Tag Archives: IDF

When Veterans Kill Good Guys.

Micah_X_Johnson_Dallas_Murder_Cop_Killer_Black_Lives_Matter

I’ve often said that my one major regret in life is that I did not do any type of military service.  To be more specific, when I was 19 and living in Israel I was once at a crossroads to which one direction would have led me to Israel’s Armed Forces.  I chose the other direction. I regret that.  That being said, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the soldier of any free nation, specifically Israel and the United States.  Here in America, whenever I meet a veteran I thank him or her for their service, full aware of the fact that my good fortune to live in freedom is given to me by their service and sacrifice.  So what has struck me the most, and what appears to be the 300lb. elephant in the room is the fact that the last 2 attacks on police officers, attacks that have left 8 of them gunned down in cold blood, were perpetrated by veterans.  The question we must ask is why?

The first part of the question is why is no one talking about that?  FOX Opinion Channel-they primarily share Opinions nowadays, not News-a channel that blames the administration for everything wrong in the world, does not seem to address this with any significant emphasis.  I’ve heard nothing from CNN either regarding this, leading me to believe that both stations have chosen to focus on the issues that are most politically expedient, rather than such an important factor in what’s happening to our society. Whether you support the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq or not, as an American or a citizen of any free country in the world for that matter, you must support the troops.  We may all say that we do, but at the end of the day I can’t help but wonder what kind of support they are getting from our government and society as a whole upon their return stateside.  I dare say that if proper structures were in place, structures addressing the practical and emotional needs of our soldiers, it’s entirely possible that both Micah Johnson and Gavin Long would not have committed these horrible actions against law enforcement.  Instead, Johnson killed 5 officers in Dallas and Long killed 3 in Baton Rouge.

Is it possible that neither side wants to address this because it does not meet their political agenda, or is not being looked at as an important issue.  Either way that’s a major problem.  It’s one thing when inner-city children become criminals, growing up with no fathers, no guidance, no concept of right and wrong, but a soldier?  Isn’t part of military service designed to teach and mold an individual to do the honorable and correct thing? Sure there will always be those that can’t be helped and turn dark, but when the last 2 major attacks on law enforcement in the United States were committed by veterans, shouldn’t we ask ourselves why?  Shouldn’t we as citizens be increasingly concerned knowing that people who were trained to kill bad guys are coming home and being so neglected that they turn on the good guys as well?

I am sure there is enough blame to go around for everyone on both sides of the political aisle, a fact that is most likely the reason neither sides makes it an emphasis in the discussion.  However, as an American who hopes this country will maintain its status as the greatest and freest country in the world, I believe it’s incumbent on us to focus on how we treat are veterans, otherwise there is a good chance more of them will go down this very dark path, a path that threatens us all.

LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

READ MORE OF WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IN THE DAILY COLUMN

JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL IS NOW ON TWITTER @gcimovement

IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL

 

 

Advertisements

To Properly Remember is to Always Know

helmet-and-flag_hp1

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.

LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL IS NOW ON TWITTER @gcimovement

IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL


Open Letter to the Administration Official who called Netanyahu a ChickenSh*t

bibiDear Anonymous,

I purposely address this letter the way that I do because it speaks so well to the cynical irony of your criticism.  The very fact that someone who will remain nameless calls anyone a chickensh*t speaks for itself. The fact that you irresponsibly resort to name calling when expressing displeasure towards the political leader of one of America’s most loyal and important allies is another problem entirely.

Since you, someone without the intestinal fortitude to go publicly on record called out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, let me tell you a little bit about this “chickensh*t”.  This “chickensh*t” is of course a former member of Israeli Defense Forces.  He was a team leader in Israel’s special forces unit.  He fought in the War of Attrition against Egypt.  He was part of a numerous missions including the mission to rescue hostages of a Sabena Airlines hijacking in 1972 during which he was shot in the shoulder.   This “chickensh*t” studied at MIT and Harvard, neither of which necessarily makes you brave, but the point is that we know this about him while all we know about you is that you remain anonymous.

Whoever you are, and for all we know you might be a high-ranking official in the current administration, as long as you remain unnamed you are the actual chickensh*t.  I know this administration is at odds with some of the policies of the current Israeli government and I, like so many other supporters of Israel are not happy with the disagreements taking place.  Be that as it may, there is a professional and unprofessional way of doing things.  I would not be considered a politician by any means, but I know enough to realize that calling an important friend a chickensh*t and being too much of a chickensh*t to reveal yourself is so far beyond unprofessional, especially coming from an administration official, it is downright scary.

So Anonymous, whoever you are, show some guts, tell us who you are  and apologize to the Prime Minister of the only democracy in the Middle East.  If you don’t, it is fairly clear and obvious who actually is the real chickensh*t.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes


What does Never Again mean to you?

Yad_Vashem_BW_31This year more than most, I did some serious introspection on Yom Kippur.  Like anyone else I have my moments of introspection throughout the year, but as it is for many, on Yom Kippur it’s a priority, and on this Yom Kippur it was more of a priority than usual.  As I regularly put my opinions out there for people to read, and I may have some influence on those who take the time to read them, I needed to come to a personal conclusion as to whether or not I am taking the correct approach.  As I was doing this, 2 words kept popping into my head.  Those 2 words were Never Again.

Unless someone is supremely egotistical there is no way they can be 100% sure their methods are always correct.  However, often they can be sure their motivation is pure.  My personal motivation, one ingrained in me by my personal background as the son of Holocaust survivors, is to do my part, however small it may be, to fight against evil, be it blatant or deceptive.  For me that is the meaning of Never Again.  I believe it is critical to the survivor of the Jewish people and to all of all civilization to be aggressive instead of passive when confronted with threats.  We must always try to do what is right, but as my father of blessed memory taught me, that sometimes means not being very nice.  But when the words Never Again reverberate through my very soul, I am far more concerned about our safety than I am about whether or not I am being nice.

The 18 year old soldiers fighting in the IDF or the American military are more heroic than I will ever be, but we all have our war. To me Never Again means exposing and damaging threats within my own personal capabilities, to whatever extent my efforts have an impact.  If that impact is merely galvanizing others than it’s already a worthy fight.

We all must do what we think is right.  What is important is that we at the very least do something, for apathy and inaction can and ultimately will be our worst enemy.  I have no doubt that the concept of Never Again is as important to those reading it as it is to me.  That doesn’t mean it has the same meaning.  Which leaves me with the question, what does Never Again mean to you?

 

LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes


I Prefer Italian Barbers anyway

the-jack-the-ripper-tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

With recent reports coming in that Jack the Ripper was a Jewish barber from Poland(CLICK HERE TO READ THE JEWISH PRESS ARTICLE), I expect the United Nations to open an inquiry into the use of clippers and scissors by the Israel Defense Forces.  It will be interesting to see how this ties into recent anti-Semitic attacks and if the haters will accuse Israel of further Barber-ism. Personally I’ve always preferred Italian barbers anyway.

Anyway, hate to cut this post short (pun intended), but gotta run.

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes

email: hollandsheroes80@gmail.com


My Summer of Gaza

img65649The summer of 2014 was set to be a great one.  I had slimmed down from the year before, had recently moved into a better home closer to the beach, the World Cup had started and I was all set to enjoy the next few months. Although life always presents its challenges, nothing had come up that was so important that it would change my priorities significantly.  Then something happened that changed everything.  3 Yeshiva boys were kidnapped.

I still remember that ray of hope we had that Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal would somehow make it back safely.  The motto “Bring Back our Boys” was everywhere as we all prayed that somehow God would see them back to their homes unharmed.  I have seen many bad actions taken against Jews and decent people everywhere, but somehow I found myself more involved now than I had been for at least 13 years since 9/11.  I related to these boys.  I remember being a Yeshiva student myself in my late teens, in Israel, and knew that even if I wasn’t like these boys, I knew guys who were.  So it hit home and I found myself caring more than usual.  It wasn’t till they were found dead, murdered brutally at what we all knew immediately was the hands of Hamas terrorists, that something truly snapped in me.  That was when I, David, had finally had enough.

When tragedy strikes one never knows exactly how they will react.  Although I related so significantly to these three boys, I did not know them personally. Had I known them personally, maybe I would have been so distraught that I would have had trouble functioning.  So when I say I had finally had enough and I snapped, I felt an anger I had rarely felt in my life and I turned to my weapon of choice, the written word.  And my position as a moderate was now a thing of the past as well, as I realized that moderation is something that needs to be saved for the reasonable and fair, not the racially bigoted and brutally violent.

When the Israeli cabinet met on how to react to the boys’ deaths, I knew one thing.  As a Jew and a Zionist living in New York, unless they did nothing, I would support the Israeli government.  I committed myself to not only stating my feelings, but in rallying as many people as possible to the cause.  Not my cause, not merely the Jewish people’s cause, but in truth what should be seen as the entire world’s cause.   Before this would happen I would call someone a piece of garbage for being anti-Semitic, and occasionally even write something about it, but now it felt more personal than before.  It became so clear to me as it is to almost anyone with an unbiased desire for a peaceful world.  So now I decided to go further than I had ever gone before.  As I state on my Twitter profile, “no longer am I happy not being part of the problem. Now I want to be part of the solution.”

When Israel first went after Hamas with airstrikes in Gaza, no one really knew how serious the situation would turn out to be.  The terror tunnels they discovered were designed to carry out mass murders of Jews, and the intelligence they gathered indicated that it was going to be as soon as this Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year which falls towards the end of September. Israel’s incursion by ground troops into Gaza was used to uncover and destroy these tunnels.  However, while this was happening the situation took an ominous term.

I almost typed unexpected as well, but as a Jew paying attention, anti-Semitism is never completely unexpected.  I’ve been accused of being slightly over-sensitive to comments, but no one has ever accused me of having a persecution complex.  At least not to my face.  So when I say I was not totally shocked by the global spike in anti-Jewish words and behavior, this is not coming from someone who makes declarations that “everyone hates the Jews”.  I know better.  What we’ve seen this summer however has been epic.  Even by the usual standards of hatred.  Gone is the requirement of logic and fact.  Merely wanting to hate the Jews became enough.  Telling half of the story so that the part that exonerated Israel was conveniently missing became the strategy of the vocal and clever anti-Zionist/anti-Semite.  And gone forever is the notion that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not two in the same.  When  you have two signs at a protest that say “Free Gaza” and ” Hitler was right”, you have lost the argument that they are different.  When pogrom style attacks took place on French synagogues by people claiming to do things in support of Palestinians it was made abundantly clear that this was about hating the Jew at least as much as it was about opposing Israel.

The more Jews were attacked, whether in Israel or outside of Israel, the more committed I became, expressing my commitment through articles and letters to those expressing damaging sentiments towards the Jewish people, while also writing articles acknowledging our supporters.  Every time I heard “Free Gaza” I felt more and more compelled to shout to the world that the people of Gaza needed to be freed from Hamas not from Israel.  Every time the United Nations revealed its bizarrely obvious bias against Israel I wanted to write something to expose it.  Why?  Partially because it was cathartic, but even more because I wanted to make sure everyone I could reach would know the truth, and once I began to do that, there was no turning back.  With every missile fired at Israel, with every fatality including the 64 members of the IDF fighting to preserve Israel’s survivor, my commitment grew stronger.

Recognizing the need for unity with more than just the Jewish community, I created the Global Coalition for Israel on Facebook as a means of showing a cohesive support for the State of Israel. One month later the group is at 1300 and growing daily.  When the summer began I was worried about when I was going to get to the beach, lay in the sun and get to barbecues.  I’m not saying that I didn’t do those things to some extent during the summer of 2014, but they all took a back seat to something more important.  My new activism.  Watching CNN and FOX on a daily basis to get the news coming from the region, researching websites and news sources online, and meeting people with stories to tell from Israel and Europe, the summer of 2014 became something I never expected it would become, it became my Summer of Gaza.

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes

 

 

 


Open letter to George Clooney regarding his fiance’s comments

george-clooneyDear Mr. Clooney,

I am writing this letter to you because I feel it is extremely important that you become fully aware of the impact your fiance’s carefully chosen words have had on the Jewish community.  I also wish to ask you some questions so that people know where you stand regarding Israel and the Jewish people.

The words I am referring to, the words of your fiance, were part of a statement she made when turning down a place on the panel created to investigate Israel’s tactics in the most recent war against Hamas, which as you know is a terrorist organization.  She said the following: “I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, particularly the civilian casualties and strongly believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed.”  I was greatly disappointed with her use of the term “occupied Gaza Strip”, which besides being totally inaccurate, also reveals a strong anti-Israel bias.  Israel does not occupy Gaza, in fact it does not even want a presence there.  It is only defending itself against a terrorist organization committed to its destruction.  A terrorist organization that runs Gaza with such a strong hand it should actually be called the occupier.  Her words also imply that Israel is guilty of crimes even though they are preceded with a call for an independent investigation.  It sounds very much like she has already decided the outcome of that investigation.

One of the main reasons I am writing to you Mr. Clooney, is because there is a sentiment within the Jewish community that your movies should be boycotted based on Ms. Alamuddin’s stance and your close personal ties to her.  In a discussion I had on social media someone specifically requested that I write this letter to you and do so with an open mind.  Although I believe Israel and the Jewish people do not have much margin for error when it comes to tolerating any unmerited attacks, I will ask you some questions rather than accuse you of something I do not know to be fact.  And as you read this, please understand that as a Jew and as a Zionist, I feel that fair treatment would have been sufficient from Ms. Alamuddin when assessing the situation in Gaza.  Unfortunately that was not what we received.

The first question is a very direct one.  Do you support your fiance’s anti-Israel stance?  Normally I would not have a problem with someone in the entertainment industry being quiet about Israel and the recent war in Gaza. Quite frankly, with some of the incredulous political comments that come out of Hollywood, I sometimes prefer the entertainer that remains silent and non-political. Unfortunately your fiance has put you in the position where your response is not only relevant but required.  And although you may look at this and say, “who does this guy think he is? I don’t owe him any answers”, the truth is you do owe the Jewish community answers.  We have been supportive of your career and to some extent instrumental in your success. You do not owe me anything personally, but you do owe it to the Jewish people to show where you stand.

What I find ironic is that like so many other celebrities and politicians, your fiance has remained quiet about the atrocities taking place at the hands of ISIL.  Although often referred to as ISIS or IS, I am purposely using the name ISIL, the name they use when referring to their wider regional ambitions, ambitions that very much include her native country of Lebanon.  I understand that Ms. Alamuddin is Druze which makes her words now and lack of words earlier even harder for me to comprehend.  Back in December, ISIL imposed Sharia Law on the Druze in the Syrian district of Idlib, forcing 30,000 of her fellow Druze into a life they did not choose, but one they needed to accept or face death.  It baffles me that your fiance remained quiet regarding this direct persecution of people of her very own faith.  And as a Druze, I would think she would not be so eager to indict Israel when Israel has not only allowed the Druze to live freely within its borders, it has helped them develop into an important group in Israeli society through service in the IDF and as politicians.  What may be the most difficult thing for me to understand however, is how a woman whose family fled Lebanon during a Civil War very much started by groups similar in ideology to Hamas, would jump on the bandwagon against the one country willing to fight them.  Let me add that I realize she is Lebanese, but she has also spent much of her life in Britain, and knowing the benefits of western civilization, why would she do the bidding of an organization fighting against everything western civilization stands for?  It makes no sense to me and frankly, as an intelligent man it should make no sense to you as well.

It’s possible that in making her statement but refusing a spot on the panel your fiance felt she was diplomatically playing both sides of the fence.  If that was her intention, her comments referring to Gaza as occupied and her statement of certainty that crimes were committed before an investigation even commences, makes it so that many in the Jewish community feels she lacks any degree of objectivity.  It’s also possible that your involvement was to ask her to not be on the panel and that you thought by her turning down the position it would be enough to satisfy the pro-Israel lobby.  I am here to tell you that if that is the case, it is not enough.  I don’t expect everyone to express unconditional support for Israel, but when assessing this recent conflict, an unfair bias against Israel expresses a far more negative sentiment, not only towards Israel, but towards the Jewish people as a whole.

If you are not prepared to make a stand and show an objective fairness or if you remain silent and attempt to not get involved, you would deserve to lose Jewish support.  Your inaction and silence would imply agreement on your part and as a Jew it would tell me that you have very little affection and respect for who we are.  Under those circumstances, why should any of us spend our time or money on any of your projects?  Personally I hope you do not remain silent because I have enjoyed your work, but the future and well-being of the State of Israel is far more important to me than your entertainment value.

So I ask you Mr. Clooney, are you going to do the right thing or the easy thing? I hope you understand the seriousness of this situation and seriously consider what you say or do moving forward.  I suspect it may have an impact on your career.

Sincerely,

David Groen

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes