Tag Archives: New York City

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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Syria America Line

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Those of us who have an avid interest in current events will go as far as sitting around a table in a New York City restaurant on a Friday night attempting to come up with the solutions to those issues that we feel need the most immediate and secure resolution.  Last night, one of my friends  Denise Marie Overton Magidson shared with me the following idea that, even if it does not resolve the entire refugee crisis, would certainly alleviate the pain and suffering of many thousands.

Her idea, in 2 words; cruise ships. While at first I thought she was being tongue and cheek, when she elaborated on it I realized what an original and compassionate idea it is as well as a potential means of providing immediate, safe, and livable conditions for the Syrian refugees living under hellish circumstances and desperately seeking a new home.  These people would have shelter, food and running water and it would also allow for a more careful and accurate vetting of those attempting to enter other countries.

What I particularly like about this idea, although admittedly I have no clue of whether or not it could work on a practical basis, is the fact that it represents an idea which combines concern with our safety with the well-being of the suffering of others regardless of where they come from.  Like many Americans, Denise Marie is not a heartless and hateful person who couldn’t care less about the plight of the others.  On the contrary, in coming up with this idea she represents what to me is more the American way than those who propose to blindly and haphazardly allow the entry of thousands upon thousands of people who could easily and unwittingly be camouflaging terrorists.  Her proposal combines a practical way of protecting our interests while in the process helping the needy and protecting our collective soul.

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TheThreat of a Terror attack and its Psychological Impact

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Yesterday ISIS came out with a video warning of an impending attack in New York.  A few days earlier in Washington, D.C.  No one in Paris will ever again doubt the threat of an ISIS attack until the organization is destroyed.  Part of the threat on New York is specifically aimed at Times Square.  Although one expert says the specific warning might indicate that there actually are not any sleeper cells in New York since no place that has been attacked received such a specific warning, I’d still be pleasantly surprised if a camera shot of Times Square this Friday or Saturday night would show crowds as large as what we are accustomed to seeing.  Terror cell or not, the threat is out there, and that scares people.

It should go without saying that an actual attack is far worse than a threat.  The devastation caused by last weeks loss of life and innocent people injured in Paris is as bad as it gets.  That doesn’t mean ISIS doesn’t have other ways of attacking us. Displaying an evil cleverness unlike any previous terrorist organization, it would hardly be surprising if ISIS was actually cashing in their psychological chips and using the threats purely as a way of damaging the morale and economy of people in western countries, particularly the United States.

Americans by and large are a tough people.  I think there will still be crowds of people at Times Square in the coming weeks, but I also believe that some damage will most likely be done just from the threats put out there.  If the nations of the world show a strong resolve and display an indignant attitude towards the threats, then at least we’ve won one of the battles.  Of course that’s easy for me to say, since I may or may not be at Times Square this weekend.  I’ll let you know on Monday.

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Why Holland’s Heroes?

9781468573909_COVER.inddSome of you already know the background, but for those of you that have only started reading my work recently I wanted to give you a brief explanation of why my blog is called “Holland’s Heroes”.  In short, I am here today because of Dutch heroes.  My parents, Rabbi Nardus Groen of blessed memory and my mother Sipora Groen, were both Holocaust survivors from Holland.  As I cover in the book “Jew Face: A story of Love and Heroism in Nazi-Occupied Holland”, their actions during the Nazi-occupation of Holland were nothing short of heroic.  Originally set up to promote the book, Holland’s Heroes has developed into something far more important, an avenue from which to promote the truth, defend Israel and the Jewish people, and a platform from which to join forces with all those of all faiths that want a safe and decent future.

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My mother showed incredible courage in some of the most dire situations including sleeping in an underground room for 16 months knowing at any time she could be discovered and killed.  My father was instrumental in saving the lives of many, including my mother.  He escaped the grasp of the Nazis four times including one remarkable escape from the Hollandse Schouwberg, Amsterdam’s equivalent at the time to Carnegie Hall in New York City.   The people who provided my mother a home for 16 months, Lubertus & Geeske te Kiefte, did so knowing that if they were to be caught, their entire family would be killed.  Despite the grave dangers, they not only gave my mother shelter, they gave her a warm and friendly home.  It hardly gets more heroic than that. And there were so many others, Jew and non-Jew alike that showed such bravery in such difficult times it is almost impossible to comprehend.

So very simply put, I am here today and able to write for you because of heroes from the small nation of Holland.  I’m aware of the problems facing the Jewish community of Holland today and knowing the rich history of Judaism in the country and my own personal connection it is even more heartbreaking for me than what is happening in other parts of Europe.  None of that negates the fact that Holland’s Heroes are the reason I am here today, and for that I will always be grateful and proudly call my blog Holland’s Heroes.

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The Nuclear Scenario

Nuclear_bombIt’s the topic we don’t often bring up, but it’s always somewhere in our minds.  With all that is happening in the world one might think it is just a matter of time till we see the use of some form of a nuclear weapon.  It’s a terrifying thought and quite frankly one that makes no normal person happy, regardless of where it would be used.  We can choose to ignore the subject, a decision I would understand because of how frightening it is to imagine, but what I am going to do in this piece is break down the numerous scenarios in which it could happen.

I’ll start with the 5 countries that are members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China.  I believe the least likely of the  to be presented with an option in which to go nuclear is China.  Of the remaining 4, only Russia finds itself in a conflict close to home, but the fact that it is so close to home is the very reason not to use it.  The concerning thing about Russia has always been that after the break up of the Soviet Union there was a concern that weapons were scattered in various locations. That fear has dissipated somewhat with the control Vladimir Putin seems to have over the area, but that being said, Russia is the country on the list I see as most susceptible to terrorist infiltration.  The remaining three are all facing the potential threats of terrorist attacks by Islamic terrorists and should an attack be serious enough and the source identifiable, one can’t take a nuclear response off the table.  That is something all would be reluctant to do unless the attack on them was nuclear, and even then it would be uncertain.

There are four other countries that are nuclear powers, three declared and not members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and one which is not a declared nuclear power but widely known as being one. There are more scenarios here and they are all quite terrifying. The first two, India and Pakistan, are the ones that might be seen as most likely to use  a nuclear weapon on the other.  Although the tensions between the two have calmed somewhat over the years, these 2 countries still don’t like each other and have very different global interests.  I believe India would only consider doing so if forced into it  and I believe Pakistan under its current leadership would not use it.  But this is where it gets interesting.  The Taliban has a significant presence in Pakistan and with neighboring Afghanistan still unstable and dealing with its strong Taliban force, no one wants to even think about what would happen should Pakistan’s government be replaced with a government aligned with Islamic extremists, or even worse a Taliban government.  That would without doubt be a global game changer.

There are 2 countries left to speak of, one of which is the one undeclared nuclear power, Israel.  Israel, like the nations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, will only go nuclear if absolutely necessary, meaning if it is a matter of survival.  Israel would not need nuclear weapons to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program and is more likely to keep Iran in check with the threat of reprisal should Iran get nuclear weapons and use one of its proxies to attack Israel.

I left North Korea for last.  This was not an accident.  It is unquestionably the most dangerous of all the nuclear powers.  Besides the fact that their dictator Kim Jong has repeatedly threatened the U.S., it’s believed that North Korea helped fund the building of Hamas’s terror tunnels from Gaza to Israel.  No one finds it hard to believe that Kim would have a problem providing Hamas or any other terrorist organization with a nuclear weapon.  Like Hamas, Kim Jong’s Korea doesn’t care about his own people so he would have no problem contributing to a genocide of another people.  I have no doubt Israel is watching him very closely.

The terrorism scenario is always out there of course, be it a conventional bomb or dirty bomb,  especially since there are groups that have declared their willingness and desire to cause devastation in large western cities, most notably New York City.

All this is conjecture, but with all the conflicts going on today anything can happen at any time.  Let’s hope this doesn’t.

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Snowy DumbBlasio

NYC-Democratic-mayoral-candidate-Bill-de-Blasio-FacebookAs a Liberal Democrat I would certainly not be first in line to attack a New York City mayor who portrays himself as a progressive concerned about all of  his city’s citizens, but after what I saw today I feel compelled to express my  very negative opinion of his performance.

The decision made by Mayor Bill de Blasio to keep the schools open was just plain dumb.  The argument made in the press conference, a press conference tightly controlled by the mayor, was that public schools remained open because of a protocol that was followed, discussions between officials, and a strong reluctance to close the schools that was backed up by the small number of instances in which they were actually closed over the years.

Be that as it may, it was apparent to almost everyone watching this morning that the conditions were so hazardous that this decision was reckless and irresponsible.  Maybe the mayor and his officials will get lucky and no ones gets seriously hurt or ill as a result, but that doesn’t make the decision a good one.  If on one side you tell people to stay home unless they need to go out, then how do you mandate that children need to go out to attend school?  It makes no sense and was a display of poor judgment that should concern the citizens of New York immensely.  It also destroys the credibility you need when you ask a populous to stay home, something I believe the newly elected mayor knew by the way he was jumping in first to answer questions in the press conference that were not directed his way.  It looked a lot like someone who told his staff,  ‘if the questions get challenging let me take the lead’.

As a Liberal Democrat I had some degree of enthusiasm at the prospect of a liberally progressive mayor taking over in New York City.  Today’s stupidity doesn’t have to mean we won’t witness exciting and positive developments for the city, but if future important decisions are made with the same recklessness, the problems it will cause will outweigh any progress.


The True United Nations Charter

infidelscartoonIn light of recent events,  I went back to my personal archives to find something I once put together regarding what I believe is the most corrupt organization in world history, the United Nations.  This is the original UN Charter with my personal additions in bold and in parentheses.   I wrote this in 2006  making it even more remarkable and sad that it still applies today.

 

 

The True UN Charter

We the Peoples of the United Nations Determined to save succeeding generations(if we like them) from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind(and Jews), and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights(if it’s big enough news), in the dignity and worth of the human person(if someone is watching), in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small(particularly wealthy influential rogue states), and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained(even if these treaties are illogical and hypocritical), and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom(at least for a month or two, as long as it takes for people to stop caring),

And for these Ends to practice tolerance(except towards Israel) and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors(especially nasty ones), and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security(and New York City penthouse apartments), and
to ensure by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery(Katyusha rockets) for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all (Palestinian)peoples,
Have Resolved to Combine our Efforts to Accomplish these Aims.
Accordingly, our respective Governments(the ones willing to suck up to us), through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations(ultimately to have the same fate as the League of Nations).