Tag Archives: NBA

The Correct way to Fight: No matter what side you’re on

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Clearly much of the he said she said we’ve been consistently exposed over the past few years has had very little to do with the election.  In fact I dare say in many cases it didn’t even have anything to do with discontent towards the political system.  Is the system flawed at best, failed at worst? Most definitely.  But that does nothing to explain those who are expressing anger in ways that do nothing to help move us forward.  On both sides. Yesterday I listened to an interview with NBA Hall of Famer and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who when asked what he felt about the protests responded by saying something to effect of, to make change we must use the political platform and that taking to the streets will do almost nothing to create actual change.  Many are expressing their anger and their fears and I get that.  To do so violently however, shows this is more about personal anger and exploitation than it is about change.

That by no means is the only thing going on here though. The amount of hate I have witnessed since the election from people who should be happy, after all their guy won, is besides being disturbing, very revealing and enlightening.  You see,  many people hate just for the sake of hating.  Many people take their own personal frustrations and anger out on anyone they can, and whether their candidate wins or loses, the candidate they say will fix all their ills, these people are still angry and miserable.

I had 2 very interesting incidents take place in the past 24 hours.  The more positive and encouraging one was with a relatively new friend, a retired New York City policeman and avid Trump supporter. Since the election almost every one of his emails to me, whether they were his view or the views of others, were focused more on a joy and relief towards the outcome of the election.  Although I don’t share his glee and optimism, I do however appreciate how his general approach since the election has been one more of excitement to the future, not a continuing rebuke towards half of the country.  Something both sides should stop.  He expressed to me that my accolades towards him may be somewhat misplaced, but when he said the following,  “MY ANGER IS FUELED BY A LOVE FOR THIS GREAT COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE”, I responded by saying to him, I have issue with the people who are just angry for the sake of being angry and are narcissists exploiting the political climate. So accolades remain in place.

The other incident tells another story.  It involves someone I first called a friend in my teens and someone I reconnected with over the past 5-10 years.  Over the years this person has expressed a total lack of tolerance for anyone holding a different view, to the point of accusing Jews such as myself with different views from his as being as dangerous as those who clearly want to kill the Jewish people.  Despite how offensive that concept is to me, I remained close enough to at least view his remarks and occasionally interact. When I expressed a view that I was willing to show objectivity in the name of fairness and what is good for the country, even though I was on “the other side”, I got the following response.  You’re right: a candidate with openly close anti Semitic and anti Zionist aides, advisors and financiers would have been better, David.  There is no other side , just like there is no other side of a cliff. One side your on the cliff and the other side is off the cliff. Voting for Jew haters would be the latter, especially from a child of Holocaust survivors. Attack you ? Pshaw, nothing I could say could undermine you more than your own actions.  

Soon after this post I chose to unfriend this individual.  Why? Not because we held different political views, not because he was almost vicious in how he expressed them when the stakes were at their highest, but because even now, when for all intents and purposes he got the change he wanted, he still spews angry venom, and at this stage of the game it is clearly more about his personal and deep anger than it is about ideology, and I have no desire for that in my life.

That being said, I also have no use for criminals.  If you vandalize stores, attack law enforcement or take violent action against any fellow human being, your protest means nothing to me.  You are not fighting for any cause other than to fight.  I have always felt that fighting for a purpose is not only justified, it is often righteous.  Fighting as a means of releasing anger or hate or merely out of the love of fighting is the furthest thing from righteous. It’s more often than not meaningless and destructive.

I urge all people to continue to fight for what they believe in, as I intend to.  What no one should tolerate is a fight fueled by hate and anger, for whether it comes from the left or the right, that fight ends in destruction and often catastrophe.  Unite, express and fight, but do so with respect and love for your country and fellow human being, and in doing so your fight will have more meaning and purpose.

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Holland’s Football Heroes, the Agony of Victory, and the Whining about Diving

Arjen+Robben+IEven though this is a post to address the heroics of the Dutch National Soccer team earlier against Mexico, I want to start with a rant.  I am sick and tired of my fellow Americans bitching and moaning about players diving in the World Cup.  Seen an NBA game lately? Half the fouls take place when the offensive player moves into the opponent.  And flopping is a term coined for actions committed in the NBA.    How many players can even get off the ground without putting their hands out?  And don’t even get me started on how many superstars get away with travelling.  So enough already. You like that sport.  Teams win and lose and everyone has the option to use the rules to their advantage.  I’ve seen my teams lose often enough that I feel it was fair to see it go my teams way for once.  Especially when talking about The Netherlands in World Cup play.

The great thing about being a sports fan is that it allows you to put all your emotions and hopes out there without the fear of devastating consequences.  Everyone can pretty much say that when they follow a sports team they will see their team win or lose.  What you don’t know is when you will have that moment.  That moment when all seems lost, and quietly you know it is all over for your team, even if you tell yourself there is still hope.  That moment is complete when against all odds your team comes back from the dead with a performance of historic proportions.  I experienced it as a New York Met fan in 1986, as  a Philadelphia Flyer fan when a few years back when they came back from 3-0 down in a series against the Boston Bruins, and then from 3-0 down in game 7 , and I experienced it in this World Cup with Holland’s miraculous comeback against Mexico.  At the 85th minute of the game it felt like all was lost.  I already knew that I would have no more Dutch team to follow in this 2014 FIFA World Cup.  And then, Wesley Sneijder scores in the 88th minute tying a game that seemed lost,  and  4  minutes later Arjen Robben makes something from nothing and draws a penalty shot, comfortably put away by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Yes I know this is just a game, and I know that these Dutch heroes don’t come anywhere near to matching the Dutch heroes I speak of in the book Jew Face: A story of Love and Heroism in Nazi occupied Holland, but on this day these Dutchmen gave me, many close to me, and millions of other people moments of pure joy only that moment of joy in sports can bring.

Now win it for my mother!   Pass this around…Let’s start a campaign….CLICK HERE..Come on Holland win it for my mother.


The Importance of Zero Tolerance

w-41tonyparker-quenelle-123113Having been busier than usual recently I have not had the chance to post something in quite some time.  However, as I sit here knowing it is Yom HaHashoah, I decided to make the time to write something.  It’s the very least I can do on a day that sadly will always be important to the Jewish people.  The story I will tell is one of zero tolerance, education, and a positive outcome.

About a week and a half ago I was kidding around with a work friend regarding the impending NHL Ice Hockey playoff match up between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.  I have been a fan of the Flyers for a long time and I engaged in verbal battle with my work friend who is a long time fan of the Rangers.  In the heat of our spirited, and to that point fun debate, he stood  by my doorway and in conjunction with an insult towards the Flyers performed the Nazi salute.  Let me say at this point that us Jews who care, generally know who is an anti-Semite and who is not an anti-Semite.  I know with a great degree of certainty that the person I am speaking of is not an anti-Semite.  However, as a Jew, and son of Holocaust survivors, I was presented with a situation in which my reaction would be important regardless of his intent. I stood up, walked forcefully towards the door and with a degree of harshness I save for true and intense anger said “Don’t ever do that sh*t in front of me again.”  Somewhat taken aback by my tone and bad language the situation escalated slightly until we both chose to stay on opposite sides of the office.

That night he called me, and with admirable humility apologized profusely and without excuse saying that he messed up and knew he was wrong.  I accepted his apology immediately for a few reasons.  The first one and most important one being that I knew even as it happened that this is not a person who condones hatred towards the Jewish people in any way shape or form.  His actions were more those of an ignorance to the significantly offensive nature of the action.  And as Jew it was incumbent on me to make sure he would know differently and subsequently never do something like that again.  Something I am very confident is now the case.   Another reason I accepted the apology immediately was that despite the seriousness to me as a Jew, the action was nothing more than an individual making a mistake, something we all do sometimes, which meant that once he realized it and apologized, I was comfortable putting the incident behind us.  There is however one important point relating to this incident that I wish to emphasize.

As Jews witnessing a worldwide resurgence in anti-Semitism not seen since the time of Nazi Germany, we must take extra care in showing zero tolerance for anti-Semitic action of any kind.   When Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the French “comedian” who is proud of his anti-Semitism does the quenelle gesture, the reverse Nazi salute, he does so with no concern over how much he offends anyone, particularly anyone Jewish.  As a result, no tolerance can be shown towards the action regardless of who does it and their claimed intent.  Case in point NBA star Tony Parker.  Tolerance and acceptance was something all to present in pre-Holocaust Europe and we all know where that lead.  Can our zero tolerance ultimately make the difference between our death and survival in the future?  No one knows the answer to that question.  But we have no choice but to do everything we can to make a difference.  We owe that to ourselves, the world, and the 6 million Jews we will always honor and remember.