Tag Archives: Islamic extrimism

Bernie’s Double Down on Israel is About Fear, Not Courage

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After watching the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, some commentators went on the record as saying they felt Senator Sanders showed courage in his continuing insistence that Israel’s military action in the most recent Gaza War was a “disproportionate response”.  Their analysis was that a Jewish politician coming to New York and taking this unpopular stance in, of all places Brooklyn, took bravery and character, regardless of whether you agree with his viewpoint or not.  The reality is, despite how it looks on the surface, nothing could be further from the truth.

I don’t blame the commentators for feeling this way.  I do recognize that when Van Jones, a journalist for CNN and an African-American showed a degree of admiration for Sanders for not backing down, he was very clear about the fact that it was whether you agree with him or not.  His admiration for his character was not an endorsement of the viewpoint.  Nevertheless, just as I can intellectually understand but not comprehend what it means to be black in America, so too Van does not understand what it is like to be the son of Holocaust survivors. Incidentally, neither does Bernie Sanders.

Even when discussing his Jewish background and experience with Israel, Senator Sanders comes across more as he is talking about them than us.  I hardly ever use the term self-hating Jews anymore, not because I don’t believe that some Jews fall into that category, but because I believe it to be inappropriate to declare what someone hates or loves unless they come right out and say it.  However, I do know that the perspective of a cultural Jew whose parents immigrated from Poland with little money is very different than a proud Jew whose parents lived through Nazi-occupation first hand. But more importantly I recognize that those who take the side of the enemy hardly ever do so because of a courage of convictions, rather they do so out of a fear so deep-rooted, they either don’t know it exists or they deny it to the world.

The enemies of the free world are dangerous and frightening people.  Most of these enemies hate America and its way of life with a passion.  To an Islamic Extremist, there is almost nothing worse than an American with American values.  Almost. The one thing worse is a Jewish American.  That’s not to be taken lightly in today’s world. After all if history proves nothing else, it proves that hatred for Jews is easily converted into violence against Jews.  Throughout time, but most notably during the time of Adolph Hitler, there were always Jews who took the side of the enemy because they felt it would save them.  The harsh reality is, that it not only ended up in the loss of their lives, it ended up in the destruction of their soul.

I have absolutely no problem with a presidential candidate speaking of the rights of Palestinians to live in dignity.  I have also gone on the record many times as being someone completely willing to blame Israel when they deserve to be blamed.  That being said, a sovereign nation defending its very right to exist and retaliating against missile attacks on its population centers by a terrorist organization is not the guilty party.  Furthermore, being a Jewish politician in America and taking the side of the terrorist organization not only does not make you an individual of courage and character, it ultimately does nothing to make you immune from those who hate the Jewish people.  All it does do is make you another typical politician pandering to a certain demographic, albeit not the demographic of those born into the same religion as you.  It also makes you a coward more than it makes you a hero.  Taking on Israel is not the same as taking on Wall Street.  Taking on Israel is easy.  In the world in which we live today, it might even help a politician get more funding, and generally speaking, and I say this with pride,pro-Israel Jews don’t commit acts of violence against those who oppose their views.  I have little doubt Bernie Sanders knows that as well.

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A Shaken World needs to Wake up Fast

ap_canada_shooting_1_kb_141021_4x3_992As someone who has recently experienced his first case of writer’s block in almost 4 months, it would stand to reason that today’s tragic events would have gotten my creative juices flowing. However, maybe it is because a terrorist attack in Jerusalem killing a 3 month old baby and a shooting spree by gunmen in Ottawa is so overwhelming that I found myself unsure where I should even begin.  After all, you start to ask yourself if the people who can make a difference are even listening. Or even worse, they’re listening but don’t care.

We know that Israel and the rest of the Western World wants to stop terrorism.  There is little doubt about that.  But while the world crumbles around it, the United Nations makes settlements in the West Bank its priority.  While bombs explode in Iraq, women get raped and murdered in ISIS controlled territory, babies get run over by terrorists in Israel, and the Canadian parliament gets attacked, people make excuses for all of this bad behavior.  Secretary of State John Kerry implies that Israel’s behavior somehow fuels Islamic extremism and when a woman gets beheaded in Oklahoma by a radicalized Muslim, U.S. government officials prefer to call it workplace violence.

We are either headed towards or already in the midst of a global catastrophe. It all depends on your perspective.  But one things is certain, we are headed in the wrong direction fast.  I hesitated to write something that could be construed as negative and pessimistic, but I believe I would be doing a far bigger injustice if I ignored the reality.  That reality is that the world is in big trouble, and as long as those in power refuse to openly face the facts that Islamic extremism is destroying the planet, it will only get worse.

It’s time the world woke up before it is too late.  Keep in mind that the fact that I am willing to consider the possibility that it might not be too late already is the only optimism I am willing to provide on what has been another very tragic day in a very dangerous world.

 

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Letter to President Obama Regarding the Administrations Foreign Policy

pobamaDear Mr. President,

Please allow me to start by saying that I write this letter to you with the utmost respect for the office you hold and will therefore address you accordingly.  However, as a citizen of the United States and as a Jewish American exercising my right to free speech I intend to speak on some issues I find both concerning and disappointing.

I am by no means your usual critic.  I am a Democrat and a social Liberal who voted for you twice.  I’ve defended your performance and I’ve verbally attacked those I have felt were opposed to your presidency for inappropriate reasons.  I have been aware and willing to speak out against those whose criticism seemed to be a smokescreen for racial bias caused by the color of your skin or your middle name.  I have recognized that you have encountered serious opposition from the House of Representatives and Senate often making your job more difficult than it would normally be.  I say all this to emphasize that I, as a citizen and a supporter, have been more than fair in my personal judgments.  So with that in mind you will understand that this is not a letter from a Conservative Republican that would have found very little favor in your performance, nor is it from a racist that would have found none at all. This is a letter from someone who has been somewhat of a supporter and defender of you and your efforts over the past  6 years.

Even as I write this letter I hold out hope that the issues I find disturbing do not tell the whole story and that you are doing things behind the scenes that would explain their logic and benefit, and that I, as someone with no understanding of the inner working of politics would have no way of knowing what actually is the true reality.   I accept that as a possibility, but with the information that I do have available and with my somewhat limited understanding, I will share with you my major concerns, specifically with your administration’s foreign policy.

My biggest concern has been with the administration’s approach towards Islamic extremism.  I understand and will not question your acknowledgment of people of all faiths.  It is a commendable sentiment and in a perfect world people of all faiths can live side by side with dignity and respect.  However, as you are fully aware, not everyone in the world is pursuing that same utopia. I do not think for one second that you are not aware of the threat ISIS and other terrorist organizations pose to the free world, but as a citizen observing your actions or inaction toward their development and growth, I respectfully question your strategy.  I can understand your reluctance to engage in military conflict unless completely necessary, what I am questioning, as are many other Americans, is at what point do you actually deem it necessary? The humanitarian mission recently carried out in Iraq was a commendable one and it was easy to see the necessity there, but at what point is action taken to eliminate a serious threat to America and its allies?  ISIS has taken over land, weapons, and large sums of cash with what appears to be little to no resistance.  I understand not getting involved in the internal problems of other countries, but it seems abundantly clear that ISIS is not merely a problem that will remain isolated to the region.  Are we to wait until they do attack us on American soil?  I am sure you feel as we all do, that waiting for that to happen is unacceptable.  I just don’t see what is being done to prevent that.

There are those on the far right that not only question your tactics in dealing with Muslim extremism, but your motives as well.  I am under the assumption and belief that you mean to do what is best for the country even if I question your methods.  This is what baffles me most about your dealings with Israel. I am not alone in feeling at least some degree of abandonment and betrayal towards Israel and the Jewish people.  I recognize some of the support you have given to Israel, particularly in the funding of Iron Dome, but some of the actions taken by the administration as well as some of the statements made, have been anything but positive.  I have often said, in an attempt to be fair and objective, that the Jewish people need to understand that you were elected President of the United States, not Prime Minister of Israel.  But knowing that as I do, I am baffled that you would not put your complete support behind Israel, the country most likely to fight an enemy not only committed to its destruction, but to America’s destruction as well.

Mr. President, I know that compared to the ocean that is your set of accomplishments in life I am a mere drop of water. I also know that I do not match up to you intellectually.  That being said I am still an American with a voice and an opinion that is shared by many other Americans.  Our opinion deserves to be considered.   As a Jew who has lost a significant degree of faith in your friendship towards the Jewish people, I ask you to recognize Israel’s need for support in combating not only its enemy, but America’s as well.  Most of all, I ask you to tell us how you intend to keep us and future generations safe from enemies that appear to be growing with little resistance.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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The Egypt Factor

ancient-egypt-pyramids-wallpaperA few weeks back I started writing a piece titled: ” Does civilization’s future rest in its cradle?”  This title was based on the theory that the best hope at stopping the growth of Islamic fanaticism would possibly be Egypt’s ability to reassert itself in the region and use power and influence to mobilize forces against Islamic extremism.  I never finished that article and changed the title because there are a lot more factors to consider.

Egypt’s involvement in cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas is certainly a good thing.  It represents a legitimate desire for peace and stability in the region, something Egypt has learned the benefit of over the years.  Also, as opposed to when the Muslim Brotherhood was sitting in power in Cairo, this is a government not aligned with Hamas and one that is just as opposed to lifting the critical Naval blockade of Gaza as Israel is, at least as long as Hamas is in power.  Egypt’s current government, which seems to represent a large portion of its population, is very strongly opposed to the Islamic extremism sweeping across parts of the region.  Together with Israel, the nation most threatened by the extremists, Egypt is determined to see a more moderate Middle East.

The concern here is the potential power this gives Egypt, specifically over Israel.  The Israeli government finds itself in a situation in which it must be aware of Egypt’s standing in the region and on the global stage.  Prime Minister Netanyahu will of course continue to make decisions that first and foremost address Israel’s best interests and security, but he is also aware that a strong and credible Egypt not only helps Israel, but contributes to the stability of the entire region. If presented with a questionable proposal, but one that allows Egypt to broker a peace deal, Israel may find itself between a rock and a hard place.  On one side any deal that represents compromise may hurt Israel, but on the other hand undermining Egypt’s attempt to assert itself will hurt Israel, not only in the short-term but in the long-term as well.  It’s a very delicate diplomatic situation and one to be watched closely.

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