Tag Archives: Ezra Schwartz

Open Letter to Patriots owner Robert Kraft in acknowledgment of the tribute to Ezra Schwartz

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Dear Mr. Kraft,

Finding myself overcome with appreciation and compelled to write something in acknowledgment of your organizations actions, I decided to go straight to the source and thank the individual I believe most responsible for very publicly showing the world the value of all lives, but in this particular case, a Jewish life.

I tend to write these letters more as a means of expressing my displeasure with the actions or words of individuals in a position of some influence.  However, given the opportunity to recognize exceptional actions is something I am always extremely happy to do.  With that in mind and I am sure I speak for many when I say  thank you to you and your New England Patriots organization for the beautiful tribute you made tonight for Ezra Schwartz.

The words spoken by the PA announcer, remembering and honoring all the recent victims of terrorist attacks was moving and appropriate. I have no doubt that the same thing would likely have been done for any young 18 year old Patriots fan and resident of Massachusetts had they too been murdered under similar circumstance and the fact that Ezra was Jewish is not the main reason for the ceremony, but as a Jew that does not matter to me.  You see Mr. Kraft, in this day and age far too many people, Jew and non-Jew alike, don’t seem to put enough value on Jewish lives and it is not so much the fact that it was done because he was Jewish that matters, it’s the fact that this tragedy wasn’t ignored even though he was Jewish, something the Jewish people see far too much of these days.   For that I thank you personally.

As the camera cut to you during the ceremony I saw the genuine sadness in your face and couldn’t help but think how we need more Americans and more Jews like yourself who use their position to honor those who would otherwise be ignored. I also couldn’t help but think something that my fellow Philadelphia Eagles fans might find unacceptable but I was thinking nonetheless, and that is, Lets Go Pats.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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The Impact of ISIS on American Politics

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Like it or not, ISIS is influencing the American electorate. It would appear that the horrific terrorists attacks in Paris had an effect on much of the country not felt after any of the many and equally horrific terrorist attacks in Israel. Suddenly the dialogue changed from attacks on “those people over there” to an “attack on us and our way of life”.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe Americans to be good people.  I am proud to be one. When they do hear about terrorist attacks in Israel, a large percentage are for the most part supportive and compassionate.  But there in lies the first problem.  When an Israeli citizen gets gunned down or stabbed it’s not given the same significant coverage by many of the news outlets. Last week when 18 year old Ezra Schwartz, an American, was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel, CNN still headlining with the search for one of the Paris attackers, listed the other top stories on the bottom left of its website.  The terrorist attack in Israel and Ezra’s death was one story down from Carly Simon’s revelation that Warren Beatty was the subject of her 70’s hit “You’re so Vain”.   Hard to blame the average citizen if as a result many do not even know who Ezra Schwartz is.

Ironically the murder of Ezra, an American citizen would by itself not have done much to influence the average person nor most of the presidential candidates, but since the attacks in Paris national security and the war on terror have now become that issue the candidates clearly deem as the one they are choosing to exploit to get elected.

Forgive me if I seem cynical, but prior to the attacks in Paris the only Republican candidate I heard make mention of Israel in the previous debate was Ted Cruz.  Granted I didn’t watch the entire debate, and I am not saying there aren’t others who clearly support Israel; Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush clearly have shown a tendency towards friendship towards the Jewish state;  but in this particular debate it was only Ted Cruz who appeared to make a point of the importance of the relationship between the 2 countries. All candidates expressed the importance of stopping ISIS, but since no one in either the Republican or Democratic field is a supporter of terrorism, I would expect nothing less.  What did strike me is that until Paris, no one seemed to be making it clear how important of a fight the fight against ISIS really is. Now all of that has changed.

With the threat of ISIS finally being taken as seriously as it should have been at least a year ago, presidential hopefuls are doing their best to impress the American electorate with their tough words and strategies.  The impact it seems to be having on the American people is when presented with a choice between a more mild-mannered intellectual approach or a loud bombastic aggressive approach, the polls suggest the people prefer the latter.  Henceforth the increasing popularity of Donald Trump.

I actually think the reaction of the people is just another example of what makes the United States of America such a great country.  In previous times when a global power was faced with bad economic times and the threat of an aggressor looking to destroy its country and kill its people, the backlash lead to vicious dictatorships and the murder of countless numbers of innocent people.  In America our backlash is Donald Trump. Might not be my first choice, but in today’s political climate worse things could happen.

The big question is, do any of the candidates on both sides of the political aisle have what it takes to defeat this global threat?  Loud words and exuberant proclamations may get someone elected, but when push comes to shove the actions taken and decisions made by the next president may very well determine the future of the entire civilized world.  With the increased attacks and ongoing threat from ISIS, it would appear that the Islamic State has, willingly or unwillingly, impacted how we choose to shape that future.  Hopefully the choice we make will be in our favor not theirs.

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Now is not the Time to Judge Our Own, Now is the Time to Get Down & Dirty

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Much is being written about the importance of maintaining our ethical behavior as westerners living in civilized nations. The issue of Syrian refugees has moved to the forefront and become a polarizing political issue. While the statements may be based in an unquestionable truth, to put too much focus on this now deflects attention from the bigger problems facing western civilization.  War is being waged against our entire way of life and to put too much emphasis on our behavior, be it in action or rhetoric gives those who want to kill us more time to implement their strategy and puts all of us in serious danger.   First we must deal with the enemy, then we can deal with ourselves.

I am writing this partially as an indirect response to an excellent article written by a friend of mine in which he discusses immoralities that we, as decent people have no right to commit.  The article shows his extreme decency as a human being and extraordinary intellect, however in my mind as much as I respect him for his words, I believe the timing of the message to be off. This is a message we need to save for when this war is over.

The reason I say this is because we are dealing with an enemy that knows no morality, no decency, and has no heart.  As much as I believe good ultimately triumphs over evil, that doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes you must fight fire with fire.  As is so often the case when I espouse this type of action, I feel a pang of guilt.  After all, I am likely not going to be one of those people committing what otherwise might be deemed as questionable acts or even atrocities.  That being said, I fear for our future and know that if we are, for lack of a better term too nice, we’re in very big trouble.

Maybe I am one of the bad guys after all.  I believe that if it us or them it’s an easy decidsion.  I recognize the tragedy in the millions of suffering people living in Muslim countries, and although I wish it were different, now is no longer the time nor is it once again the time for us to concern ourselves with their plight.  The time will come when we do once again have the prosperity of a peaceful life, but until that time comes once again, our priority must be protecting our way of life and even more importantly, keeping each other safe.  If that means becoming something that we do not want to become, as long as it is temporary, I believe it is something we must do.  A true victory means doing so under our terms as they exist today, not defeating the enemy and becoming like them in the process.  As long as we stay focused on what it is that needs to be accomplished, taking the harshest of measures to see it happen is acceptable.  If as a society we have to slip backwards morally, I am confident we can address and fix that later.

If leading by example, taking the moral high ground, not letting the enemy drag us into the mud could work, I’d be all for it.  Sadly we are dealing with animals and sometimes the only way to defeat an animal is to become an animal.  Once good triumphs over evil and we are free of the cancer plaguing our planet we can focus on demanding ethical behavior from each other and the rest of the civilized world.  Until then survival is paramount, almost at all ethical and moral costs. As well intended as those focusing on our behavior may be, our energies need to be applied to a ruthless and barbaric enemy, one that will only see our decency and morality as weakness and exploit it to a tragic end.  Preventing that from happening takes precedence over everything else, no matter how unethical it may seem.

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