Tag Archives: Israel

The Hate Is Rael

I cannot be silent. And I will not stand for this continued anti-Semitism, be it in its newest form, Anti-Zionism, or the tried and true, millennia-old chicanery we all know as Jew Hatred. NEVER AGAIN means NEVER AGAIN! IDROS knows full well that this blog post, and most of the push back I have seen on Social Media and beyond, will be read by the very people who need to read it the least. Our collective echo chamber of mostly Jews (and those most sympathetic to MOTs…whom we have learned to trust and have welcomed into our inner sancta of neuroses and inherited trauma) certainly helps…but it’s not going to stamp out the flames of genocidal intentions and hate speech from our vile world.  

May 17 IDROS read the following tweet and exchange on the Twitter.

It almost made your stoic and hardened author cry. You see, almost exactly a year prior, IDROS proudly changed his profile on social media to Black, with a hashtag of #BlackLivesMatter. IDROS stands in solidarity with all oppressed people on our planet. But in this Israeli-Palestinian saga, who are the oppressed people and who are the oppressors? It isn’t as clear as groups like BLM and BDS would have you believe. And though BLM doesn’t use the term White Supremacy in this tweet, it does very clearly on its website, and didn’t distance itself from BDS’ response. Jews are only white when it suits the labeling class. A large number of Israeli Jews look just like their Arab (and Palestinian) neighbors.

What irked your author most was that Jews have been and continue to be one of the most important allies for all marginalized groups seeking equal civil rights…especially for Blacks. And for tweets like this, from a prominent Black activist group with over a million followers, it further clouds the water for Jews, who most of the world views as inseparable from Israel.

And so, as a writer, IDROS wrote a message to the powers that be at BLM using their “contact us” messaging system on their website.

Here is the letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

I was extremely disappointed to see your unilateral support for the Palestinian cause made public on social media during the latest bout of fighting. Not because I believe that the plight of the Palestinian civilians and children is fair and should be ignored. To the contrary, I grieve daily for all INNOCENT lives that are mistreated, face injustice and senseless violence all over the world…this includes the indigenous and migrant populations in Gaza and the West Bank.

BUT…this is a very complex and nuanced situation, and innocent lives are threatened and killed all the time on both sides. The true crimes to the Palestinians are propagated by Hamas and the corrupt leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank, dating back even before Hamas rose to prominence. The world (via the UN and USA) as well as regional powers (Iran) pour money into the coffers of Hamas and the PLA under the auspices it will be used to help the Palestinian people and communities. However, said leadership uses those funds to buy arms, train terrorists and to pay the families of terrorists who die by their own hand murdering Israelis and other “infidels.”

I also was alarmed to read your message, which said you were united against “Settler Colonialism” all over the world. I see that sentiment nowhere on your website. And your actions would say otherwise as well. I see no protests of any other place in the world where “settlers” and/or “colonialism” is or was a policy or the manner in which the nation was founded. Israel, unlike most of the world that was actually founded in colonialist fashion (and that you do NOT protest), was founded LEGALLY, through the United Nations. But Israel is hardly a settler/colonialist nation, and while Israel may do some things in the name of security and protection of its citizens that violate borders drawn up in 1949, those borders were created BEFORE every Arab nation in the Middle East, including the people who now call themselves “Palestinians” attacked Israel in 1967 and numerous other times since, and most notably, have not recognized Israel’s right to exist. Your decision to unilaterally side with the Palestinians over Israel, and not call to the carpet the terrorist entity who rules over the Palestinians, Hamas…now, or ever, is a joke.

Finally, you must know that the Jewish people have been and continue to be among the most active and faithful allies in championing the causes of African Americans. Stalwarts such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement, and Rabbis marched shoulder to shoulder with Dr. King. Jews continue to vote and march for causes near and dear to Black people, and for organizations such as yours (as well as prominent Black people in general) to align yourself with movements that are anti-Semitic and stand for the complete destruction of the one Jewish nation in our world, and the murder of all Jewish people (see the Hamas charter if you refuse to believe this) is very difficult to grasp.

In fact, your post and continued unilateral support for the Palestinians without denouncing Hamas and other terrorist entities who enable Hamas and corruption among the Palestinians in general puts Jews at risk right here in America and around the globe.

I would like to have a dialogue with you and the people who made the decision to post your unilateral support for the Palestinians, to understand your motivations better and to potentially find a way to mend fences. Marginalized minorities like Jews and Blacks should be working together, not alienating one another. I would like to help us get there.

Thanks, and hopes for peace,

IDROS

IDROS, unsurprisingly, is still waiting for a response…on the edge of his seat…It’s been over a week. He’s not holding his breath.

One thing that became crystal clear during the Trump Experiment in America is that you can’t reason with or successfully debate ignorant or racist people.

Another element of post-fact society in the age of the internet, is that anyone with Wi-Fi can find a hundred blog posts, doctored videos or twisted narratives masquerading as factual to justify their opinions or general BS.

And here we are…we jettisoned the mascot of White Supremacists everywhere, but the ignorance and racism persist. Imagine that.

For me, the worst part of this latest flare up in the global case of hemorrhoids that is the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, is that most of the racism and ignorance for this particular situation rests with the same people, by and large, that were my allies for the past four years.

THE SAME BASE that called out Trump and his supporters for their hatred and lies and incitement and internet conspiracies…now directs that same vitriol and finger pointing and cancel culture mentality at Israel and the Jews.

Anti-Semitism…aka Jew-Hatred, knows no party lines or boundaries. It is ubiquitous and insidious, and can be found in every corner of our world, among every race, religion and ethnicity, every class and caste, and among the least and most educated of people.

I knew. I would be lying if I said this surprises me in the least. I made a conscious sacrifice…one I would make again in a heartbeat, by the way. I willingly chose to help take down a demagogue and wannabe tyrant IN MY OWN COUNTRY, which I love and support despite its imperfections, all the while knowing that the party and candidates I propped up in HIS place would be detrimental to Israel. And I should say this…I don’t begrudge my fellow Jews who voted Red. We all see why they did…ISRAEL is a beacon of strength and hope for all Jews, whether we live there or not. We all know that had Israel existed before World War II, the Holocaust would never have happened. And so, Israel and its continued safety and security, is and should be a top priority for all Jews. But the painful reality for us Jews is that there is no good choice…ever…in any election. Because Anti-Semitism has corrupted all of humanity. The silence of those supposedly most intolerant of racism during the past couple of weeks has been deafening.

Hamas is a Terrorist Organization. They brilliantly tested America’s new Administration in much the same way children push the boundaries with a new babysitter. Sensing weakness, and also unhappy with the moderate tact Abbas has taken, Hamas pounced, making a play for political control in the West Bank where they have no influence, and also bolstering their control in Gaza. The evictions in Sheikh Jarrah provided the perfect Red Herring, a drama few outside the legal world would fully understand, but that would easily garner the sympathies and anger of pretty much everyone in the world…especially when spoon-fed to the media Hamas controls in the region in order to ensure the spin always goes their way. (Hamas uses a combination of threats and also access to all the gory violence the world craves when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis to keep the media – like the AP and al Jazeera – in their pocket.)

Israel isn’t perfect, but it is one of the most incredible places on the planet. It is an anomaly and an anachronism; a pariah state surrounded by enemies, forced to sleep with one eye open, every night of its existence. But it astounds in its innovation, its intertwining of the spiritual and secular, its inclusion of all races and religions, its beauty (natural and manufactured), its ability to cultivate the most arid and formidable tracts of land on earth, and its wonderful and strong citizens, who constantly prove a willingness to help any and every person and nation in the world with any problem at the drop of a hat.

Whenever there is a global disaster or crisis, Israel is ALWAYS among the first to arrive on the scene with aid. Israel is a shining beacon of democracy and liberal values in a large wasteland of misogynistic, backwards and paralyzingly rigid rule by radical religious zealots, tyrants, despots, terrorist enclaves and autocrats.

It hurts me personally to read the comments; to see and hear and read about the slew of celebrities who castigate Israel and support the Palestinians; and to read/watch the biased accounts across trusted media platforms worldwide.

Mark Ruffalo, one of the staunchest anti-Israel/Pro-Palestinian celebrity voices that didn’t once play in a band called Pink Floyd, recently posted this interesting, timely apology:

I thank him for the sentiment, mostly because he has 7.5 million followers and he finally realizes that his words are causing innocent Jews to get hurt and killed and are playing a role in a global flare up in Anti-Semitic hate speech and actions.

But to me, the words he chose are passive aggressive at best, and fall way short of the mark. And You Can Count On Me, IDROS, to give an honest account (see what I did there?)

He limits his apology to his recent Israel/Hamas posts, but has been posting similar, one-sided opinion tweets for years. He also wrote “Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.” Now? So, all the other times you have tweeted or reposted tweets that featured hyperbole were ok? You see Jews being killed and assaulted globally as a result of things millions of people like you post, say, and accept as fact and realize you are an accessory to murder…so you post an apology…for this one time? A narrow, flimsy, carefully worded, half-hearted apology.

The truth is, I am being hard on Ruffalo mostly because he has taken Israel out to the woodshed, unabashedly, for more two decades. He is one of Israel’s most rabid critics and is unrelenting. I am actually happy to see any sort of apology and sincerely appreciate his act, narrow as it was. I have some respect for Mark, not just as an actor, but for his good intentions beyond just this one issue. He genuinely cares about people and our planet and gets behind causes all over the globe to make our world a better place. While it pains me that he unilaterally blames Israel for the plight of the Palestinian people (and not Hamas, nor the Arab nations in the region who helped create the current situation and enable its prolonged cycle of violence), he doesn’t fall into the category of Israel critics that I find most repugnant: Single issue critics, who focus all of their “holier than thou” attention and disdain on Israel and its “treatment” of the Palestinians, yet fail to speak out or seem to care about any other injustice on the planet.   

Israel is not without sin or blame in this endless cycle of violence. But the tiny nation has been placed in a precarious situation since its founding and has been forced into conflict by ALL of its neighbors countless times. It is a nation, and as such, has every right to defend itself and to protect its citizens. And for the most part, that is what it does. And Israel’s Armed Forces and Government take great care to limit if not entirely eliminate collateral damage. But its enemy is wily and uses innocent citizens as pawns in an elaborate long con to gain control of the region, destroy Israel and kill all of the Jews.

It is frustrating and devastating to know, for a fact, that a majority of the world is prejudiced against your people…your family and friends, your traditions, your history and everything in life you hold dear. It is difficult to put in words what it feels like to have lost large branches of your family tree less than a century ago to the same vile hatred and ignorance and ambivalence, and many other branches decades before that, and over and over again like clockwork throughout history.

People see dead children on the news or on Facebook and they need someone to blame. And we Jews have always been great scapegoats for people…throughout history. We have been blamed for wars, plagues, the murder of religious figures, eating the blood of children, stock market crashes, faking moon landings, controlling Wall Street, controlling the media, controlling Hollywood, controlling governments, being Communists, being greedy money loving Capitalists, not being white, being white…and on and on and on. Whatever fits the narrative du jour. And in total numbers, we represent a mere rounding error in comparison to the Global population…even before being butchered on the grandest and most grotesque scale last century.

So, the world should embrace the plight of the Jews…allow us to defend ourselves in the one predominantly Jewish state in the entire world. That doesn’t mean Israel should be allowed to bend or break the rules, and murder indiscriminately. But Israel has every right to defend itself and its citizens when attacked. But just like racism permeates every facet of society in America, global anti-Semitism informs policy, media, elections, alliances, perspective, sentiment and reaction(s) throughout the world…and in particular, within the very entities created to uphold and preserve the world order such as the UN.  

But the world will not suddenly come around and see the light. The hatred has always been there, simmering just below the surface for stretches, and then erupting, cyclically, like a volcano of genocidal vitriol, malice and misanthropy. And as Jews we cannot depend on a sudden change of heart to save us. Furthermore, the Arab world led by Iran and its evil tentacles of radical Jihad, like Hamas, are running a masterful long con, playing the media like fiddles, showing a cavalcade of dead children, whether killed by Israeli armed forces or not, using propaganda and conspiracy theories, and generally pulling at the heartstrings of anyone and everyone across the world who fancies themselves to be “woke.”

Jews, as always, are trapped between the proverbial Scylla and Charybdis…and today those threats manifest as Anti-Zionist venom from the progressive Left and straight Jew-hatred venom from the Nazi and White Supremacists on the Right.

IDROS is scared. Scared for his family and friends. Scared for the future of Israel and the Jewish people. And terrified that his children, who are mostly unaware of the full horror show that is the collective history and present of the Jewish people, will have to learn about it, and then live those truths, whether they want to or not.

On a related note, this article by Pamela Paresky is the most frightening and sobering thing I have read in a while…IDROS urges all his readers to give it a looksie. It should be required reading for all high school students across the globe.

Sorry to be such a buzz kill,

IDROS

#NeverAgain #DontBeSilent #SpeakOutAgainstAntisemitism #IStandWithIsraelForever #AmYisraelChai

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Filed under Current Events, Politics

THREE FOR THOUGHT

1) Yet another horrific week in the Israeli-People who live on the outskirts of Israel saga. Deafening silence from the likes of Celebrity Asswipe Central (including Russell “I’m not an Anti-Semite…I just choose to bash Israel for defending itself over all the other causes in the world” Brand, Roger “I wrote The Wall so I am entitled to use my celebrity to comment on any situation in the world where an actual nation builds a wall as self-defense against a fictitious people” Waters, the Spanish Brainless triumvirate, Selena “If my taste in men is any indication, I am clueless” Gomez, Emma “you are so lucky you can act, honey” Thompson, Rihanna (she of the Twitter deletion contingent that apparently doesn’t realize the permanence of the internet), Danny “you apparently actually are too old for this shit” Glover, and even Jon “et tu Brute” Stewart). I guess they all hold civilized people to a different standard. Incredibly, I have more respect for Mel Gibson than these naïve cowards. They hide their anti-Semitism behind the idea that they are rallying around a “just cause” while Mel just hates Jews just like daddy did…loud and proud.

But enough on celebrities that aren’t worth my time or money (ironically, both songs penned by Roger Goebbels Waters). And don’t get me started on the media…I have no idea when CNN, the BBC, the AP and CBS became affiliates of al Jazeera, but the reporting on everything involving Israel and its neighbors has devolved into something out of George Orwell’s worst dystopian nightmare (click here and here for some examples).

3 for thought pic (Way to equate the innocent victims with the brutal terrorists CNN – I wish I was making this up)

I remember thinking to myself a few years ago, when Israel heroically decided to free a thousand terrorists in exchange for one of its own (Gilad Shalit), that unfortunately, many innocent people are going to die because of this decision. Of course every precious life in Israel is valuable, and I applauded the exchange at the time despite the uneasiness it made me feel. And it is, in my opinion, no coincidence that the aftermath of that bold, life-affirming move by Israel has led to a giant step backward in the stability of the region. It reminds me of the scene just after “dickless” turns off the power grid in Ghostbusters, releasing hundreds of ghosts the eponymous quartet had spent the better part of the movie capturing, back into New York City society…they wreaked such havoc.

Most of the world is blaming the person for having the unmitigated temerity to swat at the mosquito, who has left welt after welt upon his or her body…and god forbid the swat connects, and the pesky parasite is hurt or even killed…

And every time these troglodytes cheer the death of innocent Israelis like their home-town just won the Super Bowl or World Cup – and I know this happens far more frequently and in greater numbers than the already far-too-abundant video we see in the West – I try to imagine Israelis, or Jews anywhere in the world, really, celebrating in the streets over the death of even Hitler himself…and alas, I can’t even picture it. That level of infantile hatred, of abject putrescence, is reserved for only the lowest of the low.

And yet we hear nothing from the throngs who condemned Israel just months ago…

2) Florida State: While there is much to say about the football team led by a shady character with a growing litany of crimes ranging from grand theft crustacean to rape and sexual assault (and if the rape allegations are true, he should burn in hell)…alas, I am referring to the shooting on campus. Perhaps the nation is so immersed in the deep freeze, digging out of yet another polar vortex, that the shock of yet another mass shooting seems muted in relation to past events…or perhaps it is because none of the innocent victims were killed…or maybe we are becoming numb as a society to all of this nonsense. Whatever the case, the mass-shooting epidemic in our nation is not going away. Feel free to revisit my two-part novella on senseless gun violence I wrote in the aftermath of Sandy Hook…in the words of the great Led Zeppelin, the song remains the same.

3) AP – Not the AP that blames Israel for every wrong in the world these days…but Adrian Peterson. Yesterday, the NFLPA appealed Roger Goodell’s ruling to suspend AP for the remainder of the season without pay. Just once, I would like to see that stupid union do the right thing and say “you know what, we agree with the NFL here. AP was wrong and if any of you other players think it’s ok to get medieval on your own or anyone else’s children, you will not have our support. We are donating the full amount of what AP was set to earn for the remainder of the 2014 season to charitable organizations that champion the causes of abused children and encourage the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL to match our donation dollar for dollar.” Wouldn’t that be great? Why doesn’t that kind of thing happen in our world – especially when it’s teed up like that?

And Rusty Hardin, AP’s defense attorney….are you friggin’ kidding me? This dirt bag had the audacity to ask “who in the hell does he [Roger Goodell] think he is?” Who do you think YOU are Rusty? You defend assholes, criminals and the occasionally wrongly accused for a living…Goodell runs the league in which your client plays. Look, I will be the first to admit Goodell handled the Ray Rice situation about as poorly as someone could, and has not been the best commissioner the NFL has ever seen on many levels, but he is the commissioner. And the real irony in the whole thing is that AP believes, as the father of the child, he should be allowed to mete out discipline any damn way he pleases (he shouldn’t)…and yet is somehow taken aback when the head of his league does the exact same thing, except, you know, without the unconscionable physical abuse.

Anyway…I wish you all a wonderful, happy and healthy turkey day.

Gobble Gobble,

IDROS

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Revisiting Israel: 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago today, I embarked on a trip that would change my life…my first journey to Israel.

People who are passionate about Israel can talk until they are blue in the face. They can write powerful prose extolling the virtues of the magnificent Pariah nation wedged among its most dangerous enemies on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. They can share beautiful, awe-inspiring photos of a lush oasis amid the stark deserts and barren lands that surround it.

I do not disregard any of that, and appreciate their efforts. (In fact, I recently wrote my own Israeli passion piece…please click here to read it)

But this I can say with certainty, a guarantee I can make regarding very few things: Visiting Israel is a game changer; setting foot on the sacred ground depicted in the five books of the Old Testament, the Torah, and experiencing the juxtaposition of some of the most jaw-dropping, mind-boggling spiritual, traditional and cultural remnants of our ancestors (all of them: Jewish, Catholic and Muslim, alike), with majestic geographical and topographical marvels as well as an injection of inexplicable, mystifying modernity, technological advances and a population determined to defy all odds, will affect you in ways that are difficult to articulate.

Bottom line: Until you land at Ben Gurion airport and immerse yourself in the “Promised Land,” until you walk the ancient streets of Jerusalem , or listen as the waves lap upon the magnificent beaches of Tel Aviv; until you watch the sunrise from atop Masada, or lend a hand on a Kibbutz; until you dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea or float in a chair in the heavily salted Dead Sea; until you catch fresh St. Peter’s fish from the Kinneret or rappel into a waterfall in the desert oasis of Ein Gedi; until you stroll the beautiful streets of Haifa or sample fresh produce in any of the wonderful markets throughout the country; and until you see the scars and devastation marking the constant rocket fire and terror attacks that have plagued the nation since 1948, you cannot truly appreciate how incredible Israel is in every way.

For those who made the trek with me twenty years ago, please find a list (in no particular order) below of some of the amazing memories of our eight week adventure:

1)      The Shoresh…and those Swiss Chalet-like huts;

2)      Bob Marley’s bus soundtrack;

3)      MSP3 Turquoise t-shirts;

4)      The Underground;

5)      Shady deals in the Arab market;

6)      Tevas;

7)      Dodging rocks in Mea Shearim;

8)      Our guards, packing Uzis;

9)      The Druze village;

10)   Planting Trees;

11)   The Mickey Mouse pool at our Kibbutz;

12)   Our group photos in the glow of sunrise atop Masada;

13)   Riding camels in the Bedouin camp in the Negev;

14)   Kayaking on the Jordan;

15)   Shawarma;

16)   Ben Yehuda Street;

17)   The Samples;

18)   TURKEY CHICKEN;

19)   Booze Cruise in Eilat;

20)   Watching Animal House in Ein Gedi;

21)   Michael’s Midwest (Wisconsin?) accent – get your byack pyacks;

22)   Craig’s letters from Sharmi (sp?);

23)   Our lost journal;

24)   Yardena Strahan;

25)   Archeological dig;

26)   Palestinian lectures;

27)   Mr. T’s;

28)   Israeli Salad, Hummus and Nutella breakfasts;

29)   Ari’s big trade – his boom box for a camping pack?

30)   Final night roast, and John’s comment about flying a plane through the gap in Yardena’s teeth;

31)   Boomer tearing the bathroom door off its hinges on our flight home;

32)   Ain’t No Crickets in Brooklyn…

Hope everyone is well. It’s been a wild 20 years.

If any of you have any others you would like to add to the list, feel free to do so in the comments area below. Also, if any of you have the email addresses or are friends with any of our other MSP3ers on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or MySpace or Friendster or whatever…please forward this link along.

Thanks,

IDROS

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This Israel: For those who bleed blue and white, and more so for those who don’t

As the London Olympics 2012 approach, and the 40th anniversary of yet another monumental and horrifying chapter in Jewish world history is more or less swept under the international community’s proverbial rug, I wanted to write a blog entry focused on Israel.

It is difficult to articulate what Israel means to me. I know I get just as emotional and animated when I read or watch news stories involving Israel as I do for similar coverage regarding my own home nation. Maybe even more so at times.  Leave it to celebrities to drive this point home.

In an era where everyone has a soapbox, I can sometimes appreciate when the Hollywood elite and other famous personalities rally around a pressing issue or criticize our US government (think The Dixie Chicks, Sean Penn, George Clooney, etc.); other times I downright loathe celebrities using their fame as a platform to demonstrate just how vapid and ignorant and truly awful they really are beyond their stage personae (think Hank Williams Jr., Ted Nugent, David Tyree and of course, Mel Gibson). Sure, my own personal politics determine, to some extent, which celebrity opinions are relevant and which are complete rubbish. But the point is, I care enough about my own country, its policies and its leadership (questionable as the latter two may be) to give a rat’s ass what people say about them…especially famous people. (Sadly, I actually do care what celebrities say because of the rise of the Kardashian empire, Jersey Shore and other similar blights on society that catapult brain-dead nobodies into our homes and lives each day and the terrifying fact that so many people watch and listen to every word some of these reality troglodytes have to say…and I fear that these naïve people, who have the same right to vote that I do, will actually heed or adapt some of the scarier political and societal “ideals” espoused by tabloid fodder that couldn’t name one Supreme Court justice, their own State Governor or the last president etched on Mount Rushmore if you spotted them the first three).

Oddly, I am even more sensitive to what celebrities say (and do) regarding Israel, its government and its policies than what they say about the United States. So in the spirit of the coming London Olympics, two recent examples come from celebrities living in none other than Jolly old England. First, the Material Girl opened her most recent MDNA tour in Israel and created quite a stir. (Yes, she is American…never accused her of being anything else. But Madge does live in England, and she has conducted most interviews and speaking engagements since she moved across the pond with an inexplicable British accent). Two noteworthy nuggets made headlines and dominated YouTube following her tour opener:

1)      Before playing her first song, she greeted the crowd with an eloquent, heartfelt, non-partisan speech that basically was a prayer for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. I loved what she had to say (watch it here).

2)      During one of her new songs “Nobody Knows Me,” the video screen on stage showed French politician Marine Le Pen with a swastika emblazoned over her face for a millisecond..subliminal stuff. Known to be a vocal anti-Semite, Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen was convicted of condoning Nazi war crimes earlier this year. Seriously, Jean-Marie, the French equivalent of Mel Gibson’s father, came very close to winning the French Presidential election in 2002…that’s right, a friggin’ Nazi-sympathizer came unacceptably close to attaining the highest office of a nation with a SECURITY COUNCIL VOTE in the UN! WTF? No wonder France rolled out the red carpet for Adolf 70 years ago, and anti-Semitism continues to run rampant between the Alps and the Pyrenees. And now, 10 years after her fascist father won, Marine garnered nearly 20% of the popular vote in the wake of Sarkozy’s scandal-ridden term, setting the stage for the daughter of a Nazi to muster votes for her party’s parliament hopefuls.

*The best part of Madonna’s clever and opinionated “photoshopped” commentary was the reaction it received from France, whose right-wing party (Marine’s party) warned the pop icon that if she tried any of that bullsh$t in France they would sue the crap out of her highness. (Read this for more)

On the other end of the spectrum, Emma Thompson and her recent infantile attempt to grab headlines reeked of putrescence. I have no problem if a celebrity (or anyone, really) has a well-reasoned, educated argument against Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians (there are very few…and I mean both acceptable arguments and people who have voiced them over the years). I don’t agree with everything Israel’s government, army and citizens do when it comes to that difficult and tension-filled situation. However, I have a serious problem with snaggle-tooth Thompson’s take on the matter. You see, Israel’s premier theater company, Habima, was set to participate in a Shakespeare festival at London’s Globe Theater last month. But Ninny McPhee vocally joined and spearheaded a list of debatably impressive theatrical stars in boycotting Habima’s participation. And why? She and her lackeys claim it was because Habima failed to participate in a boycott of a “controversial” cultural center opened in Ariel, a West Bank settlement, in 2010. So, in other words, a boycott of a group that failed to boycott. In actuality, Kenneth Branagh’s cuckqueaned ex-wife and others simply do not like Israel or the Jews. There really can’t be any other explanation. Chinese theater groups were not boycotted, and China’s long tradition of stellar human rights policies was never questioned. And adding insult to injury, a Palestinian theater company, Ashtar, was invited to participate and met no similar resistance.  Ironically, Habima was slated to perform Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” a work notable for its anti-Semitic undertones, at the festival. (Another irate voice)

But I digress….

So what does Israel mean to me?

Here are seven words that immediately come to mind:

Pride: You know when you walk down a street full of run-down properties, where tall grass and weeds dominate the yards, the driveways are cracked, litter is strewn all over and the houses are all dilapidated…save for one. One home that stands proudly in spite of those that surround it; one home whose owners consider it a sacred, meaningful source of personal pride?

Appreciation:  You know when you see true heroes acknowledged, whether in person or in books, movies or the news? Like Captain Sully, or Oscar Schindler, or all of the fire and police men on 9-11. People whose bravery and courage are undeniable and inexplicable in the face of grave danger; people who you want to hug and tell them “thank you,” even if their acts do not directly affect your own life. And the kicker is, you don’t really understand these people, how they can be so incredibly selfless and unflappable in the face of evil and unimaginable events. And yet, you are eternally grateful that people like that exist, your faith in humanity is restored or confirmed, and you know the world is a better place because of them.

Admiration: Who doesn’t like a great underdog story? Ever since David slew Goliath (and likely even before that), the thrilling prospects of an upset have tantalized our sensibilities as humans; we sympathize with and even favor those with fewer assets and resources, facing monumental and improbable tasks, to somehow prevail against all odds. What if there was an outcast in your high school, someone who few people liked (or at least were willing to admit they liked publicly); someone with limited strength, intellect and charisma? And what if this person worked tirelessly, in the library, in the gym and with a life coach, and humbly rose to achieve impressive accolades in numerous areas of his or her high school’s (and community’s) academic, social and athletic arenas? This person probably wouldn’t realistically hijack an 80s movie and become captain of the football or cheerleading team, valedictorian of his or her class, king or queen of the prom and class president; but what if this person graduated in the top five percent of his or her class, earned varsity letters as a meaningful contributor to three athletic teams, won top honors at the science fair, was elected to class office, secured a leading role in the school musical, had a part time job helping his or her school district clean up its parks and playgrounds and also volunteered at the local hospital, improving the lives of cancer patients?  (“Student’s” full resume here)

Sanctuary: Have you ever played Musical Chairs? What if, for millennia, in a global version of the game, whenever the music stopped, it was always one specific group of people who were left without a seat? Then, one sad but hopeful day, what if a plush seat was proffered, a comfortable old easy chair that had historical and traditional significance? Providing the unconditional love of a family, the security and comfort of a home and the acceptance and understanding of an old friend, said seat opens its arms and footrest (read: heart) to an often persecuted and much maligned and misunderstood group of people, regardless of  geography, economic strata and dedication to and observance of religious scripture and tradition. Best of all, this “chair” remains eternally open, unlocked and unchained to a road-weary people who have wandered with nowhere to rest for too many years.

Hope: You know when you’re watching a sporting event…any sport…and the team or player you are rooting for has been getting crushed for the entire game, but suddenly there is a spark, or a noticeable change in momentum? You almost turned off the television, or left the stadium, but you didn’t. There is a lot of ground to make up, but the possibility for something remarkable, something special begins to seep into your consciousness.

Frustration: Does it bother you when you hear negative rumors about someone, something or somewhere you care about? What about when you know the rumors are vicious, nasty lies spread by stubborn, ignorant or just plain stupid people? What if seemingly everyone that hears or reads these rumors believes them? What if the victim of said rumors has been abused, bullied, libeled and slandered since the day he or she had been born? What if the vast majority of those around the victim simply ignore the constant injustices being promulgated? Furthermore, what if most people, and worse, the global media, even piled on with undue rhetoric and even tacit praise and assistance of the bullying and terrorizing? What if the verbal abuse and rumors lead to violence? And most mind-boggling of all, what if the most virulent and hate-filled rhetoric and abuse is hurled by parties with access to game-changing technology that could literally destroy the victim and anyone close to him or her?

Fear: Imagine sending a beloved child away to school, or camp or any other activity away from home. Now imagine you receive word that your child is being mistreated, bullied, tortured or abused. What if any attempts you make to talk sense into the school or camp directors, to negotiate a non-violent, peaceful experience for your son or daughter are met with resistance, general refusal to negotiate or worse still, the directors casting all blame upon your child? You would pull your child out of said camp or school, obviously…but what if you couldn’t? And what if the legal team or security detail you hire to help to protect your child is the only friend or ally your child will ever truly have? And what if even that “ally” becomes corrupted by new leadership that is more interested in appeasing the camp or school directors and the other campers and students than in the safety and well-being of your child?

Happy Flag Day,

IDROS

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Our President’s Latest Opinion of the Map of Israel….

…Karen Carpenter, god rest her soul, had a greater surface area and fuller figure. At least BO’s true colors were finally exposed to the world – we all knew this day was inevitable.

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