Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last night's pro-terror and anti-terror rallies

Last night there was a protest against Israel that essentially was little more than a rally openly in favor of Hamas. Thankfully, Stand With Us was on the case and there was an anti-terror rally across the street. Here is a link to pictures I took on my friend Irina's camera of both rallies. You will note open terror support, including "We support the resistance in Gaza." The Neturei Karta were also out in full regalia. I told them they are a "chillul hashem," aka, a desecration of G-d's name. I nearly got into an altercation with Hamas supporters, who were out and proud of their open Hamas support. I have to repeat: this was not simply a rally against Israel's right to self defense. Rather, these Hamas supporters were openly shouting Hamas and Hizballah slogans and holding up signs in support of terrorism. I thanked every police officer I saw, and told them I loved the NYPD and valued their good work. I added that I hoped they were profiling these terrorists. In the subway home, a group of at least four Hamas members hopped on the subway car, and it quickly got ugly. They shouted at me and we nearly came to blows.

Through it all, I realized: I am so lucky to be Jewish and American. Our side is right and their side is wrong. It cannot be any more simple than that. Anyone seeing the screaming, foaming-at-the-mouth monstrosity that is the Hamas support of the anti-Israel crowd cannot possibly say those cretins are civilized human beings deserving of respect. We are right, they are wrong, and it feels good to walk tall and proud as a Jew, as an American, and as a lover of humanity itself. I am optimistic for the future, as this degeneracy cannot and will not win out.

We cannot continue to 'apologize' for being members of humanity. It does a disservice to humanity itself. We need to stop 'engaging' with these Islamonazi thugs who mean to wipe us off the map. These are barely literate buffoons who seek to destroy us. 'Dialogue' will hardly stop this hatred. The only thing that will stop it is pride in country, religion, and ourselves. Am Yisrael Chai and G-d Bless America! Have a healthy and Happy New Year (Gregorian calendar), knowing that we WILL indeed win!

Here again is the link to pictures:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I was thinking about someone who in my opinion overreacted to a minor comment I told her. The details of it all are not important, except to say that I realized that her overreaction was triggered by the fact that she clearly never had to deal with real pain in her life, as something so minor appeared to set her off on a train wreck.

Anyway, after all that mishegas, I had a moment of perfect clarity. I realized that I am lucky that I had pain in my life. I never realized it as clearly as I do today. I went through a turbulent childhood and young adulthood, and I had more than my fair share of pain, humiliation, and distress as I was growing up. And as a child and young adult, I never understood exactly why it was that I had to endure all that I endured. It seemed like I was simply being randomly punished. But I now realize how lucky I was to have gone through what I went through. I realized that I have grown as a person and a human being as a result of my childhood mishegas. As a result, I am a stable and mature young adult, and I know I would never react in such an erratic and overwrought fashion, as my friend reacted.

Because of my former life experiences, I am the person that I am today. Yes, I suffered at the time that everything happened. But in truth, I would not take back any of my mistakes and past heartache even if I could. Because it all made me a better and stronger person. I wish that I could have learned and grew and become stronger without having had pain in the past, but I do not think I really could have, in practical terms.

There is the expression, "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." And it is simply true. Only those who have undergone pain in their lives have the strength of character to not fear pain in the future. Only those who have themselves endured the worst forms of gossip and humiliation frankly grow stronger and tougher and realize that, no matter what someone says about a person, ultimately, it does not matter, and as long as you believe in yourself, the opinions of others are wholly irrelevant.

The pain I had in my past gives me the strength to tackle whatever life throws at me. On an even simple level, after I broke my wrist and had it in a cast, I was less afraid of needles and pain, and now I donate blood regularly (when I have enough iron to do so!). I am lucky that I had an antisemitic ex-friend in law school who runs one of the top antisemitic websites on the internet, because that caused me to examine Judaism and Israel, and rethink my entire life perspective and ideology. It brought me to a Jewish community which I find so extremely meaningful.

And so I know that ultimately, I am lucky I had a bumpy past, the details of which are beyond the point of this post. If everything was smooth sailing, I would never have understood how to deal with even a minor wind.

Maybe this is just a small reason why bad things happen to good people, so to speak. When good people deal these bad things, it makes them better people.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Oxford Chabad

This past weekend was spent in Oxford, England. I was there to visit a friend, and I decided to go to Shabbat services at the Oxford Chabad House. This past weekend also was a weekened where we learned the horrible fate of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, of blessed memory. But for me, what I witnessed in Oxford was a chilling revelation.

The Chabad House Shabbat dinner started out pleasantly enough. Rabbi Eli Brakman runs a very warm and inviting place, where Jew and nonJew alike feels welcomed to their Shabbat meal. The Rabbi spoke eloquently about the Holtzbergs, who he knew personally, as he studied with them at the 770 yeshiva on Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I enjoyed meeting an interesting assortment of individuals who attended the Shabbat services at Oxford, mostly affiliated with the famed university. But then, the speakers spoke. The topic was Obama and his effect upon the Middle East. The first speaker was a leftist, who apparently wanted Obama to press for 'peace,' whatever that means, for Israel. The second speaker was a Palestinian, who compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and then spoke of the horrors of his two day detention in a West Bank prison, and how he made an Israeli guard break down in tears when he compared the situation to Nazi Germany. He also spoke of the need for Israel to be forced to accept 'peace.' He said he is dismayed that Obama will be too pro-Israel. The third speaker was half Jewish, half Palestinian, and again compared Israel to Nazi Germany, claiming that when a little Palestinian girl wets her bed due to Israeli aggression, it is comparable to the hell his Jewish family has endured in pogroms and Nazi camps. The fourth speaker was Jewish and spoke about the need for Obama to push for a regional peace, but was not optimistic about the chances for such a peace.

None of the speakers were actually experts on Israel, 'Palestine' (a state which does not exist), or the Middle East. They rather were Americans, pushed to speak for reasons I cannot understand.

In short, at the Chabad in Oxford, on the very night that the Holtzbergs were murdered, Israel was compared to Nazi Germany.

You can be sure I was there with a strongly worded comment or five. I spoke of the failure of Camp David, and how it is proof that 'peace' is completely impossible at this stage, and not only is it impossible, but forcing Israel to commit suicide against its will does nothing but encourage more violence. In response, of course, I was told I am a 'fanatic' 'who does not believe in peace.' In short, there was absolutely no substantive response in the slightest given.

I found it interesting that afterwards, when I spoke with the organizer of this event, the explanation given was that somehow all the speakers were zionists, and it was a positive event, in comparison to the usual events at Oxford. I was told that when Shimon Peres (a man who famously stated we need to 'close our eyes for peace,' and who is a leftist and believes in ethnically cleansing Jews from our homeland in Judea and Samaria) came to speak at Oxford, there were riots. There in short is no academic freedom at Oxford. Frankly, if I was not in town and did not complain at the Chabad house, there would be little to no opposition to the extremist positions taken. And yet I was told these were the most pro-Israel speakers to speak in a long time! I was told that true Zionist speakers will not or cannot come to Oxford!

It is very sad, the state of the world we live in. I frankly track the shonda (yiddish for 'shame') which took place at the Chabad house to the Mumbai attacks. If we are afraid to defend ourselves, if we cannot speak out against injustice, then those who seek malice in this world will exploit this. Edmund Burke said "The only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." And he was right.

Why is it that at the #1 most 'elite' university in the world, pro-Israel speakers are afraid of literally being physically attacked? What sort of a world do we live in where we are not even allowed the dignity of our own narrative?

Assume, for an instance, that it is completely impossible to know who is right, either the Palestinians, or Israelis and Jews. Assume, for an instance, that 'no one narrative is better than another.' (this is completely a fallacious assumption, as there is such a thing as absolute truth, but we are assuming this for a moment)

Even under that assumption, why must we surrender our narrative to the Palestinians? Why must we give up even our own dignity? In response to blood libels, why must we apologize? This does nothing other than legitimize the blood libels! The Palestinian position has not changed even a millimeter in sixty years; if anything, it has gotten even more extremist. Yet we now live in a world of 'post-zionism,' where we have to 'understand' an enemy which wishes to destroy us.

Why do we have to 'understand' the enemy at all? There is little to no effort being made to 'understand' Jews and Zionism. The Zionist position is completely absent on campus, replaced, as it were, with the delusion of a 'two state solution,' which is little more than Auschwitz borders. Why is it that Alan Dershowitz, certainly no 'right winger,' is put on a pedestal and given a speaking tour, simply because he does not demonize the Jew?

Where is Jewish pride? Where is Jewish dignity? Why must even my own Zionist narrative be stolen from me?

We see there are people out there who seek to annihilate us not because we think one way or another. But rather, simply because we exist. Why have we given up the will to fight? Why do we even humor our enemy, and give them a forum to speak, yet we refuse to even listen to an Aryeh Eldad or Effie Eitam?

Where is our will to survive? Can it ever come back? When will a real Zionist be able to speak at Oxford without fear of physical violence? Will it literally take the moshiach coming?

Why do we so vividly and constantly have to cry about our brothers and sisters being murdered for being Jewish, and we say "never again," yet we fail to do anything substantive about this all?

What will it take for things to change?