Tag Archives: Holocaust

Marcel Groen’s words on the Effects of Immigration on Real Lives

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The following was written by my brother, Marcel Groen.  Marcel is the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.  He is a son, a husband, a brother, a father, a grandfather, and friend and colleague of many.  In this short but poignant piece however, he represents himself, the son of Holocaust survivors, more than anything else, as an American.  It is my honor and pleasure to share my brother’s words.

 

In the winter of 1942 Marcel Rodrigues went to the embassy in the Hague, the Netherlands, to apply for a visa for himself and his son, Bram.  He applied for the visa because he felt that America was the only country in the world that could provide him with hope, safety and freedom.

He was right. His visa was denied, He chose not to try to come here as an illegal immigrant. Oh do I wish he had. Marcel and his son  were murdered in Auschwitz on August 13, 1943, ten months later.

If only he had tried to get here as an illegal immigrant-he might not have succeeded, but if he had been successful he would’ve lived. There was no one else or place to go.

Marcel was my grandfather and Bram my uncle.

Americans should never forget why people come here, sometimes legally, sometimes not, but millions have come. They came because America represented opportunity, safety and goodness,  in a world that was neither good nor safe. We represent that wonderful experiment called democracy, where we make room for all and provide safety and opportunity for all who come here. Without those immigrants we would be nothing.

We are not perfect as a society. We have a long way to go, but we can and must continue to work towards those lofty goals we believe in.

When we crush those dreams; when we close our borders to those in need; when we forget where we came from and where we want to go;  then we will lose our place in the world, than our experiment will have failed. We cannot let that happen. As a people we are too good for that.

There are times when good people must stand up regardless of the consequences. JFK’s Profile in Courage comes to mind.

This is one of those times.  

Marcel Groen

 

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One Person of Integrity can make a Difference

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“One person of integrity can make a difference” is a quote from the late Elie Wiesel who departed this world yesterday at the age of 87.  This is a man who had every right to say these words, because in his strength, survival and life, it is nearly impossible to find anyone who made such an enormous difference with strength and integrity of enormous proportions.

We all know the story of the plight of the Jewish people during Hitler’s rule.  6 million Jews were killed in numerous concentration and death camps set up primarily to solve what the Nazis saw as the Jewish problem.  The most notorious of all the camps, the camp that symbolized the horrors committed during this time was Auschwitz.  One estimate is that 1.1 million of Jewish victims of the Holocaust were  murdered in Auschwitz.  Although most people who ended up there never left, there was a small percentage that did survive, and although for many the horror was too great to relive, there were those who would tell their story.  No one did so with greater skill, honor and integrity than Elie Wiesel.

Ever since his death I have thought a lot about what it was that made Elie Wiesel great. People are often thrust into difficult even horrific circumstances.  To survive as a functioning decent member of society is, in itself heroic, but to tell the story and make it a cause is taking that heroism to another level.  In 1944 at the age of 15, Wiesel was taken by the Nazis from his home in Romania with his family and deported to the camps in Poland. His mother and a sister were killed in Auschwitz and his father was murdered in Buchenwald a few weeks before its liberation.  To be there when that happened, to lose one’s parents and a younger sister in so short of a time would already be enough to destroy anyone’s spirit, not to mention the countless horrors he witnessed during his stay in both Auschwitz and Buchenwald.  Rather than let his spirit be crushed, Wiesel came out of this horror of all horrors with a resolve and strength of character unparalleled.

 “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed….Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”
Elie Wiesel, Night

It is my contention that not only do Jews everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to Elie Wiesel, but so do good and decent people of all faiths.  History books tell the story of the Holocaust, but nothing can ever do so with the power and purpose of someone who was there, experienced humanity in its darkest moments, and in their survival remained committed to letting the world know, all in the hope that somehow it could prevent humanity from ever doing anything like that again. Elie Wiesel did all of that, and he did so with a dignity unfathomable.   This man who was almost killed as a teenage boy, went on to live a life that will keep his spirit alive forever.

“For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.”
Elie Wiesel, Night

I found an ironic symmetry yesterday as Elie Wiesel passed away at 87 just hours before sunset and the beginning of the day on the Jewish calendar commemorating the day in which my father, also a Holocaust survivor also passed away at the age of 87.  The education I received from both my parents, both survivors, always made me aware and knowledgeable of what took place during that time that everyone would hope to forget but are obligated to remember.  With that in mind I leave you with this one last quote from the great Elie Wiesel of Blessed Memory.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Rest in Peace Mr. Wiesel and thank you. I will try to never be indifferent.

 

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Being the Child of Holocaust Survivors and the importance it holds in turbulent times

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Between 1933-1945, Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Party ruled Germany.  Over the course of his time in power the Jewish people were persecuted, tortured and threatened, not only in Germany, but in every European country conquered by the Germans during the 2nd World War.  6 million Jews were killed in what is now known as “the Holocaust”.  But although a tragically small percentage of Jews from these countries either outlasted the war or were fortunate enough to make it out alive, their number was still significant enough to keep the Jewish world alive, primarily in Israel and America.  These people that made it out are generally known as “survivors”.  Survivors who were not already married would marry after the war, and as is the way of the world, the majority would have children.  This article not only addresses those children, the “Second Generation”, but it also addresses the differences between them and Jews who are not the children of Holocaust survivors.

It is often said that people should write what they know.  Being the son of Holocaust survivors from Holland, I know as well as anyone what it means to be the child of survivors.  What I also know, through friends and relatives, is where the differences lie between those who are second generation and those who are not.  It’s extremely important to begin with one very important premise.  There is not a better or worse type of person in this discussion.  Whatever values a second generation has as a result of their upbringing or whatever their actions and reactions are to what they see and hear in religious and political discussions, the magnitude of their background does not by any means make them better people or Jews.  First of all, values that speak to equal rights, tolerance, activism against injustice, are all values any individual is capable of. You don’t need to have had parents that suffered through horrific times to become that person.  Often what sets second generations apart from others is an overabundance of caution, and sometimes fear that comes from growing up in a household run by people who experienced persecution as opposed to seeing it from afar or merely understanding it in theory.

It’s important to note that some of these responses by second generations are not what would be deemed as healthy responses.  One does not have to be a psychologist to recognize neuroses.  It might be said that being a second generation increases suspicion of people, distances in relationships, and a pessimism about one’s future safety.  Now that being said, those behaviors can be accredited to anyone from any environment, but when you grow up hearing real stories about pain, suffering, constant fear and death, your predisposition to caution impacts your philosophies.  It can be seen even more clearly during this election cycle and the matter of the Donald Trump candidacy.  A fear of the rise of Muslim extremism is not limited to the second generation, but anything that can draw a connection in one’s mind to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis pushes a button that causes great passion.  That doesn’t mean all second generations feel the same.  Some will support Donald Trump because they believe he will deal with the terrorists in a way that will utterly destroy them, while those who don’t support him often see him as a bigger problem, comparing him to Adolph Hitler. Now of course the natural reaction to these statements is that millions of people share the same sentiments on both sides of the issue, but there is a difference. And this is where it gets more interesting.  The difference is more in self-perception than in actual philosophy.  We, meaning the second generations, often feel we have an inside track on understanding the evil the world is capable of.  That in turn impacts how we feel, how we speak, and how we act.

What about the millions of Jewish people who are not the children of Holocaust survivors.  Do they not share the same values and understandings?  It would be unfair and incorrect to say they don’t, but their values are not rooted in the same emotions. Emotions fade with generations.  To illustrate this I will use the example of my brother and his son.  I have a brother who left the United States and voluntarily joined the Israeli army.  He is no different than me or my other siblings when it comes to his zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism. I would say his philosophies on international affairs and his honoring the memories of those lost in the Holocaust are similar to mine.  One of his sons also joined the Israeli army.  He clearly felt a strong enough attachment to who he is and where he comes from to make a choice similar to the one his father made and go off to fight for Israel.  Where the difference is evident is in what appears to be what might actually be a healthy ability to detach from the emotions associated with these very meaningful values.  This detachment can be misinterpreted by not only second generations but by Holocaust survivors as well. Truth is, when actions speak volumes, behavior and interpretation of emotions are far less significant in general but very apparent to second generations because we tend to analyze everyone and occasionally judge as well.  Fortunately we make up for it by possibly being the most important people when it comes to keeping alive the memory of what the Jewish people endured.

Everyone acts and speaks how they do for a reason.  As a second generation myself, I am convinced that part of my motivation in getting words in front of others is to insure that nothing is missed and that anything I see that can make the innocents of the world safer I must convey to as many people as possible.  That, for lack of a better term, hero complex, is also a result of my upbringing.  I once read somewhere, and forgive any inaccuracies since it was long ago, that children of Holocaust survivors have a tendency to fantasize about being in an environment like a synagogue which comes under attack, and getting hold of a gun and fighting off the attackers.  Again, I am sure this same fantasy occasionally exists in the minds of people who are not second generations, but the study did show a tendency towards this from the children of survivors.  I’ll go as far as to say that anti-Semitic attacks I see are attacks I try to fight off with what is my gun, the written word.

The biggest responsibility a second generation has is to make sure fellow human beings, particularly fellow Jews who are not children of survivors, recognize the actual reality of what has and could always still happen.  Not just intellectually, but emotionally.  There are some brilliant minds, many more advanced than me, that understand the dangers and realities of being Jewish in this world, but their ability to detach emotionally, which is often a strength, can also be an advantage to those out to destroy other’s freedoms and liberties.  The balance lies between conveying these emotions while not letting them be an overwhelming force.  It is a battle second generations face on a regular basis, and although it is a burden, the one thing all of us recognize, is that it is a far easier burden than the one that faced and in many cases still faces our parents.

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Open Letter to Marsha Levine; BDS supporter who snubbed an Israeli girl’s question about horses

marsha-levine

Dear Marsha,

It was recently suggested to me that when I write one of these letters I refrain from personal attacks.  While I acknowledged and have even tried to follow that advice, it is next to impossible to express my feelings towards you without doing so.  The reason being that your attack on my people is not only infuriating but very personal as well.  I could make this quick and easy, call you a stupid idiot and sign off, but I first wish to make some critical points. Once I am done I promise to make my personal feelings very clear.

As a Jew whose parents survived the terror of Nazi occupation while 6 million of their brethren were murdered all over Europe, I take serious offense to you saying that “Jews in Israel have become Nazis”. Consider this the educational portion of the letter “Dr.”  To properly address this I first need to thwart your contention that those persecuted and killed by Hitler’s Nazi Party are similar to the Palestinians in the territories.  The Nazis were never threatened by the Jews in Europe.   Jews in Germany, the land where the Nazi party was formed, and I state the obvious because you give no indication of having knowledge of the obvious, were law-abiding contributors to society.  Jews in Germany did not form terrorist organizations that murdered women and children.  They did not have elements within their midst with an ideology committed to the destruction of the German people.  They were not claiming land and using that claim as justification to murder innocent people.  The Jews never asked for half of Berlin.  Palestinian leadership has been offered significant portions of land and refused each offer, preferring to continue the cycle of violence instead.  So to compare the conditions of the Palestinians to the victims of the Nazis already shows your lack of wisdom and credibility.

Second of all, to compare the actions of Israel’s government to the actions of Nazis is not only factually incorrect, but an insult to the memory of all the Jews killed by the Nazi Party.  Does Israel have death camps created to solve the “Palestinian problem”?  Are there chimney stacks in Israel spewing ash that is the last remnant of exterminated Palestinian men, women and children?  Do Israeli doctors perform experiments and torture Palestinians?  Are Palestinian being shoved into cattle cars and shipped to hard labor and concentration camps where they are starved to death, worked to death, shot or gassed? Are Palestinians being publicly humiliated for the amusement of Israeli soldiers?

Do you have any understanding of how ridiculous your comments are? I am guessing you know fully well and are driven by your own personal emotional issues. I do not know you personally, and frankly I don’t care to, but I do know that anyone who has so much self-loathing that their response to a little girl asking about horses would be a political and verbal slap in the face is likely very scarred from events in their early life.  Frankly I don’t give a horse’s hind quarters what you went through in life, I just wish you would shut up and stop showing this juvenile enjoyment you seem to be getting from insulting my people.

I end with 2 things.  First of all I want to make it very clear that referring to the Jewish people as my people and not your people or our people is not an oversight.  As far as I am concerned there is nothing Jewish about you and we’re better off without you.  Second of all, as promised, I will end by saying that  you are indeed a stupid idiot who has traded decency and morality for your 15 minutes in the spotlight. Ironically that makes you more like a Nazi than the people you criticize.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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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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To Properly Remember is to Always Know

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As I sit here with my limited understanding of what it means to remember those that gave their lives for the State of Israel, I realize that my personal obligation and responsibility is relatively easy when put side by side with those who have sacrificed so much.  In just a few words I will try to convey my feeling as to the basic effort I believe is incumbent on all of us who love Israel and the Jewish people.

I lived in Israel for 3 1/2 years.  Although that was many years ago I fell in love with the place. For me, someone raised in a strong Jewish household and the son of Holocaust survivors, I grasped the importance of the State of Israel at a young age.  That being said, I never had to do what so many others have done and continue to do to ensure its existence and security.  All I have ever been is a beneficiary of other’s sacrifice.

Having been  raised by 2 wonderful parents that suffered through the hardships of Nazi occupation and woke up to the horror of losing their family and friends, the concept of remembrance has always been paramount in my mind.   I write a little, speak a little, and try to show as much honor and respect as I can, but in the end I have personally concluded that there is only one way for me to truly show honor and respect.  That is to always remember.  Not just on Yom HaZikaron but every time I think of the blessing of the State of Israel.  Every time a member of the Israeli Defense Forces “IDF” is lost in battle, every time I meet a former member of the IDF, and every time I read or hear the tragedy of another lost soul to a terrorist attack.  I try to do more than just remember on one day, I try to make it part of my consciousness.

It is not easy to live with certain knowledge when that knowledge is painful or horrific, but when comparing oneself to someone who experienced it personally, to always be aware of what took place is a small price to pay.  For all those who have sacrificed so that we as Jews can have country we call our own, I am fortunate that all I need to do is always know the sacrifice they made for me.  In that way, in some small manner, I try to honor them every day.

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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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Open Letter to Carl Maziali, VP of Media Relations at USC Regarding his acceptance of a faculty member’s mockery of the Holocaust

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Dear Mr. Maziali,

I find it hard to believe that I even have to write a letter of this nature to the Vice President of Media Relations of an established and respected university.  I’ve heard many anti-Semites spew their filth the direction of my people, so when an Iranian mocks the murder of 6 million Jews I’m no longer surprised, but when a representative of an institution such as USC excuses and sanctions his behavior I realize our society has reached new lows.  I also believe someone has to answer for it and be held accountable.

I am referring to the professor in your school by the name of Alireza Tabatabaeenejad, who in a series of tweets made it very clear what he thinks about the Holocaust. It all started when Professor Tababajabadahut defended Iran’s Holocaust denial cartoon contest by asking what is anti-moderation about holding such a contest.

It went on further when Tabababumble was confronted by Noah Pollak, Executive Director, Emergency Committee for Israel on twitter:

@alirezat I mean, do you think a million were killed, or around 6 million, or in between? Just curious as to how you think about it

@NoahPollak I really don’t know. I should read about it. Why?

@alirezat bad analogy. This wasn’t a murder. It was a genocide carried out in the name of anti-Semitism. Try again.

@NoahPollak Logically, I cannot say “antisemitism” and “denial of the Holocaust” are necessarily equivalent.

 

For me to address Tababuthead’s comments would be giving him more credibility than he deserves  and it would imply that I think you need me to make you aware of the despicable nature of his comments, which I am sure you don’t.  Your response when confronted on his comments was, “professors can say whatever they want.”  Interesting.  So does that mean it would be acceptable in your opinion for a professor to say something along the lines of slavery was no big deal, or all people who get AIDS deserve it? Since you are not debating the morality and ethics of the comment, merely the professors’ right to say “whatever they want“, one can only infer comments such as these would also be acceptable under your interpretation of USC’s guidelines.

Your approach is a disgrace, and to make it seem as though you are hiding behind some sort of free speech concept is cowardly and weak.  USC is not a government institution, it has rules, and these rules need to be enforced, regardless of whether or not you personally like Jews.

This needs to be addressed and corrected or brought to the attention of as many people as possible.  That choice may very well be yours to make.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Are we being Divided and Conquered?

 

argui

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you like to fight do you?  You want to go after the enemy? It’s very possible that many will not even pay attention to this post once they find out what it is really about. After all, a call for peaceful interaction between people isn’t any fun.  What’s interesting about that?  It’s a lot more fun to attack someone for their views.  Everywhere I look I see Jews attacking each other over their politics.  It is my view that the biggest problem facing the Jewish people today is lack of unity, and at this point, and I am sure this will raise some eyebrows, I don’t even care whose fault it is.  The bottom line is that it MUST stop.  If it doesn’t we will continue to play into the hands of the true enemy, the one that actually openly calls for our death, and in the process we will become more and more divided until we are ultimately conquered.

Although I don’t know the number, nor do I care, let’s say for argument’s sake that 4 million of the 6 million Jews murdered by Hitler were Liberal?  Would an angry Conservative say they only mourn 2 million because the rest brought it on themselves? Would an angry Liberal say that the 2 million caused the hatred of the Jews with their right-wing approach? Would we ever mourn someone more or less for their level of religious observance? Fortunately I’ve never heard anyone from either side say anything so heinous, but the way people talk today you would almost be led to believe that the value of each person’s life is directly connected to their political view. Maybe I’ve never hears it because in retrospect, when speaking against a specific enemy defeated 70 years ago it is relatively safe and there’s no reason not to attack those who deserve to be attacked.  But today, given a choice between going after the real enemy, a very dangerous one, or going after each other, sadly it seems people have chosen to go after each other.

It is the epitome of arrogance to believe that just because someone disagrees with you on how to keep Israel safe, that the same person cares less for Israel than you do.  Sitting with my family over Passover, I heard one person who believes in no compromise whatsoever and that the Palestinians should be part of Jordan, one that believes a two-state solution is critical but hates the deal with Iran and no longer cares for Obama, and one who was hopeful over the deal with Iran and believes the details were promising.  Every single one of these 3 people are strong supporters of Israel and proud Jews.  Yet if any of those 3 would post their views on social media, someone out there would call them an idiot, or even worse a traitor.  Ironically, the person who would attack them, very often does nothing other than come online and talk garbage, while these 3 individuals have done a lot more than just talk about supporting Israel.

Yet here we are thinking we are helping by berating each other. I do not claim to be perfect.  I am by no means a moderate. But I don’t believe someone who disagrees with me is an idiot or a traitor.  We need to start from one basic premise and understand that it is that premise that should bring us together no matter what.  The premise is the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish people.  If we are to debate the strategy to achieve this goal, and we will, we must do so with a mutual respect and appreciation for those that want this goal achieved as we do.

Are we to sit in judgement over people whose viewpoints we find to be misguided or even harmful?  Can we not debate the argument without attacking the individual?  There are some who will see this post and immediately comment on how Liberals are tolerant for everyone but Conservatives, and Liberals that will call Conservatives vicious people with irrational views, and use that statement as a distorted way of supporting this piece.  Here is my absolute statement in response to anyone who does that.

If it is more important to you to show yourself to be better than your fellow Jew and fellow-man than it is to protect your fellow Jew and fellow-man, your very actions are an indication of your failure. If you are more concerned with showing a few dozen people how tough you are online than you are with doing something constructive, it is not Israel or the Jewish people you care about, it is only yourself and your ego.  I have an ego. Everyone reading this knows that I have an ego. I continuously write my feelings on issues and actually believe that what I am saying is important enough for others to read.  That is unquestionably ego and I am very willing to admit it.  But I can also say with confidence and a lot of evidence that I primarily go after people whose viewpoints are clearly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.  I don’t come on here to berate my fellow Jew and Zionist.  That’s easy to do.  All they are most likely to do is berate me back.  I much rather go after those who make no bones about being against me and my people.

It is time for all of us to do some serious self-examination.  Are we here to show how smart we are or are we here to make a difference for this generation and future generations.  If we are only here for the sport of arguing than have fun and while you are doing so, please stay out of my way.  I have better things to do with my time than argue just for the sake of arguing.  I rather do my little part in making things better.

 

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How Bibi represents Millions of Jews with a New Mentality

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I am not a hero.  Nor am I a military man.  I am however the son of Holocaust survivors.  I am not merely comfortable, I am compelled to stand up in front of people and say that the Jewish people will no longer be pushed around and expected to capitulate to the demands of those with no regard for our safety and well-being.  I know that many Jews of today feel as I do.  We may or may not be great fighters, but in a larger number than maybe any time in our history we are, as a group, prepared to stand up and declare that the days of Jews being victims are over.  As we do so today we do so with a leader who represents that attitude, not just for the people of Israel, but for Jews worldwide.  That leader is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

I am very aware of the fact that not everyone feels that “Bibi”, the nickname Netanyahu is often referred to, represents them, but to millions of Jews worldwide he represents us in a way I have not seen in my lifetime.  Jews tend to be divided.  It must be in our DNA. However, for as long as I can remember the division has been based more on religious observance than on political viewpoints.  What Bibi does is transcend that divide by often making it about neither one of those factors.

In being what is clearly a proud Jew, evident by being someone who goes to the Western Wall to pray after an election victory, Bibi makes us feel that who he is and where he comes from is as important to him as it is to so many of us.  When speaking about the security and safety of the Jewish people he does so in a way we know that the majority of Israelis would agree with.  Politically many might not agree with his methods, and many don’t even like him personally, but I have no doubt that most if not all want Israel to be safe and secure.

What Bibi does when he speaks is give the Jewish people a sense of unity and I dare say even nationalism.  I know some of the strongest haters of the Jewish people and Israel see our nationalism as the problem and even racist in nature, but they conveniently forget that it works in conjunction with an Israeli government with many Arab citizens being represented politically in a free and democratic society.  Are there any Arab nations that can say the same?  Today, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership, more and more people are willing to stand up and say, Israel is our country, but even more significantly stand up and say, we as Jews will no longer be doormats.

I know there are many of us who might not put up a significant fight on a personal level, but with the power of the numbers behind us we have the courage to stand up as one.  The importance of leadership in making people feel this way is more that significant, it’s critical.  I know I am not alone when I say Bibi empowers me to feel that way as a Jew.

I go back again to the conversation I once had with my mother who is 93 and a Holocaust survivor from Holland who once told me that today reminds her of 1938.  I challenged her on that statement saying that today is different because we have the State of Israel.  I would add that today is also different because of one other reason. We have Benjamin Netanyahu.

I commend the people of Israel for making the right choice, and hope to see Bibi lead all the people of Israel to a safer and more secure future.

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