Tag Archives: Nazi Germany

What it means to me to be the child of Holocaust Survivors

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Not too long ago, a millennial of Asian descent asked me what it was like to be raised by Holocaust survivors.  The importance of indicating his background is to highlight the difference of his life from the life he was asking me about.  Although I think human beings are inherently the same when you break through all the superfluous crap, I recognize the impact environment and circumstance has on molding an individual.  So the question made me think about this topic more deeply than I had in quite some time, and in light of the events that have taken place in my life over the past 6 months I decided to share, in the hope that I help address issues of concern not just to people that fall into the same category that I do, but for people looking for answers about who they are and where they are going.

Since I am very aware that we live in a world where people often find sport in attacking the words that others share, let me make a few things very clear before you read on.  The information you are hopefully going to go on to read is not based on historically verified facts or scientific studies.  This is based entirely on my personal feelings and interpretations.  If your reaction is, “why should I care how he feels?”, that is fine with me.  Just like that same person can’t tell me I am right or wrong for how I feel, I can’t tell that same person what to care about.  But hopefully it is understood that at least part of my motivation is to help people that struggle with feelings they do not understand or even worse, understand but can’t deal with.

My initial response to the question was probably the most honest response I had ever given to any question regarding my parents and what it was like to be raised by people who lived through Nazi-occupation.  I called it 2 sides of the same coin.  On one side I recognized that there is an inevitable dysfunction to being raised by people who went through what my parents went through. On the other side of the coin, even before without addressing the special qualities my parents exhibited in their lifetime, being raised by Holocaust survivors almost forces you into seeing things that are more important than what is relatively superficial nonsense.

Coming out of the ashes of the war in 1945, it needs to be understood that not all Holocaust survivors had the same or even similar experience.  There seems to be a universal understanding among all decent people, whether they have a direct connection to Holocaust survivors or not, that degree of suffering is not a contest.  No one ever says to a Holocaust survivor that was not in a concentration camp that they were lucky in comparison to someone who survived the camps.  And while it is clear that had my father not helped my mother find places of refuge and do so much to keep her from being captured by the Nazis that she would have likely suffered horrors unimaginable likely followed by death, who is anyone to measure the devastation of seeing your world be decimated and the feelings associated with running for or fearing for your life for close to 5 years?  And who can understand seeing everything you know and believe in be wiped out as though it was a disease?  As soon as I was old enough to understand with some maturity what my parents went through, my value system was impacted by how I interpreted their life experiences.

I never felt guilt.  I was not made to feel that way.  Mostly because for as long as I can remember it was made very clear to me who the guilty parties were.  Nazi and Nazi collaborators were the mass murderers that murdered my ancestors, and living my life in a good and happy way would be more of a slap in the face to their efforts than it would be a disregard for what the Jewish people suffered through in my parents’ native Holland and the rest of Europe.  I have however always felt a responsibility.  It would probably take extensive therapy for me to understand to what extent I try to do good things and to what extents I follow Judaism based on the responsibility I feel, but I am honest enough to admit that it is certainly part of the equation.  I know that although in today’s very partisan political climate we can debate what is anti-Jewish sentiment or action, I do know that I have zero tolerance for those things I consider to fall into those categories.  This is about how I feel when I recognize that taking place in society or my environment.   I know that nothing feels more important to me than the survival of the Jewish people, but I also know I reconcile ethically by having the same intolerance for attacks on the survival of others, again, when I see it as taking place. This same factor explains why Israel is important to me.  Israel not only represents a safe haven for the Jewish people escaping persecution, but it also highlights the thoughts and ideas of those who have a disdain for the Jewish people.  That is not to say that any opposition to the positions of the Israeli government is anti-Jewish, but it does alert any honest individual to the fact that being anti-Israel is more often than not a code word for anti-Semitism.

So all of these viewpoints and philosophies are at least somewhat a result of being raised by Holocaust survivors.  But it would be hard to refute the idea that some of my flaws are not a result of that as well.  To know that for sure would be to know what degree of the imperfections of my parents were passed on to me are a result of their experience during the war was passed on to me.  I maintain that it may be close to impossible to identify that with any accuracy and I loved and respect my parents and their memory too much to pick apart whatever flaws they may have had, but I will offer up one fear I believe I inherited from my upbringing.  A fear, that to be brutally honest is very likely a contributing factor behind the time I have put into writing this piece and much of the other things I write.  It is the fear of not making a difference.  For my grandparents, my father’s parents who refused baptismal papers because they would only die the way they were born, as Jews, for my ancestors who were killed in the concentration camps, for the 6 million, and for my parents who felt the pain of that time until the day they died, I feel that I have a responsibility to do something that matters.  There is a fine line however between feeling a sense of responsibility and feeling a burden, and although I was not made to feel guilt, whenever that sense of responsibility has felt like a burden, a feeling of guilt sets in, because I know, that my “burden” is nothing compared to those that suffered during that time.  Nevertheless, it is a reality that sits with me and one I need to address from time to time.

I do leave you with two very important points.  First one being that one of the reasons I am writing this piece is to hopefully help any other children of Holocaust survivors with unresolved feelings they may have difficulty dealing with, and the second one is to accentuate the most important factor in this entire discussion.  The Holocaust was a reality.  The enormity of it was so significant that it not only resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews but it still impacts the world and generations in so many ways.  The specifics being a discussion for another time.  Reality, good or bad, does not disappear just because you want it to.  It does not disappear because of perverse and distorted ideologies.  It needs to be confronted, something I will continue to do that for as long as I am able.  Sometimes it is my burden, but I am thankful to God for the fact that usually it is my responsibility.  One I accept without issue.

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Why we need to stop the misuse of the word “Nazi”

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In recent years there has been a growing and concerning trend in regard to a word as familiar globally as any other word.  That word is Nazi. The trend I speak of is in the use of the word in a descriptive, subjective form, as opposed to the literally specific form necessary to keep an understanding of the evil it represents.

A number of people who knew that I intended to write this piece have actually thanked me for doing so.  Any attempt to try to change the thought pattern of an anti-Semite or other form of bigot that uses Holocaust denial as a means of forwarding a perverse agenda is a waste of time.  A more worthwhile venture is to make sure those who have open minds and pure hearts are afforded the opportunity to know the truth.  The truth is that improper use of the word Nazi dilutes the horrors of what took place under the Nazi-occupation in Europe.

This post is neither a political statement nor an apology for those that misuse power.  This is more of a perspective check. Calling someone a Nazi because they do something damaging to other individuals, or even worse calling them one because it is your perception they are doing so, detracts from some critical facts.

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi war machine sought out and killed in staggering numbers.  According to jewishvirtualibrary.org the numbers break down as follows.

Jews: up to 6 million

Soviet civilians: around 7 million (including 1.3 Soviet Jewish civilians, who are included in the 6 million figure for Jews)

Soviet prisoners of war: around 3 million (including about 50,000 Jewish soldiers)

Non-Jewish Polish civilians: around 1.8 million (including between 50,000 and 100,000 members of the Polish elites)

Serb civilians (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): 312,000

People with disabilities living in institutions: up to 250,000

Roma: 196,000–220,000

Jehovah‘s Witnesses: around 1,900

Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials: at least 70,000

German political opponents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory: undetermined

Homosexuals: hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70,000 repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials noted above).

As a son of Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivors, the Jewish number hits very close to home, as it does or has done for many others I have known or still know over the course of my lifetime.  The Nazis destroyed entire worlds.  They wiped out an entire Jewish civilization in a large percentage of Europe.  They tortured, they raped, they conducted experiments, made people dig graves before shooting them in cold blood, and put together one of the most efficiently cruel means of mass murder by gassing to death multitudes of people.  Frankly, although these facts are accurate, this does not capture the true horror of what took place.  For that one needs to research the numerous pictures and accounts of the events that took place.

And yet many people today refer to anyone with ideologies opposed to their own as a Nazi.  This is not a left and right issue.  This is also not a justification nor a means of disregarding dangerous viewpoints or ideologies.  What this is instead is a specific statement as to what separated Nazi Germany from much of what people refer to today as Nazi behavior.  I’ve seen people on the right call Barack Obama a Nazi.  I’ve seen people on the left call Donald Trump a Nazi.  You can criticize, even despise the Iran deal or the situation on the border, but neither of these facts put either president even close to being in the same category as Adolf Hitler.  Furthermore, even if one would feel strong critique for Israel’s handling of the Palestinian situation or feel a disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, invoking Nazi atrocities as a comparison to today’s Israel is nothing more than a disingenuous use of a term to promote a dangerous anti-Semitic political agenda.

None of this is to say that we should turn a blind eye to the dangers that exist both in our respective countries or abroad.  But it is important to note, that if one is to learn from history it starts by doing everything necessary to study it accurately.  What the Nazis did  between 1933 and 1945 is perpetrate an evil unlike anything the world had ever seen.  To improperly identify and remember what took place not only dishonors all those murdered, it puts us all in greater danger of seeing it take place once again.

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Holland’s Heroes

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In the 7 years since I started the website Holland’s Heroes this will be the first time I have chosen to use the name of the website as a title for a post.  Why now?  It’s because in light of recent events it has become clear to me that I am in a family that has had the benefit of the actions of some remarkable and righteous Dutch people. People who clearly are Holland’s Heroes.

Although time and the world’s natural order of things has caused the number of Holocaust survivors to steadily diminish, in many cases, even if the survivors are no longer here, there are still the families remaining of these survivors.  Many of these families only exist today because of the righteous and heroic actions of people that endangered themselves and the lives of their families in order to save those they descended from.  It’s been my experience that anyone who  knows of a hero or family that did something to help save the life, offer support or preserve the memory of someone in their family  feels tremendously blessed and grateful that these heroes were there for their ancestors in the worst of times.  So imagine how blessed I feel to be able to tell you of 3 families that had such an impact on my family.

Ranking the actions of great people is something that would potentially diminish how special their actions were, so I’ve determined that the most fair order in which to mention these people is in the order in which I learned of them in my lifetime.

Lubertus & Geeske te Kiefte

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Since the time I began telling the story of my parents’ survival of the Holocaust I’ve also been telling the story of the te Kieftes.  That’s also because since the time I was old enough to know anything about my family I knew about the people we lovingly refer to as Oom Bertus and Tante Geesje.  In Nazi-occupied Holland, going from contact to contact established through the resistance, my father would ultimately help my mother find the place she would spend the last 16 months of the war.  Here she would be treated like a member of the family while more importantly she would be protected from the Nazis.  Oom Bertus, a builder, would build her a special secret room under his workplace where she would sleep, hidden from Nazi soldiers in the event of a surprise raid.  Other than one man, the entire town of Lemerlerveld would be on board with the te Kieftes in making sure this young, very Jewish looking woman would remain safe.  The one man in question would have it made very clear by Bertus and other active members of the resistance what would happen to him should something happen to their Jewish guest.  Post war the relationship between our families has been like family, and I can say without  pause that even without the actions of Bertus and Geeske this family is as special a group of people as any I have ever known.

Jan Van den Berg

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The best friend of my grandfather Marcel Rodrigues, Jan Van den Berg had more opportunities to prove this friendship than most would ever expect.  The depth of his friendship went beyond his relationship with my grandfather, as he would be there for his friend’s daughter, my mother Sipora, any time it was needed.  As my mother was preparing to escape Amsterdam with my father, an escape as dangerous as any one could ever imagine, their one and only welcomed stop was in the Van den Berg home.  This was because this was the last true safe place they could rest and get some nourishment before their trip.  As time would bare out, Oom Jan as we knew him, would not only never say no to his best friend’s daughter, he would go above and beyond in ways one should never forget.  When the war ended and Sipora would return to Amsterdam, had it not been for the emotional and practical assistance of the Van den Berg’s, she might not have survived the post-war travails.  Returning to Amsterdam pregnant where she would later give birth to her oldest son Marcel, Sipora would take ill only months into her young child’s life.  Suspected of contracting Tuberculosis, later to be confirmed as Pleurisy, Sipora would be put into quarantine.  Unable to care for her child, Oom Jan and Tante Toos would care for Marcel while Sipora was in quarantine.  He would be cared for as one of their own.  My brother Marcel and sister-in-law Bernice would name their oldest daughter Jennifer, the “J” being in honor of Oom Jan.  On July 21st of this year I had the great pleasure and honor of meeting their great grandson Jelmer and his family on my trip to Holland.

Johnny de Haan

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Besides being something incredibly special for my family, recent events are also a lesson for anyone whose family survived the Holocaust.  Not everyone and not everything has been revealed or discovered.  We tend to think that all the stories have been told and that there is very little new and important information we can share with the world.  Besides being factually inaccurate, in today’s global climate it has become even more important to continue to share these important stories.  Naturally I tell this story with personal bias, but I can also tell you that in sharing it with people of all ages and all walks of life, I have found that the one word most often used when responding to the story, is “Wow”.

With the Nazis occupying and controlling Amsterdam, in the summer of 1943 my grandfather Marcel Rodrigues and my uncle Bram Rodrigues chose to make an attempt to escape to Switzerland.  Before they left Bram went to his close friend and band mate Johnny de Haan to ask him to look after his violin till he returned home.  As was the case with 6 million European Jews, my Oom Bram never returned.  However, Johnny de Haan safeguarded the violin till his death 7 years ago. When he passed away his son Wim, understanding the importance the violin always had to his father,  continued what his father had started.  Until a recent examination of his father’s diary and subsequently finding more information online because of the book Jew Face, Wim, who till now thought Bram left no living relatives, would find me.  Upon making this discovery he contact me and we would set up the July 21st event in which he gave the violin to me and my siblings.  The rest as they say, is history.

But is’t not JUST history.  It’s present day as well.  Wim gave value to the violin, a desire to return it to the family of his father’s friend, and a warmth and friendship that has drawn a connection to the friendship taken away from 2 young men 76 years ago.  Wim’s mother, an unsung hero in this story, and someone I had the honor to meet, would dust off the violin on a regular basis.  All of this is why I say this is more than the actions of one good man.  It is a family that helped keep the memory alive and is directly responsible for creating the legacy for one of the 6 million murdered souls of the Holocaust.  That soul belongs to my uncle, Bram Rodrigues.

We live in a day and age where negativity sells, so if the positive nature of this post doesn’t appeal to you that is you personal choice.  But I urge you all to realize that in telling these stories we not only help keep the story alive, but maybe we bring more stories such as these to the surface.  We must not only never forget, but we must always continue to remind the rest of the world.

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How being the son of Holocaust survivors made me who I am

Yom HaShoah

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we approach Yom HaShoah and remember the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, I can’t help but think about how being the son of 2 survivors helped make me into the person I am today.

In comparison to so many, I am a very lucky man.  I enjoyed having both my parents around till I was 45 when my 87 year old father passed away almost 8 years ago, and still have the blessing of a wonderful relationship with my remarkable 93 year old mother. Although they experienced their own brand of hell between 1940-1945 in Holland, they were fortunate enough that it did not reach a level that prevented them from moving forward and enjoying their life after the war.  Even with that said, the experiences of my parents made them who they are, which subsequently made me who I am, both for good and for bad.  But more significantly as I write this today, a day in which we remember those who did not survive, the deep emotions transferred to me and my siblings impacted every one of us.

Even when I was more moderate than I am today, I’ve never had tolerance for anything that resembled a lack of respect for Jewish life.  Of course as a normal human being I value all life, but I am always on the alert for any indication that the Jewish people are being attacked.  I won’t listen to Pink Floyd or Bryan Adams anymore.  I don’t like Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs merely because he once did the quenelle, a modern-day reverse Nazi salute in France, in a picture with a well-known anti-Semite even though he insisted he didn’t mean it to be anti-Semitic, and I almost got into a fight with someone at work who did the Nazi salute because he thought he was being funny.  He said he didn’t realize what it meant till his girlfriend told him later in the day.  That didn’t stop me from standing in his face and saying “never do that S#%#%t in front of me again.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I make no claims to be a tough guy, but my Dad of Blessed Memory was as tough as anyone, and my mother is one of the strongest people I’ve ever known.  I was raised by strong people who brought me up to be proud to be Jewish, and most relevant in this discussion, they always honored the 6 million.  As long as I can remember and as long as I was able to have a conversation I always knew about the 6 million Jews murdered by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.  And I have always tried my personal best to honor them.

Never Again, a phrase that often stems from or leads to political discussion may be 2 of the most important words in my life, as I am sure it is to many reading this as well.  However today is not about politics, it is about remembrance and honor. Something I learned from my parents, and thank them for from the bottom of my heart, for in the process they made me a better person, one that often stops and realizes the Jewish souls once sacrificed, and the importance of never forgetting them.

 

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My Evolution to Radical

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The title is somewhat tongue in cheek because I really don’t see myself as being a radical, but in order to keep the interest of those on the far left who may see me that way, I chose to acknowledge what is very possibly going to be their claim.  The purpose of this piece is to explain how I, David Groen got from Liberal Clinton Democrat who voted for Obama twice, to writing articles and letters that seem to align me far more with the Republican right.  By the time you finish reading, whether you a Conservative or a Liberal I suspect I will surprise you, and very possibly disappoint you.

If it sounds like I am confused let me be clear.  I am more certain of where I stand on most issues than I have been my entire life.  I have not changed my views on some of the most polarizing issues of the day.  As soon as I state my stances on abortion and gay marriage I am certain to get some ire from a large portion of the Conservatives reading this. When I state my views on Israel and Foreign Affairs I am certain to get the same from many of the Liberals.  If this article seems like it is designed to make everyone angry at me, rest assured it is not.  I’m merely someone comfortable expressing his political views and since I try not to be a hypocrite, I see no reason to hide my politics.  In the end it is up to the reader to decide if he or she cares about my views, not me.

Most of the issues I intend to glance over quickly, while those dealing with Israel and Foreign Affairs in particular I will go into more detail. Here are some of the main issues that tend to define today’s Liberal and Conservative, not necessarily in the order stated. My order is based on how much I intend to say about the subject in this particular piece.

 

1-Abortion      2-Gay Marriage       3-Gun Control  

4-Foreign Affairs   5-Israel; (specifically for Jews, but often for non-Jews as well).

 

1-Abortion: I am pro-choice. I believe a woman has the right to decide what to do with her own body.

2-Gay Marriage: I really don’t care who people sleep with and since I believe one of the reasons America is a great country is the separation of Church and State, and since the only reason to ban this is a religious one, I believe it’s not the government’s business.  If a religious institution chooses not to marry gay people they have every right to make that choice.

3-Gun Control: I used to be so anti-gun that I would say that Americans had lost the right to bare arms based on our overall behavior with guns.  I believe strict and enforced regulations are important, but in today’s worldwide political climate I see how the need exists for individuals to carry a gun, and since that may even mean me, it would be hypocritical of me to hold the same views I once held.

Before I go on I will take a moment to explain my voting history back to the first Clinton presidency.  Actually the first part is easy.   For right or for wrong back then I didn’t feel the need to analyze it too deeply. I voted for who I liked the most.  I can say I voted Democrat across the board, and that would be true in local elections, but I also voted for Ronald Reagan(at least I think I did. I may have missed an election).

I liked Bill Clinton. The Monica Lewinsky issue aside, I still do. When Al Gore was running I found myself truly getting excited about politics.  I thought he was going to be a tremendous president. Whether or not I was right or wrong we will never know because Florida and hanging chads happened and George W. Bush became president instead.  With the devastation I felt when Gore did not become president and my 3 straight presidential elections voting Democrat, no one would ever have thought I would ever vote for W. That however, is exactly what happened in the next election. Since I greatly approved of his reaction and handling of 9/11, I voted for him when he ran for a second term.  Besides, I wasn’t particularly impressed with John Kerry anyway.  At least that is something that hasn’t changed.

When Barack Obama first hit the scene I was not a supporter.  But not so much because I had a problem with him, but because I was big time for Hilary.  When he defeated her in the primaries I was uncertain of my vote.  I liked John McCain’s toughness and patriotism but I put a lot of stock in who a candidate chooses for Vice President. So when McCain picked Sara Palin it became a much easier decision for me.  I voted for Obama.  When Obama came up for reelection I once again looked at the opponent.  I didn’t like Mitt Romney at all.  I didn’t believe a word he said.  Not because I believed he was necessarily so much less honest than everyone else, but because it always seemed that whatever he said was only designed to win the election.  I never felt like he was true to anything.  I also held out hope and wanted to believe that Obama did actually like Israel and that the things that looked bad were just part of his strategy to bring peace in the Middle East.  His actions still may be designed with that purpose in mind, but since it looks more and more like he is selling Israel out in whatever this process of his is, I’m subsequently not too happy about that vote.

I can’t tell this history without admitting that in retrospect I made some mistakes, but everyone’s truth is what it is, and this is mine. Who knows?  Maybe this piece will make some people admit votes they otherwise would have kept private.  With that said I go back to my list.

4-Foreign Affairs: On no issue have I “radicalized” more.  We all know the phrase history repeats itself.  I believe that history is not as likely to repeat itself as it is to mimic itself.  The difference may seem subtle but it is extremely significant and very important. As a son of Holocaust survivors, the history of the Jews in Europe has always been doubly personal.  Both as a Jew and as the son of Dutch Jews.  The Nazis rose to power under the unsuspecting noses of a hopeful Europe and somewhat detached America.  By the time it was too late, Hitler had put together a juggernaut of evil and terror that ran over the continent and caused a war that saw the death of tens of millions of people, including 6 millions Jews killed in genocidal manner.  The enemy was devastatingly powerful and ruthless.  The tactics of the Nazis were as evil as anything the world has ever seen. They were organized, cohesive and powerful.  But the allies had one advantage in attacking them. They were based in one country.  Yes there was a 5th column, the “ordinary people” placed in other countries to do a form of reconnaissance, but for the most part Nazi Germany was based out of Germany.  Although today’s evil uses some tactics very similar to the Nazis, and similarly their 2 main enemies are Americans and Jews, Muslim extremists are spread out in so many parts of the world, able to attack in so many different locations at any time, that the rising threat may have similarities to 1930s Europe, but nothing is a better example of history mimicking itself instead of repeating itself as the threats we face today.

That being said, the similarities are significant enough that I have formed the belief that negotiation and trust are just not a reasonable option. It hurts me to say that this is a fight I believe can only be won by force, but what do we see to tell us otherwise?  If we are only looking for history to repeat itself, we can make the argument that this is nothing like 1930s Europe and the rise of Nazism. But the language is similar, the lack of morality which justifies killing is similar, and the growth is even faster.  I don’t want to see innocent people get hurt, but innocent people needed to get hurt in Germany to stop the Nazis, and had that not happened millions of more innocent people would ultimately have gotten slaughtered.  To me and to all civilized people that is something that should be unacceptable.

5-Israel: I have made a very clear statement that I have no intention of wavering from. My next vote for president will be for whichever candidate I believe is most pro-Israel and toughest in foreign affairs.  I have been very vocal in my support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The other day I decided to listen to a J Street video regarding the need for a two-state Solution.  I think J Street is divisive and disingenuous, but in many ways I don’t believe a desire for a two-state solution is a bad thing necessarily.  Much of the statements in the video carried a lot of merit. The status quo will not be good for Israel.  It does create an even more dangerous future.  The prices that have been paid by so many are very high, and yes, it is a lot easier to speak this way from the United States than it is from Israel.  All that being said, it is not that I am opposed to a two-state solution per se, it is that under the current conditions a two-state solution is not a road to peace, it is a road to another Final Solution, not that different from the one attempted, and carried out to a large extent in devastating fashion by the Nazis against the Jews. 

To make peace you either need more than one willing party or for one party to be significantly stronger.  Those who criticize Israel the loudest do so because Israel, at the moment at least is stuck with the second choice.  Being a more powerful nation Israel is still able to win their wars.  With the lack of a willing peace partner Israel has 2 choices.  Keep the enemy down or die.  Forgive us “radicals” if we find the 2nd choice unacceptable.  No reasonable caring person is blind to the price Israel has to pay.  I can say with utmost confidence that the overwhelming majority of Israelis and Jews worldwide would gladly accept a two-state solution if it was with a party that truly wanted peace with the Jewish people.  If I felt Jewish lives would be saved I would support it.  But I believe, as do many like me, that more Jewish lives would be lost as a result of a two-state solution under the current conditions.  And it’s just plain anti-Israel cynicism to believe it falls solely on Israel to change these conditions.  

I can not and will not be moderate if I feel that a moderate viewpoint puts my people in danger.  

People who truly know Israelis and truly know the Jewish people as a whole, know that we are a people who desire to live in peace.  My lack of moderation is not based on some irrational hatred of Arabs and Muslims, my lack of moderation is based on those in power who talk about wanting to annihilate Israel and murder Jews while declaring a desire for peace for political or public relations expediency.  It’s baffling to me that anyone would believe the intentions of those calling for the murder of innocents were good at all, and to be quite honest it baffles me that the view opposing Israel somehow became one more often affiliated with a liberal status.   Maybe these people need to listen a little more to Alan Dershowitz.

So there you have my evolution to “radical”.  Make no mistake though.  This is one radical that hopes and prays that one day people will wake up and no longer allow their leaders to be preachers of death and destruction.  When that happens I suspect  I will no longer be seen as a radical, for I will be excited and supportive of what would then be a genuine peace process.

 

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Open Letter to Oren Ben-Dor Regarding his Part in Organizing Anti-Israel Debate at Southampton University

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Dear Professor Ben-Dor,

I am sure there are others who I could address regarding this matter, but the tragedy of your involvement is so enormous in my eyes that it must supercede the matter of all other party’s actions.   As I am sure you know, I am referring to your part in coordinating a conference at Southampton University challenging Israel’s right to exist.

It always baffles me when educated people display high levels of ignorance. Your very status is a result of Israel’s existence.  You, as a Jew, most likely thrived within Israel’s structure that consisted of freedom, opportunity, and a moral structure non-existent in most of the region.  Yet somehow you have made it important to turn your back on the country and the people who made you who you are today.

I wonder if you ever use your intellectual abilities to investigate the murderous regime in Syria.  Do you ever take time out of your busy day to research the treatment of women or homosexuals in Israel’s neighboring lands?  How about the squandering of funds in the Palestinian Authority or Gaza? Or Hamas using civilians as human shields? Spend any time worried about how ISIS rapes women, beheads people and burns people alive? You may be sick and tired of hearing the same old argument from us Zionists, but I assure you we are even sicker and more tired of hearing the manipulated garbage spewed out by you and your buddies hiding behind your self-proclaimed academic prowess.

I do not know much about your personal history, but to be quite frank with you, I have no interest in knowing more than I do.  There is a word to describe an individual that is a word I do not throw around easily, but in your case I am comfortable doing so.  The word I am referring to is traitor.  What makes you a traitor is your willingness to not only turn your back on Israel at a time when it is under a consistent barrage of unjustified attacks by its enemies, but to actually aid and abet these enemies.

I have no doubt you will either make a claim that the attacks are justified, or you will try to see the attacks as a way of supporting your case.   So-called intellectuals such as yourself who put so much of their energy into hating Israel may claim they are doing so based on factual knowledge, but the truth is that this pursuit is driven by emotions, not facts.  Even in the worst assessments of Israel’s actions, if only facts  were being used as a motivating force, no objective party would utilize their position for the purposes of challenging its right to exist.  Instead, the motivations are mostly hate or fear.  In your case I am betting on fear.

Naturally this is a claim you will deny, but with England’s growing Muslim population gaining influence, and not only Israelis but Jews everywhere being threatened to a degree not seen since the rise of Nazi Germany, I am guessing you are looking to gain favor in the eyes of those that would wage attacks on our people.  Just remember the lessons we learned from those traitors who supported Adolph Hitler.  When their purpose was served, they were murdered as well.

If you bother to answer me, something I would not expect from a coward and a traitor, I am sure you will try to make some intellectual case supporting your argument.  I am also sure you will do your best to prove how much smarter you are than I am.  The funny thing is, even if you are technically a brilliant man, your approach towards Israel is so devastatingly stupid, I wouldn’t trade with you in a heartbeat.  I just hope you stop for a moment to recognize how your actions are so immoral that if they don’t haunt you in this life, I have little doubt as to whether or not you will ultimately suffer the consequences of your actions.  Regardless of whether you are successful or not.

If you can live with that, so be it.  I would just hope you no longer identify yourself as an Israeli or a Jew, because I am sure I speak for many when I say, feeling as you do, we prefer to not be associated with you in any way.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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A Jewish Leader Tells the Whole World…NEVER AGAIN

YV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started this piece numerous times and when all was said and done I decided to just sit back and write it entirely from the heart.  After just listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress I am so overcome by emotion that I want to hold on to this moment, even if only for myself.

Part of what makes us who we are is our history.  Having just finished listening to the speech I can’t help but think of my family’s history.  It was 60 years ago when the reign of Hitler’s Nazi party ended.  60 million people died in WWII and 6 million Jewish souls were lost.  Among those murdered by the Nazis was an estimated 104,000 Dutch Jews, 75% of Holland’s Jewish population in 1940. Included in that number were 3 of my 4 grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and numerous other relatives I would never know.  My parents went through life with pain I can’t even imagine having lived through one of the darkest times in the world’s history.

As far back as I can remember I have heard the words “Never Again”.  Today I watched Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who suffered in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, receive a standing ovation in the United States Congress.  Today the leader of the Jewish state of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, stood up in front of the nation and the entire world and basically said NEVER AGAIN with the words “The days in which the Jewish people stay passive in the face of genocidal enemies; those days are over”.

This is only about politics to those making it about politics.  What this is ultimately about is the survival of not only the Jewish people but the survival of our modern-day civilization.  Today a Jewish leader stood up in front of the world and told the world that the Jewish people will never again be led to slaughter.  For that reason, as the son of Holocaust survivors, as a Jew, and as an American, I found myself moved to tears and say thank you to the State of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

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