Tag Archives: Europe

This year Passover incorporates past, present and future like never before


As I write this, Passover has  already begun for my friends and family in Europe and Israel.  For those of us in the Americas, as we prepare to start the holiday and for the majority who will have a Seder like never before, I want to offer the following message of hope and encouragement.

In my years of celebrating the holiday, even when I was most focused, I admittedly would remember the past, acknowledge the present, and talk about the future.  But this  year the biggest difference for me is that we look at everything through a different lens.

As we look to the past, we will recount the story of the Jewish people being slaves in Egypt and the suffering of the Jewish people throughout the ages, most notably for so many of us, the suffering of the Holocaust.  As human nature is prone to cause us to do, this year we find more parallels between our lives and the past suffering as ever before. That doesn’t automatically mean we are correct in drawing that parallel, but to many the death and illness, coupled with the fact that we need to stay home to avoid a plague of sorts, is enough for many to see it in that light.

Our present, which is indeed connected to the past perspective, is given more focused attention than it usually is on any given Passover.  Usually Passover is a break or pause from how we conduct our every day lives, be it through changing the dietary laws, altering our work schedule, or spending time with more friends and family.  This year however, it is merely a break of a few hours over the course of a matter of a few days, as so many will be conducting their lives when the holiday is over in a very similar way to how they will conduct it over Passover. At home and, at least for the time being, adjusting to a very different normal.

However, it is my belief that the biggest difference comes in how we see the future.  Not just in practical terms but for those of us who are so inclined, in religious or spiritual terms.  For the majority of us, talking about how this year we are slaves and next year will be free, was an important yet disconnected part of our Seder in past years.  Maybe our lives haven’t always been everything we wanted,  having never truly questioned our freedom, but we have never been more appreciative of that freedom as we are today.  We look at our restrictions today and wonder if they will increase or diminish.  We question if the future holds more significant amounts of pain and suffering than we’ve already experienced.  And we question whether or not the world will become a place for all of humanity to exist in peace, freedom and love.

The answer is a simple yet complex one.  We just do not know what the future holds. But to paraphrase my father of blessed memory, we are better off not knowing the future, because inevitably we learn things we rather not know. Here is what we do know.  If we have the physical or mental capacity to do so, we can make our world better not just for ourselves but for those around us.  Acts of kindness, patience and understanding are more than just catch phrases.  They help to form that future we so dearly will look to at our Seders.  But as long as we can do something to make a difference, even in one person’s life, then we always can be hopeful for a better future.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Passover.

A Positive Perspective on a Seder Alone






Why we need to stop the misuse of the word “Nazi”


In recent years there has been a growing and concerning trend in regard to a word as familiar globally as any other word.  That word is Nazi. The trend I speak of is in the use of the word in a descriptive, subjective form, as opposed to the literally specific form necessary to keep an understanding of the evil it represents.

A number of people who knew that I intended to write this piece have actually thanked me for doing so.  Any attempt to try to change the thought pattern of an anti-Semite or other form of bigot that uses Holocaust denial as a means of forwarding a perverse agenda is a waste of time.  A more worthwhile venture is to make sure those who have open minds and pure hearts are afforded the opportunity to know the truth.  The truth is that improper use of the word Nazi dilutes the horrors of what took place under the Nazi-occupation in Europe.

This post is neither a political statement nor an apology for those that misuse power.  This is more of a perspective check. Calling someone a Nazi because they do something damaging to other individuals, or even worse calling them one because it is your perception they are doing so, detracts from some critical facts.

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi war machine sought out and killed in staggering numbers.  According to jewishvirtualibrary.org the numbers break down as follows.

Jews: up to 6 million

Soviet civilians: around 7 million (including 1.3 Soviet Jewish civilians, who are included in the 6 million figure for Jews)

Soviet prisoners of war: around 3 million (including about 50,000 Jewish soldiers)

Non-Jewish Polish civilians: around 1.8 million (including between 50,000 and 100,000 members of the Polish elites)

Serb civilians (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): 312,000

People with disabilities living in institutions: up to 250,000

Roma: 196,000–220,000

Jehovah‘s Witnesses: around 1,900

Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials: at least 70,000

German political opponents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory: undetermined

Homosexuals: hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70,000 repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials noted above).

As a son of Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivors, the Jewish number hits very close to home, as it does or has done for many others I have known or still know over the course of my lifetime.  The Nazis destroyed entire worlds.  They wiped out an entire Jewish civilization in a large percentage of Europe.  They tortured, they raped, they conducted experiments, made people dig graves before shooting them in cold blood, and put together one of the most efficiently cruel means of mass murder by gassing to death multitudes of people.  Frankly, although these facts are accurate, this does not capture the true horror of what took place.  For that one needs to research the numerous pictures and accounts of the events that took place.

And yet many people today refer to anyone with ideologies opposed to their own as a Nazi.  This is not a left and right issue.  This is also not a justification nor a means of disregarding dangerous viewpoints or ideologies.  What this is instead is a specific statement as to what separated Nazi Germany from much of what people refer to today as Nazi behavior.  I’ve seen people on the right call Barack Obama a Nazi.  I’ve seen people on the left call Donald Trump a Nazi.  You can criticize, even despise the Iran deal or the situation on the border, but neither of these facts put either president even close to being in the same category as Adolf Hitler.  Furthermore, even if one would feel strong critique for Israel’s handling of the Palestinian situation or feel a disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, invoking Nazi atrocities as a comparison to today’s Israel is nothing more than a disingenuous use of a term to promote a dangerous anti-Semitic political agenda.

None of this is to say that we should turn a blind eye to the dangers that exist both in our respective countries or abroad.  But it is important to note, that if one is to learn from history it starts by doing everything necessary to study it accurately.  What the Nazis did  between 1933 and 1945 is perpetrate an evil unlike anything the world had ever seen.  To improperly identify and remember what took place not only dishonors all those murdered, it puts us all in greater danger of seeing it take place once again.







The Accountability of World Leaders

Barack Obama, Francois Hollande

I have often said how important it is to identify your enemy.  I never have been one to blame Presidents Clinton or Bush for 9/11. I blamed bin-Laden.  World leaders can sometimes be tragically inept, but the blame for acts of barbarism and terror falls directly on those who commit them.  That being said, our leaders do have a responsibility to defend us and in light of the recent events in France, and even more so in light of the reaction, leaders such as American President Obama and French President Hollande owe their citizens the answer to one very important question.  Why did it take the terror attacks in France for them to get serious?  That’s assuming that now they truly are serious.

This approach of reacting without pity, intensifying the airstrikes, doubling and tripling the efforts is all well and good and naturally something I support, but questions needs to be asked and answered.  Did they not know this was coming? Has ISIS not made its intentions very clear for quite some time?  Let’s say ISIS keeps their word and attacks Washington, D.C., will the president then take the strong action needed to stop this? When France sends its air force to wipe out key ISIS locations in its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, again something I support, I can’t help but wonder why this was not done last week, last month, or even last year. It is easy to understand why it was done yesterday, 2 days after the terror attacks,  but knowing full well that ISIS had every intention of attacking innocent people anywhere they could get to them, and having already proven their willingness and desire to murder multitudes of people, did they really need a catastrophe to take proper action?Apparently so.

The time to be concerned about collateral damage has passed.  Now is the time to unleash the gates of hell on the very same people who want to kill every last one of us.  I am not barbaric, in fact I’m a particularly peaceful man, but if it comes down to taking out a village in Syria or Iraq that is  being used as a shield for their operations or even 1 person that I care about being hurt, I am in favor of wiping out that village.  It is likely too late to stop further acts of terror in the United States and Europe, but in wiping out their cities that are being used as bases of operations, we have a much better chance of averting a global catastrophe. Furthermore, it’s time the world recognized that the enemy Israel is fighting is of the exact same ilk, and that the Jewish state needs to be left alone to do what is necessary to bring peace to its borders.  If this is not part of the entire philosophy, then these very same leaders, not just Obama and Hollande but all the leaders of the west have learned nothing from the events of this past Friday in Paris.

The great thing about democracy is that when our leaders aren’t doing what needs to be done we can elect new ones. Until that time let’s hope our leaders take the actions that gives us reason to believe they understand what is truly at stake and preserve our crumbling future.  Before it’s too late.







Open Letter to Shirley Maclaine










Dear Shirley,

Your recent comments regarding the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Europe were so ridiculous I originally chose to ignore them, but sadly like so many other idiots today you have an audience that actually cares what you say.  Therefore I am left with no other choice other than to address your most recent public display of insanity.

You asked the following question.  “What if most Holocaust victims were balancing their karma from ages before?”  I keep looking at this thinking I must be in some kind of twilight zone.  I won’t waste words asking you if you are out of your mind since the evidence supporting this is clear, but I will ask you this question. How dare you?  These weren’t 6 million fighting soldiers killed. These were regular people. Innocent people.  Not just young strong men but the elderly, the sick, women and children.  My mother worked as a nurse in a Jewish hospital in Amsterdam and watched as the Nazis took sick people on gurneys and transported them to gas chambers.  Do you honestly believe that any decent force in the universe would cause this to happen as a means of balancing out karma?

Would you like to hear my theory?  Besides the fact that you are just plain bat-shit crazy, you are so distressed over your own life, so angry over wrongs you felt done to you over the years, and so scared to go after the bad people, that you decided to do what all modern-day cowards with deep inner pain and an audience do.  You went after the Jews. Let’s be real here.  Despite the claims people like you might make about the barbarism of the Jews and the government of Israel, your life is not in danger even after you desecrated the memory of 6 million murdered Jewish souls.  It is this understanding that emboldens fools such as yourself.  The knowledge that you can say anything to the Jews and not put your life in danger is what makes you “brave”.  Quite frankly, I am proud that we are like that and hope it never changes.  I also hold no hope that people such as yourself will ever understand that very fact about our nature proves how wrong you are about your karma theory.

In closing I have this piece of advice.  Either seek mental help or change your therapist, for whatever you are doing now isn’t working and the more you speak the more all sane people realize how out of your mind you truly are. Either that or you are actually a reincarnation of a buffoon.  Regardless, in the meantime it would be great if you would just shut up.

David Groen






If Muslims stay quiet they will largely have themselves to blame for what happens in Europe and beyond

muslimproIt seems as though now that things are relatively quiet in Israel, the popular cause among those looking to put their 2 cents into the Middle East situation is defending Muslims.  I’ve never had a problem with anyone who takes the stance that painting a brush over an entire group of people is wrong, assuming they recognize the rights of all parties and show even less tolerance for acts of unwarranted violence and terrorism.  However, when it comes to defending Muslims, the thing so many are missing, is that there is a silence within Islamic nations and populations that is deafening in its significance.

Despite the fact that it’s become cliché to say the next great war will start in the Middle East, I’ve maintained for quite some time now that World War III will actually start where the first 2 started, in Europe.  Of course this argument starts from the assumption that it has not already begun, something I am not necessarily prepared to do with  any real vigor, but that horrific escalation that leads to the death of millions may indeed find its origin in Europe. Naturally we all hope and pray it does not got that way, but if it does, here is why I say Europe would be ground zero.

Europeans are an interesting bunch.  They have an element of sophistication and enlightenment different from what you see on other continents.  On the surface they are a peaceful, educated bunch.  They are artists, musicians, scientists and when unprovoked racially progressive.  However, when pushed to the breaking point, they have produced some of the most vicious, evil and cold-hearted dictators the world has ever seen.  The vast majority of Europeans crave peace, but they also have limitations, and when those limitations are exceeded, they will often put their support behind those who will change the status quo at all costs.  Till now it’s been socio-economic circumstances that brought this on.  Hitler in Germany and Stalin in Russia both used poverty as the enemy to rally the masses behind them, justifying the murder of anyone they deemed in the way of their nations’ development.

Although it may turn out to be economic travails that break the proverbial camels back, the main factor building Europe to a dangerous boiling point is the increasing influence of the Muslim population as it coincides with Islamic extremism and terrorism.  A rising Muslim populous on its own would still potentially lead to problems in Europe during a faltering global economy. After all, scapegoating is not necessarily out of character for Europeans, but even without economic issues, as Europeans feel less and less safe, and their Muslim populations remain disproportionately silent, the  likelihood of a scapegoat scenario strengthens significantly.

If there is an outright World War III it seems destined to be in the form of a Muslim-Christian war, with other groups, most notably the Jewish people being caught in the cross hairs and winding up victims of the same devastation.  What makes this so frustrating is that if the “religion of peace”, as some insist on calling it would have a majority actually stand up against the forces of evil within its midst and demand peace, it would likely never come to that horrific outcome.

Unfortunately there is no real outcry from within the population.  Tens to hundreds of thousands protested Israel’s action in Gaza, but stay home while ISIS marches through Syria and Iraq, and Iran continues to sponsor terrorist organizations to instigate larger wars in the region.  This silence, if followed by a European continent that feels the threat level has exceeded any level of reason, could very well lead to the death of tens of millions of people, of which a multitude will be Muslim.  Just as many Germans died because they allowed Hitler to lead his Nazi party and commit their atrocities, so too the apathy or even worse in many cases, the quiet support of Muslims, could lead to millions dead, many of them actually Muslims.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility that right now they feel a sense of security and therefore remain quiet, but eventually they may not be very safe, and if that happens they will largely have themselves to blame for being silently complicit.

Let’s hope it never comes to that, for as my mother, a survivor of the Holocaust says, when it comes to war, no one ever really wins.





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Response to Article in Times of Israel titled “ISIS is not Muslim”









After reading what I felt to be a naive albeit heartfelt article written by  Aditya Divakar Karkera  entitled “ISIS is not Muslim”, I felt compelled to respond.   (CLICK HERE TO READ HIS ARTICLE IN TIMES OF ISRAEL). I admire the writers intentions and truly understand the message he is trying to get across.  The problem is, that while he defends Islam, he has a very serious problem defending Muslims. Here is why.

Although I take some issue with some of his earlier comments, it is one of the last statements of his article where sadly, the argument completely falls apart. I say sadly because in my heart I want him to be right.  I want it to be true that there are only 75,000 Muslim extremists.  Maybe there are only 75,000 Muslims willing to commit acts of terror, but unless you actively oppose these people, as a Muslim you are more of an extremist than a moderate.  What percentage of the remaining 1.5 billion plus Muslims actively oppose this extremism?  There were more than 75 thousand Muslims protesting against Israel and in support of Hamas this past summer on any given day in Europe. Are they moderates?  The people of Gaza elected Hamas.  Are they not extremists?  They are being taught to hate Jews from a young age, that we are pigs that need to be killed.  Is that not extremist?

Iran is a nation of people led by a government committed to the destruction of Israel and opposed to western values.  I am sure not all of the people living there feel that feel the same way, but the citizens are not exactly rising up against this.  If we are to take the position of the writer, we need such a sentiment to come from more than one good person from India with the genuine desire to see a world free of hatred.  We need the Muslims of the world that feel as the writer says they feel, to stand up and make their voices heard. Without that it means  nothing.

It may be true that much of Islam peaceful, but I don’t hear of many Muslims fighting for peace.  I don’t see tens of thousands marching against the extremists.  I don’t see the young people throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails at terrorist headquarters.  I would like to see that, but I don’t.   The perception that Islam is a religion of violent extremists can only be dispelled by one group of people, and that is the Muslims themselves.  We would all welcome that day if it were ever to arrive.  Sadly there are no indications of that happening with any significance.  As long as that is the case the argument made in this article won’t be accepted by the majority of people, and in my opinion, rightly so.




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I only Hate Muslims when they Hate me

Pro Palestinian protester burns an Israeli flag during banned demonstration in support of Gaza in central ParisWhy is it not being called what it is?  Why the pretense that this is something far less specific than it is?  Why are people not identifying those responsible?  Over the past few months we’ve been hearing a lot about the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. Although it’s been far worse recently, the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment is hardly a new development, particularly in some notable parts of Europe.  Cities like Paris, Antwerp, and Malmo, Sweden have been notorious for increasing incidents of vandalism and violence against Jews for quite some time now.  If you hear the reports, it clearly sounds like the Jewish people are becoming increasingly unwelcome in the European community.  There’s a catch though.  It’s not the overall European community primarily guilty of this expression of hatred. From all accounts most of the hatred is coming from within the Muslim community.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article in which I renounced my status as a Liberal.(CLICK TO READ) This issue is one of the reasons I’ve done so.  I have friends and acquaintances that still do call themselves liberal who are not squeamish when it comes to identifying the root source of the danger to the Jewish people, but there are many within the liberal community who would turn around and call this article the epitome of Islamophobia.  Those are the ones  I know longer align myself with.  Call it what you like, but it’s no phobia.  A phobia is something irrational.  I don’t hate a person because they’re Muslim.  But I do hate a person who hates me, those like me, and anyone else who doesn’t think like them.    That’s not irrational, that’s logical.  Interactions I’ve had in the past with Muslims who wanted an equal relationship have proven that I indeed do not have some automatic dislike because of what religion they were born into. That goes against everything I believe in.  But that also doesn’t prevent me from identifying the sad truth, and that is that an overwhelming percentage of anti-Jewish sentiment in the world today comes from within the Muslim population.

Although the BDS  Movement has non-Muslim followers and participants due to its excellent and cynical marketing, it’s a group formed by a Palestinian. Anti-Jewish demonstrations and violence against Jews in Paris consist primarily of Algerian Muslims.  Anti-Jewish behavior in Holland comes primarily from Moroccan Muslims.  One third of the population of Malmo is Muslim.  Is it a coincidence this small and once cute city in Sweden that I visited with my parents and sister in 1976 is a powder keg of anti-Semitism?

Although there is an element within the so-called liberal elite behind some of the anti-Israel activities on college campuses in the U.S., I have no doubt you would find that at the very least a significant number of those active against Israel in these institutes of higher learning are Muslim.

Here’s the point people conveniently miss.  No one is happy about this.  We want to hear the Muslims within these cities and institutions take a stand against hatred. But where are they?  Where is their voice?  These people would be my friends. They would be my partners in moving towards a better world, and in return it would be easy and enjoyable for me to respect and support them in whatever life they might choose to live, be it Muslim or something else.  But that element within the Muslim community is silent, most likely out of fear, and therefore missing the opportunity to alter the perception that all Muslims feel that way.  You see, if I was guilty of Islamophobia, I might say all Muslims feel this way.  But I don’t.  At the same time I am not willing to deny the basic truth, and that is that if you took the Muslims out of the equation, we most likely wouldn’t even be talking about anti-Semitism today.

It’s time we accepted the truth.  It will catch up with us whether we do or not. The funny thing about reality is that it doesn’t go away just because you ignore it.  If anything, when the reality is that one large group of people is out to get you, if you ignore it, it only gets worse.




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