Tag Archives: Huffington Post

Open Letter to Mehdi Hassan in response to his letter to “Free Speech Fundamentalists” in the Huffington Post









Dear Mehdi,

I am not Islamophobic.  I am also not a liberal pundit.  I am however a Jewish American Zionist who is opposed to any extremism that leads to violence against innocents.  Although I know you are not Jewish and would guess there is a better than fair chance that you are not a Zionist,  if I am to take you on your word in this letter, you are opposed to extremist violence against innocents. However, unfortunately like too many other decent Muslims, I believe you are missing a crucial point in your argument.  The concerns you have revolve around circumstances created by fellow Muslims, not the liberal hypocrites you feel the need to attack in your letter.


I think there are those who are standing up and screaming for free speech that are indeed hypocrites.  I do not however feel that they are the problem, nor do I believe that you are utilizing your time in the best manner possible by using this moment to expose their flaws.  This letter you wrote is the first thing I have ever seen written by you.  I do not know how much time you have spent on the more critical aspects of the global crisis we find ourselves in today.  I accept and appreciate how devastated you were personally by the awful acts of terrorism in Paris.  It is for this reason that I write to you with a degree of respect.  However, I believe it is critical for you to understand Mehdi, that the entire narrative is generated by the vicious behavior of more than a few Muslims.  And what I hope you realize, is that my making that statement does not make me Islamophobic.  I would be happy to meet you, shake your hand, have a drink or lunch and have a nice conversation.  I would look at it no differently than getting together with anyone else for the first time.  You being a Muslim does not make me see you automatically as a threat  or a problem.  That would make me Islamophobic.  Being honest about the reality of our world today, albeit harsh, does not.

How does this connect to your issues with what you call the Free Speech fundamentalists?  Unfortunately it is very simple and very basic.  They are not murdering anyone.  They are not trying to stop people’s activities at all costs regardless of the carnage or loss of human life. I’ve seen very little of the product to come out of Charlie Hebdo. Why? Because it is irrelevant in what should be the discussion today?  If I were to play devil’s advocate and say the creators of the product produced by Charlie Hebdo were and are offensive and disgusting, that would be a very minor infraction compared to murder.  Making offensive cartoons is not a crime punishable by death.  As you know and have stated.

You are fed up?  So am I. I am fed up by those who believe that a proponent of free speech who verbally attacks those whose viewpoints they despise are considered to be against free speech themselves.  That is hogwash.  I write Open Letters, many a lot harsher than this one, all the time.  Sometimes I am insulting, demeaning, and even downright nasty.  But I have never threatened one person with physical harm nor do I ever encourage or belong to any organization that does encourage physical harm, even to those I know hate me just for being Jewish.  Instead I exercise my free speech to expose them for what they are, and do my best to help encourage a verbal process that makes them shut up.  But let’s be honest Mehdi, there is a lot more chance of this letter generating a threat against my safety than there is of your letter generating one against yours.

All actions have consequences and words have responses.  If I attempt to drown your words either through my words or a process, I am not opposing free speech.  Instead I am using my free speech to battle you in the appropriate and civilized manner.  As I know you to believe as well, violence is neither an appropriate nor civilized manner in which to silence someone and someone who holds that same opinion is not a hypocrite just because in their expression of their free speech they say something we find ignorant or abhorrent. It just gives us the opportunity to oppose them in the same manner. Unless what they say promotes violence, in which case I think we would both agree they are not on our level.

Some of your points I believe to be valid and some points I disagree with vehemently, but I only truly take issue with what I consider is your moving the narrative in a wrong direction, and for that reason I hope you reconsider your approach.


David Groen





Another Open Letter to Russell Brand

rus2Dear Russell,

Frankly I am not sure what upsets me more, the fact that you are still talking or the fact that last week the Huffington Post chose to provide you with a forum to regurgitate more of your self-serving ramblings(CLICK HERE TO READ THE OP-ED).   I am glad you think you’re not an anti-Semite because indeed that may be a step in the right direction, but unless you wrote that piece after once again dropping acid, something that in the past gave you your “pro-Jewish” epiphany, you are missing some very important points in your argument.

First of all, there is no fair way to discuss Israel’s military action in Gaza without mentioning the terrorist activities of Hamas.  Not only do you not do that, you never once even mention Hamas.  I maintain, as I did in my last letter to you(CLICK HERE TO READ), that you, like so many others don’t go after terrorist groups as hard as you go after Israel because you know the Israeli government won’t hunt you down and kill you in the street.  Hamas just might.  So conveniently leaving Hamas out of the discussion, and with all the dribble you wrote I am sure it was not a mere oversight, you are once again showing your cowardice.

Here is why mentioning Hamas is so key to the discussion.  You claim the actions by Israel are based in the economic gains of a right-wing government aligned with right-wing institutions in other parts of the world.  You do not back it up with facts, facts I would love to see because it would be enlightening to see how the Gaza campaign did anything to better anyone economically.  In truth the Gaza campaign was necessary, and sadly more campaigns will be in the future, because the ruling party of Gaza is sworn to the destruction of Israel and to the death of all Jews.  You somehow missed that in your long Op Ed professing your love for the Jewish people.

Allow me to teach you something you are required to learn if you do not want to be deemed an anti-Semite or someone who promotes anti-Semitism.  What you need to understand is more than just what you choose to see about an Israeli government.  What you need to grasp better is the concept of the modern State of Israel.

The State of Israel declared independence in 1948, 3 years removed from the murder of 6 millions Jews.  Or as your buddy Khaleed Meshaal says, a genocide only half as bad as what Israel committed in Gaza.  Israel was not set up as a way for Jews to colonize the entire Middle East or commit atrocities.  It was set up as a safe-haven, a guardian nation so to speak, for a race of people, my people incidentally, that was devastated in an unspeakable fashion.  The State of Israel was in somewhat set up as a nation designed to guarantee that what happened to the Jewish people under Hitler would indeed never happen again. So when you promote political and philosophical viewpoints that put the State of Israel in danger for its life, you don’t merely attack Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, you attack Jews worldwide.  You may claim that you are not an anti-Semite, but your statements increase the likelihood of many dead Jews. Regardless of what you claim to be your intentions, it doesn’t get much more anti-Semitic than that.

I loved this line of yours in your Op Ed: “It is the exclusion of the sane majority that allows extremists to prosper. The insanity across the Middle East is so deeply terrifying and giddyingly futile that most people, despondent and bilious want to look away.”  And yet, no mention of Hamas.  No mention of terrorism.  No mention of how similar Hamas is to ISIS or how Israel gives more civil rights to their Muslim citizens than almost every Arab country. It seems like you almost get it sometimes, but then your personal bias or delusion takes over and you revert back to the Neo anti-Semite you so don’t want to be.  Cough cough.

Although most people seemed to like my first letter to you, there were some disturbed my personal attacks on you. I almost felt bad about it till I read how in referring to Bill O’Reilly you said he was “A hollering parasite of his own punctured anus,” and Sean Hannity you called a  “Fox News’ shop-dummy-polemicist.”  I feel much better about calling you an idiot and a coward now.  Something I still believe to be true.

Since you claim to believe in positive action, here’s a suggestion for some very positive action. Shut up.  You are actually doing more harm than good.  I know you think you are this generations Jesus, but in truth you are merely a court jester giving more Brits the ultimate justification to jump on a plane to Syria, (via Turkey) to sign up for ISIS and battle the west you clearly seem to hate so much.  Funny enough, it’s the same west that made you rich.  I think you need to realize there is something far worse than being so despondent and bilious that you want to look away.  It’s looking right at it and ignoring the truth.  Something anti-Semites are very good at.


David Groen



Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes





Who are you calling fat?

Why-fat-people-stay-fatAs someone who has altered his eating habits and added regular exercise to his daily routine, I decided to broach a subject that I find important on many levels.  Self-image.  First let me start by saying that I understand how much more complicated it is for women.  At least let me say I understand it as well as I may be capable of as a man. Motivated by the article written by Taryn Brumfitt in the Huffington Post, I wanted to share my perspective not only as a man, but as a man who lost significant weight and subsequently changed his appearance in the last 11 months.

It starts off with one very basic and simple premise.  Your self-image is something that should never be dictated to you or controlled by someone else.  When that takes place, the source of the problem is likely not weight or even physical appearance, but a person’s basic sense of self-worth and self-confidence.  It is true that everyone likes to be flattered on their appearance, and when one does attempt to lose weight they like their hard work to be acknowledged, but that is not the true measure of the man or woman.

So far what I have written is of course somewhat cliché, but that by no means changes the fact or diminishes its substance.  Where I will possibly differ is in sharing my personal perspective based on the lifestyle change I made just under a year ago and how it has impacted my perception of others.  I now live a life where at least 95% of the time I eat foods I have identified as healthy, based on reading and the suggestions of others, and I go to the gym 4-5 times a week.  As of today I have lost 37 pounds, as my weight has dropped from 206 to 169 pounds.  I weigh less than I have in over 30 years and may very well be in the best shape of my life.  Does this make me better than anyone else?  In my eyes I am only better than one person, and that is me 11 months ago.  But why is it that I feel I am better?  Because I have made taking care of my health a priority, I feel better than I did, I put better food into my body, and although no one knows what will happen in life, I have done what I feel I can do to increase my chances of a longer and healthier life.  Be that as it may, despite the fact that I will not call unhealthy habits healthy ones in order to appease anyone, I don’t force my lifestyle choice on anyone else.  And here is the reason why.

No one can or should tell anyone why they should love anyone, especially oneself.  Freedom of choice is a God given freedom and just because the choice I made 11 months ago makes me happier and makes me feel better about who I am, what right do I or anyone else have to say another person needs to make that choice to be happy?  Who am I or anyone else to decide how someone else needs to live, or look, in order to be happy?  I have only one person I need to be concerned with, and that is me.  My one statement towards others would be this.  Understand that there are two legitimate and positive choices.  Either love the person that you are or change it?  If you love who you are then no one has the right to decide if you look attractive or whether or not you treat your body correctly. Loved ones can care about your physical well-being, but if their intentions are genuine it will never be about appearance, merely health, and unless there is a specific issue present, no one ever knows for sure what will happen regardless of one’s habits and weight.

So for those who feel the need to put someone else down because their body may not be the shape they feel is the correct one, I say this.  Look to yourself and worry about yourself only.  Because if you have the need to put someone else down to pick yourself up or increase your own self-worth it is you who is the lesser person, not the one you call fat.