Tag Archives: Jewry

Syria: A lose lose situation

bigstock-syria-3770337As a supporter for Israel I have no difficulty in saying that I despise the current Syrian regime.  Starting with the current Assad’s father, this dictatorial fascist government has been a catalyst in attacks on Israel and a financier of worldwide terrorism specifically against Israel and world Jewry for decades.  With that said one would think I would be in favor of a U.S. lead attack on Syria in response to the evidence of chemical weapons being used by the government against the rebels in the ongoing civil war.  This is not the case at all.  Not only am I not in favor of United States involvement in Syria, I’m more opposed to it than I have been to any military action in a very long time.  The reason being is that it is clear to me that nothing good will result from any type of US lead attack.

The first question that comes to my mind, one that I asked a week ago, is why now?  Why is it so much worse that people get slaughtered with chemical weapons than it is that they get blown apart by a bomb?  My mother, who is 91 and a survivor of the Holocaust, gave me what I consider to be the best answer to that question.  Her response was, and I am paraphrasing; ‘others get involved when it scares them and they are in danger.  If Syria has chemical weapons they can use it elsewhere.  They don’t care about the other people.  They only care about themselves.’

If we think the people we are pretending to care about don’t see this as well then we have become blinded by our very arrogance.

I don’t have a problem with our government or any other government looking out for the safety of its citizens, but I do have issue with it being done behind the smokescreen of concern.  It eliminates the full and honest disclosure necessary to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. And make no mistake.  This is a major crisis.  The Syrian government is backed by Russia, a powerful and important player in world politics and one we are already at odds with.  The collapse of governmental structure in Syria could lead to chaos that could indeed start a major conflict involving multiple nations aligning on different sides.  The Syrian crisis has immediate impact on Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Jordan.  This would follow with a multitude of other countries likely getting involved.  Although Russia has not taken a hard stance against US involvement, the relationship it has with Syria is a wild card that makes this an even more dangerous venture.

I am generally in favor of anything that protects the State of Israel.  This would not protect Israel nor would it bring any additional stability to the crumbling region.  Syria is already an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people and has and will continue to harbor and support terrorists committed to its destruction.  The Israeli government is fully aware of this and has and always will take the appropriate action to ensure the safety of its people and neutralize the enemy.  A US attack on Syria does neither.

I am not a bleeding heart who is opposed to any type of war.  However, of all the reasons to go to war, going to war to send a message is one of the most barbaric and unproductive.  If someone can show me how bombing Syria accomplishes anything more than that I am willing to listen.  I just don’t see it that way.

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Happy Birthday to a Woman of Valor and My Mother

9781468573909_COVER.inddPICCSince my first post in Holland’s Heroes, my writings have included articles about the Holocaust, information about Dutch Jewry leading up to and during the time of Nazi occupation, essays of current events, videos, and tributes to special people, either living or passed on.  Till now my most important, meaningful, and emotional tribute was remembering my father on the anniversary of his passing in June.  What I write today holds a special meaning unlike any I have written till now, for it is about someone incredibly special, inspirational to so many, and thankfully still strong enough and healthy enough to be able to hopefully appreciate and enjoy what I am writing in her honor.  The tribute is to my mother, Sipora Groen, on her 91st birthday, today January 1, 2013.

To begin, making it to 91 with a strong and healthy body coupled with a mind sharper than many half the age, is in itself a remarkable accomplishment.  I learned many years ago that although it takes God’s blessing to live a long life, it is still to be seen as an accomplishment in and of itself.  The responsibilities of life, the heartbreak, the illness, and life’s various struggles, all take a toll on an individual as they reach this more advanced age.

Now let’s look at this particular individual, my mother, Sipora Groen.  Born on January 1, 1922, she lost her mother when she was a young child of 13.  She took care of her younger brother and held responsibilities around the house most women are not given till they are at least 5 years older.  When the war broke out she was engaged to be married and studying to be a nurse.  Little did she know her life would be turned upside down and go a different direction than she had ever dreamed.  The Nazi destruction of the Dutch Jewish community would claim the life of her father, her brother, her fiancé, and numerous friends and family.  It would also thrust her together with my father, Nardus Groen, who fell in love with her and took it on himself to do whatever possible to see her safely through these horrible times.  His bravery and resourcefulness would be part of what would save her life, but equally if not more important, her inherent strength and incredible courage over the 5 years of occupation, allowed her to live on and build a life together with the man who had fallen deeply in love with her, and she had learned to love and appreciate in the hardest of times.

I have often said that my father saved my mother’s life during the war, and that my mother saved my father’s life every day after the war.  Strength is impossible to measure, but it is possible to recognize different types of strength.  What makes my mother’s strength so remarkable is that it is natural.  So many of us access our most inner soul at the hardest of times and utilize whatever strength we are fortunate enough to find.  We need to be strong and we try to be strong, sometimes with greater success than others.  My mother is strong every day of her life.  It is what allowed her to not only survive the war, but to do so with her sanity.  It is what allowed her to be the matriarch and cornerstone of a new family now almost 30 strong, and it is what makes it possible for her to read this post, or as is my hope, have it read to her on her birthday.

If it is even the slightest bit of a mystery to someone reading this how much I love and respect my mother, you have not read the book  “Jew Face”.  My feelings for both my parents are extremely obvious in my writing, and for this I make no apology.  Instead I say today, on my mother’s 91st birthday, thank you Mom for being an inspiration, a pleasure to have around, a friend, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, but most of all for me, a wonderful mother.  I write this knowing that what I say is a sentiment I gladly share with everyone else who calls her Mom, and hope to be able to say this till she reaches the age of 120.

And for those on Facebook and any other social media reading this, I ask you to give my mother a special birthday gift by posting this article on your timeline so that the people you call friends are aware of this remarkable woman and have the opportunity, if they so wish, to learn about her remarkable life as I portrayed it in “Jew Face”.

Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you.