Neutralizing the American male

I am so glad that my father passed away some thirty years ago because he would have certainly not survived in today’s conforming world. He was brash, often vulgar, and scathingly critical of fools. When my mother described someone “nice”, my father’s brisk reply would be, “He’s a fool”. My dad did not have much patience with weakness especially in men. He loved us kids and my mother immensely but as a typical man of his times, he was raised to walk a straight line and take care of a family without reservations. He was what we used to call “a real man”.

In my childhood, real men smelled of cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and Old Spice. They wore a suit and tie to work, and often a hat. They opened doors for ladies, led ladies to their seats, and stood up when a lady walked in. Our real men protected women and “brought home the bacon” often working at two jobs to support their families. They were proud, stoic, strong, and eventually taught their sons to be the same way. It was called raising your son “right”. Taking care of the “women folk” was not a myth. “Women and children first” was the cry of men in any disaster. Tell that to the #MeToo movement!

We are walking perilously on a precipice of brain degradation instigated by pinhead psychologists and social philosophers. Nothing is sacred to this generation of pseudo intellectual idiots, including religion, family, or discipline. They are bent on making us believe that what we had known as good or normal is now an abomination. There latest sordid attempt is to have us believe that behaving like a man within the masculinity of man’s gender is conducive to limiting “males’ psychological development”. In my father’s own words: what a bunch of fools.

A January 10, 2019, article by Fiza Pirani of The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution left me speechless (which is an anomaly in itself). It seems that the American Psychological Association (APA) released “guidelines” on how men can prevent “gender role conflict”. Whatever that means. According to a “study” by these intellectual idiots, the male gender goes into conflict at a very early age, because young boys are lead into a stereotypical life style that could promote sexual harassment, bullying, homophobia and other “disruptive” behaviors. Cannot make this crap up if I tried. Of course they do not mention the fact that some 70% of young boys especially in minority groups are raised without fathers, do not know their fathers, and are often raised by grandparents. I wonder if they studied this phenomenon?

In days of old when men were bold and women enjoyed their femininity; mothers (foolish that they were), raised boys in pants, allowed them to climb trees, often be obnoxious, and later slapped respect in them. This was obviously flawed upbringing because according to the APA, these actions exposed their male off springs to “rigid gender norms” that often led to depression in adulthood. They defined this drivel as “masculinity ideology”. I was depressed reading it. Thank God that all those soldiers who sacrificed their lives in both WW I and WWII were “gender conflicted” or we would be marching to the tune of Deutschland Uber Alles! I bet it was the “constellation of standards” that urged them to risk their lives for our freedom. But I digress.

Generations ago we taught our kids about life at an early age. The death of a pet, failing at an exam, or not making it on a school team; suck it up and move on. Better still, do better. You want to drive a fancy car like the rich dude down the street? Study hard and make good at your job. “Dreamers” were not illegal aliens jumping a fence at the Mexican border. They were hard working families who believed in the American dream. The dream that would come to reality with perseverance, and yes, often good luck. But we quit teaching kids discipline, fortitude, integrity, and fundamental survival. Instead from infancy we led them to believe that they were God’s gift to mankind without responsibility or accountability. That hard work was somehow beneath them. Henceforth we have a bunch of six-figure student-loan-debt- ridden graduate intellectuals busing tables at Starbucks. A generation of social activist morons. I digress again.

The “masculinity ideology” took a life of its own when Gillette (the razor company) unveiled a commercial with a “message”. Call me stupid, but having been married, and also raised in a family with three men, I can assure you that all these guys ever wanted in a razor was a sharp shave and the sincere hope that they would not cut their faces to shreds. But Gillette took marketing to another level. They wanted to teach the American males a lesson in liberating themselves from their “narrow roles” as men. This capitulation to the now banal #MeToo movement has reached epidemic proportions and in my humble opinion should be considered gender bigotry. Unfortunately, the #MeToo is another organization hijacked by radicals and morphed into #Insane.

Gillette wants their consumers to be “The Best a man can get”. Watching the commercial is as riveting as watching grass grow. Gillette is now the self proclaimed psychological social mentor of the American male, teaching him not to be inherently a Neanderthal. But isn’t that why we love men? Because they are Neanderthals. They eat junk, have stinky socks, snore, and are enamored of any sport that entails grunting, sweating, throwing a ball, and often swearing. I do not know any man who would sit for hours watching figure skating. Don’t we want men to be strong and tough? Don’t we want to feel protected by them? Don’t we want to be admired by them? Not according to the APA or Gillette. Men must become sensitive. They must be reined in. Good luck ladies! After watching the Gillette commercial, you can put your make up and hoochy mama dress away because no man in his right mind is coming within a foot of you. And if this male bashing escalates, you will soon be signing a pre-date agreement before you attempt your first “hi” let alone your first smooch!

I am sure that there are men who deserve to be castrated without anesthesia. But when a razor company feels compelled to send a social “message” to sell its product, we are on the brink of ludicrous and inane. When we give credulity to “masculinity ideology”, we are a step away from insanity. At this point I desperately need some “real man” time. I have the perfect solution. A single malt, a Cuban cigar, and Paul Newman. What a perfect “masculinity ideology” combination.

Pirani, F. January 10, 2019. ‘Traditional masculinity’ deemed harmful, could lead to sexual harassment, medical group says. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

https://www.ajc.com/news/traditional-masculinity-officially-deemed-harmful-american-psychological-association/1Ms4Eq06f1nAYZkJGW0vOP/

The dieting boondoggle

I confess that I have joined the diet elite. Forget Weight Watchers, Atkins, or any other flavor of the year conspiracy that convinces us that we are fat and socially unacceptable. The all new rave is now Keto. You are either socially in or out. The new kid on the block. Keto is based on the premise that if we starve our bodies from carbs, we will burn fat. That is the short version. Whatever.

The diet is allegedly used medically to control epilepsy in children. But like anything else in a vibrant market economy, and a society hung up on itself, keto found itself in mainstream social media as the latest miracle since the parting of the sea. It is well marketed and the hook and net is thrown wide into the troubled waters of incredulity and diet hopelessness with agility and finesse. You are reeled in gently. I decided to bite. I took on the bait. I entered my personal data online, and lo and behold “Sarah” sent me my daily requirements of caloric, fat, and carb intake. I was thrilled. Then came the life sustaining diagram of the absolutely no-way foods, in-small- quantity foods, and all-you-can-eat without regret foods. I quickly learned that one should not eat anything grown under the ground, drink alcohol with color, imbibe on bread, rice, grains, bright colored fruits and vegetables; you get the picture. It is going to be exciting.

Going through the grocery store is now an adventure. Short of asking a vegetable if it was grown underground, I look at everything as a measurement of sugar content lest I go over my 30 grams a day allotment. I am from the Mediterranean, and not cooking with onions or garlic (underground) is blasphemous and tasteless. But I pulled myself together and looked into the small Ketogenic fine print mantra to discover that one small white onion is within my limit of underground food. Alleluia! I wistfully look at the sweet potatoes and turn my head in stoic disciplined memories of butter and Gruyere cheese pleasantly oozing out of one of them baked to perfection. Heaven waits for me just for this sacrifice.

Penance in aid of ketogenic happiness and well being is forgoing bread, which living in Germany is equivalent to not breathing. Just when I thought I had mastered the art of omission I receive a “hi and hello” from keto “Sarah” who wants desperately to give me a meal plan. I figured why not? I have come this far why not take on the whole enchilada. I want to be fully immersed and fulfilled. And as fast as I can spell keto, the diet boondoggle raised its pointed head. The meal plan costs $240, but I have a good deal at $221. How generous of “Sarah”. I decided to un-friended both keto and “Sarah”. I do not need a meal plan to tell me that I cannot cook with anything “below ground” or that has sugar in it.

The diet conspiracy raised its ugly had in the 1980’s when we were brainwashed into thinking that unless we are shaped like embryos we are unattractive and fat. Models started to appear on fashion runways looking like zombies, and equally unattractive. I am not advocating obesity, but body structure accounts for body shape. God created man in His own image or so we were taught. So who am I to tell the Almighty that He might need a make over because society thinks He might be fat. Let’s face it, there are folk who even starved would be considered over weight by today’s standards. The medical community is as much to blame. We went through a roller coaster of misinformation about fat, eggs, cholesterol, and now carbs. We were going to die if we ate eggs, now we are going to die if we eat bread. I have news for you, we are all going to die one time or another. At this rate we should be chewing on water to be on the safe side. It is inane to think that a diet is sustainable unless one is bent on spending the rest of their lives without good food. And please refrain from telling me how making a keto “friendly” bread out of eight eggs and cream cheese is appetizing. Unless medically bound to give up certain foods because of diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, or heart condition; self inflicted diets generally never work.

Eventually, everyone falls off a diet because temptation is too strong, or just because eating a high quantity of one thing over another will eventually play havoc with our insides. Our bodies are complex enough as they are without our tweaking. All these diets are promoted as “scientifically proven” until they are debunked. As we grow older and get on in inevitable years, our bodies take on a life of their own. That is a fact. All the sand starts shifting in our hour-glass figures, some of us more than others, and it usually goes south. Women have a problem with gravity from their breasts down. It is uncanny how from one day to the next a gravitational pull takes our bosoms and mates them with our waists. We can diet till the cows come home because those babies will not budge. We eventually buy larger bras and pull ourselves like cranes building a skyscraper.

But I will persevere with my low carb new life. I have put on a few pounds and keto is my light at the end of the proverbial weight loss tunnel. I am heroically marching on and restraining my wine intake which is as painful as pulling my nails. I love dry red wine. But as I longingly look at the bottles of Baron Rothchild’s Bordeaux, I tell myself that it is all for a good cause. I am preventing my upper body from migrating south. And then just as my will power was slowly ebbing into grabbing a wine goblet, a keto silver lining opened up that saved my very soul. I found out that clear alcohol is permissible in small doses. Thank you God and pass on the whisky!

My favorite TV show

I have a very short attention span. I get bored very easily when watching anything or reading anything. Once favorite TV shows have run their course in my mind, I find them repetitive and currently with an annoying partisan social message that I do not need or want. Consequently I have dropped most from my nightly ritual. Then enters The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This show is not for the timid and it raises the roof on any conventionality or political correctness. Thank God.

Set in the 1950’s, the show is about New York City’s affluent Jewish community. Miriam “Midge” Maisel is a typical 1950’s woman. Never leaves her home without makeup, hat, gloves, high heels, and nails. She marries Joel Maisel whose father is in the clothing business. They have two kids and live upstairs from her parents’ upper West side apartment. Her father, Abe Weissman, is a mathematics professor at Columbia University. This is the time when Columbia University was thoroughbred and students wore suits and dresses and were not radical pinheads. But I digress.

The show is staunchly Jewish carrying all the stereo typical Jewish traits of drama, money, and self-afflicting jokes. Which brings us back to Midge. Midge’s husband Joel wanted to pursue stand up comedy. In the evening the young couple led a double life. They went to the pseudo night club Gaslight and Joel did his routine which Midge inadvertently wrote. But that is as far as Joel went.

Without divulging the entire story and ruining the series, needless to say, it was Midge who became the stand up comic and performed as Mrs. Maisel. When her husband left her on Yom Kippur, she went to the Gaslight, got drunk, and blew the roof off with a comic routine which was taped illegally and sold on long playing records.

The show is not just fabulous for the clothing, the nostalgia, and the cutting-edge humor; it opens up a window into what being a professional woman was like in the 1950’s. The writers who are of course Jewish, brought out the nuances of women 60 years ago. In one episode, Midge’s mother who was also an art student at Columbia, convinced the women students into transferring to the university’s business school to find men. But as frivolous as that seemed, her message was more scathing. She was questioning women receiving graduate degrees if the only thing they wanted to do was to get married. She was also questioning their aspirations. One of them aspired to be a teacher “maybe at the university” . Really, replied the mother. “Have you ever seen any women professors?” Or something to that effect.

What the show does is bring forward the strength and tenacity of the 1950 woman. Women used their gender to manipulate their lives and shape themselves into whatever they wanted to be. They also rebelled. In today’s hard core militant female world, the 1950 woman would seem to be a weak frivolous thing. But she wasn’t. From the backrooms, kitchens, parlors, and secretarial typing pads, women ruled discreetly and with purpose. They used their gender wisely.

The show is a combination of profanity, comedy, stereo typing, and rawness that is refreshing and entertaining. There is nothing political about it. The Jewish community lived and lives in a world of its own. They fight among each other. They gossip endlessly. And they are always conscious of the fact that as Jews they are on the outside looking in on a society of goy (gentiles) who are uptight and set in their strange ways. They flourish in a city that accepts them for what they are and what they produce. They are a migrant mix of eastern European and new generations of Jewish Americans living the American dream. In one episode the wives were talking about their husbands wanting to die in Israel. “Why would anyone want to be buried in the desert?” To Joel’s father who was the biggest pain in the ass, Midge’s mother asked: “I hear you want to be buried in Israel. So when is that going to happen?” Nobody writes like that anymore.

The Wonderful Mrs. Maisel is void of gun violence or digitally enhanced anything. It is a story about an America that with all its post war trauma was much simpler. Less hung up on itself. Less hung up on individual needs. More together. More familiar. More lovable. Gentler and with more absorbed diversity than the irritating diverse activism of today. Nobody had to tell them to like each other. Most of them didn’t. But they were still united in a perception that hard work and hope can give you a better life in America. Midge Maisel is my heroine; elegance wrapped in tenacity and hutzpah!

Judgment: the American way

The recent casualty to media scrutiny and “reporting” is the outspoken, bold, brash, and often irreverent Bill O’Reilly. Love him or despise him; Bill set cable opinion shows on fire 20 years ago and has been on top of all cable news channels ever since. Unapologetic and always “looking out” for the folks; Bill did not take prisoners on his show. From presidents to pundits; they all got the same treatment. His “Killing” books soared to the top Best Seller list within weeks. He went against any media that “spun” or not reported accurately; at least to his standards. He was loved by the tenuous conservatives (although he maintained adamantly that he was an Independent), and despised by the liberal media. He scorned outlets like the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, and other reporting news channels he found disingenuous and not “looking out” for the ordinary man in the street. He cherished his middle-class upbringing in Levittown Long Island, and was proud of his tough Irish heritage.

Bill O’Reilly took Fox News on the ride of a life time. His ratings could not be beat; but he always berated the fact that he was up against “smear merchants” who wanted to bring him down. That moment came this week when Fox News decided to make him another casualty of sexual harassment claims as uncovered by his nemesis; the New York Times.  Of course, like any sex story, it was long on “settlements” and short on any substance because nothing was or has been substantiated. Through the years, Fox News has settled out of court “claims” against Mr. O’Reilly that the media never cared about or even gave a second glance to. So what changed? Why now?

As a woman, I have a big problem with settlements. I have a problem with anyone getting money rather than justice. I know that if some scumbag harassed me, I would make it my mission in life to take him to court and expose him for the scumbag that he was. As soon as money crosses the negotiation table; the claim “waters down” into a deal where money beats virtue. This generation of women throws about “harassment” like confetti on the 4th of July. What is harassment? The Webster’s Dictionary (10th Edition) describes it as “to annoy persistently”. I expect an adult, man or woman, that if annoyed persistently, can tell the annoyer to “knock it off” permanently.  Unless the perpetrator attempted assault or bodily harm, I find it ludicrous for anyone in the corporate world not mature enough to disallow annoyance. If a supposedly competent business woman cannot handle a coworker and his inane advances, than she is too weak to handle the corporate world, and should find another line of work. The female double standards have reached moronic proportions. Thousands protest inequality but find it hard to tell a guy to stop being a jerk.  

The first Fox “woman” who boarded the harassment train was Gretchen Carlson. She accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and hostility in the work place. She settled out of court. Roger Ailes was thrown out unceremoniously.  In a February edition of Good Housekeeping, Ms. Carlson was bemoaning the fact that some corporations make employees sign an arbitration agreement which would prohibit the employee from suing. She also said that prospective employees want the job so bad that they overlook these agreements and opt to sign. Without excusing a thug who goes out of his way to assault women in the workplace; nobody puts a gun to anyone’s head to sign an agreement. Whether the agreement is beneficial or not, if it is a condition of employment, the applicant is free to refuse and refuse the job. Putting this aside, if Mr. Ailes assaulted Ms. Carlson he deserved to be prosecuted. Her settlement actually set him free and he “got away with it”. This is the problem that women like Ms. Carlson create when they settle. She herself said that these cases are a matter of “he said she said”. However, in today’s world it makes no difference as to what “he said” because the woman’s “she said” is taken as gospel truth before any investigation is conducted or stories substantiated. She automatically becomes the victim and the man the villain. Frankly, if I were a man I would not communicate with any female colleague without a witness. It is called deterrence.  However, I do not see any men protesting judgmental inequality in our streets.  

When the Bill O’Reilly “story” broke out, his ratings still soared. They kept on soaring despite sponsors backing out. Sponsors have also become subject and hostage to judgmental activism. Remember Nordstrom and Ivanka Trump? Sponsors want to seem sympathetic to the current “war against women” narrative. They are willing to lose viewership in lieu of perception. In this case, even when they pulled out, The Factor was still pulling in more viewers than any of the cable competitors and major networks combined; so why let him go? Why cut lose the goose that lays the golden eggs? Rumor has it that Rupert Murdoch’s children are not as conservative as their father. It is also rumored that the daughter-in-law was the push behind the “beheadings” of Ailes and O’Reilly. Who knows? One thing is for sure; Fox News has just shot themselves in the proverbial ratings foot. Who is the next victim? If I were at Fox News I would not be resting easy any longer. The tide is shifting with a new generation of Murdochs who are more snowflake than “old school”. If Bill O’Reilly got the boot, then everyone must admit to being “open season” to Murdochs whims. 

The question still remains: did Bill O’Reilly sexually harass women? Frankly and personally: I doubt it seriously. He does not drink, smoke, or even attend celebrity public functions. He wears his anti-social mantra as a badge of honor on his sleeve. Is he boorish and rude? Yes. In a bizarre way, that was his attraction. He was real. Did he offend a female colleague with some off-hand remark? Probably. Did he do it maliciously? Again, I doubt it. I shall miss Bill O’Reilly. I did not agree with everything he said, but I admired his tenacity. Most of all I admired his sense of “giving”. He gave from the heart because he always claimed that he felt lucky and blessed that his success allowed him to be charitable.  He did more for charities than any other public figure I know. Because of him and his sense of good, the following organizations receive all proceeds from his books and his show’s store: Independence Fund, Fisher House, Doctors without Borders, Tuesday’s Children, Troops Direct, NYC Coalition for the Homeless, Haitian Health Foundation, Best Friends Foundation, Responsibility, Operation Shoebox, It Happened to Alexa Foundation, City Harvest, Families of Military Casualties, Elevate Hope Foundation, Autism Speaks, S.T.A.R. Children Relief Organization, Court Appointed Advocates for Children, Cohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, David lynch Foundation, Fuller Center for Housing, Interfaith Nutrition Network, New York Child Learning Institute, Sesame Workshop, and Several Sources Shelters. Phew! Not bad for a boorish man. I would like to match his generosity with anyone from the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, or other self-centered pseudo social minded media pinhead. How about the New York Times reporting on how these charities may not fare as well now that Bill is gone? Maybe the Murdochs at Fox would like to supplement Bill’s portion with their fortunes?

Real sexual harassment is dilapidating and hurtful. It takes one’s self esteem and crushes it. It should be stopped at all costs. Perpetrators need to be brought to justice and made to pay. Juries and court cases do that. Trumped up claims are harmful because they minimize the damage real sexual assault and intimidation does to a woman. Investigate: yes. Pre-judge and condemn: never. Our system of justice works on the fundamental and moral premise that one is innocent until proven guilty. Men are now vulnerable to public judgment and opinion by virtue of gender rather than proof of wrong doing.  As soon as a  woman accuses a man; he immediately becomes a cad. No evidence, no proof, no substance is required; her word against his. She gets the money and he gets the bad reputation and often: the boot. Whether Bill O’Reilly is a sexual predator and a cad is up for debate. If he really is all those things, then I for one am very disappointed;  he and Fox News should be held accountable in a court of law and made to pay hefty. If however, he is being “lynched” for his political views and success; shame on Fox News for allowing it. Will there ever be a real investigation? I doubt it. His powerful demise was executed with precision. This has been in the offing for a long time and the objective was achieved. This time “the spin” really stopped here; sadly enough there is no one left to look out for us.

Who is behind the boycotts and why?

There is a systematic plan afoott to destabilize the country through economic boycotts and hijacking of schools and universities under the nebulous intent of: justice. False narrative is prevalent, because for the past twenty years we have been caught up in a vicious circle of pseudo “education” babble that promotes political activism among our youth; rather than truth and knowledge. Social media and technology has unleashed a quagmire of warped “news” that our youth feed on. It does not stop there. The proliferation of labeling like racism, xenophobia, sexism, and every other “ism” we can come up with has stifled free speech in schools and universities across the country. Politicians have crossed the line into activism and disingenuously led us to believe that unless we agree with their ideology we are an “ism” of some sort or other; and not fit to exist on the same planet. Hence the current blatant hatred toward this president, his family, and those who voted for him. Freedom of opinion is protected by the very virtue of being American; but that does not cover a covert and systematic plan by several organizations to include political parties to incite discrimination and bias against a segment of the population and businesses. This is called “forcible suppression of opposition,”: commonly known as “fascism.” Who are the culprits? In a fact finding expedition through the wide world of web, three entities stood out as insidiously inciting boycotts, and decisively targeting businesses they presume are connected to the First Family. They are so bent on destroying the president, his family, and this government, that they do not care who they run over in the process. This is my “A” list of exposed “fascists” in activist clothing.

First on my “A” list is the FaceBook page:@boycottdonaldtrump which goes beyond the decent or political. If it was humorous ala SNL satire I might have even found it amusing; but its vulgarity and viciousness hit an old-time low. The blatant hatred is so deep that I felt like taking a cold shower just to cleanse myself.  The combination of childish euphemisms combined with vile intolerance gave this page and those contributing to it a grotesque “B” movie ambiance. Hatred is propagandized and twisted in a distorted effort at justice, freedom, and tolerance. My father was right: one can’t help being stupid but ignorance is self inflicted. This page is the poster child for ignorance. Under a Facts and Plan link is a list of businesses owned by the president’s brand or his family. What these pinheads fail to understand is that these businesses employ thousands of Americans eager to make a decent wage and living to raise their families. How just is that? Don’t Americans deserve to go to work without fear that they may lose their jobs because somebody hates their employer? Can you imagine if a website had targeted our former president and his family? Can you imagine the uproar? It would have been justified because no one has the right to ruin a person’s life no matter who they are; and no American should be targeted because of ideology or political affiliation. But I digress.

Second on my “A” list is the Democratic Coalition Against Trump. This website comes with the wonderful image of a red fist reminiscent of fascist Italy.  Charming. Remember, the “fascist” label given to the president and his supporters by these tolerant folk? The ones who bleed for the downtrodden? This website is more insidious than the first because the DCAT is a partisan artery that feeds directly to the Democratic Party. The party that seems to have been hijacked by far left loons. This is not the JFK or FDR party any longer. Democrats have allowed their party to be dragged downstream through the pond scum of hateful rhetoric that hurts America and Americans. It is easy to decipher how the party has gone south. The DCAT are not nice people. They intimidate. They do not even attempt to hide the fact that their prime directive is to destroy legitimate businesses presumably connected to the president’s family brand. Businesses that by the way employ their constituents.  It is like giving the “birdie” to their voters. And yet they call themselves democratic. An oxymoron. Reminds me of East Germany during the Cold War; calling itself the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Of course just like our friends in DCAT, they too were bent on refuting anyone’s opinion, ideas, speech, and vote; except their own. How did that work out? The website calls out the president and his “allies” for “hateful rhetoric and regressive policies.” Really? This is fascism disguised as a boycott; “Search through over 250 companies and people to see how they’re directly connected to Trump. Make Trump and his allies pay, literally, for their hateful rhetoric and regressive policies. Use consumer action to take a stand for what’s right!” Translation: they are willing to put 250 companies and their employees out of business because they hate “hateful rhetoric and regressive policies.” Almost laughable; but not to those employed by these businesses. Who do you think works in those companies DCAT? These are the people you vowed to protect in your constituencies. They are Americans like you and I. Yet you find obliterating businesses okay because you do not like the guy? And he has “hateful rhetoric”? He is regressing politics? Are you kidding us? What rock do you live under? You remain nameless while willing to attack companies like Nike, Johnson & Johnson, Gucci, and MillerCoors.  Now that is deplorable. But everything is fair when it comes to your side of ideology.

Third on my “A” list is the kooky #Grabyourwallet. These morons have lists of companies and businesses they are intimidating into refusing to do business with the president and his family.  Grabyourwallet has listed businesses like Amazon because they have “affiliations” with the president’s brand. Really! Probably my Laundromat has affiliations with the president’s brand. Have you heard about a global financial economy #grabyourwallet? Every major business  and company in the world is in some way or other affiliated with a dominant brand through the economic process. The irony: this particular “boycott” closely resembles the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933. Subsequent events resulted in boycotting hiring of Jewish professionals like university professors and educators.  Sounds familiar? Currently our universities hire liberal versus conservative or mainstream professors on an approximate ratio of ten to one. According to American Thinker (Study: Liberal-to-Conservative faculty ratio in academia will blow your mind. Pete Vanderzwet, February 11, 2017); “So dominant is leftist ideology that in university departments in nearly all states, an average ratio of 10:1 exists among faculty who identify as liberal versus conservative. When exploring the makeup of Ivy League institutions and universities in New England, results, such as the case with Brown’s University, were as high as 60:1 in favor of registered Democrats among professors.”  It would be great if the educators had enough ethics to keep their bias to themselves, but, the study also mentioned open hostility toward conservative faculty and students that inadvertently stifled diversity and critical thinking. Those with opposing views to the “majority” are faced with discrimination in grading and often have to hide their political views in fear of retaliation and in some cases: personal safety.  Remember the Berkley riots? I rest my case. The perpetrators? The tolerable; the pseudo “freedom” fighters that crush any diverse ideology but their own; resorting to blackmail and extortion of honest businesses because they feel cheated of an election. How third world! How banana republic! How pathetic!

Boycotts are nothing new and historically they do not work because consumers will eventually buy the brand they want and most of these large businesses will recover. But who is pulling the strings on these movements and why? Theories abound, but the current obsession with destroying an administration is real; and dangerous. When doing my research I was not prepared to find a political party advocating boycotting businesses and harming constituents. That is beyond politics. That is direct intimidation by a political party with voting powers in Congress and Senate targeting businesses toward economic hardship. That is beyond unethical; it is beyond wrong; it is evil. These individuals are using their political power and money to fund anti-government movements in an attempt to destabilize the country and the presidency. That is almost treason. Over the top analysis? I don’t think so. Call it conspiracy theory if you will; but all revolutions were incited by the few who had the money and the means to tell the many that they should blame their miserable lives on someone else. The French, the Russian, and the Cuban revolutions toppled governments but none fared too well because when the dust settled, the people figured that maybe they did not have it too bad after all. Ask the Iranians! I am not condoning dictatorships, and I am not singling out those with a liberal point of view; but I am pointing the finger at those who are inciting Americans to hate and hurt other Americans in the name of justice. Every American should be against it. I also believe that we have the right to criticize our government and our president, but we do not have the right to harm their personal lives and that of their families. They are protected by the same freedoms that protect us. Right now, those who do not share the same ideology or are as loud as the loony left are intimidated and bullied out of free speech and freedom of choice at the voting booth. That is not only un-American it is anarchy. These are tactics that the KKK were famous for: intimidation and destruction. They too were adamant about their cause. Is @boycottdonaldtrump, DCAT, or #grabyourwallet any better? As Americans we have the right to criticize and exercise our  freedom of speech; but we must also allow other Americans to enjoy the same privileges without fear of intimidation and bullying. You do not have to love your president, but you should love your country enough not to destroy it.

To move or not to move? That is the question

A November trip to Israel has proven to be more than just a historical walk through my Christian and Biblical heritage. It was a dose of reality that Israel is a steady pendulum that swings between sanity and chaos in this part of the Middle East. Despite the political rhetoric, it is the only stable element that keeps a precarious rhythm between separate religious and ideological elements bent on retaining cultural identity, individualism, and faith. The temperament of the country depends on the moment to moment existence of those who live, work, and worship within its statehood. Jerusalem is the central artery of Israel. It is an organic city that has lived through more strife, pain, destruction, and un-relenting spirituality and idealism than any city in the world. Everybody wants Jerusalem. Why? What makes Jerusalem imperative to peace?

Jerusalem endures as a religious crossroad to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. It is the Vatican of the Middle East but without the Pope. It is Christianity’s epicenter. It is strategic and accessible. Most importantly: it is symbolic. It is a symbol of Statehood power. From the Babylonians, to the Romans, the Crusaders, and the Arabs: Jerusalem was the city to conquer, to have, to govern from, to boast about, to cherish, and to die for. For the Jews; it remains the city of Abraham. For the Christians: the city of Christ. For the Muslims: the city of the “furthermost sanctuary”.  But who is the rightful owner? Logically and historically: the Jews. No one could or should dispute that. There is no other religious or political claim prior to Abraham. Archeology supports this claim. So why the question?

It seems that since its conception as a State, Israel remains the inadvertent and insidious property of what we politically correct refer to as: the world community or the United Nations. Slowly but surely, Jerusalem has become the catalyst of the “two state” debate and the nebulous basis for peace. How the United Nations and the rest of the world came to that conclusion is beyond me. In a possibly far-fetched attempt at an analogy, Jerusalem reminds me of Berlin. Those of us who have lived in Germany through the Cold War recall a divided city. Berlin was the city of the “haves” and “have nots”. Through no fault of theirs, the latter lived a life deprived of all luxury and resources abundant in West Berlin and West Germany. Germany was divided into two countries, and Berlin was the “tale of two cities”. That did not work well, because the abundance of the one side was the continual envy of the other. My personal opinion: if Jerusalem is divided as part of the two State deal, the East Jerusalem portion will become the “carpet beggar” to its Jewish/Christian neighbor. If the world community thinks that by forcing Israel to give up East Jerusalem a Middle East Pollyanna will rise in epic glory; they are highly delusional. Just as those in former East Berlin coveted the West, East Jerusalem will have a hard time looking across its border and not wander why they are still a poor relation. Anyone thinking otherwise is a closet hypocrite.

But the question remains: to move or not to move? The 1967 war was not initiated by Israel but won by Israel. The surrounding Arab countries had a beef with Israel and not the other way around. The West Bank is not occupied, it is claimed. Israel and Jerusalem have always accommodated other faiths. Israel never banned Christianity or Islam within its Statehood. So again: what’s the beef? Why the feeble attempt by the world community to dissuade moving embassies to Jerusalem? Why the narrative that it would entice violence? Why hold a country hostage to a threat in the hope of achieving peace? Logically: moving embassies to Jerusalem would increase the chance for peace. Jerusalem would be recognized as the diverse inclusive capital of the world; idealistically, politically, spiritually, and religiously. It would send a message to the world that Israel embraces all faiths and traditions sans bias and prejudice. Embassies would bring prosperity to the city by virtue of their presence. Following this futile attempt at logic, one would think that  everyone would be jumping on the band wagon. Unfortunately logic has never been the United Nations’ forte’.

If truth be told: logistically and realistically, Jerusalem is not equipped to handle large embassies. But it could handle all symbolic embassy duties with a caveat that Consul Generals would remain in Tel-Aviv maintaining normal administrative Consul duties and personnel. Such a move would minimize the real estate nightmare the city would have to endure. As a goyim who spent time in Israel and Jerusalem in particular, I base my opinion on my experience in Jerusalem.  Jerusalem speaks to those of us who are strong in our faiths. Jerusalem made me a better Christian because I found my Jewish roots praying at The Wall. Jerusalem has a heartbeat which transports one closer to whatever God he or she worships. But ultimately: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.  As a capital, Jerusalem is entitled to the respect world capitals enjoy. That would include global representation. Jerusalem should never be reduced to a pawn played in a game of political “musical chairs” for the benefit of those who do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Jerusalem should never be up for bids. Love him or hate him: I commend President Trump for at least recognizing Jerusalem as the rightful location for the American Embassy. I also commend him for taking this stand in the face of fierce world opposition and criticism. Those opposing the move of the US embassy and other embassies are not opposing on logical grounds, but on an emotional Statehood narrative that has played for so long we are starting to believe it. The opposition stands on the predetermination that violence will ensue if embassies are moved. This is not an empty determination. The Palestinian Authority has declared more than once that if embassies are moved there will be violence. Really? If that is the case; why not condemn the threats? Why condemn Israel which as a state should have the right to determine where it desires to have its embassies? Can you imagine if after unification the world community had asked Germany to keep the embassies in Bonn and not move them to Berlin? After all wasn’t Berlin the capital of the Third Reich and its horrors? I do not recall any uproar from the world community then. Probably because it would have been regarded as insane. So why put conditions on Israel and Jerusalem? Finally: Why is the argument for Statehood so one sided, and against Israel? Why indeed! That’s a debate for another day.

Women’s march: what’s all the angst?

All the women in the world seem to be on edge because “the” Donald is President of the United States. Such unprecedented furor: how can one man create such emotional upheaval among the global sisterhood?  Exactly what set off a catalytic pink emotional cascade among liberated feminists? What prompted these women in the western hemisphere (because in third world countries they would have been stoned just for wearing pink!) to go out into the streets in mass hysteria? What happened to these progressives who for the past eight years held hands in a sixty-style “kumbaya”? What turned on the switch to fear? What catastrophic dialogue did I miss? Why didn’t I feel the burning  urge to defy mother nature and join the vaginal throngs?

Last weekend, women declared war on Washington because overnight they feared “what might happen under Donald Trump.” Unless I missed something during the torrid and often vulgar campaign (on both sides), I do not recall Donald or anyone else talking about recalling women’s rights. Not even remotely. So who or what set off this alarm? Who indeed. I do have theories and hypothesis of my own that might shed a light on the complete feminist melt down. Those who marched claimed that they were sending a “message” to the president: any change to women’s rights will not be tolerated. Of course in between the now familiar “women’s rights” rhetoric creep the usual buzz words: equality, progress, pro-choice, sexism, feminism; the list is endless, mundane, and to some extent: ho hum! This cry for freedom was launched at a man whose daughter manages his global business, and whose campaign manager, another woman, won his campaign against all odds. Is this perhaps “the code?” Women who do not represent the intellectual progressive “us” of the women’s movement do not count as part of the sisterhood? Are women intolerable toward other women based on political affiliation and lines? Where is the equality and diversity cry of sisterhood outrage in support of these women who do not fit the feminist mold? Will there be a march for them as well? I never found the women’s movement enlightening.  I never needed validation from another women to determine who I was and what I want. I find their superiority annoying and hypocritical.  The movement embraces only one narrative and one agenda: theirs. The rest of us are inconsequential and unimportant goofs. This is the movement of the tolerant intolerant; inclusive only to those who walk the same walk and talk the same talk. Women who are not easily swayed by militant rhetoric are on the fringe of this elite circle. But what am I missing? What was the march really about? What great act of injustice was being perpetrated against my sisterhood? How come I did not heed the call? Why the angst?

Sifting through social media clippings and pseudo news, I found plenty to work with in my quest for the truth. Images of women carrying placards that “screamed” inequality, injustice, and the proverbial “production rights”, were in every amateur’s YouTube: a futile attempt at recording “news” for a ten-second call to stardom and social media fame. To an innocent bystander, “production rights” could mean anything from copyright infringement to proprietary information. So what are “production rights?” In one video clip a protester was costumed in a purple vagina. Why? Did she believe that the president is going to intrude on her vagina?  So I concluded that  perhaps I was missing the anguished cry of the downtrodden. The loud and incoherent call to justice by Hollywood celebrities like Madonna and  Ashley Judd. I was distraught because I have obviously been missing the significance of “production rights”. So I asked myself: when did abortion morph into “production rights?” How did I miss that rite of passage? Why the subtle modification of the process? After all if women are secure enough to publically dress up as a vagina they should be intellectually safe enough to utter the word “abortion.” I have a theory. “Pro-choice” or “production rights” plays better to this generation of pseudo tolerant than abortion does. Abortion is an “in your face” word; one that people do not want to think about because they might change their minds and go to the dark side. The word is too blunt, too crude, too inhumane for those who see themselves as avengers for justice. The Millennial Generation would have a tough time dealing with such harsh reality; “production rights” is softer and more palatable for the trophy generation. So why the angst? It is a justifiable angst because the new administration does intend to enter the  “production rights” sanctuary and cut federal funding to clinics that perform abortion.

But, what was the march about? What inequality was the sisterhood marching for? Western women are blessed with the same opportunities as men, and with stiff laws to protect them. So who were they marching for? Definitely not for me or for women who are eager to stay home and raise a family. Or those against “production rights”. Or those who want to follow their religious beliefs without being bullied. These women would not have been invited to cross the sacred lines of the sisterhood that marched on Saturday. We are the intellectual deficient. So who exactly was the march for? It was for money. Remember Jerry McGuire? Follow the money! The free flowing tax dollar taps will be shutting down on clinics performing “production rights”. Those “rights” will not be taken away, but the tax payer will no longer foot the bill. The silent cry of the march was: how is it going to be funded?

A few months ago, the popular Broadway show Hamilton was donating a portion of their ticket sales to Planned Parenthood. Among the usual social media diatribe, one woman bullied another because of her disenchantment with the show having aligned itself with the organization she happens not to support. A slew of insults were hurled at the deficient non-cooperative woman for betraying women’s “production rights”. I found myself obliged to solve the altercation and suggest that everyone should watch the play if only to get Planned Parenthood off my tax dollar payroll! This got me to think ways to fund “production rights”. How about asking all the pinheads in Hollywood to donate? Nothing makes them feel more worthwhile than supporting “victims”. Have an annual telethon for Planned Parenthood. Maybe Meryl Streep could be the host. Organize an annual marathon through New York City.  The ideas are endless. Just stay out of my wallet.

The Women’s March was not about inequality and misogyny (the new 2016 word of the year): it was about money.   The free ride is almost over: “daddy” is taking your pocket money away. The march had very little to do with equal rights. If equal rights was the prime objective: how come the western sisterhood does not march against Sharia Law? Why don’t we support women in Asia, Africa, the Gulf States, or the Middle East who suffer stoning, beatings, mutilation, and even death?  Why don’t we march for all the girls under terrorist regimes who are not allowed an education or are married before puberty? Why didn’t we march when 200 Chibouk girls were abducted by terrorist thugs in Nigeria? Yes, this new president is a force to reckon with; but not because of his alleged anti-female stance, but because he has put everyone on notice. No more free lunch: if you want it and not everyone else does: pay for it yourselves. Ladies remember the song: I am woman hear me roar? Your march was a petulant whimper.

 

An Israeli Perspective – Part III – The Palestinian Myth

I am finally at the end of my story: the last Israeli Perspective – the myth. When I started on my Israeli journey I did not think that I would become an instrument or mouth piece for Israel or its people.  I had always wanted to go to Israel because of its Biblical and historical significance in the life of a Christian: me. Instead I found a story within several other stories that have never been told because through time and political upheaval, the truth has been  distorted into false “facts”. Since my return from Israel I have kept the Bible close as reference into the historical and political evolution of Israel. To some extent countries have always shaped their own destinies whether by natural evolution, war, or force of nature. Europe has morphed so often through myriad of wars and conflicts, that some of its countries’ borders have returned to what they had been prior to WW I. Israel is on a different level of evolution. In 1948, Israel managed to form itself into a country with much consternation and opposition from super powers like Britain. Britain stifled Jewish immigration because it determined that Jewish immigrants were evicting Arabs in the region. This was done despite historical data to the contrary; disproving this notion that Arabs in the region ever held a “state” or country. Arabs were transients who moved within areas and territories belonging to Judea, or pre-Roman Judea. Then how did we come up with a “Palestine” and an Arab identity of a Palestinian? How indeed!

Going back to pre-Roman times, the first inhabitants of Judea were the Canaanites.  These first inhabitants lived in  what eventually was Israel and who historians refer to as Phoenicians. Their language was close to Hebrew being  predominantly Aramean. They were not Arabs and did not speak Arabic. They were the forefathers of the Lebanese who still do not refer to themselves as Arabs.  As we move a few hundred years forward, we find the Peleshets whose name is derived from the verb “pelesh” or “to invade.” They were sea faring and came from around Asia Minor. They were eventually expelled from Egypt to the Mediterranean where after many defeats some ended up as King David’s bodyguards and dropped off from history entirely. But what about Palestine? How can there be a Palestine without a people called Palestinians? This is when the Romans “shaped” Israel’s destiny and Palestine was created.

Nobody liked to tick off the Romans because payback was generally dilapidating. There is no historical mention of Palestine until Hadrian, who,  because he became infuriated with the Jews and their revolts, decided to erase Israel or Judea, from existence. He despitefully gave the land the Latin name of Palæstina: the land of the Philistines. The Philistines had long been extinct from that region but common knowledge had it that they were bitter enemies of the Jews. It could be said that the Philistines had a commonality with the Romans by hating the Jews to the point of extinction. This brings us to the current world-wide spin and myth of the Palestinians as a nation. What nation? Can we trace any historical significance to a genre of people called Palestinians? The answer is; no. We can however determine when Palestine was created and by virtue of a Roman’s revenge; Jews in that region were the new Philistines or Palestinians. The derogatory labeling gives the current world-wide assumption that Palestinians have always been Arab an absurdity to the point of embarrassment by those who continually propagandize it.

While in Israel, I was fortunate enough to spend three wonderful days with a Jewish woman who against all common sense took it upon herself to learn as much as possible about Israel and Palestine. She took on the task because she wanted to understand why her people are targeted by neighbors, politicians, and in recent years: the United Nations. She found old books; some dating back to the late 19th and early 20th Century Israel. The books had “before” and “after” pictures of areas that were formerly desolate and are now inhabited by Israel and thriving. Most were pre-1948 Statehood pictures where the land was barren and a desert. On their return to the “Promised Land” Jewish settlers built Kibitzes  and inadvertently discovered ways to beat the often harsh conditions and “work” the land. There were no Arabs in these regions, Palestinian or otherwise. These pioneers created methods of irrigation, planting, reaping, and an agricultural haven in a desert that had been abandoned for years. Driving through Israel one wonders at the fields, palm trees growing dates, olive trees, banana trees, and fresh garden vegetables one puts in a salad every day. Is it a wonder that the surrounding States are envious of what Israel has managed to accomplish? But back to Palestine and Palestinians. Joseph Farah, an Arab author of “Myths of the Middle East” writes: “There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. ”  The incongruity of being called a Palestinian Arab is clearly defined in the word Palestine, because it is a Latin word not Arabic.

After the six-day war of 1967, the “Palestinian” issue was further exasperated by the conflict in the region, and a misguided United Nations definition of a Palestinian: an Arab who has spent at least two years in “Palestine” before 1948. This identification required no proof. It also extended to descendents of these “Palestinians”. Ironically: when politicians or the United Nations mention Palestinians, they only refer to  Arabs. They either fail to mention or are utterly ignorant of the regional history;  because as I mentioned before, the original Palestinians were the Jews in Hadrian’s time. Going through the Middle East in the late 19th and early 20th century was a desolate experience; especially for westerners. The area was what the Bible called the “wilderness.” In his 1867 “The Innocents Abroad”; Mark Twain bemoaned the fact that from  the Valley of Jezreel in Galilea, to Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Bethany, not a soul could be seen.  He further reiterated that although in some areas the land was fertile, only shrubs and weeds were  left to grow. He called it “a pity.” This is the area that the United Nations and pseudo intellectual political elites tell us should belong to Palestinian Arabs because they were “evicted” by the Jews. Really? When? Before Mark Twain? If the land had always belonged to these Arabs, why didn’t they work it and make it flourish as the Jews managed to do?  So when did these new “Palestinians”  live there? Why did they make a sudden miraculous appearance when Jewish settlers started to build a home and a State?

Israel does not want to evict Arabs, it wants to live in peace with Arabs. Israel has little beef with the “so called” Palestinians; it just wants them to honor and recognize Israel as a country and a State. Israel also expects the same considerations it gives other religions to be given to the Jews and Christians. Israel has little or no issues with Christian faiths; how come Muslims have a problem with Israel? Muslims can worship freely and have been allowed to build Mosques in areas long considered Christian Holy sites. So why the problem? Why the discrimination against Christianity and Judaism in a country that allows freedom of religion and respects it? Why not the reciprocation? Why is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem suddenly only sacred  to Muslims? Only since the 7th Century after the death of Mohammed has this particular site become a contention between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Why? The huge Mosque sits on Mount Mariah; directly over the spot where Solomon’s Temple was built and destroyed several times over. Regardless: this site is first and foremost a Jewish place of respect and worship. Because it was also the site where the Temple was rebuilt and where Jesus actively visited; it is also a Holy site for Christians.  Why are Muslims allowed to restrict access to the other faiths and not respect their claim on the site?  Israel has minute discomfort with the Mosque on the Temple Mount, but it has a big problem that the rest of the world cannot worship either. This site is currently a “hot bed” for confrontation between Arab forces and Israeli forces who attempt to keep the peace. A  visit to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims can be as futile as chewing on water. As I went through security it reminded me of the days when we used to visit East Berlin during the Cold War. We were told not to recognize the East German authorities because they were not the legitimate “authority” in Berlin. We were briefed that if stopped by East German officials to demand  to see a  Russian official! Russia had control of that sector. However, that also sent a message to the self-proclaimed East German government that the civilized world did not recognize its legitimacy. The United Nations should implement the same concept with Arab authorities who refuse access or impose Muslim “conduct” on the Temple Mount. But that train has left the station a long time ago. The United Nations has given credence to the Palestinian myth and has become its surrogate puppet. The United Nations and other western leadership has bitten into the disingenuous claim that Palestinians have the “right” to claim Jerusalem as their capital because of Muslim Holy Sites. Really? Whether true or not, where is it written that Jerusalem was or has ever been a historically religious and significant site to the Arabs?

My journey through Israel took me through the truth. Not as written by someone else, but as I witnessed it through my own experiences and encounters with both Jews and Arabs. Those who really want peace in the region know the truth and speak it. Those who pander to an agenda for political gain; spin, twist, and conjure up history to satisfy a narrative. First and foremost; the truth lies in the Bible. Secondly; it lies in the millennia of archeological findings that support Biblical narrative historically and geographically.   Third; it lies in the Israeli Jew who through perseverance, tenacity, and faith in God, struggles to strike a balance between a normal existence and continual vigilance against the destructive elements of evil. The truth lies in logic and common sense and not the gradual distortion of history. The truth lies in the land: the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, Caesarea, Tiberias, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Masada on the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem. With every step that I took in Israel I knew that under my feet was the truth. This was the truth of Solomon, David, Herod, Hadrian, and Jesus Christ. I started my perspective by saying that one cannot be a Christian without first being a Jew. I will end by saying that equally so: one cannot be a Palestinian without first owning up to being a Jew.

References:

(Myths, Hypothesis and Facts, Concerning the Origins of Peoples, The True Identity of the So-Called Palestinians. Retrieved 12/15/2016 from: http://www.imninalu.net/myths-pals.htm)

An Israeli Perspective Part II: Religious Double Standards and Claims

If the United States is a melting pot; then Israel is a boiling pot. Out of its almost 8,000,000 inhabitants, Israel is also home to approximately 2,000,000 Arabs; 82% of whom are Arab Muslim enjoying the same freedoms that Israeli Jewish and Christians enjoy. Free education, free health, freedom to start a business, and freedom to worship.  However, unlike Israeli Jews who must serve; Arabs do not have to. Not a bad deal one would think? So what’s the beef? Why the indignation of the Western world to include disingenuous organizations like the United Nations and UNESCO that continue to pressure Israel into submission? Why has the world accepted the Arab Palestine and Arab Palestinian talking points so easily and readily? Is it possible that our current world leadership is so historically ignorant that it ignores all archaeological, biblical, and written word (remember the Dead Sea scrolls?) but instead chooses to play into the Palestinian mantra disregarding all else? At this time I will refrain from addressing the Palestine myth in lieu of the double standard in religious claims that the West and the Muslim world currently impose on Israel. This is a first-hand encounter with what Christians and Jews endure on a daily basis to comply with pseudo “peace” arrangements set in place by those who are “reality” deficient. I will discuss Jerusalem because it is the crux of what is wrong with the blatant disingenuous role of a world leadership so biased and border-line anti-Semitic that if it weren’t so corrupt it would be laughable.

Without invoking either Biblical references or archaeological findings, it should be considered reasonable to assume that freedom of worship is a concept everyone in the free world should stand behind. In a predominantly defined religious denominational country, the populace religion of choice should be respected, or so we hope. In 1948, the State of Israel was created for Jews under the auspice that after the war, Jews displaced from all over the world, mostly European, would finally return “home” to their land where they can exist without fear of persecution. To some extent, Christians have been reasonable custodians of Biblical Holy sites; because after all one is a Jew before being Christian. Christ was born a Jew and died as a Jew. Christianity rose from His death and what some of us prefer to belief: his resurrection. Anyone outside the Judaeo worship parameters is a citizen guest in Israel. Israeli Jews have no problem with other faiths outside their own; they continually exercise mutual respect, cooperation, and support with Israeli and Christians.

Jerusalem is a city divided into four quarters: Jewish, Christian, Armenian, and Muslim Arab. Without going into the convoluted history of Jerusalem, one quickly realizes that this is a city like no other. This is also the capital city of Israel; yet the United States chose to keep its embassy in Tel-Aviv. A slap in the face to the country. Israelis are hoping that the US President-elect will move the embassy where it should belong: Jerusalem. Such a move would validate Israel’s sole claim on Jerusalem.

Currently, any attempt to walk the Via Dolorosa or Way of the Cross without being assaulted by Arab merchants is near impossible. Unfortunately, because this is in the Arab quarter, this Christian holy road is riddled with Arab stores selling cheap “holy” souvenirs to pilgrims hoping to pray at the marked stations. Does anyone think that if a Christian visits a Muslim “holy” site he or she would be afforded the same leeway of disrespect? Hardly. Point in fact: it took us two days to attempt a significant visit to the Temple Mount. For one to understand the significance of this site, one must go back millennia when Solomon built a temple on a platform on top of Mount Mariah. Herod extended the platform; this was substantiated by cataloged archaeological findings  dating back to Solomon’s times. The temple was destroyed twice: once by Babylonians and then by the Romans. Fast forward to the large Golden Dome Mosque that sits on the site of the Solomon’s temple but determined by Muslims to be the only true “temple” denying that Solomon’s  temple ever existed on the Mount! One might ignore the ignorant banter but the situation is tenuous at best and dangerous at worst. The first time we tried to visit the Mount we couldn’t; we found out that Arab authorities are in the habit of denying access without notice to anyone except Muslims; and any time they choose to do so unhindered. Remember: this is a pre-Roman walled platform which by virtue of its location belongs to Israel. The Arabs in the region have been allowed to disrespect and threaten the world with terrorist rhetoric that disallows Christians and Jews to visit, worship, and pray at a site considered “holy” to all Christians and Jews in the world.

The Golden Dome on the Temple Mount was built to be the tallest building in Old Jerusalem; for obvious reasons. It was built right on top of Mount Mariah, the site of Solomon’s first temple. Hence it kept its name: Temple Mount. Not Mosque Mount. Not Big Giant Golden Dome Mount. But Temple Mount. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is dwarfed next to it. The Herodian Roman fort of Marc Anthony is now a school for Arab children. Outside of that school is one of the Stations of the Cross. We had no access to it. To say that security is tight would be an understatement. Israeli Special Forces keep the peace outside the mount, whilst Arab forces are on the mount. Both aware of each other and both eager for nothing to happen. One must also remember that outside the wall is the Wailing or Western Wall; one of the most sacred walls to the Jews. Right outside the Wall, actually touching it; is another tall mosque. On Sabbath evening, the most holy day of prayer and the week for the Jews, the mosque still finds it necessary to loudly “call to prayer.” As my dear Jewish friend so succinctly put it: “Do you Mohammed used microphones a hundred years ago to call to prayer? Why is it necessary to blast their prayers so loud, disrespecting other religions worshiping in the same area?” Good questions. Why? But I digress again. Prior to attempting a second visit to the Temple Mount  we had to leave back packs and handbags on the bus; hide any crosses or religious symbols found to be offensive; refrain from bodily touching; cover our bodies to include our ankles and necks; and not demonstrate any outward signs of Christianity or Judaism. These are the conditions that the Israelis are forced to abide with to keep the so-called imposed “peace” in their own country. I would like to know how many Americans would put up with that crap without some demonstration and burning in the streets!

Walking through the Via Dolorosa was as unsavory as going to the Temple Mount; more offensive in my opinion. There was no question of  worshiping or praying at the Stations because most of them are situated between market stalls or not available. I touched a section of wall were presumably Jesus rested his hand on his way to Calvary. I had to touch the wall through colored shawls and harem pants! The disrespect toward our faith continued as while attempting to pray, one is pulled aside or aggressively hassled to buy plastic rosaries or fake olive wood crosses. Isn’t it ironic that those who are offended by our faith are making a profit through it? What hypocrisy! What injustice! What world leadership weakness; is it possible that there is not one Western leader, Christian or Jew with balls big enough to demand reciprocation and respect of other religions or face dire consequences? The Israelis are well aware of the predicament. They go along with it because they know that if an incident happens in the Arab quadrant, the Mount being the epicenter; they would be left alone to deal with it. They would have to keep at bay and fight all the Arab nations surrounding them just to survive. They also realize that in the past few years western support and allegiance has only been given lip service. Israel is worried because it knows that not even the United States has shown any muscle in keeping Israel’s enemies at bay; instead it has all been about compromise. How pathetic!

The disrespect does not end on the Temple Mount! Our Israeli guide could not accompany us to Bethlehem because it is under Arab authority. Israelis are not allowed in Bethlehem. That’s “human rights” for you.  Christians are only condoned because they bring in revenues. The dollar and the euro are idols. The Church of the Nativity (which presumably lies on the spot where Jesus was born) is nestled in a corner on top of a steep hill. Opposite is a large mosque. Our temporary Arab guide was adequately pleasant but could not help telling us how Arabs love Christians! I could not help telling him that they loved our money more than they loved us! That was met with silence. The Church of the Nativity is “secured” by Arab security and consequently, border-line disgusting. While attempting to worship at the manger and Christ’s birth site, we were loudly and rudely told to “get out.” The guide had told us that if we are told to leave to ignore it and remain until he makes the decision to leave. However, the shouting and obnoxiousness was so pervasive that we decided to leave anyway. The shouting and insults did not stop at the door. We were followed out into the courtyard still shouted at. These are the Arabs who love Christians? Well go figure!

Where are the “human rights” activists? The “equal rights” bull horns? The proverbial tear-jerking anti-bias groups who go out in our streets to burn and pillage in the name of justice? Where is the United Nations? Where is UNESCO; the heritage custodian of the world? Where is the Pope? He is big on justice. Where is the supposedly most powerful nation in the world: the United States? Where is the outrage?  Where is the anger of every righteous religious individual to the left and right of the spectrum? Where is the courage of the world? Where are the “good” Muslims we hear so much about?

The continual world political pressure on Israel has reached unsustainable proportions. Israel is not a man-made mythical country born out of a presumptuous claim. Biblically and historically: Israel is the rightful owner of its land. Others in conflict with this ownership make false claims like Babylonian gods. If they want to coexist, they must coexist peacefully and respectful of all faiths and religions. An organization like the United Nations needs to justify its existence by waking up from the deep Kool Aid stupor it has sunk into; because it has become deficient by virtue of its blatant bias against Israel, which has the ultimate right to exist. Israel is coveted because it demonstrated to the world that it could sustain itself in a harsh climate where others failed. If Israel had failed in leading the world in patents, agriculture, and technology; nobody would be interested in it, and nobody would be fighting for their “rightful” claim religiously or otherwise.

I looked at both sides of the fence; one is fertile and the other is thrashed. Religion has very little to do with the Arab-Israeli “situation”. That is a convenient excuse. It is a mindset; the grass is literally greener on the Israeli side because Israelis did not wait for the world to give them the “good life”. Israel had an intrinsic desire to create a self-sustaining society without outside help. If the West has still not realized Israel’s potential, then we deserve the upheaval in the Middle East. We should be encouraging Israel to maintain its strength and fight for its right to exist and not make it compromise for it. We should be thankful that there is Israel in the midst of all the Arab states; because it is only Israel who can help the rest of the world control the Middle East effectively and sustain-ably. Shalom.

An Israeli Perspective Part I – Never Again

“Never again” is the “battle” cry for Israelis. Israel  sprung from a 1948 British  mandate and has lived in the shadow of those bent on its destruction  ever since. ישראל or Israel happens to be also the name given to Jacob as he encountered the Angel of God. El is an abbreviation of Elohim or God in Hebrew. The name is significant because it encompasses more than biblical nuances; it defines the country and its people. In a ten-day whirlwind journey through Israel, I discovered that the people of Israel are one with their name, land, history, Biblical traditions, and Elohim.

The journey cross-referenced biblical text with archeological findings that substantiated claims on land and sites. This trip was significant because it swiftly turned fact into myth, and dispensed with the stereotypical political spins that we have grown so accustomed to in recent years. Travelling from Haifa to Bethlehem, I learned that Israel has been the brunt of inaccurate journalism (to put it mildly) and blatant journalistic distortion to satisfy a global political agenda, comfortable only to those who hide behind the “peace” mantra, but  for reasons far more insidious.

My perspective of strife got a “reality check” in Haifa on a seamlessly harmless walk down the side of a hill toward Elijah’s cave. In the 9th century and during the reign of King Ahab, Elijah the prophet was said to have lived on Mt. Carmel in a cave situated on a hillside overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean port city of Haifa.. A simple cave cut into the hill almost at street level across which is a beach dotted with restaurants, museums, and port authorities. The cave is now a synagogue by virtue of its significance to the Israeli Jew and every Jew in the world. A cable car on the beach side  takes tourists or those too tired to walk back up the hill to an observatory site, the church of Mt. Carmel, and restaurants.  Our good friend and “guide” is a long time resident of Haifa who soon found herself compelled to give a personal insight into the lives of Israelis and Israel. As we drove through Haifa, she pointed to the gentle sloping hills of Lebanon on the opposite side of Haifa; without missing a beat her hands “traced” the path that missiles took from those hills toward her town  and her neighborhood during the many skirmishes in the past few years. This was not an effort to “shake” us or impress us but to explain how Jews, especially Israelis, take on the concept of danger on a daily basis.  To “bring it home”, she  pointed to a beautiful restaurant on the beach and slowly related an unbelievable event.  Not long ago, an Arab woman went in for a meal and after she paid her bill calmly proceeded to blow herself and everyone else in the restaurant. I was dumbfounded because I could not recall any such incident on any major network. Well, it seems that I and everyone else in the western world has been missing a lot of real news from Israel on major networks! We have been drinking the proverbial Kool Aid. But I digress. A memorial etched with the names of those murdered stands outside the restaurant  side by side to the daily menu. A  testimonial to the evil Israel and Israelites are accustomed to. Similar memorials stand outside schools, office buildings, restaurants, churches, and temples: each terrorist attack invoking the cry of “never again.” “Never again” is a hitorical sign of defiance and tenacity against a world that seems to care more for the assassins than the victims. Everything is put in perspective as we walk back up a steep Haifa hill to our friend’s apartment with a breath-taking bird’s eye view of the port and the beach. As we looked down at the beautiful Mediterranean and the hazy hills across the way, it was hard to understand the terror that our friend, her family, and her country must have gone through. It seems that in Israel one takes on terrorism as one takes on a bad meal at a restaurant: you take your chances but still go out to eat. That is the defiance that uplifts this nation of eight million people.  Three events define “never again” for the Israel Jew.

Masada: King Herod’s fort situated on a high plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. In Hebrew, Masada means a fortress. Climbing Masada is like climbing the side of a pyramid. Sheer cliffs cut through the rocks on all sides, making Masada almost impregnable.  Masada was an ambitious project by King Herod who at every opportunity attempted to demonstrate his “greatness” and wealth. Unfortunately for him, Masada was taken from the Romans and occupied by 960 renegade Jews nicknamed  the “zealots”. In 65CE these “zealots” were fleeing Jerusalem during the Judea Roman wars. For close to nine years they lived and thrived defying Roman authority; until the Romans got a flea under their collar and wanted Masada back: more from prestige than from necessity. An army led by then Governor of Judea Flavius Silva surrounded the fort and took it back but not without a fight and a long costly siege. According to Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, the Jews held out until the very end. In desperation and to spare the women and children from slavery and fate worse than death; the “zealots “decided to kill the women and children; thenthrough a methodical countdown they would kill each other until the last man fell on his sword.   Masada became an oath of faith that “never again” would Jews have to chose between slavery and death. Even today, military recruits or those reenlisting, are taken on Masada to hear “the story” and take their oath of allegiance to their country; reiterating the cry of defiance: never again!

The Holocaust is very complicated for Israelis. It is a chapter of Jewish history that remains controversial especially for those born after WWII. Some wonder why their grandfathers, fathers, mothers, and relatives did not fight the Nazi regime but meekly submitted to kneeling on the edge of a mass grave for execution. The Holocaust elevates the second element to “never again ” to a totally different aspect. The Holocaust is the 20th century Masada; it took “never again” to new levels. Young Israelis visit the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem;  they walk expressionless and seemingly removed among exhibits of sounds and horrors that unfold with every step they take. As I walked beside them I wondered what they were thinking. I was told that survivors hardly ever talk about the Holocaust. It is a scar imbedded so deep in one’s psyche that any attempt to resurrect is met with cold refusals. Yad Vashem is the name of the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem means a “memorial and a name” as found in Isaiah 56:5.  Throughout the exhibits and pictures of victims, one word is repeated over and over again: murdered. No excuses. Not “killed” which is bad enough, but “murdered”. Stark and “in your face” description of how over 6,000,000 European Jews were systematically and willfully murdered  in a premeditaed method just because of who they were: Jews. As young Israeli soldiers are guided through the halls of Yad Vashem, they learn and become aware of the reasons  they wear the uniform and the reason they must always be ready to protect their country. They look at pictures and deep down is the cry: “never again” must Jews be subjected to a Holocaust.

Since 1948 the State of Israel has had to fight for survival. Although in recent years some Arab neighbors have been somewhat tamed  and are more neighborly than others; others are still bent on destroying Israel.  One cannot blame them for wanting what the Chosen People have. Israel  managed to turn the “wilderness” (so aptly described in the New Testament) to a state-of-the-art agricultural Mecca of the Middle East. The scientific ingenuity is hard to miss. Everywhere are fields growing produce that requires water. However, after the 1967 six-day war, Israel  did  become complacent and almost cost its obliteration. Yom Kippur 1973: and all the surrounding Arab countries banded together in one swooping attack on Israel;  hoping to take back what was lost in 1967. This could have been a General Custer moment, because the Arabs saw this as their ultimate chance to also gain momentum in the region.  But God’s Chosen People prevailed again. Elohim was looking out for them.  “Never again” must have pumped into every soldier’s and airman’s vein, because they not only held fast but also pushed the Arabs back into their territories; keeping their land and their promise: “never again”.

To understand Israel one must understand the Israeli Jew.  The Israeli Jew loves his country from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning until he closes them at night. The Israeli Jew seems to be one with the land because  the land is the “chosen” land. There is no doubt in his mind that his land is rightfully his and he will fight till death to protect it. The Israeli Jew has the Word of God on his side.  Biblical references to the Dead Sea (Genesis 14:3) and Jerusalem (Genesis 14:18) puts the Israeli Jew in the land of Abraham: a land now being “discussed” by world organizations as an option for Middle East peace. That is like telling New Yorkers that the Statue of Liberty is not in New York City because the Port Authority in New Jersey has maritine control. How many people plan a trip to New Jersey to visit “the lady”?  Why is the world not on Israel’s side? Why is pressure put on Israel and the Israelites to compromise, but those who try to kill them are given a free pass? Why would a country give back land that was won fairly and without provocation? Why is the world so blinded by political rhetoric that misses the historical chronological truths that give Israel the right to exist? These are not my questions. These are Israel’s questions. I ought to know: they were asked of me.