Tag Archives: Muslim

And my Vote goes to…

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MY CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT IS…

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, we know one thing for sure. November will be historic.  The citizens of America will either elect a businessman from New York, a man with no formal experience in politics or, for the first time in the nation’s history, a woman as President of the United States.  There have been times in the past when the candidates of one of the parties was somewhat more obscure, or at the very least less high-profile, but this year without question, name recognition is not an issue. Everyone knows who Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are?  Or do they?

I don’t want to use this forum as a means of showing my support for one candidate by trashing the other, but in this election the majority of voters are at least somewhat impacted by that which they do not like about the other.  It’s very much about spin.  Take the most extreme supporter on either side and there is nothing the opposing candidate can do that will be seen as OK.  However, there is one glaring difference in my estimation. We can at least claim to know the worst there is to know about Hillary.  But what about Trump?  Somehow people have come to believe that a millionaire businessman, the owner of hotels, private jets and helicopters, is somehow a regular guy, a man of the people. They look at me with a straight face and say they won’t vote for Hillary because she is a liar or corrupt.They actually allow themselves to believe that Donald Trump has gotten to where he is out of sheer brilliance and hard work.  I won’t sit here and prosecute the case against him, but really?  If you believe that I have a great university you should attend. It will make you rich.

I know the criticisms against Hillary and I will openly admit that I don’t like everything about her, but do I have a far greater amount of confidence in her ability to lead this country in the right direction than Donald Trump?  Without question I do.  Was Benghazi a tragedy?  Of course it was.  Could things have been handled better? Maybe, probably, I don’t know. But I do know that under George W. Bush 13 embassies were attacked and 60 people were killed.  We’re America. We are hated by those who want to take what we have or change who we are.  We are targets and will remain targets as long as there is evil in the world.

I don’t like the Iran deal.  Never have, likely never will.  But even if I am to see it as a total attack on Israel, which I don’t necessarily do, I see it as President Obama’s deal not Hillary Clinton’s.  To say a Secretary of State is wrong for working towards the goals of her boss doesn’t make him or her complicit in the outcome of the goal, good or bad.  It makes them a loyal servant to the Commander in Chief.  I am also comfortable to go on record and say that in areas I disagree with the president, I believe him to be more someone trying to save the world, sometimes naively, rather than someone trying to bring anyone, including Israel, destruction.

Emails? Sorry. I am not even going to make a case as to why this is not enough reason for me to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary.

People say that Donald Trump is preying on the fears of the people.  That is partially true. Sadly I believe he is also exposing the stupidity of many.  I would never say that all people voting for Trump are stupid, many are highly intelligent, but I do believe he is counting on the vote of those that are stupid. If Hollywood made a movie, and the day after the Democratic National Convention started the Republican nominee’s best response to what he saw was calling the Democratic nominee Hillary “ROTTEN” Clinton, people would have assumed we were watching a Mel Brooks satire.  But no, this really happened, and it happened from someone people still take seriously.  Someone who made fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, likened Ben Carson to a child molester, called his opponents names like Little Marco and Lyin Ted, mocked a handicapped person, called Mexicans rapists, called for a ban of an entire religion, said John Mccain wasn’t a war  hero because he got caught, and yes, even spoke about the size of his penis. This man is somehow considered to be more qualified than Hillary Clinton?  Really?

As a Jewish man and a Zionist I say this.  Many reading this see history and see Roosevelt and Churchill as great men.  I won’t sit here and necessarily challenge that.  Had they not led the world to victory against Adolph Hitler it is possible that western civilization as we know it would not exist and all we know as Jews would be gone.  But before we judge people on a standard of perfection, or even good or bad, ask yourself how many Jews might have been saved had they destroyed the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.  If FOX News were around then, FDR might have been held accountable to the point of prosecution, Thomas Dewey might have been elected, and Harry Truman would never have become president.  Who knows how World War II would have ended?  I am not saying FDR and Churchill were perfect or the biggest fans of the Jewish people, but their jobs were to be leaders of the US and Great Britain, and that they were, in exceptional manners.  We have every right to demand our leaders don’t hurt our cause, but we also must realize we are electing a President of the United States, not a president of the Jewish people, and we must therefore expect that president to do what they deem best for the country.  Furthermore, before Jewish supporters get all excited about a Trump presidency merely because his daughter converted and he speaks harshly about Muslims, keep these 2 things in mind.  When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric Trump punished him by cancelling his trip to Israel.  Also keep in mind how Trump plans to reconsider aide to our allies, including Israel.

The point is, no matter who you are or where you come from, whatever good you believe you are hearing about Donald Trump, he’s only telling you to get your vote.  Yes, you can say that about all politicians, but don’t tell me how different Donald Trump is from the establishment.  He funded the establishment, including the Clintons, for decades.

I don’t buy into the fact that a Hillary Clinton presidency will be 4 more years of an Obama presidency.  If anything I believe it is more likely to be closer to being 4 more years of a Bill Clinton presidency, and that would be just fine by me.  I honestly don’t know how good of a president Hillary would be, but I feel that her demeanor, her experience and her intellect is enough to make me very comfortable in giving her my vote.  I think her choice of Tim Kaine already shows she is making choices based on her agenda as opposed to the demands of others.  I think she is ready to be president today, as opposed to her candidate who will never be ready to be president.  Besides the fact that I’ve always been offended by the implication that America isn’t great, merely for the benefit of a slogan, I also know that Donald Trump couldn’t even make Atlantic City great again.

I know that many reading this find it hard to believe that I, someone who has always been so outspoken about the security of Israel could support Clinton over Trump, but guess what?  I find it hard to believe that you don’t.  You might be able to legitimately raise questions about her, but to me that doesn’t mean voting for Trump, someone who repeatedly shows signs of being a global menace.  I’ve seen and heard enough bad from Trump to not vote for him while seeing enough good to vote for Hillary, and that is what I intend to do.  What good you ask?  In this political climate don’t count on answer, because most people asking won’t accept my answer anyway.  You vote your conscience and I’ll vote mine and I’ll accept you for your choice whether you return the favor or not.  After all, that’s the American way.

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When Emotion overpowers Self- preservation

 

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I have a confession to make.   Last night I needed a drink. Not because of anything to do with my job or family or personal relationships, but for an entirely different reason.  Last night I needed a drink because I found it impossible to come to terms with the atrocities other human beings have become capable of performing.

I ride a bike.  Much of it on sidewalks.  I get extra cautious near driveways, partially for my own safety but even  more out of concern that someone will walk out and I might hit them and injure them.  I am as careful as I can possibly be because the thought of even bumping someone with my bike is unacceptable to me.  So when I hear on the news that a deranged Islamic terrorists mows down over 80 men, women and children out of what he has somehow concluded is a righteous cause, I can’t wrap my head around it.  I know that most if not all of the people reading this feel the same way as I do, but last night for me, at least personally it reached a bit of a boiling point.

I try desperately to get some sense of what can make someone do something so unspeakable, and all I can come up with is the following conclusion.  They fear nothing. They do not fear consequences, they do not fear death, and they certainly do not fear God. They may justify it by claiming they are performing an act that is needed to restore God’s honor, but in every scripture in every religion, God is patient, merciful and loving. Yes the innocent suffer, but the theological and philosophical question of why does not translate into some sort of perverse divine endorsement of murder.

To be opposed to the taking of any life under any circumstances, even punishment, is a more rational philosophy than to believe one is doing God’s will in murdering the innocent.  These terrorists, brainwashed by their ideology and empowered by the desperation of their lives, are doing nothing short of playing God.  This is Ayatollah Khomeini’s great Muslim revolution.  This is not all Muslims by any means, but this is a result of millions of people allowing the idea of a religious revolution to propagate. Thank Iran for this, thank the PLO and Yasser Arafat, for these are the people and places where modern day terrorism was born.  If these people that are committing these horrific acts saw different consequences it would eventually stop. But as of now they are taught that they are helping the growth of Islam and that not only will they not be punished, they will be rewarded in the afterlife.  Rather than thinking they will burn in hell and destroy the world, they believe they will save the world and be heroes in the afterlife.

Desensitization is often what makes us get through the day.  How many people still think of Istanbul, Brussels or Orlando or San Bernadino, not to mention the constant onslaught on the population of Israel over the years.  We all think of these things and of course we think of 9/11 as the mother of all terrorist attacks, until the one that takes more lives than the 3,000 taken back in 2001.  But even when we think about it we move on with our lives, enjoy our days whenever possible, eat, drink, laugh and love and smile.  No one is wrong for doing so.  It’s self-preservation.  But last night I reached the point when I could not smile, when m emotion overpowered my self-preservation, because I could not understand how a human being could reach such depth of anger and hatred that they could kill with no conscience.  In some ways maybe I am lucky to still feel enough to reach that point, but there is no celebrating that fact.  I would prefer to never test it at all.

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Exposing the Double Standard

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a smart man.  He knows history as well as the rest of us.  Unlike many others I’ve spoken to and likely reading this article, I personally refuse to jump on the anti-Bibi bandwagon.  It is my belief that the recent comments made by Netanyahu at a World Zionist Congress conference claiming that the Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini convinced Adolph Hitler to kill the Jews, was part of a much larger overall strategy to bring the situation to the forefront and expose the blatant worldwide hypocrisy as it relates to the value of Jewish life.

I’ve listened to a lot of people express their anger or disappointment in Netanyahu’s statement regarding the Mufti’s influence on Hitler and how damaging his Holocaust revisionism is to the overall situation.  Let’s see now.  What negative impact will it have exactly?  Will it open the door for random terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians?  Will it cause the world to turn a blind eye to the murder of Israelis?  Will it cause Israel’s allies to open the door to a nuclear agreement with a terrorist government hell-bent on Israel’s destruction? Will it cause Palestinian leadership to tell lies about Israel? Oh wait. Those things are already happening.

Being the son of Holocaust survivors and having penned a book that covers their experiences during the Nazi occupation, I understand how sacred the discussion and memory of the Holocaust is to so many.  I understand the responsibility a Jewish leader has to guarding this sanctity.  That  being said, Israel’s leaders have one overwhelming responsibility, and that responsibility is to keep Jews safe, not only in Israel but all over the world.  Did Netanyahu’s comments make Jews less safe?  Were they safe before his speech? Will the world remain silent as Jews get murdered in towns that were once peaceful homes?  Was the world showing any real anger before his speech?

We all know the answer to these questions whether we care to admit it or not. Instead of expressing outrage for the murders of innocents in Israel, the UN was preparing to discuss the merits in declaring the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Jews, a Muslim site.

Let’s pretend that Netanyahu knowingly revised history here. Is it worse than Hamas consistently accusing Israel of targeting civilians?  It’s certainly being approached as though it is.  Is it wrong if Netanyahu is playing their game, telling a lie for impact? That’s debatable.  I understand the concept of taking the high road, of not sinking to their level.  But truth be told, Netanyahu’s comments brought the entire situation far more to the forefront.  In fact the frequency of attacks seems to have slowed down since his comments.  Maybe the Palestinian leadership that claims to have no direct influence on its citizens’ fury are actually reeling in the violent protagonists.  And maybe, just maybe, in making this claim today, Netanyahu is attempting to alert the world to the real intent of today’s Muslim extremists.  That intent is clearly another genocide committed against the Jewish people.  Exposing them is not incendiary, it’s enforcing the concept of Never Again.

Is what Netanyahu said accurate?  All evidence I know of shows it not to be.  Is what he said commendable?  On its own merit we would have to say no.  But if we dig deeper and see its true impact we have to be careful to jump on the anti-Bibi bandwagon.  Maybe, just maybe his comments do more to protect Jewish lives than hurt them.  Either way, as the world tends to remain quiet as Jews get randomly murdered, I personally believe attacking Netanyahu, even if based in some legitimacy, does nothing more than feed into the double standard, something far more damaging.

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Open Letter to President of Virginia State Bar regarding cancellation of trip to Israel

 

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Dear Mr. Martingayle,

Let me start by putting you on notice.  My actions regarding this perversion of ethics will not be limited to this letter.  I intend to take every action necessary to lobby as many people as possible behind the process challenging the Virginia State Bar’s cancellation of its trip to Israel.

I wish to start however by challenging the very ambiguous wording in your statement regarding this matter. You made the following statement. CLICK HERE TO READ HIS STATEMENT

It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation.

What practices are you referring to exactly?  Are any of these “practices” as you call them recently implemented?  I suppose they must be seeing that I  am certain you would not have made a decision to travel to Israel originally if they were in place at the time. When you say discriminatory do you mean these policies are targeting specific people merely because of what they are or, seeing that you do use the term border security, would these policies indeed be responsible as opposed to discriminatory?  You also say these policies affect travelers to the nation.  Could you please clarify what impact any of these policies would have on any member of the Virginia Bar Association?  Muslims belong to the Israeli Knesset, so I am certain the Muslim members of the Virginia State Bar would not have to be concerned with having their movements restricted.

You went on to say the following:

Upon review of U.S. State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israeli trip and exploration of alternative locations.

The strain in the relationship between the United States and Israel is well documented, but that didn’t stop me from checking further into your claim.  I know I’m not as smart as you are, after all you are the President of the Virginia State Bar and I’m just some dumb Zionist with a big mouth, but I usually am pretty good at finding information on websites.  I looked on the State Department website and could not find anything resembling these advisories you are referring to in your statement.  Maybe you found them in the same location you found your “other research.”  I’m also curious as to which leaders you are referring to in the statement.  Leaders within the State Bar?  Community leaders? Political leaders? I am not a resident of Virginia but I do believe if you are going to make a statement such as that one, people have a right to know.

The final quote I wish to address is this one:

Undoubtedly, this news will disappoint some VSB members.  But we are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, and that explains this action.

I read your subsequent statement clarifying that this is not an anti-Semitic action, and assuming you believe what you are saying I will make the following observation.  Although I have no way of backing up this statement with facts, and unlike some who are far more intelligent than myself I always feel the need to do so, I would guess that the majority of those disappointed by this news are indeed Jewish.  Clearly their needs and desires don’t carry the same weight of the other members the Bar Association is bending over backwards to appease. I speak of the nameless 37 that many claim coerced the State Bar into this decision. If you truly are, as you claim to be a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, I have two questions for you.  Would this inclusion include giving in to the political demands of a group of people whether their demands were justified or not?  And how does turning your back on the only democracy in the Middle East help to increase this maximum equality you claim is so important?

I am sure when you made this statement you expected controversy, but I am not sure you expected to be challenged on the specifics. For all I know the position of President of the Virginia State Bar is a more ceremonious position and you don’t so much make policy as much as you represent the policy once it is implemented. Maybe you are just following orders.  Of course we all know what happens when people take that approach, and it is nothing resembling “maximum inclusion and equality”.

This action on the part of the Virginia State Bar is without any merit whatsoever and establishes a precedent damaging to the country’s entire legal system.  To take this extreme action against an important ally, and to insult an important segment of the legal community without clear explanation damages the credibility of an organization that is nothing if it is not credible.  I hope you see that, and then I hope you respond, but frankly every element and carefully worded nuance of your statement tells me that you won’t. But with the help of many more who feel as I do, this will not go away.  I care too much about America’s legal system to allow that to happen.

Sincerely,

David Groen

Global Coalition for Israel

 

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Why I “Liked” the Page of a Muslim Man

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I am not alone in being someone who has called for Muslims to take action or truly speak out against their fellow Muslims who have chosen to be extremists or terrorists.  For those who do not know, as a special occurrence is about to take place in Oslo, Norway, I first bring to you Yousef Assidiq, a man who is truly doing his part to save civilization, and whose Facebook page I “Liked” before writing this article.

Yousef Assidiq is one of the leaders of a group of young Muslims in Norway planning to form a ring of protection around a synagogue in Oslo.  Assidiq made the following statement:

“I want to say on Saturday that if anyone wants to attack Jews either verbally or physically, that they will have to go through me first. An attack on Jews is an attack on me and on all Muslims.”

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/02/18/norwegian-muslims-to-form-peace-ring-around-oslo-synagogue-254796465/

I have often said that it is not enough for Muslims to sit back and claim they are against terrorism in their ranks but do nothing to actively oppose it.  There never seems to be a shortage of Muslims taking to the streets to protest against Israel, but when ISIS beheads someone or burns people alive and Muslim terrorists go on shooting rampages in Paris and Copenhagen, we don’t see mass protesting like we do when Israel defends itself against Hamas, an organization not that much unlike ISIS.  So for Yousef Assidiq and his friends to stand up and take real action in defense of innocent Jews in Norway, we all need to show support, show gratitude, and realize that he and others in his group are the types of brave people the world needs more of if civilization is to survive.

And then there is 17-year-old Hajrad Arshad,  one of the main organizers who made the following statement on Norwegian television.

“We think that after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, it is the perfect time for us Muslims to distance ourselves from the harassment of Jews that is happening.”

Sadly I don’t get many opportunities to make posts like this, but it is incumbent on us to not only recognize it, but strongly support it, for these young heroes may hold the key to everyone’s future.  They are putting what is right in front of their own personal safety, and for that I hope everyone joins me in saying thank you and God bless you.

 

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Open Letter to Mehdi Hassan in response to his letter to “Free Speech Fundamentalists” in the Huffington Post

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Dear Mehdi,

I am not Islamophobic.  I am also not a liberal pundit.  I am however a Jewish American Zionist who is opposed to any extremism that leads to violence against innocents.  Although I know you are not Jewish and would guess there is a better than fair chance that you are not a Zionist,  if I am to take you on your word in this letter, you are opposed to extremist violence against innocents. However, unfortunately like too many other decent Muslims, I believe you are missing a crucial point in your argument.  The concerns you have revolve around circumstances created by fellow Muslims, not the liberal hypocrites you feel the need to attack in your letter.

CLICK HERE TO READ MEHDI HASSAN’S LETTER

I think there are those who are standing up and screaming for free speech that are indeed hypocrites.  I do not however feel that they are the problem, nor do I believe that you are utilizing your time in the best manner possible by using this moment to expose their flaws.  This letter you wrote is the first thing I have ever seen written by you.  I do not know how much time you have spent on the more critical aspects of the global crisis we find ourselves in today.  I accept and appreciate how devastated you were personally by the awful acts of terrorism in Paris.  It is for this reason that I write to you with a degree of respect.  However, I believe it is critical for you to understand Mehdi, that the entire narrative is generated by the vicious behavior of more than a few Muslims.  And what I hope you realize, is that my making that statement does not make me Islamophobic.  I would be happy to meet you, shake your hand, have a drink or lunch and have a nice conversation.  I would look at it no differently than getting together with anyone else for the first time.  You being a Muslim does not make me see you automatically as a threat  or a problem.  That would make me Islamophobic.  Being honest about the reality of our world today, albeit harsh, does not.

How does this connect to your issues with what you call the Free Speech fundamentalists?  Unfortunately it is very simple and very basic.  They are not murdering anyone.  They are not trying to stop people’s activities at all costs regardless of the carnage or loss of human life. I’ve seen very little of the product to come out of Charlie Hebdo. Why? Because it is irrelevant in what should be the discussion today?  If I were to play devil’s advocate and say the creators of the product produced by Charlie Hebdo were and are offensive and disgusting, that would be a very minor infraction compared to murder.  Making offensive cartoons is not a crime punishable by death.  As you know and have stated.

You are fed up?  So am I. I am fed up by those who believe that a proponent of free speech who verbally attacks those whose viewpoints they despise are considered to be against free speech themselves.  That is hogwash.  I write Open Letters, many a lot harsher than this one, all the time.  Sometimes I am insulting, demeaning, and even downright nasty.  But I have never threatened one person with physical harm nor do I ever encourage or belong to any organization that does encourage physical harm, even to those I know hate me just for being Jewish.  Instead I exercise my free speech to expose them for what they are, and do my best to help encourage a verbal process that makes them shut up.  But let’s be honest Mehdi, there is a lot more chance of this letter generating a threat against my safety than there is of your letter generating one against yours.

All actions have consequences and words have responses.  If I attempt to drown your words either through my words or a process, I am not opposing free speech.  Instead I am using my free speech to battle you in the appropriate and civilized manner.  As I know you to believe as well, violence is neither an appropriate nor civilized manner in which to silence someone and someone who holds that same opinion is not a hypocrite just because in their expression of their free speech they say something we find ignorant or abhorrent. It just gives us the opportunity to oppose them in the same manner. Unless what they say promotes violence, in which case I think we would both agree they are not on our level.

Some of your points I believe to be valid and some points I disagree with vehemently, but I only truly take issue with what I consider is your moving the narrative in a wrong direction, and for that reason I hope you reconsider your approach.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Open Letter to Tim Wilcox, BBC reporter at Paris Rally

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Dear Mr. Wilcox,

I write this to you regarding your unprofessional and inappropriate actions as a BBC journalist at the Paris Rally.  The other day I was sitting in a meeting with 3 African-American women.  When they commented on how they appreciated the respect I was showing them and that they felt that people of color are not always treated with the necessary respect, I responded with a theory I have maintained for quite some time.  I said that no matter what a person says, when you are any type of minority, you know who has a problem with you based on what you are as opposed to who you are. I spoke of the fact that 2 people can say the exact same thing to me, and I can feel who is the anti-Semite and who is not the anti-Semite. It is with this in mind that I say that regardless of your veiled attempt at merely playing devil’s advocate, we know that the words in your interview come down to the fact that you just don’t like Jews.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH INTERVIEW

Why else would you pick this time Mr. Wilcox, a time when the Jewish people are in pain, when all people of decency are in pain, to make this argument in such a public forum? Is it because your own career is more important to you than the 12 murdered artists from Charlie Hebdo?  Is it because the 4 murdered people in the Kosher supermarket have no importance to you?  Personally I am guessing both of those statements are accurate. Why else would you pick yesterday to make this sort of statement?

Whether you understand what you did wrong or not, it is important that you hear this from as many people as possible.  On a day when the French people were in mourning, when Jewish people worldwide were saddened, frightened and angered, to inappropriately use this moment to express a political commentary supposedly through a leading question was nothing short of despicable.

I could go into a long essay as to why your question wasn’t even based in accurate fact, but to be quite frank Mr. Wilcox, that is not the most important point here.  It is often said that the reporter should never become the story.  By using this platform to show the world your bias against Israel you became the story.  Your lack of professionalism and clear anti-Semitism is a disgrace to journalism.

Before I end this letter I wish to make one very ironic point regarding your inappropriate question and clear anti-Israel sentiment.  Had you committed the same unprofessional act of self-serving bigotry against an even somewhat radical Muslim nation, your life would very likely have been in danger today.  After all, don’t forget why you were in Paris in the first place.  Instead you inaccurately went after Israel, a nation where people are allowed to criticize without threat of death or physical harm.

You may be enjoying the notoriety you are receiving today, but in the end the cream always rises to the top, and therefore I am fairly convinced this will do little to benefit your career.  To be quite honest, that is my hope.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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