Tag Archives: IS

ISIS-ISIL-IS: The only Constant is Islamic

isis-2No matter what you call the terror group now running an area of land the size of Belgium, the one thing you must call them is Islamic.  I wish this was the worst of it, but the whole name thing is making me a little crazy. First they were called ISIS:The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Then they were called ISIL:The Islamic State of Syria and the Levant. Finally they are IS:TheIslamic State.  Or are they? Depends on who you listen to.  Even then pronunciations seem to change.

In the beginning everyone called them ISIS, pronouncing it as one word sounding almost identical to the English world Ices.  Back then, when the administration saw them as the JV(Junior Varsity) team, they went along with calling them ISIS as well.  Even when the terrorists started calling themselves ISIL, initially most people  still called them ISIS.  Now however, the administration has such an insistence on calling them ISIL they won’t even acknowledge the name ISIS when mentioned.  What makes it even more bizarre, or even irritating is that the President and Secretary of State call the group ISIL and pronounce close to the English words, ICE-ILL, while the President’s Press Secretary and Pentagon Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby spell it out, referring to them as  I-S-I-L.   This all creates an annoying distraction at press conferences.  A CNN reporter might ask: “What’s the next move against ISIS (ICES)?” Then, depending on who answers, “We must degrade and destroy ISIL(ICE-ILL) or I-S-I-L.”  One area in which the administration is coordinated though is that they never respond using the name ISIS anymore.

Despite the theories from those most suspicious of the President’s motives, I don’t believe the insistence on calling it ISIL is based on something dangerously devious, rather an acknowledgment that it is a threat to a greater area, since the IL covers significant more territory than the IS.  The last IS that is.  The first IS, whether you call it ISIS or ISIL stands for Islamic, which means very simply this group is an Islamic group, no matter what anyone including the President might want you to believe.  And more importantly, no matter what you call them, they are very dangerous.  This is a war.  Oh wait. Not sure if that’s what it’s being called either.  It just might also depend on who you ask.  At least I hope what we have now is a coordinated effort to conduct this whatever they’re calling it against whatever it is they call them.




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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.


David Groen


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The Good the Bad and the Ugh

isisiBefore I address some serious concerns I want to recognize a few positives coming out of the events of the past 12 hours.  First and foremost it is good to see our administration finally taking action on the foreign stage.  The threat from ISIS, ISIL, or IS, whatever they call themselves today is so real and has been met with so little resistance that it was very important for the U.S. to take this action of what they are calling targeted airstrikes.   The second positive is that despite the pressure the administration has put on Israel during the most recent Gaza campaign, this action sends a message of the clear distinction in the administration’s philosophy towards Israel’s military action and the actions taking place by ISIS in Iraq.

That’s the good news.  Now the concerns. The second point I made about how this makes a clear distinction, immediately makes me think of a saying in Dutch.  The saying is, “U wordt bedankt”, literally means, “you get thanks” and is akin to saying “thanks a lot” sarcastically.  The fact that I even thought that it indicated a distinction shows that the administration has clearly not been as openly pro-Israel as it should be.  To many that is a serious problem that needs to be fixed and may only be fixed when a new American administration takes over.

The second concern is more complex and potentially far more serious.  Will these airstrikes really make a difference?  Yes they look good and yes they may save many lives now, but unless ISIS, ISIL, IS, whatever they are called is stopped, I believe they won’t stop till they call themselves IS-Rael or IS-US.  A malignant tumor can get shrunk by targeted radiation, but can only be cured by chemotherapy, surgery, or both.  Targeted airstrikes are akin to radiation and may slow down the disease temporarily, but they do not eliminate it. Nothing about this administration’s actions till now indicates it has the stomach or desire to see a tough battle to its conclusion, and to damage these people without crippling them may do nothing more than help them grow and give them extra motivation to strike on U.S. soil sooner than they probably had planned.

There is no question that a good action is better than no action, but at the end of the day it is important that the good action doesn’t have the same impact as no action, which will be the case if it is not followed up properly.  Let’s hope and pray that it is.


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