Tag Archives: Syrian

How Hanukkah can Inspire us just when we need it the most

Oil Hanukkah Lamp

The Jewish holiday  of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a holiday that revolves almost entirely around miracles.  The miracle most people know about is the miracle of the Menorah, and how one day’s worth of oil lasted for 8 days.  But the bigger miracle of Hanukkah, and the one that is particularly inspiring in the world we live in today, is the battle fought by the Jewish people lead by the Maccabeess over Syrian and Greek rule, and the victory won when facing the most difficult of odds.

It is the story that actually relates today to not only the biggest fear of the Jewish people but for anyone whose freedom is being threatened. The leadership the Jews were fighting wanted far more than control, they wanted to eliminate any other religion or ideology other then their own.  The similarities to today’s radical Islamic groups is eerily similar.  Even the  fact that the leadership was Syrian, as ISIS bases itself in the Syrian town of Raqqa, draws similarities.  What’s important to take from this story however is not how similar the persecution was to the goals of ISIS, Hamas and the like, but the fact that evil was ultimately defeated.

If there is one holiday to take inspiration from in a time when terror is increasing and an evil group tightens its grips over large areas of land, it is the holiday of Hanukkah. I spend a lot of time trying to make people aware of the dangerous realities of the day, but today on the first day of Hanukkah I am happy to take this opportunity to make people aware of why they should be hopeful.  This is not a hope based in falsehoods.  It is a hope based on the great strength and courage of Judah the Maccabee  and his heroic followers.  A hope based on a Jewish army that understood what was at stake, knew what needed to be done, and had the willingness and capability to do it. As a result evil the oppressors were defeated and freedom restored.

On this Hanukkah I urge all of the decent people out there, the people who want a peaceful and free world, to take the following message into their minds, hearts and souls. That message is that as bad as things sometimes look, as hopeless as the future sometimes looks, good can and will prevail, as long as we believe in what is right and are willing to do what needs to be done.  In a time when things sometimes look as bleak as we can ever remember them being, learn from the miracle of Hanukkah and remember that anything is possible when fighting for a just cause and maybe most importantly, when we as a collective group want that victory badly enough.                                                               Happy Hanukkah (Chanukah)!

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Nazi-style propaganda

Iran-Missiles11For those who want to even remotely consider accepting the word of a country like Iran, the following report should tell you exactly what kind of people are in control of this fascist government. In a report reminiscent of some of the most vile lies ever told about the Jewish people, Iranian state-run PressTV has come out with a report claiming that the Islamic State is selling Iraqi and Syrian children to Israel.  Their claim is that the trafficking is being done in order to take these children and populate the settlements in the West Bank.  READ REPORT HERE

This type of propaganda is the next step up from the Holocaust denial Iran has been so famous for over the years.  What makes it even more bizarre is that even as ISIL runs rampant through their neighboring countries, Iran somehow has found a way to bring Israel into the equation.  And yet, as usual, the world remains silent.  Some may have been mislead into believing that Iran has become a more reasonable and reliable player in global politics, but this report is just another example of how this Iranian government is run by liars potentially capable of the same evil as Nazi Germany.  Are these the people you would trust with nuclear weapons?  I think not.  The world better wake up before it is too late.

 

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Open letter to George Clooney regarding his fiance’s comments

george-clooneyDear Mr. Clooney,

I am writing this letter to you because I feel it is extremely important that you become fully aware of the impact your fiance’s carefully chosen words have had on the Jewish community.  I also wish to ask you some questions so that people know where you stand regarding Israel and the Jewish people.

The words I am referring to, the words of your fiance, were part of a statement she made when turning down a place on the panel created to investigate Israel’s tactics in the most recent war against Hamas, which as you know is a terrorist organization.  She said the following: “I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, particularly the civilian casualties and strongly believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed.”  I was greatly disappointed with her use of the term “occupied Gaza Strip”, which besides being totally inaccurate, also reveals a strong anti-Israel bias.  Israel does not occupy Gaza, in fact it does not even want a presence there.  It is only defending itself against a terrorist organization committed to its destruction.  A terrorist organization that runs Gaza with such a strong hand it should actually be called the occupier.  Her words also imply that Israel is guilty of crimes even though they are preceded with a call for an independent investigation.  It sounds very much like she has already decided the outcome of that investigation.

One of the main reasons I am writing to you Mr. Clooney, is because there is a sentiment within the Jewish community that your movies should be boycotted based on Ms. Alamuddin’s stance and your close personal ties to her.  In a discussion I had on social media someone specifically requested that I write this letter to you and do so with an open mind.  Although I believe Israel and the Jewish people do not have much margin for error when it comes to tolerating any unmerited attacks, I will ask you some questions rather than accuse you of something I do not know to be fact.  And as you read this, please understand that as a Jew and as a Zionist, I feel that fair treatment would have been sufficient from Ms. Alamuddin when assessing the situation in Gaza.  Unfortunately that was not what we received.

The first question is a very direct one.  Do you support your fiance’s anti-Israel stance?  Normally I would not have a problem with someone in the entertainment industry being quiet about Israel and the recent war in Gaza. Quite frankly, with some of the incredulous political comments that come out of Hollywood, I sometimes prefer the entertainer that remains silent and non-political. Unfortunately your fiance has put you in the position where your response is not only relevant but required.  And although you may look at this and say, “who does this guy think he is? I don’t owe him any answers”, the truth is you do owe the Jewish community answers.  We have been supportive of your career and to some extent instrumental in your success. You do not owe me anything personally, but you do owe it to the Jewish people to show where you stand.

What I find ironic is that like so many other celebrities and politicians, your fiance has remained quiet about the atrocities taking place at the hands of ISIL.  Although often referred to as ISIS or IS, I am purposely using the name ISIL, the name they use when referring to their wider regional ambitions, ambitions that very much include her native country of Lebanon.  I understand that Ms. Alamuddin is Druze which makes her words now and lack of words earlier even harder for me to comprehend.  Back in December, ISIL imposed Sharia Law on the Druze in the Syrian district of Idlib, forcing 30,000 of her fellow Druze into a life they did not choose, but one they needed to accept or face death.  It baffles me that your fiance remained quiet regarding this direct persecution of people of her very own faith.  And as a Druze, I would think she would not be so eager to indict Israel when Israel has not only allowed the Druze to live freely within its borders, it has helped them develop into an important group in Israeli society through service in the IDF and as politicians.  What may be the most difficult thing for me to understand however, is how a woman whose family fled Lebanon during a Civil War very much started by groups similar in ideology to Hamas, would jump on the bandwagon against the one country willing to fight them.  Let me add that I realize she is Lebanese, but she has also spent much of her life in Britain, and knowing the benefits of western civilization, why would she do the bidding of an organization fighting against everything western civilization stands for?  It makes no sense to me and frankly, as an intelligent man it should make no sense to you as well.

It’s possible that in making her statement but refusing a spot on the panel your fiance felt she was diplomatically playing both sides of the fence.  If that was her intention, her comments referring to Gaza as occupied and her statement of certainty that crimes were committed before an investigation even commences, makes it so that many in the Jewish community feels she lacks any degree of objectivity.  It’s also possible that your involvement was to ask her to not be on the panel and that you thought by her turning down the position it would be enough to satisfy the pro-Israel lobby.  I am here to tell you that if that is the case, it is not enough.  I don’t expect everyone to express unconditional support for Israel, but when assessing this recent conflict, an unfair bias against Israel expresses a far more negative sentiment, not only towards Israel, but towards the Jewish people as a whole.

If you are not prepared to make a stand and show an objective fairness or if you remain silent and attempt to not get involved, you would deserve to lose Jewish support.  Your inaction and silence would imply agreement on your part and as a Jew it would tell me that you have very little affection and respect for who we are.  Under those circumstances, why should any of us spend our time or money on any of your projects?  Personally I hope you do not remain silent because I have enjoyed your work, but the future and well-being of the State of Israel is far more important to me than your entertainment value.

So I ask you Mr. Clooney, are you going to do the right thing or the easy thing? I hope you understand the seriousness of this situation and seriously consider what you say or do moving forward.  I suspect it may have an impact on your career.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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Syria: A lose lose situation

bigstock-syria-3770337As a supporter for Israel I have no difficulty in saying that I despise the current Syrian regime.  Starting with the current Assad’s father, this dictatorial fascist government has been a catalyst in attacks on Israel and a financier of worldwide terrorism specifically against Israel and world Jewry for decades.  With that said one would think I would be in favor of a U.S. lead attack on Syria in response to the evidence of chemical weapons being used by the government against the rebels in the ongoing civil war.  This is not the case at all.  Not only am I not in favor of United States involvement in Syria, I’m more opposed to it than I have been to any military action in a very long time.  The reason being is that it is clear to me that nothing good will result from any type of US lead attack.

The first question that comes to my mind, one that I asked a week ago, is why now?  Why is it so much worse that people get slaughtered with chemical weapons than it is that they get blown apart by a bomb?  My mother, who is 91 and a survivor of the Holocaust, gave me what I consider to be the best answer to that question.  Her response was, and I am paraphrasing; ‘others get involved when it scares them and they are in danger.  If Syria has chemical weapons they can use it elsewhere.  They don’t care about the other people.  They only care about themselves.’

If we think the people we are pretending to care about don’t see this as well then we have become blinded by our very arrogance.

I don’t have a problem with our government or any other government looking out for the safety of its citizens, but I do have issue with it being done behind the smokescreen of concern.  It eliminates the full and honest disclosure necessary to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. And make no mistake.  This is a major crisis.  The Syrian government is backed by Russia, a powerful and important player in world politics and one we are already at odds with.  The collapse of governmental structure in Syria could lead to chaos that could indeed start a major conflict involving multiple nations aligning on different sides.  The Syrian crisis has immediate impact on Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Jordan.  This would follow with a multitude of other countries likely getting involved.  Although Russia has not taken a hard stance against US involvement, the relationship it has with Syria is a wild card that makes this an even more dangerous venture.

I am generally in favor of anything that protects the State of Israel.  This would not protect Israel nor would it bring any additional stability to the crumbling region.  Syria is already an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people and has and will continue to harbor and support terrorists committed to its destruction.  The Israeli government is fully aware of this and has and always will take the appropriate action to ensure the safety of its people and neutralize the enemy.  A US attack on Syria does neither.

I am not a bleeding heart who is opposed to any type of war.  However, of all the reasons to go to war, going to war to send a message is one of the most barbaric and unproductive.  If someone can show me how bombing Syria accomplishes anything more than that I am willing to listen.  I just don’t see it that way.