Tag Archives: genocide

Open Letter to the Jewish survivors condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza

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Dear Friends,

If there is one thing you learn being a child of Holocaust survivors, it is that no matter how much you try to put yourself in their shoes, you just can’t.  It is with that knowledge and awareness that I write this letter to you, those survivors that are condemning Israel over its actions towards the Palestinian people.  Despite the shock your comments and sentiments have caused to so many of us, (CLICK HERE TO READ STATEMENT) out of the respect I have for what you went through I have chosen to write this letter as more of a plea for you to come to your senses than a criticism of your actions.  I will make it a given that your intentions are pure, even if I and many more like me believe they are misguided.

No one who survived the horrors of Nazi Germany needs a lesson from me or from anyone else of my generation as to the actions committed during what is one of the blackest mark in the history of humankind.  Having spoken often to my parents, my father of blessed memory and my mother who is, thank God still alive and well, I have as good of an understanding as I can in my position, as to what took place.  I know that Hitler hated the Jews from the start.  Targeted them, scapegoated them, dehumanized them, and ultimately murdered them in massive and devastating numbers.  He made the elimination of the Jewish race more than just an emotional cause, he made it a government sanctioned law.  Even before the mass murdering started, he left no doubt that he wanted Jews to be no part of society, not only in Germany but everywhere his Nazi party occupied.  As is so clearly stated in the definition of Genocide, once he managed to rally the support of a desperate German nation behind him, Hitler specifically targeted the Jews in a deliberate and systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people.  I will spend the next paragraph outlining the similarities between what Nazi Germany did to the Jews and what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.

It will be a very short paragraph.  THERE ARE NO SIMILARITIES!

As I previously stated, this is more than a letter to all of you.  This is a plea.  I am practically begging you to come to your collective senses. Israel has not been perfect in its treatment of Palestinians, but it’s not only done more for them than many other nations do for a minority population, it’s done more for them than any Muslim nation in the world has done.

Please read the Hamas charter.  It calls for the elimination of Jews from Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide.  With that in mind I ask you this question. Had there been a Jewish army in 1943 or 1944 would it have been wrong for that army to bomb Berlin, even if in targeting official government locations it would have killed German women and children?

I appreciate and agree that dead women and children dying in war is always a tragedy.  I just urge you to realize that the deaths are not always the fault of the ones dropping the bombs.

In the name of God and all that is good and decent I ask all of you to stop this madness.  The last line of your statement may be the most important one in that it references the phrase “Never Again”.  I agree that “Never Again” means NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE, but it also means that sometimes actions, often harsh and painful actions, need to be taken to back up that phrase.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Genocide and Gaza

stop7Until his death almost 5 years ago, author and journalist William Safire was best known for his column “On Language” in the weekly New York Times Sunday magazine.  I could never come close to matching his brilliant writing skills particularly in picking apart the misuse of words and phrases.  I will say with the word Genocide being thrown around so liberally when discussing Israel’s actions in Gaza, I miss him now more than ever and will take a shot at what he might have said.

It would be morally wrong to attempt to speak for someone who has left this earth, but when I look up Mr. Safire’s background and the history of his political views, I tend to believe he would have been supportive of what Israel has been doing in Gaza.  With that in mind, in honor of his memory I will attempt to deconstruct the most despicable and ridiculous argument made by Israel’s detractors.  The claim of Genocide.

I’ve addressed this before in previous articles but never have I made this one issue, the meaning of the word and its proper application, the primary focus.  I started by looking up the definition.  The definition as stated by Merriam-Webster is as follows: “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”

The first and important word in the definition is “deliberate”.  In genocide’s throughout history, the governments committing them have made no secret of the desire to exterminate a people.  Israel’s killing of civilians is not only not deliberate, it’s just the opposite.  Israel is publicly stating that it is making every attempt possible not to harm civilians, and is only doing so when Hamas places rockets in area where they are given no choice.  Genocide is not defined as the murder of civilians when given no other choice.

The second word is “systematic”.  This adds another element to this ridiculous claim.  The population in both Gaza and the West Bank is growing at a faster rate than the population in Israel.  If Israel really is committing genocide it’s doing a pretty bad job.  Even the people who hate Israel don’t question its military efficiency and capabilities in accomplishing its goals.  Ironically the only people who do question Israel’s strategy are hardliners within Israel that may actually be in favor of harsher military action, and even they are not trying to wipe out a race, they merely feel the only way Israel will be safe is through a more severe military approach.

The last part of the definition can be just as easily rebutted; “destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”   Seriously? What nation that has committed genocide in the past against a group of people allows that group into its parliament? What nation committing genocide goes after this “political or cultural group” only when attacked first?  I guess there may be some credibility to this part of the statement if you are to say that Israel would like to systematically destroy Hamas.  But that only works if rather than realizing Hamas is a terrorist organization you somehow have chosen to see it as a political or cultural group.

I’ve seen signs that say, “Well done Israel. Hitler would have been proud.”  I actually agree with the second part of the sign.  Hitler would have been very proud of all those people going after Israel for no reason other than the fact that it is run by Jews, and the fact that one of the most devious clever forms of anti-Semitism today is comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

I am sure William Safire would have said it much better than I just did, but all we can do is imagine how well he would have picked apart this ridiculous and cynical argument. An argument we need to stop in its tracks.

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The Truth Matters Only if You Value it

liesClearly I am not objective.  I love Israel and hate Hamas.  I believe Hamas is to blame for the deaths of not only Israelis but Palestinians as well.  I believe Benjamin Netanyahu is a great man and Khaleed Meshaal is an evil man.  I agree with Netanyahu when he says, “If the Arabs put down their weapons there would be no more war.  If Israel put down her weapons, there would be no more Israel.”  Clearly I am not objective.

I make no claims to be objective.  However, despite my lack of objectivity I do seek the truth.  So much so that I acknowledge that Israel has made mistakes and done some things they should not have done over the past 66 years.  But there is no truth that justifies the attacks Israel has had to endure, be they violent attacks from terrorists or verbal attacks from anti-Semites.  If presented with factual evidence of a certain truth, even one that opposes my views, I would address it honestly and make every attempt to be fair in my assessment.  The question is, why won’t my enemies do the same?

It’s because the truth has no meaning to them.  Most anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment is not based in truth.  It’s either based in ideology or communal involvement.  People like to be part of something.  Even something motivated by hate.  The ideology however is what drives everything.  It drives terrorism, stirs up the masses, allows the leaders to make statements they know are not true, but justify with their beliefs.  A friend once said to me, “people buy with emotion and justify it with logic.”  Once the masses buy the bill of goods sold to them by the mini-dictators popping up all over the world, they search for the logic to back it up.  For example, the number one lie being told is that Israel is committing genocide.  Once that message is sold to the Muslim masses by the Imans, all they need now is a complicit al-Jazeera or CNN to show a man holding an injured or dead child in his hand in Gaza and the people have their “logic” to back up the sale.

Here’s the problem with that.  When you use that method the truth is irrelevant.  The only thing that matters is pushing your agenda.  Even visual evidence won’t matter anymore.  You passionately sell an ideal, even one of hate, show one image, maybe only make one ridiculous claim that can be used to back it up, and its sold.  Russell Brand goes on a hateful diatribe against Israel on his online channel he calls the Trews, claiming it is True News, and people who like the movie star buy into it, even though he sits there and blatantly obstructs the truth from his listeners.  Hamas sells the idea that Israel is indiscriminately bombing Gaza, targeting women and children, and those who have already bought into anti-Zionism and Jew hatred see a blown up building and they’ve seen enough.  We could have a 10 page document and 100 pictures proving that Hamas put those innocents in harms way by using them as human shields and it would make no difference.  They’ve already decided what they want to believe.  The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

Do we combat this with lies of our own?  I say no.  But I do think we need to be a little less concerned about whether or not we are unfair to those allowing those lies to be spoken and should be spending less time defending those who only express an (anti-Semitic) opinion.  Tolerance is a very charitable trait, particularly in war time, and as we all know charity starts at home.

As I responded in social media when someone criticized my letter to George Clooney, “Never Again” does not mean Never Again unless we insult George Clooney.  Never Again means recognizing the signs and doing all we can to prevent it.  I believe the truth is always the right way, but being tolerant at our own expense is not.

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Where’s the Love?

Hamas-Children-600x350The great Golda Meir one said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Sadly I believe we are further away from that being a reality today than any other time since that incredibly poignant statement.  As sad as it may be that they hate us even more now than they did then, is the fact that in their actions they appear to love their children even less.

Despite the impression some may have from reading my posts, I am both a hopeless romantic and a softy.  I am not a hardened bitter person.  I not only believe in love, I have always accepted it in my life.  It doesn’t matter what kind of love either, be it in romance or the type you have for good friends and family.  I am a fan of love, think its important that it exists in everyone’s life, and feel it needs to be one of the core values present for any individual and in any family or community.

So last night I had a revelation.  With the exception of one thing, the members of  Hamas and their terrorist buddies never speak of the love for anything. They certainly hate a lot, especially anything Jewish or American, but love is hardly ever mentioned.  The one thing they do proudly and openly love, is, of all things, death.

As so much of the world chooses to blame Israel for the plight of these poor children in Gaza, even with the tragedy of those killed in this recent war, the larger tragedy is the life being given to these children by those who should love them.  I am by no means presuming to say that Palestinian mothers don’t love their children, but in allowing Hamas to rule and to educate their children on the path their life should follow, they are not manifesting their love correctly. They are giving their children over to a regime that proudly states, “We love Death for Allah like Israelis love life.”

There’s a genocide going on in Gaza alright, but it’s being committed from within and by the same people using the term to generate hate against Israel and the Jews.

Golda Meir’s words were wonderful, wise and correct.  Even with that said, it would be a good start if they loved their children more than death. They need to work on that before they work on not hating us.  Until that happens there won’t be much improvement for anyone’s situation, either in Israel or in Gaza.

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Why Stop Lying Now? It’s worked so far

156822845.jpg.CROP.article568-largeAs Hamas claims victory, I wonder if those who have chosen to believe their lies will choose to do so now as well.  After all, if they do, they can’t continue to criticize “big bad” Israel.  Their whole humanitarian argument has been based around the superiority of the Israel Defense Forces.  Yet somehow all of a sudden, Hamas not only has defeated Israel, they defeated the entire west.   Has humanity gone mad? These same people who rally the whole world against Israel and the Jewish people now claim they were victorious.  They throw out the term Genocide like it’s nothing and then claim they won?  Survivors of genocide don’t celebrate victory when the war ends.  They may cry tears of relief, and thank God it is over, but there is no joy when real horror was so real and so recent. Believe me I know, I was raised by two people who survived a real genocide. These people in the photograph don’t even look like they had a bad day at work.  Once again, and it has happened so many different times this past month, their very words and behaviors expose their lies.  However, I am sure, as has been the case till now, those too blind to see, whether it’s from ignorance or anti-Semitism, will not recognize the truth.

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Why Israel Doesn’t Take off the Gloves

Israeli-flagEven the most blatant liar portraying Israel as the brutal aggressor is aware that Israel is showing tremendous amounts of restraint. They just won’t say that publicly.  It doesn’t fit with the Public Relations smear campaign so central in their war strategy.  But let’s face it.  They know that if Israel really was targeting civilians and committing Genocide as they’re accused of doing, tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of Palestinians would be dead by now.  So why does Israel show the restraint that it does?

Let’s examine what might happen if Israel took off the gloves and waged this current war without concern for civilian casualties. World opinion would be overwhelmingly against it, the United Nations would condemn it, enemies like Iran and Turkey would try to rally nations to destroy it, the United States administration would be shaky in its support, Israeli Soldiers would die, missiles would be fired at cities, anti-Semitic crimes and demonstrations would increase worldwide , and violent protests would increase in the West Bank. That’s what would happen if Israel took the gloves off, right?.  But wait just one second.  That is what is happening now.  So realistically we can conclude that the situation wouldn’t be much worse for Israel if it used the full extent of its force and wiped out significant portions of Gaza to achieve its objectives quicker and with a greater degree of success.  So why don’t they?  The answer lies in one word, morality.

It is the most infuriating irony of the past month that terms like “War Crimes” and titles like “Nazis” are being thrown around to describe Israel when the very facts being used to justify those terms are the very facts that destroy that argument.  Israel isn’t holding back for fear of consequences or for concern of world opinion.  What you would think Israel would endure if they weren’t showing restraint, is indeed what it is enduring while showing restraint.  That means that if put in a position where it has no choice but to take off the gloves, the blood of the civilians in Gaza won’t be on Israel’s hands, but on a world ignoring the truth that exists today. Instead of lauding and supporting Israel for showing respect for human life,  too many people with power are attacking it and obstructing it, behaviors that may at one point force Israel to intensify the operation to a point where tens of thousands do get killed.  If that happens, the hypocrites and the corrupt of today will be able to look back and see that they were the cause of the increasingly higher death toll, not Israel.  But that’s not what will happen.  Instead they will say what they are saying now, just with more passion and conviction.  Even if it isn’t genuine and honest.


Open Letter in response to Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz

262333343 (1)Dear Mr. Bardem and Ms. Cruz,

I will write this on the assumption that your letter was constructed from a genuine disdain for the murder of innocents.  We have that in common.  I too hate to see innocent people killed.  It is the worst thing to happen in this world on a daily basis and if it were to stop the world would indeed be a better place. The issue that can not be ignored however is who is responsible for the murder of innocents and what is its root cause.

The term Genocide is being thrown around a lot these days.  I too see Genocides happening.  The ones I see happening are in Iraq and Nigeria. The definition of genocide is the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.  ISIS in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria have made it very clear that  they are targeting Christians who have 2, sometimes 3 choices.  Convert or be killed are always on the table, while leave and go somewhere else are only occasionally on the table.  Even if one would accuse Israel of conducting this war incorrectly, a point I will address later in this letter, they would have a very difficult time proving that an actual genocide is being committed.  Unless of course one chooses to listen to the Hamas version of the story only, in which case Israel is doing everything wrong and Hamas is doing everything right.

I recently was concerned that the problem we have in dealing with this situation is that we are trying to use reason with the unreasonable.  I read your letter and it certainly comes across as having been written by a reasonable person, but then I see a very narrow argument being given and I naturally question the motives and logic behind your arguments.  Imagine Spain was being threatened by a strip of land attached to it, that strip of land was being supported by an enemy nation sworn to Spain’s destruction, and that same strip was being governed by a group of people who in its charter declared it wanted all the Spanish out of Spain.  What would you do?  If the territory bordered water, and that waterway had access to the hostile nation, would you not stop shipments to that territory?  If missiles were being fired at Spain from that strip of land would you not fight back, no matter how much stronger you may be?  And if you were to fight back, would you, as the humanitarians that you are,  feel responsible for the deaths of innocents placed in the location of the missile launchers?

It is a tragic situation.  We agree on that?  But the bigger tragedy may be how the people causing this tragedy are duping reasonable people, such as yourselves into believing their lies.  Israel has accepted almost every cease-fire offer made.  Hamas has mainly refused all but one.  If you are to make the argument that Israel is wrong for the deaths of the innocents despite the fact that Hamas puts the innocents in the line of fire, how can you justify not criticizing Hamas for rejecting the cease-fire?  You want to see the death stop.  So do we.  Ask yourself a question.  Look into your heart and be honest.  Do you truly believe that Hamas wants the death to stop?  If you truly are reasonable and honest you will come up with the correct answer.  If not, your opinion may be tainted by something you are not revealing in your letter, in which case there is no point in debating this with you.  If however you are sincere, I believe you will see the truth.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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