Tag Archives: Bryan Adams

Cristiano Ronaldo: One of the good guys after all

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Once I was a fan of Bryan Adams, and a moment later I hated him.  I have never particularly liked Cristiano Ronaldo, but after this I declare myself a fan. Am I shallow? One dimensional?  When it comes to Israel, yes. Work against Israel and I hate you. Work with Israel and I’m a fan.  Yes it is that simple.  Does one have to agree with everything Israel does or agree with everything its leaders say? Of course not.  But there is a statement I have made that my friends who are minorities always agree with. No matter what someone says, you can tell who is prejudice against you and who isn’t. And simply put, when one of the most high-profile athletes in the planet is proud of a project he is working on in Israel, he is definitely more of a friend than anything else. Check out his commercial here.

 

For this I thank Cristiano Ronaldo.  It is easy for all of us, myself included to go after the haters, but it is my belief the good guys need to be recognized at least as much, and today I learned that Ronaldo is one of the good guys.  With lawyers and handlers all over today’s celebrities, he had to know there would be people attacking him for this, and not only did he do it anyway, he bragged about it on Twitter, saying:

“There are rumors that I’m going to be a star in Israel. Not in soccer… In a HOT commercial.”

Way to go Ronaldo!

 

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What Really is That Driving Force?

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If it is all about honesty the question that needs to be asked is, why do we do it?  Why do we share our feelings with the world, post on Facebook, push it on Twitter or make a blog?  Since I do all of this and I can’t with any real degree of sanity claim to speak for the entire planet, all I can really do is speak for myself and hope that some of you relate to my revelation of the forces that drive me to sit at my computer and write.

Without question there is some semblance of idealism involved.  After all, the letters or essays I write that are the most popular and based on reactions I receive, my best work, are all driven by passion and belief in what I am writing about.  It is easier for me to speak in defense of Israel and the Jewish people than it is to type about, let’s say, economics.  Of course that may be something obstructing me from accumulating vast degrees of wealth, and that doesn’t mean I don’t like money, but that is the funny thing about passion.  You can’t force it and you can’t pretend to have it.  You might try to fake it, but when you turn that into any form of expression, ultimately the truth comes out.  So a significant element of the driving force behind why I do this is the good fortune of having things that I care about, which I recognize doesn’t separate me from the common decent human being.  What separates me may just be that burning desire and ability to express my feelings so openly and completely.  Something I consider a gift and a blessing, not an indication of any degree of superiority.

The other side of it, and I think this is an element many reading this share, is ego.  So often when we comment, blog, or opine in whatever fashion available, we want to be the one that nails it.  We want to come up with that comment or  message that resonates above all others.  The funny thing is that many of us can do that on at least some level, but what drives a writer such as myself is the ambition to constantly raise the bar. For me, having a comment on a thread that is liked by a bunch of people is nice, but it’s more like the bread they put out in a high quality steak house.  It’s good and I enjoy it in the beginning, but it’s not what I came here for.

What adds an even greater dynamic to the discussion is the fact that so many of the subjects being discussed today have an enormous significance.  It may sometimes seem like this whole expression thing is just a form of mental masturbation and a self-indulgent way of giving one’s life a purpose, but what can’t be ignored is that in this day and age the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been.  Societies ills are spreading, violence is commonplace, war is an epidemic, hunger is everywhere and the world as a whole, even with its many positive elements and developments, is not a happy place.  I may have a self-serving side of me that loves it if thousands of people read an open letter criticizing a Bryan Adams or a Michael Moore, but the truth is that I also passionately believe that sometimes their actions and often their words, two things far more similar that people sometimes care to admit, are doing more harm than good.

Words do have power.  They can make things happen and they do carry a degree of responsibility. That may be the scary part but it also the most thrilling part, for every time I sit and write I hope that this is the time I write something that really makes a difference.  I hope that my words become meaningful to so many people that they contribute to making this world a little happier.  Sure it is egotistical, but how many people throughout history achieved greatness without some sort of desire to be recognized and important.  Religions would preach that our ultimate goal should always be to reach the highest levels of goodness with the lowest level of selfishness, but since human nature is to be happy and fulfilled when appreciated, I’m fine with that selfish side that motivates me, and if you can do some good, you should be too.

Back to the original point I made about honesty, I meant every word you just read, but in this case I merely wrote it because I couldn’t sleep.  Not very idealistic, I know, but if it ends up making a difference, I’ll be extremely happy.  Thanks for reading regardless.

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How being the son of Holocaust survivors made me who I am

Yom HaShoah

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we approach Yom HaShoah and remember the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, I can’t help but think about how being the son of 2 survivors helped make me into the person I am today.

In comparison to so many, I am a very lucky man.  I enjoyed having both my parents around till I was 45 when my 87 year old father passed away almost 8 years ago, and still have the blessing of a wonderful relationship with my remarkable 93 year old mother. Although they experienced their own brand of hell between 1940-1945 in Holland, they were fortunate enough that it did not reach a level that prevented them from moving forward and enjoying their life after the war.  Even with that said, the experiences of my parents made them who they are, which subsequently made me who I am, both for good and for bad.  But more significantly as I write this today, a day in which we remember those who did not survive, the deep emotions transferred to me and my siblings impacted every one of us.

Even when I was more moderate than I am today, I’ve never had tolerance for anything that resembled a lack of respect for Jewish life.  Of course as a normal human being I value all life, but I am always on the alert for any indication that the Jewish people are being attacked.  I won’t listen to Pink Floyd or Bryan Adams anymore.  I don’t like Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs merely because he once did the quenelle, a modern-day reverse Nazi salute in France, in a picture with a well-known anti-Semite even though he insisted he didn’t mean it to be anti-Semitic, and I almost got into a fight with someone at work who did the Nazi salute because he thought he was being funny.  He said he didn’t realize what it meant till his girlfriend told him later in the day.  That didn’t stop me from standing in his face and saying “never do that S#%#%t in front of me again.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I make no claims to be a tough guy, but my Dad of Blessed Memory was as tough as anyone, and my mother is one of the strongest people I’ve ever known.  I was raised by strong people who brought me up to be proud to be Jewish, and most relevant in this discussion, they always honored the 6 million.  As long as I can remember and as long as I was able to have a conversation I always knew about the 6 million Jews murdered by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.  And I have always tried my personal best to honor them.

Never Again, a phrase that often stems from or leads to political discussion may be 2 of the most important words in my life, as I am sure it is to many reading this as well.  However today is not about politics, it is about remembrance and honor. Something I learned from my parents, and thank them for from the bottom of my heart, for in the process they made me a better person, one that often stops and realizes the Jewish souls once sacrificed, and the importance of never forgetting them.

 

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Holland’s Heroes Top 10 of 2014

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To all of you who have supported and enjoyed Holland’s Heroes over the past year I say Thank you!  I will make every effort to provide worthwhile reading and will welcome input on how to make the website better.  Although my focus will remain on supporting and defending Israel, the United States, and the Jewish people, I intend to expand my efforts in other directions for those looking for a broader perspective and approach towards today’s world.

Acknowledging the time people took to read my posts I am providing you with 2014’s Top 10 most read posts.  The number next to each post is the amount of views the post generated  this past year.  Each post can be read by clicking the title of the post as a link has been set up on each one.

Thanks again to all of you.

10- Open Letter to Viggo Mortensen -3,368

9-   Open Letter to Ben Affleck-3,537

8-   A Liberal with Zero Tolerance-4,004

7-   Follow up Open Letter to George Clooney:Post Marriage-5,473

6-   Open Letter in response to Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz-10,601

5-   A Beautiful Irony-17,931

4-   Open Letter to Russell Brand-19,103

3-   Open Letter to Rosie O’Donnell-21,245

2-   Open Letter to George Clooney regarding his fiance’s comments-24,853

1-   Open Letter to Bryan Adams-28,738

 

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If the World was Right

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If the world was right this never would have happened.  If the world was right 132 children in Pakistan wouldn’t haven’t been slaughtered by thug bastards.  If the world was right there would be worldwide condemnation.  If the world was right there would be people mobilizing in the streets preparing massive protests.  If the world was right people would realize that the war Israel and the West is fighting is against the same type of people who committed this act.

But the world isn’t right; it’s very wrong.  It is filled with evil and hypocrisy and those who choose to remain silent.  Those who speak out against Israel’s fight for security but remain silent today carry some of the burden of responsibility for what took place today in Pakistan.  So Roger Waters, Amal Clooney, Bryan Adams, Russell Brand, Penelope Cruz and Rosie O’Donnell, if you have nothing to say now you show once again how you are NOT only not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Your hypocrisy is contributing to humanity’s downfall.  Where are you now?

 

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Open Letter to Reggie Bush

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Dear Reggie,

I’m not even sure how to start this letter. Congratulations.  You’ve now entered the world of Roger Waters, Bryan Adams and George Clooney.  You are a high-profile celebrity I will no longer support in any way, shape or form. You’ve never had the ability or skill to stay healthy long enough to perform consistently as a professional, but you somehow had the intestinal fortitude to dig down deep and facilitate a comparison so dumb that you managed to insult the police, the Jews and the black people of Ferguson all in one shot. If only you were this good at football.

I do not like the fact that an unarmed man got shot. I recognize the tragedy of the situation and although I believe the grey areas in this case may very well have given credence to the Grand Jury’s verdict, this is indicative of some very serious problems that still exist in this country.  There are problems of race relations that can not be ignored as well as problems in the training of police officers that must be addressed.  If I am to be as objective as possible I may very well say that it is wrong that Michael Brown is dead and right that Darren Wilson was not indicted.  That’s a difficult statement to make, especially since it can bring on the wrath of both sides, but I am no coward and if, as I learn more facts I feel that way, I will be willing to make that difficult statement.  I don’t make simple divisive statements like: The Palestinian people know what mean to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity. #ferguson #justice.” 

Seriously Reggie? Do you realize how incredibly stupid that comment is? Apparently not because you posted a picture of a man holding that sign on your Instagram and followed with your own statement that read, “No matter who you are, what color skin you have, where you live, we are all in this together! This isn’t a Ferguson problem it’s a Global Problem! We need change NOW! What happened to humanity? #JusticeForMikeBrown.”

Well Reggie, you ask a good question.  What happened to humanity? These Palestinians you seem to feel comfortable comparing to the black people of Ferguson have thousands upon thousands of people looking to die in the process of murdering as many Jews and Americans as possible. Two Palestinians stormed a synagogue in Jerusalem last week and brutally murdered 4 Rabbis.  Palestinians have in their ranks people who blow themselves up with the hope, yes the hope of killing dozens of people.  They have people who drive into bus stops and murder a 4 month old baby girl. Let’s not forget how they celebrate in the streets after these murders.  Palestinian demonstrators throw rocks and Molotov Cocktails in the hope that they will injure or kill as many people as possible.  And of course let us not forget the additional Palestinian celebrations in the street after 3,000 Americans got murdered on 9/11.  Putting aside for one second how offensive your approach is to me as a Jewish man, if I was a black man in Ferguson who had knowledge of current affairs, I think I would be even more offended.  To even hint that there is a similarity between the people of Ferguson and the Palestinians may be the worst part of the message you are sending.

As a Jew I can not say I am surprised.  After all, it seems to be fashionable to criticize Israel and the Jewish people even when done by those who are clearly ignorant to the facts.  Abraham Lincoln once said,  “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  Thank you Reggie for removing all doubt.

Incidentally,  I was such a fan I once had your picture as my icon during an entire Fantasy Football season.  All I can say now is that I am happy I didn’t trade for you this year when it was proposed to me.  Of course I didn’t because you are hardly on the field anyway.  I guess that is why you found the time to use social media to show the world your ignorance.

If you had merely made the comment you made I am certain no one would have had an issue with its intent.  Being someone who sees all Americans as being equal regardless of color or race, something everyone who knows me would corroborate, I might even have liked you more for the comment. After all, there is nothing wrong with expecting better of humanity.  But by showing the picture with that comment you went from portraying yourself as a man who cares to just another idiot with no clue.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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In Defense of Nicki Minaj

"The Other Woman" - Los Angeles Premiere - ArrivalsAs everyone knows, I have no problem going after anti-Semites.  I am also not an apologist.  Bryan Adams sang my favorite song of all time and I went after him. George Clooney has been an actor whose work I’ve enjoyed and I’ve gone after him twice for showing no signs he disagrees with his anti-Zionist/Anti-Semitic wife.  I used to think Penelope Cruz was beautiful and now I can’t even look at her.  If I am convinced someone is against the Jewish people, I want no part of them and I am not shy about saying so.  That is why it may come of some surprise to those reading this that I am choosing to defend Nicki Minaj.

There are two reasons I’m defending her.  First of all, personally, I just didn’t see it when I watched the video, which I did from start to finish.  I am the son of Holocaust survivors.  I wrote a book about what my parents went through during the Nazi occupation of Holland.  I am proudly sensitive to anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment.  I personally did not see the connection to Nazi symbolism in the video other than to the extent I was looking for it due to the reactions it garnered.  That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good video nor do I think the feelings of those it offended should be ignored, especially since many of those it offended are people just like me, proud Jews.  All it means is that in the name of honesty I can’t sit here and pretend to be offended by something that personally did not offend me. Incidentally, this is why I remained silent on the subject yesterday.  That and one other very important reason.  I wanted to see how Nicki Minaj would react to the criticism.  Which brings me to the second reason I am defending her.

Yesterday I wrote an Open Letter to Peter Gabriel.  In this letter I made the following point in regard to what motivates me to write these Open Letters.

“My philosophy, when it comes to writing one of these letters, and you can look it up and verify it if you wish, is that I write them primarily based on the words one utters.  In some instances I will address someone’s silence, but that is only when that silence indeed speaks volumes.  When someone expresses an opinion to me that someone is on what I consider to be the wrong side of the fence, I look for evidence to back it up.  Nothing provides better evidence than the words one speaks.”

Minaj made the following comments on Twitter regarding the controversy caused by the video.

“I didn’t come up w/the concept, but I’m very sorry & take full responsibility if it has offended anyone.  Both the producer, & person in charge of over seeing the lyric video (one of my best friends & videographer: A. Loucas), happen to be Jewish.  I’d never condone Nazism in my art.”

Although after watching the video I might disagree with Nicki Minaj on what is called art, she makes it very clear in her words that offending Jews and glorifying Nazism was not the desired effect of the video.  I for one believe her.

Many months ago in one of my posts I made the statement that there are enough outspoken and proud anti-Semites that we really don’t need to be spending our time going after someone who openly says they are not anti-Semitic.  In my opinion this is a prime example of what I was eluding to when I made that point.

One last thing.  I never have and never will be one of those people who believe it is a problem if you offend everyone else except for the Jewish people.  With that in mind, despite my defense of Minaj and the fact that I personally was not offended, if she does want to show that “full responsibility” she was referring to and achieve what I think should be seen as a slam dunk in the Jewish community, pull the video.  Show the respect evident in your words, acknowledge the sensibilities of the Jewish community and make a statement of great significance, for it offended enough people to be a problem.  Pull the video and leave little doubt as to your true intentions.

 

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