Tag Archives: Linda Sarsour

Open Letter to Bernie Sanders: How dare you?

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Dear Bernie,

I decided that before I begin sharing with you my feelings on your stance towards Israel I would first research your comments condemning the attacks by Palestinian terrorists on the civilian Jewish population.  So, in fairness, to begin I will post those condemnations before I proceed with what I would like to say.

 

Now that I have finished with that I will continue.  No, I did not forget to cut and paste anything in this letter and I skipped a line on purpose to bring attention to the blank space.  The truth is that I was unable to find any time in which you condemned acts of terrorism against the Jewish population of the State of Israel.  Of course it is easy to find times in which you condemn Israel.  Everyone is very aware of that, however in order for you to be an honest broker, would it not be required to address the issue from an objective standpoint rather from the vacuous self-serving pandering place from which you wish to start?

Mr. Sanders, I have no problem with people criticizing Israel or its governments policies.  A large portion of the Israeli population does the same.  The difference is that the larger percentage of these people, besides having to live with the consequences of their opinions, also have served in the Israeli military.  The vast majority of these people do not have to answer to anyone for their motivation.  You however, seeing as you believe yourself worthy of the presidency of these United States can indeed be questioned as to your motivation for all of your political viewpoints.  To me your motivation regarding Israel is clear.  You see it as far more politically expedient to attack Israel than support her.  When do you stand with any representatives of the State of Israel?  Even those opposed to Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.  I see you standing proudly and with joy next to those who openly hate Israel.  To people like Linda Sarsour, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, people who at best laugh off blatant anti-Semitism, at worst contribute to it and perpetuate it.

I will not listen to the argument from you about how you can be against the State of Israel and still care about the fate of the Jewish people when you have done nothing to show yourself as an honest broker.  Where are your efforts to help the people you claim more and more to be part of as you get closer and closer to primaries in states with a larger Jewish population? And in case you claim to not know why Israel is connected to the fate of Israel, something I believe you do know but conveniently ignore, allow me to enlighten you.

The Jewish people have been victims of persecution throughout time, culminating into what was the most systematic and organized mass murder of one segment of the population the world has ever seen.  Out of the ashes of the Holocaust the modern State of Israel was born.  It was not created as a business venture or for political gain.  It was created as a safe haven for the Jewish people.  History shows us that the very survival of the Jewish people, YOUR people, may very well depend on having a Jewish state ready and able to protect and shelter us.  So while criticizing its government is a democratic process permitted and accepted in what you refer to as a racist government, supporting people, as you do, who attempt to grow organizations determined to bring Israel to her knees and destroy it is totally unacceptable.  To say in a New York Times interview 4 years ago that Israel killed 10,000 people in Gaza when that was way more than the terrorist group Hamas fraudelently claimed were killed is unacceptable.  To argue on behalf of the dignity the Palestinians while keeping quiet when it comes to the survival of Jews is unacceptable.

When asked recently what it means to you be to Jewish you responded as follows.

“I can remember very vividly, as a kid, looking at picture books about what happened in the Holocaust. As it happens, my father’s family was wiped out by Hitler.”

To this I say to you the following words. How dare you?  As a son of Holocaust survivors I see the most poignant words in your answer as being “As it happens”.  As though it’s a side point.  Forget being Jewish for a minute, something I imagine should be easy for you, your response shows a disrespect for your father and his ancestry. As it happens?  Did you only just find this out because you felt it would help your campaign?  Or is it, as it happens, on a side note, my father’s family was wiped out by Hitler.  Or, and this is how I see it, you felt that by making it too big of a deal you wouldn’t properly pander to a base you see critical to your political ambitions.  If I were to invoke the Holocaust as the one thing I see as what it means to be Jewish, let me tell you how I would answer. “Having learned about the Holocaust from a young age, having never had a grandparent because of it and knowing that 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, I will never sit quietly when people threaten my people again, and I will do my best to be the kind of person who will stand up to any groups that look to persecute and wipe out any group of people.”  That is what I would say Mr. Sanders.  It wouldn’t be a soundbite that sounds so disingenuous that I have to fight the urge to question if it is even true.

As a Jewish American I will conclude by saying that as long as you continue to behave in a way I believe to be the ways of a traitor to his own people, you will not only not get my vote, you will get my active opposition.  You see Mr. Sanders, if you can’t show an ounce of loyalty to your own people, background and heritage, why would I ever consider someone like you, someone I see as a disgrace, to be a leader in the country I proudly call home.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, of course I condemn. But first I remember

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On this solemn anniversary of Kristallnacht I have heard shouts from my fellow Jews on the right  side of the aisle calling for those on the left side of the aisle to condemn the anti-Semites of today.  Although I am prepared to do that, I also must make the point that condemning the evil of today is not a prerequisite to mourning those taken from us by the evil of the past.  That is why my first priority is to honor and remember as best I can.

Many years back in trying to relate to another my understanding of the Holocaust, I suggested the following exercise.   Close your eyes and imagine almost everyone you know, are friendly with, or love.  Then imagine them not only all gone, but brutally murdered. Now open your eyes and realize that this is what it was like for most people who survived The Holocaust.  Almost everyone and everything they knew was gone, and all they were left with was the hope that God, if they still believed in God’s existence, would give them the strength they needed to move forward.

However, as if that horror alone was not enough, the Nazis, masters of terror, were so sadistic and obsessed with their hatred towards the Jews that they felt their first priority was instilling maximum fear in the Jewish population and destroying  Jewish businesses and houses of worship. On what we would forever know as Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass”, they proudly and brazenly burned synagogues and businesses to the ground and killed close to 100 Jews.  The following day they arrested 30,000 Jewish men. The Nazi brutality knew no limits and the suffering they caused the Jewish people is unlike anything seen in human history.  The significance of Kristallnacht, beyond the pure destruction and murder, is that is symbolizes the beginning of this horrible time, and must be seen as a day to honor, respect and mourn the 6 million Jewish lives murdered.

It is also however a sad lesson of the ability that evil has to consume an entire society, how anti-Antisemitism and persecution of the Jewish people is nothing new and is a real danger not ever to be taken lightly.  I do condemn the Louis Farrakhans, David Dukes and Linda Sarsours of the world whether or not their anti-Semitism is unhidden and blatant like Farrakhan’s or more devious and masked like Sarsour’s. But I do not, and I say this unequivocally, condemn my fellow Jews who may not see things exactly as I do, nor do I use this day as a reason to condemn Donald Trump or far left wing radicals.  And here is why.

Do you think that when the Nazis went on their rampage through Germany on November 9, 1938 they first asked Jews their political viewpoints?  Do you think if anyone of us would have been crammed into a bunk, starving, exposed to disease and most likely marked for the gas chamber in Auschwitz that it would have mattered whether you were a politically conservative or liberal Jew? We all know the answer.  Yes those that rose up and fought in the Warsaw Ghetto were a special kind of hero, but those who hoped it would get better or didn’t want to believe the worst did not merit scorn, they needed guidance and protection, and ultimately our prayers.  Fighting our fellow Jew takes away from the real fight at hand and plays right into the hands of our enemies.

It is also a time to step back and understand that Kristallnacht, as bad as it was, was nothing compared to what was to follow.  In retrospect the Jewish people would have given anything for it to have stopped there.  Now understand that nothing being done in the United States of America comes close to even comparing to Kristallnacht.  That is not to say that anti-Semitism is not a problem, it is, but even the worst of actions against American Jews today are not actions taken by any formal institution of any significance. So to compare Donald Trump or left wing extremists, to Nazis is a disrespectful and irresponsible comparison.  To pay close attention and condemn the Farrakhans, Dukes and Sarsours of the world, individuals who directly or indirectly call for the death and destruction of the State of Israel and or the Jewish people is not only responsible, it is necessary.

On this very sad and important anniversary, let us all remember and honor the Jewish martyrs murdered by the Nazis, and use their memory for good to do what is needed to unite and protect us all moving forward.

 

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