Tag Archives: United States

The life, times, and dreams of a World Cup fan

Let me tell you about the life of a World Cup fan. 30 hours from the time I finish writing this I will either be happy, ecstatic, or miserable. The World Cup has captured the attention of people everywhere. While countries with teams in the tournament have the most at stake when following the results, there are those among us with split loyalties. It so happens that I am one of those people, as my loyalties coming in were not only split, they were split 3 ways.

In a tournament that is played every day, situations with various teams are always changing. If I had written this 7 days ago, all my favorite countries would still be playing. 30 hours from now, all three may have been eliminated. Be that as it may, I am going to share which teams I support, and why, as well as tell you what would be not only my dream final-if it is even possible in the brackets-and why I rank my teams as I do.

I was born in the United States to Dutch parents. My first soccer memory, while faint, is of Holland losing in the final of the World Cup to Germany in 1974 by a score of 2-1. When I was 14 I started 4 years of High School in London. I was once married to an Argentinian, and Argentina was the second team to beat Holland in a World Cup final in 1978, in a game I felt Argentina manipulated unfairly. While some people think my desire to beat the Argentinians is connected to having an ex wife from there, that is not the case. It doesn’t help their cause, but it is more about 1978. If you want to know more about that game I suggest that you go on You Tube.

While I was berated by some, lovingly of course, for wanting the Netherlands to defeat the U.S. last week, Holland is my number one team. It’s not about loyalty or patriotism, it’s about emotional investment. However, I do admit that if the U.S. had won, while I would not have been as happy as I am, I would still have been happy. And last weeks victory for Holland set up what will be a very intense, potentially remarkable next 30 hours. In one hour Holland will play Argentina in the quarterfinal, 24 hours before England will play France. What makes this next day or so potentially even more speoial, is that should Holland and England win, and then go one to win one more game each, they would face each other in the World Cup final, an event that would be my personal ultimate in sports joy.

There is one final twist to all of this wonderful drama. My father, who passed away 15 1/2 years ago at the age of 87, was an enormous fan. Back in the day when it was not easy to call overseas, if you would call my father in the middle of a game he would immediately say, “Call me back. I am watching football”. Naturally, as a man born and raised in Holland, his favorite team was the Dutch national team. Because of the fact that this World Cup is being played in Qatar, for the first time ever the final is not taking place in the summer. If Holland is to win their first ever World Cup, it will happen on December 18th. A day that also happens to have been my father’s birthday.

The stars are all aligned for the perfect ending. Of course 3 1/2 hours from now that dream might be over, but whatever happens, the great thing about sports is that it is wonderful to dream.

Hup Holland! (You understand that if you are Dutch or a fan).

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Never Defend the Indefensible

World Leaders Gather In New York For Annual United Nations General Assembly

I have spent the past year, over the course of the US Presidential election cycle speaking out against the concept of what many might call the concept of defending the indefensible.  I take pride in being anything but a hypocrite.  So much so that I sometimes have views that are not in line with where I appear to stand politically. Therefore I can no longer keep silent regarding the current administration’s recent stance regarding Israel and the United Nations condemnation of the only true democracy in the Middle East.

This piece is not about Donald Trump, so I will only refer to him this one time, merely to make a point.  Those who have read my work over the past year or so are fully aware that I did not support him.  I found it bizarre and a bit scary when his supporters defended words and behavior many of us saw as indefensible. I can not be sure of what kind of person he actually is, but as president, to be blunt, I just don’t like him.  That being said, when I speak of dislike, my feeling towards the United Nations is on a different level.  So as I sit here and realize that my president, a man I voted for, has chosen as one of his last acts as leader of the free world to align himself with this bastion of corruption, I find myself in the position where I can not and will not defend the indefensible on a level far greater than any over the past year.

Ironically the issue, at least in my opinion, is not so much in the details.  There are many people in Israel who are opposed to the settlements.  There are also many people who believe the only real solution to the conflict is a two state solution.  But that’s not the issue. What is more significant here is the condemnation by the United Nations and the lack of loyalty and support the United States has shown to Israel in not only not obstructing this condemnation, but very possibly being a driving force behind it.  The United Nations has made a very lucrative business out of criticizing and condemning the Jewish State.  While nations have murdered and tortured their citizens, while terrorist groups have begun to form in various parts of the Middle East, and nations like Iran have called for the death and destruction of Israel and the United States, the United Nations has encouraged and arguably promoted the idea that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians.  For any United States government to do anything other than oppose this, truly falls in the category of indefensible.

Just as a lie of omission is  still a lie, an abstention by the United States at a United Nations vote of this significance is the same as a show of support for the vote.  I truly believe Israel will get through this, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a clear act of disloyalty towards an important friend, and if it is personal and based on the relationship between President Obama  and Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is far worse than that. It interferes in Israeli politics in a manner not too dissimilar from a foreign government hacking America’s political parties and possibly influencing the election.  It tells the Israeli people, I don’t like the person you elected through your democratic process and subsequently as a result I am turning my back on you as I walk out the door.

This is not about being a Liberal or Conservative.  Alan Dershowitz, a man as liberal as anyone in the public forum has spoken out against this without any filter, and clearly feels the same sense of betrayal so many of us do at this time.  This is about how to treat a friend and knowing and acknowledging the difference between right and wrong.  Israel is a nation of equality.  A nation where people of all religions, races, nationalities and orientations have the opportunity to live in peace.  If an outgoing president and an international body decide to end the year attacking Israel instead of going after the real manifestations of evil in the world, this becomes nothing other than a vendetta, be it political, racial, or as many believe in this case, personal.  Regardless of the motivation it is an act that is truly indefensible.







Petition Regarding State Department Involvement in Israel’s Political System

Flag of Israel








This petition is a non-partisan demand to answers regarding the State Department’s involvement into internal matters of Israeli politics.  It has come to light that money has been used to fund an organization called the One Voice Movement created to oppose Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


This is a serious matter that should be of concern for anyone who is Pro Israel regardless of whether they support Netanyahu or not. This information has been exposed less than 2 weeks since the Israeli Prime Minister’s message to Congress which the administration opposed because of a policy of not hosting a foreign head of state during that nation’s election process.


The questions we want answered are as follows:

How does the State Department justify this funding in conjunction with a policy of non-involvement?

By what right does an American administration use government funding to influence the citizens of another country against its current leader?

What is the desired outcome of this attempted influence?

While the current administration appears to be bending over backwards to deal with a regime in Iran that sponsors terrorism worldwide, to learn that there was financial backing provided to support ousting Israeli’s current government is not only inconsistent with the administration’s actions, but to many of us unacceptable.

Whether we come from the United States or not, whether we are Democrat or Republican and whether we support Benjamin Netanyahu or not, for the security of Israel’s future it is more than reasonable that we expect honest and transparent answers to these questions.

Please sign this petition if you support this cause.


Global Coalition for Israel






Open Letter to Jimmy Carter…Actually Mr. Carter, for the record…







Dear Mr. Carter,

I’ll get right to the point.  As you spew your disgusting commentary and once again show your anti-Semitic ways by saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the origins of Islamist violence, let me remind you of what is actually one of the main origins of modern-day Islamist violence.  The failed presidency of one James Earl Carter, Jr.

Back when Iran was in the midst of radical change, you did nothing. When Iran kidnapped more than 60 Americans in Tehran in 1979, you were powerless to get these hostages released.  Your failures empowered the beginning of Iran’s worldwide Islamic revolution, a revolution based in violence and terror.  To be quite frank Mr. Carter, Muslims should hate you for this as well.  You set the stage for what has been nothing short of an ongoing catastrophic disaster. While Americans languished as hostages for 14 months, all you offered were reasons and excuses for why you did nothing.  You failed the hostages, you failed your country, and you failed the world. Instead of owning up to your failings back then, you have chosen to once again fail everything that is sacred.  Most of all the truth.  I guess you feel that you would rather align yourself with terrorists today than admit to the world that you emboldened them.

It is rare that I am this disturbed when I write one of my Open Letters, and once again it is my respect for the United States, its government, and the office of the President that tempers my verbal attack on you, but make no mistake.  It is not based on any respect I have for you, for I have none.  Rumor has it that you are an intelligent man, so I can only assume your words come from cowardice and bigotry.  Either way they are words many consider to be disgraceful coming from a former American president.  You were an embarrassment to the office then, and you continue to be one today.


David Groen






A Holocaust Survivor’s view on the relationship between US and Cuba










I have the wonderful blessing of hearing my mother’s views on world affairs, and whether I agree with all her sentiments or not, the one thing that is certain, is that I always learn something.  My mother has asked me to put into writing her opinion on the recent events regarding the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

The phrase she uttered 3 times in the discussion was, “Hate for the sake of Hate”.  She drew the comparison to the nation of Germany. Germany, the country responsible for the murder of 6 millions Jews and the evil protagonist in both WWI and WWII, is now a respected and civil democracy.  It is a nation where people can live freely and peacefully.  The Jewish people are able to live there happily and with a few exceptions no longer are exposed to anything resembling the hate once found there.  Whatever hate they do have to deal with is not sanctioned by the government.  On the contrary, it is condemned by the government.

It is my mother’s belief that if we can turn the page on Germany’s history, we can certainly do the same thing for Cuba.    Her feeling is by no means that Cuba is a perfect country without issues needing resolution, but the reaction people have had to the normalization of relations is nothing more that “hate for the sake of hate”.

There is much evil in the world today.  My mother recognizes that and often fears that we are headed for another global catastrophe. However, she also maintains that the world’s problems are not coming from Cuba, and that in reestablishing relations with the island only 90 miles from the United States, we have a lot more to gain than we have to lose.

Agree or disagree, it is hard to argue with the almost 93 years of experience of a clearheaded,  intelligent and lucid woman.






ISIS: Their problem ISIL: Our problem

isis-flagLet me start by saying that the title of this piece does not reflect my personal opinion. I believe no matter what you call them, ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State, that they are everyone’s problem.  I do however feel the title may be reflective of how President Barack Obama feels, or at the very least used to feel about the terrorist group he now only refers to as ISIL.

Much has been made as to what is behind the president’s apparent insistence on only referring to this terrorist organization as “ISIL”.  Some of the most suspicious among you believe it is a way of attacking Israel’s sovereignty, by recognizing their pursuit of the entire Levant, the area of land represented by the “L” in the name of ISIL.  I personally disagree with this assertion. I believe there is something more political behind the President’s language.  “ISIS” stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria while “ISIL” stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  Subsequently the Levant covers significantly more territory.  It also represents the rapid growth of this ambitious and very vicious terrorist organization.

As the Islamic State continues to grow it becomes an even more viable threat to the United States and its allies.  Obama, a president who seems to be ultra-isolationist, has basically made it clear that he believes Iraqis, Kurds and Syrians need to fight the main battle against the terrorist group in Northern Iraq and Syria.  He has spoken of its containment at least as often as he has spoken of its destruction.  It may be that in the eyes of this administration successful containment means the difference between calling it ISIS or ISIL.

Being a president with a tendency of putting appearance over substance, once the terrorists became strong enough to call themselves ISIL, Mr. Obama had the justification within his isolationist logic to get involved in the fight.  He has openly said that part of his strategy is leaving it to the locals to deal with once ISIL gets contained and shrinks back down to a more localized problem.  Perhaps then it will once again be referred to as ISIS.   If this group threatens the entire “Levant” or beyond, we can get involved, but once it only threatens Iraq and Syria it’s their battle to fight.

If this is indeed the President’s logic, it is a dangerously flawed one.  An organization such as this one, with its ambition and financial means, will never be satisfied remaining in the area of  Iraq and Syria. Ultimately it will go after Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf states, and of course most viciously Israel.  All of this is only a means of furthering its global ambitions. Furthermore, as all experts have been saying, it already poses a serious and dangerous terrorist threat to westerners at home and abroad.

Rather than worrying about whether or not it is called ISIS or ISIL, I hope this president mainly sees it as a dangerous and growing problem that needs to be eliminated at all costs. Anything else should be seen as unacceptable.





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Russia’s role in the war with ISIS

putin_2836730bAlthough I will support any efforts the administration makes in going after ISIS, I can’t help but wonder to what extent Russia is being considered in President Barack Obama’s decision.

There is no doubt Russia plays a role.  Regardless of whether the United States would be involved in the region or not, Syria is a Russian ally.  One can not help but wonder if the contentious relationship between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama is part of the equation.  In having a good excuse for getting involved in Syria, the President has an opportunity to make an impact on what might be considered Putin’s turf.  If that is a factor, is it strategic or personal? Whether it is a factor or not, it has created an added tension people seem to want to stay away from discussing for somewhat obvious reasons.  It makes the situation even more concerning and potentially explosive.  Should the U.S. hit the wrong target, one that angers the Russians, be it accidentally or as a result of collateral damage, what will Russia’s reaction be?  And let’s not forget that Israel, a U.S. ally, is always right there, has a serious stake in what is going on,  and never will have a good relationship with an Assad regime in Syria.

Even before attacks on ISIS in Syria start, the picture is murky and complicated.  Once Syria becomes a target it could get considerably more so. We’ll have to wait and see and hope personal feelings don’t come into play.




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Terrifying Intentions

Nuclear_bombHopefully the title is enough to alert you to the content of this post, but if not consider this a warning.  This report is very disturbing.  A senior member of the Islamic State in Australia instructed another member of the terror group to snatch random people off the street and behead them on camera. The terror sweep Australian police conducted yesterday uncovered the plot and at least averted this specific act of barbarism planned for the cities of Sydney and Brisbane.

It stands to reason that the United States and Britain are in similar danger.  I think it is safe to assume they have numerous plots in place.  It goes without saying that we hope and pray that none are successful but only time will tell if we wind up that fortunate.  In the meantime we all need to be diligent wherever we may be, be it a train a busy street, or even a sporting event.  I do want to make one important point though.  The time for these “clean wars” is over.  Yes it is a tragedy when innocent civilians die, but when evil takes up camp in a civilian population center we need to learn the lesson of the allies and Dresden and if appropriate even the lesson of Harry Truman and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I don’t propose we wait for thousands of Americans, Brits or Australians to get killed.  I don’t believe we need to spend the years to come in fear for our lives. It is my belief that if any significant act of terror takes places we bomb them like the allies bombed the Nazis in Dresden, Germany in February of 1945, killing an estimated 25,000 Germans.  If that doesn’t work we do what the United States did to Japan dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing as many as 160,000 people.  Devastation.  Tragedy. But the war ended and not only were the allies able to rebuild their lives, the Germans and Japanese were as well.

Some might say it is easy to sit in front of a computer and push the idea of killing tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people, but I believe it may wind up saving millions of lives.  No more “targeted strikes” and careful attacks.  If they truly do take the war to us, we need to decimate them.  If we don’t do it now we’ll need to do it later and a lot more people will die as a result.  Or even worse, they’ll wind up decimating us.

Believe it or not I don’t believe in war, however, I believe you do what you need to do to survive.  If we are to survive we need to pummel this enemy into submission before they are too strong to destroy.




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I only Hate Muslims when they Hate me

Pro Palestinian protester burns an Israeli flag during banned demonstration in support of Gaza in central ParisWhy is it not being called what it is?  Why the pretense that this is something far less specific than it is?  Why are people not identifying those responsible?  Over the past few months we’ve been hearing a lot about the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. Although it’s been far worse recently, the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment is hardly a new development, particularly in some notable parts of Europe.  Cities like Paris, Antwerp, and Malmo, Sweden have been notorious for increasing incidents of vandalism and violence against Jews for quite some time now.  If you hear the reports, it clearly sounds like the Jewish people are becoming increasingly unwelcome in the European community.  There’s a catch though.  It’s not the overall European community primarily guilty of this expression of hatred. From all accounts most of the hatred is coming from within the Muslim community.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article in which I renounced my status as a Liberal.(CLICK TO READ) This issue is one of the reasons I’ve done so.  I have friends and acquaintances that still do call themselves liberal who are not squeamish when it comes to identifying the root source of the danger to the Jewish people, but there are many within the liberal community who would turn around and call this article the epitome of Islamophobia.  Those are the ones  I know longer align myself with.  Call it what you like, but it’s no phobia.  A phobia is something irrational.  I don’t hate a person because they’re Muslim.  But I do hate a person who hates me, those like me, and anyone else who doesn’t think like them.    That’s not irrational, that’s logical.  Interactions I’ve had in the past with Muslims who wanted an equal relationship have proven that I indeed do not have some automatic dislike because of what religion they were born into. That goes against everything I believe in.  But that also doesn’t prevent me from identifying the sad truth, and that is that an overwhelming percentage of anti-Jewish sentiment in the world today comes from within the Muslim population.

Although the BDS  Movement has non-Muslim followers and participants due to its excellent and cynical marketing, it’s a group formed by a Palestinian. Anti-Jewish demonstrations and violence against Jews in Paris consist primarily of Algerian Muslims.  Anti-Jewish behavior in Holland comes primarily from Moroccan Muslims.  One third of the population of Malmo is Muslim.  Is it a coincidence this small and once cute city in Sweden that I visited with my parents and sister in 1976 is a powder keg of anti-Semitism?

Although there is an element within the so-called liberal elite behind some of the anti-Israel activities on college campuses in the U.S., I have no doubt you would find that at the very least a significant number of those active against Israel in these institutes of higher learning are Muslim.

Here’s the point people conveniently miss.  No one is happy about this.  We want to hear the Muslims within these cities and institutions take a stand against hatred. But where are they?  Where is their voice?  These people would be my friends. They would be my partners in moving towards a better world, and in return it would be easy and enjoyable for me to respect and support them in whatever life they might choose to live, be it Muslim or something else.  But that element within the Muslim community is silent, most likely out of fear, and therefore missing the opportunity to alter the perception that all Muslims feel that way.  You see, if I was guilty of Islamophobia, I might say all Muslims feel this way.  But I don’t.  At the same time I am not willing to deny the basic truth, and that is that if you took the Muslims out of the equation, we most likely wouldn’t even be talking about anti-Semitism today.

It’s time we accepted the truth.  It will catch up with us whether we do or not. The funny thing about reality is that it doesn’t go away just because you ignore it.  If anything, when the reality is that one large group of people is out to get you, if you ignore it, it only gets worse.




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Open Letter to Bill Gates

bill-gatesDear Mr. Gates,

There is an excellent chance that you will never read this. It is my hope however, that at the very least, someone makes you aware of this letter, for in it I am showing appreciation for your actions and overall approach towards the world’s problems.  What makes this so important and frankly somewhat personal, is that it is a lot more common for the famous of the world to gravitate towards the “popular” issues and nowadays that often means attacking Israel, something you clearly do not do.  On the contrary, while others look for and often fabricate reasons to hate Israel, in this clip (CLICK HERE) you speak highly of Israel’s achievements in technology.

While so many are weighing in on Gaza, Israel, and the rise of ISIS, on your Twitter page you see more about Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ebola, and education.  To be quite honest, I am just as guilty of this as anyone.  Most of my letters and articles discuss Israel, Gaza, and the rise of terrorism.  Like so many others out there, I am far too ignorant to what is happening in other parts of the world or the challenges facing us in the United States.  That is why I am so grateful to you at this time.  I have constantly sat here questioning where everyone is when there are true human rights violations and people who are suffering in tragically large numbers.  I am not alone in feeling this way.  As a Jew and a Zionist, I sit here wondering why people remain silent to the suffering of millions of people but open their mouths all of a sudden when Israel bombs Gaza in defense of their homeland.  So today when I looked at your Twitter page and saw what you wrote about your trip to Ethiopia, your concern for the well-being of those in Rwanda, and the attention you gave to the rising danger of the Ebola virus, I couldn’t help but think, this man truly gets it.  This really is a good man.  (CLICK HERE FOR BILL GATES BLOG, GATENOTES)

You do not stop there.  You are clearly focusing tremendously on education, something so critical to the future of America.

It must not be ignored that your “involvement” in issues also means that you provide tremendous amounts of resources providing substantial funds to help these causes.  My point being, you are the furthest thing from all talk. You are doing many special things and providing so much  for many of the most needy people of the world.

Mr. Gates, I am no one particularly important in the world’s big picture.  I have somewhat of an audience, but it pales in comparison to many others and I am certainly a small fish in a very large ocean.  As I said to start this letter, I don’t imagine you will ever see this, but to be honest, seeing all the good you are actually doing, I truly believe you have more important things to do with your time.  I just wanted to say that this small fish appreciates your genuine efforts to make the world a better place and hopes that others who prefer to spend their time obsessed with what Israel does will spend more time worrying about the millions of people out there neglected even if it’s not as big or popular of a news story.

Wishing you continued strength and success in your efforts.


David Groen




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