, this becomes nothing other than a vendetta, be it political, racial, or as many believe in this case, personal.  Regardless of the motivation it is an act that is truly indefensible.

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And my Vote goes to…

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MY CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT IS…

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, we know one thing for sure. November will be historic.  The citizens of America will either elect a businessman from New York, a man with no formal experience in politics or, for the first time in the nation’s history, a woman as President of the United States.  There have been times in the past when the candidates of one of the parties was somewhat more obscure, or at the very least less high-profile, but this year without question, name recognition is not an issue. Everyone knows who Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are?  Or do they?

I don’t want to use this forum as a means of showing my support for one candidate by trashing the other, but in this election the majority of voters are at least somewhat impacted by that which they do not like about the other.  It’s very much about spin.  Take the most extreme supporter on either side and there is nothing the opposing candidate can do that will be seen as OK.  However, there is one glaring difference in my estimation. We can at least claim to know the worst there is to know about Hillary.  But what about Trump?  Somehow people have come to believe that a millionaire businessman, the owner of hotels, private jets and helicopters, is somehow a regular guy, a man of the people. They look at me with a straight face and say they won’t vote for Hillary because she is a liar or corrupt.They actually allow themselves to believe that Donald Trump has gotten to where he is out of sheer brilliance and hard work.  I won’t sit here and prosecute the case against him, but really?  If you believe that I have a great university you should attend. It will make you rich.

I know the criticisms against Hillary and I will openly admit that I don’t like everything about her, but do I have a far greater amount of confidence in her ability to lead this country in the right direction than Donald Trump?  Without question I do.  Was Benghazi a tragedy?  Of course it was.  Could things have been handled better? Maybe, probably, I don’t know. But I do know that under George W. Bush 13 embassies were attacked and 60 people were killed.  We’re America. We are hated by those who want to take what we have or change who we are.  We are targets and will remain targets as long as there is evil in the world.

I don’t like the Iran deal.  Never have, likely never will.  But even if I am to see it as a total attack on Israel, which I don’t necessarily do, I see it as President Obama’s deal not Hillary Clinton’s.  To say a Secretary of State is wrong for working towards the goals of her boss doesn’t make him or her complicit in the outcome of the goal, good or bad.  It makes them a loyal servant to the Commander in Chief.  I am also comfortable to go on record and say that in areas I disagree with the president, I believe him to be more someone trying to save the world, sometimes naively, rather than someone trying to bring anyone, including Israel, destruction.

Emails? Sorry. I am not even going to make a case as to why this is not enough reason for me to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary.

People say that Donald Trump is preying on the fears of the people.  That is partially true. Sadly I believe he is also exposing the stupidity of many.  I would never say that all people voting for Trump are stupid, many are highly intelligent, but I do believe he is counting on the vote of those that are stupid. If Hollywood made a movie, and the day after the Democratic National Convention started the Republican nominee’s best response to what he saw was calling the Democratic nominee Hillary “ROTTEN” Clinton, people would have assumed we were watching a Mel Brooks satire.  But no, this really happened, and it happened from someone people still take seriously.  Someone who made fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, likened Ben Carson to a child molester, called his opponents names like Little Marco and Lyin Ted, mocked a handicapped person, called Mexicans rapists, called for a ban of an entire religion, said John Mccain wasn’t a war  hero because he got caught, and yes, even spoke about the size of his penis. This man is somehow considered to be more qualified than Hillary Clinton?  Really?

As a Jewish man and a Zionist I say this.  Many reading this see history and see Roosevelt and Churchill as great men.  I won’t sit here and necessarily challenge that.  Had they not led the world to victory against Adolph Hitler it is possible that western civilization as we know it would not exist and all we know as Jews would be gone.  But before we judge people on a standard of perfection, or even good or bad, ask yourself how many Jews might have been saved had they destroyed the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.  If FOX News were around then, FDR might have been held accountable to the point of prosecution, Thomas Dewey might have been elected, and Harry Truman would never have become president.  Who knows how World War II would have ended?  I am not saying FDR and Churchill were perfect or the biggest fans of the Jewish people, but their jobs were to be leaders of the US and Great Britain, and that they were, in exceptional manners.  We have every right to demand our leaders don’t hurt our cause, but we also must realize we are electing a President of the United States, not a president of the Jewish people, and we must therefore expect that president to do what they deem best for the country.  Furthermore, before Jewish supporters get all excited about a Trump presidency merely because his daughter converted and he speaks harshly about Muslims, keep these 2 things in mind.  When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric Trump punished him by cancelling his trip to Israel.  Also keep in mind how Trump plans to reconsider aide to our allies, including Israel.

The point is, no matter who you are or where you come from, whatever good you believe you are hearing about Donald Trump, he’s only telling you to get your vote.  Yes, you can say that about all politicians, but don’t tell me how different Donald Trump is from the establishment.  He funded the establishment, including the Clintons, for decades.

I don’t buy into the fact that a Hillary Clinton presidency will be 4 more years of an Obama presidency.  If anything I believe it is more likely to be closer to being 4 more years of a Bill Clinton presidency, and that would be just fine by me.  I honestly don’t know how good of a president Hillary would be, but I feel that her demeanor, her experience and her intellect is enough to make me very comfortable in giving her my vote.  I think her choice of Tim Kaine already shows she is making choices based on her agenda as opposed to the demands of others.  I think she is ready to be president today, as opposed to her candidate who will never be ready to be president.  Besides the fact that I’ve always been offended by the implication that America isn’t great, merely for the benefit of a slogan, I also know that Donald Trump couldn’t even make Atlantic City great again.

I know that many reading this find it hard to believe that I, someone who has always been so outspoken about the security of Israel could support Clinton over Trump, but guess what?  I find it hard to believe that you don’t.  You might be able to legitimately raise questions about her, but to me that doesn’t mean voting for Trump, someone who repeatedly shows signs of being a global menace.  I’ve seen and heard enough bad from Trump to not vote for him while seeing enough good to vote for Hillary, and that is what I intend to do.  What good you ask?  In this political climate don’t count on answer, because most people asking won’t accept my answer anyway.  You vote your conscience and I’ll vote mine and I’ll accept you for your choice whether you return the favor or not.  After all, that’s the American way.

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Exposing the Double Standard

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a smart man.  He knows history as well as the rest of us.  Unlike many others I’ve spoken to and likely reading this article, I personally refuse to jump on the anti-Bibi bandwagon.  It is my belief that the recent comments made by Netanyahu at a World Zionist Congress conference claiming that the Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini convinced Adolph Hitler to kill the Jews, was part of a much larger overall strategy to bring the situation to the forefront and expose the blatant worldwide hypocrisy as it relates to the value of Jewish life.

I’ve listened to a lot of people express their anger or disappointment in Netanyahu’s statement regarding the Mufti’s influence on Hitler and how damaging his Holocaust revisionism is to the overall situation.  Let’s see now.  What negative impact will it have exactly?  Will it open the door for random terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians?  Will it cause the world to turn a blind eye to the murder of Israelis?  Will it cause Israel’s allies to open the door to a nuclear agreement with a terrorist government hell-bent on Israel’s destruction? Will it cause Palestinian leadership to tell lies about Israel? Oh wait. Those things are already happening.

Being the son of Holocaust survivors and having penned a book that covers their experiences during the Nazi occupation, I understand how sacred the discussion and memory of the Holocaust is to so many.  I understand the responsibility a Jewish leader has to guarding this sanctity.  That  being said, Israel’s leaders have one overwhelming responsibility, and that responsibility is to keep Jews safe, not only in Israel but all over the world.  Did Netanyahu’s comments make Jews less safe?  Were they safe before his speech? Will the world remain silent as Jews get murdered in towns that were once peaceful homes?  Was the world showing any real anger before his speech?

We all know the answer to these questions whether we care to admit it or not. Instead of expressing outrage for the murders of innocents in Israel, the UN was preparing to discuss the merits in declaring the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Jews, a Muslim site.

Let’s pretend that Netanyahu knowingly revised history here. Is it worse than Hamas consistently accusing Israel of targeting civilians?  It’s certainly being approached as though it is.  Is it wrong if Netanyahu is playing their game, telling a lie for impact? That’s debatable.  I understand the concept of taking the high road, of not sinking to their level.  But truth be told, Netanyahu’s comments brought the entire situation far more to the forefront.  In fact the frequency of attacks seems to have slowed down since his comments.  Maybe the Palestinian leadership that claims to have no direct influence on its citizens’ fury are actually reeling in the violent protagonists.  And maybe, just maybe, in making this claim today, Netanyahu is attempting to alert the world to the real intent of today’s Muslim extremists.  That intent is clearly another genocide committed against the Jewish people.  Exposing them is not incendiary, it’s enforcing the concept of Never Again.

Is what Netanyahu said accurate?  All evidence I know of shows it not to be.  Is what he said commendable?  On its own merit we would have to say no.  But if we dig deeper and see its true impact we have to be careful to jump on the anti-Bibi bandwagon.  Maybe, just maybe his comments do more to protect Jewish lives than hurt them.  Either way, as the world tends to remain quiet as Jews get randomly murdered, I personally believe attacking Netanyahu, even if based in some legitimacy, does nothing more than feed into the double standard, something far more damaging.

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Open Letter to Dianne Feinstein

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Dear Senator Feinstein,

I remember watching you on an interview after Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Congress and even then I was struck by the arrogant attitude you displayed towards the Israeli Head of State. With that in mind your recent statements come as no shock to me despite the incredulous lack of logic in your words.

First of all, you say the Iranians are “sincere” about wanting a deal.  Well thank you Captain Obvious.  Of course they want a deal.  This is the best thing that could have happened to them.  They get everything they want. A lifting of sanctions, a place on the world stage, and a nuclear program that could very well wind up making them the most dangerous nation on earth.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon or even a Senator from California to realize that Iran would be happy with this arrangement.  So to say that they are sincere about wanting a deal, is nothing less than a waste of breath.

You then go on to say that you disagree that “the broad outlines of the deal threaten the survival of Israel”.  If this deal increases the likelihood of Iran getting nuclear weapons that statement is just ludicrous.  Iran has repeatedly stated that it wants to wipe Israel off the planet.  Therefore basic logic would dictate that an Iran with nuclear weapons would indeed be a threat to Israel’s survival.

When discussing Netanyahu’s stance you say,

 “I wish that he would contain himself, because he has put out no real alternative, in his speech to the Congress, no real alternative, since then, no real alternative.”

Personally I am offended by anyone, particularly a Jewish leader speaking so disrespectfully about the Prime Minister of Israel, but I guess you are so partisan in your policies that you believe it is important to speak of him this way in order to support President Obama.  As far as the crux of the statement is concerned, if someone speaks out against someone’s desire to commit suicide but doesn’t give the individual an alternative way to live their life, should they therefore be in favor of suicide?  Based on your statement suicide would be the right move, not just for the individual in this hypothetical scenario, but based on this policy, for the United States as well.

It so happens that Prime Minister Netanyahu does have an alternative which is

“standing firm, ratcheting up the pressure (through continued sanctions), until you get a better deal.”

Of course you are opposed to this because you are seeing through partisan blinders and they are causing you to support the president in a deal with a distrustful government with the ambition of radicalizing the entire planet. Your own statement in response to Netanyahu’s comment only shows how illogical dealing with Iran is when you say, that the path of sanctions would drive Iran’s program underground and make it more difficult to monitor.  How do you get from that to believing this is a legitimate partner in peace?  I don’t believe that you do.  Instead I believe you are playing partisan politics at its worst, even when it is detrimental to the safety of the State of Israel, the United States of America, and ultimately the entire western world.

To me this is poor and irresponsible leadership that will not only hurt the country, but the political party you clearly deem more important than anything else.  Not to mention the fact that as a Jew, it is my opinion, and one shared by many others, that in supporting this deal you are supporting a policy that puts the Jewish nation and Jews everywhere in danger.  I hope you can live with that.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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Open Letter to Jimmy Carter

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Dear Mr. Carter,

Since I know fully well that appealing to you from the standpoint of a Jewish man would be a waste of time, I will instead appeal to you as an American citizen.  Let me however begin by  saying that I truly believe that appealing to you from any reasonable position is a waste of time, but in the hope that I can somehow get through to you, I will at least do some due diligence. Even more important, I hope that people who do actually read this become even more aware of your devious and detrimental contribution to the security of the nation you once officially lead.

I use the word officially, because in being one of the worst presidents this great nation has ever seen you really provided very little leadership.  I have said before and will say again that in my opinion your mishandling of the Iranian situation when you were the Commander-in-Chief is a very significant reason why we not only have Iran to worry about today, but its numerous and growing satellite terrorist organizations and nations. In fact  if one were to believe you purposely mishandled Iran, your current support for Hamas would fall perfectly in line with your previous actions. Personally I do not believe you calculated this outcome, instead I believe it is rooted in two basic premises.  You have a dislike for the Jewish people that is deep-rooted and rather obvious, and you came to terms with your failings in foreign affairs by choosing to prop up organizations that would legitimize the disaster that was your presidency.  Case in point, your support for Hamas.

I started this letter by stating that I would appeal to you as an American.  Although I believe you to be too egotistical and arrogant to respond to this letter even if you do actually read it, I do believe that as a former President of the United States and someone sworn to protect us, you should let the American people know how you find any justification in publicly supporting a terrorist organization such as Hamas.  How do you feel showing such warmth and support for the terrorist leader Khaled Mashaal is beneficial to our country and what it stands for?  You then turn around and say that meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be a waste of time. Why? Because in your mind it’s better to work with a terrorist than a Jew.  Nothing you can say or do at this point will make it appear otherwise, and for any decent clearheaded person to take you seriously at this point you would need to make a dramatic change in your words and actions.

The more you talk the more difficult it becomes for me to show you the basic respect I wish to show you for the mere fact that you once held the position of President of the United States. I will just say that in my opinion it is you who are a waste of time, and that your participation in foreign affairs does nothing other than hurt the interests of all Americans, not just the Jewish people you have very little interest in protecting.  I hope you continue to enjoy your photo ops with the murderers you so clearly respect and that the people who matter become more and more aware of your disingenuous and harmful intentions.

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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