A Slice of Pizza


I haven’t had a submission from Ari Bussel is some time. Ari is highly involved in the Jewish community in Beverly Hills, CA. He is also a very Pro-Israel supporter which makes him Aces in my book.

Here Ari addresses the rioting and looting in his Beverly Hills community with a very positive supportive message for ALL First Responders but especially for the police who risk their lives for law and order. For Ari to place these thoughts for reading you have to realize or at least it is my opinion, he might become a target for those BLM and Antifa types more concerned about a Marxist agenda then actual racial so-called social Justice.

 

Ari submitted all the photos of which I tried to use most but not all (the above photo from the Blog Editor).

 

JRH 7/5/20

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A Slice of Pizza

 

By Ari Bussel

Sent  7/2/2020 11:18 AM

 

A group of not-so-young-any-more, quite-well-to-do and likely composed of mostly White Caucasian males started an initiative of bringing pizzas to their local police departments.

 

A person I know called and told me about this national initiative.  I burst out laughing, exclaiming:  We are already doing that!

 

There are many things of which to be proud of Beverly Hills, with the exception of the handling of the recent the riots.  One is that throughout the decades, whenever a party ends, it is a tradition to bring trays and trays of food to our local police and fire departments, each to his or her choosing.

 

Second, when we say that the Police, Fire and Schools are the three pillars of our community, we mean exactly that.  Things at times may be chaotic, even tense, but the noise, emotions and personal involvement indicate precisely how much we care about each of these pillars.  We know that we will remain living together, so any momentary disagreements eventually fade away.

 

The police does pancake breakfasts for us.  We can be lucky enough to be invited to the fire station and be treated to a dinner with the firefighters.  The two departments, although competing with one another for our attention and overall prestige, are part and parcel of our City, and they always cooperate.  Just a few weeks ago our former Chief of Police Dave Snowden made a special trip to personally deliver items for an auction for the Fire Department (the Chief’s wife works for the organizers of the auction – but it was a nice touch nonetheless).

 

One family, our family – Beverly Hills Police

 

On the professional side, the two departments cooperate also in regard to promotions and evaluation of potential candidates.  In short, there is a competitive spirit, but one that can be found between two brothers, each striving to excel in his own right and field.

 

None of what I described thus far would sound newsworthy to a Beverly Hills local.  Except, anyone who dares say anything remotely positive about the police nowadays is immediately titled “a Racist” who must be shunned and punished – just for daring.  The Chutzpah!

 

The younger crowd – those who ignored the Virus and went out without masks and with careless disregard to physical distancing (to protect themselves and others) – is especially vocal when it comes to the police.  Apparently, an employee at Starbucks at the corner of Wilshire and Little Santa Monica had asked/ordered our Finest to leave as soon as they received their order, since they apparently “were making some of the customers uncomfortable!”  Anything is permissible now, much like it was a common scene to see a well-dressed Jew scrubbing the street or being ridiculed in public in Germany in the 1930s.

The young generation is so enraged by BLM, that it will pass a person lying on the street and will not slow down or stop to check if the person (irrespective of the skin color) is alive and might need help.  They are so sensitive about the plight of “the other” that homeless people are just garbage for them:  not even a blink, simply ignore and continue.

 

The demonstrators are so eager to topple down monuments and deface and destroy the past, they are so blinded by hate (which they supposedly demonstrate to eradicate), that they do not realize the error of their ways.  At the corner of Beverly Blvd and Fairfax, they defaced with graffiti the statue of one Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.  Only a handful of the Survivors are still alive, and they are signed “He Saved Our Faith in Humanity, the Survivors.”

 

Raoul Wallenberg statue Beverly Hills CA (Beverly Blvd & Fairfax)

 

The rioters on that Saturday when it all started did not know who Raoul Wallenberg was, nor did they care.  Destruction was the right thing to do!  They enjoy the freedom of anarchy, and no one should dare impede their enjoyment.  Loot, throw rocks or bottles, vandalize, spray paint graffiti, destroy, set on fire and other like actions – in complete disregard to life and property – are their right, for doing so makes them feel better with themselves.

 

Clearly, not all of them are like that.  No, they are not.  But their passion and actions are misguided and void of real meaning; their naiveté is most dangerous.  They are used to immediate gratification:  Signing a petition for them is “action.”  They have no patience:  Reading a tweet is the sum total of their attention span (an article of this length will not be read, and pictures are a must).   Someone has to provide them free university education and forgive their loans.  They may not agree to any type of work, for their time is too valuable, their effort must be properly rewarded.

 

If they break curfew or block the right of way of others, there must be no consequence.  Since they can do no wrong, the other must kneel and ask forgiveness.   Most egregiously, they know neither geography (where are Mexico and Canada relative to the United States) nor history.  So they go to fight for something just because it “sounds” good (fighting for social justice) or make them feel good.  Likewise tell them “Israel is Apartheid,” and “Apartheid” sounds evil enough, so Israel must be evil, satanic.  Do not let facts or reality confuse you.  Follow the soothing sound of propaganda, lies and brainwashing.

 

The “peaceful” protesters walking on Burton Way toward Rodeo Drive

 

On live, national tv:  Looting on Rodeo Drive, which apparently falls under one’s First Amendment “Rights”

 

We need our police, because for all the defenders of the First Amendment, wait until the rioters and looters reach your place of business (Rodeo Drive anyone?) or home (in the Flats).  Then one witnesses “Not in My Front Yard” in all its glory.  The looters’ and rioters’ “right” suddenly reduces to its true proportion (they have no such right under any pretense of “peaceful – yet illegal – protests”), and all my super-liberal friends and neighbors need the police to be there, to do its job!

 

More Beverly Hills Rioting and Looting:

Something most interesting happened after the riots, when demands were made to “defund” and “dismantle” the police.  A friend and her family made care packages and delivered to the local Sheriff’s station.  Another friend called to ask if he should bring pizzas to the Beverly Hills police.  And yet another one sent a mass e-mail and people found the courage to respond.

 

Bringing home-made care packages to the WeHo Sheriff’s Department

 

Ellie and Dr. Pablo Nankin wrote:

 

Dear Beverly Hills Police department.

We want to thank you for all you have done for us and continue to do.

We are with you.

 

The Nankins

 

People were encouraged.  They realized they are not alone.  Suddenly there was a safe haven, as the world around them seemed to be collapsing, melting.  They found the inner courage to stand up, one at a time, and respond:  We love and appreciate you.  Our support has not changed because of the riots.  You are part and parcel of us.  You serve us for decades (many police officers have been here for five, ten, fifteen and more years).  You run into danger when we disperse, often at a great risk to your lives.  You leave your families and stay here to serve the other, often people you do not even know.

 

Thus, the “Slice of Pizza” initiative has already begun in Beverly Hills, and no one had to call us to suggest it.  In this respect, we are indeed a trendsetter, simply because we really care.

 

A friend is measured at a time of need, and we – individually and as a community – are true, forever friends of our brothers and sisters in uniform.  We may not like it when they ticket us, we may have misgivings about their response or behavior in a particular incident, and we are never shy to express our opinions and feelings.  This is what a family does.  And, quietly, when we are alone, we admit to ourselves that we are most grateful to be living in Beverly Hills, where we have our Police, Fire and Schools.

 

During our radio program, my colleague Norma Zager urged all parents to take the time and speak with their children, especially now.  For if the current attempt to brainwash and silence us succeeds, the kids of today have no future.   It is thus our responsibility, and education starts at home.

 

Let us sit with our kids and explain to them what is happening, all the mayhem and anarchy, separate lies from truth and guide them to have the courage to do the right thing, to stand on the right side of history.  When your friend is being bullied, when your friend is down and everyone is standing around and ridiculing him, you must find the courage from within to stand by his side and help him up.  Protect him.  Support him.  Do not assume he knows you are on his side.  Teach that lesson to your children, and they will be better human beings.

 

As we are about to celebrate our Independence Day, let us highlight to our kids and to ourselves all the great things in this great country of ours, the U S of A!  Let us focus on our history, present and future and remember that we are a light unto the nations, a beacon of light against the darkness setting around us and a barrier against the storm hell-bent on destroying our way of life.

 

Start by two small steps:  talk to your children and express your gratitude to our police (and first responders).  Be grateful toward the other in a tangible, meaningful way, for if we do not stand up and take a position, we are doomed to fail.  Translate your convictions and courage to action.  There is so much to protect and to celebrate!

 

TEACH THE CHILDREN:

 

Students from Israel visiting the BHPD

 

Students from Israel visiting the BHPD 2

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Edited by John R. Houk

 

© Ari Bussel

 

Ari Bussel Bio via BeverlyHills.org

 

Ari Bussel is Vice President of Operations at Saybrex International, a privately held family business specializing in the distribution of fine wines and spirits. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and has held various positions in the company since 1993.

 

Prior to joining Saybrex, Mr. Bussel served as First Lieutenant in the Center for Systems Analysis at General Headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces, where he led the implementation of the Logistics War Doctrine in the Computerized Wargame Program.

 

Mr. Bussel is involved in a variety of philanthropic and civic activities. Mr. Bussel completed the Team Beverly Hills Leadership Program and served on the Environmental Sustainability Topic Committee of the City of Beverly Hills. He was a member of the Steering Committees of former Beverly Hills Mayor MeraLee Goldman and the current Beverly Hills City Treasurer, the Hon. Eliot Finkel. Mr. Bussel also completed and participated in the Community Emergency Response Training Program of the City of Beverly Hills as well as … READ THE REST

 

A City like No Other – A Lesson in Life


[Blog Editor: Full Disclosure – I’m a Christian Zionist supporter of Israel’s Biblical Land Promise – JRH]

 

Ari Bussel shares a Jewish-American perspective that connects the Jewish community in Beverly Hills California and Israel. An interesting whether you are Jewish or not and have an interest in Israel’s existence.

 

JRH 2/27/20

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BLOG EDITOR: I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

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A City like No Other – A Lesson in Life

What Makes Beverly Hills Unique 

 

By Ari Bussel

Sent  2/27/2020 12:47 AM

 

 

When my siblings and I went to Beverly, we were taught that “there is Beverly Hills and the rest of the world.”  Let us see what else we learned right here in Beverly Hills:  Treat the other the way you want to be treated, and he who spreads his bread is bound one day in the future to find it.

 

 

The headline of the main local paper read “Two Presidents in Beverly Hills on One Historic Day.”  One president was here to fundraise, the other for a short stop on a long route.  Since I did not quite understand the true meaning of this “historic day,” I continued reading, flipping the pages to find and astonishing amount of “Israel.”

 

In the previous administration, President Barack Obama was in Beverly Hills so many times, one lost count.  President Donald J Trump has not been here so frequently as his predecessor, but we knew each time he was here from the demonstrations against him.  Surprisingly, Beverly Hills Jews are apparently not all Democrats, and some would pay tens and hundreds of thousands of Dollars for a photo-op or to spent breakfast, lunch or dinner with the President of the USA.

 

On the same day, Israeli President Rivlin was here too.  Los Angeles was the first stop, followed by Pacific Islands on a long trip to Australia (still ongoing).  In Los Angeles, the President was honored by the Beverly Hills City Council and given the Key to the City and at UCLA by the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.  Apparently, super-rich Iranians were able to reach the President who previously rejected an invitation by the local Jewish Iranian American community for a mega event in his and Israel’s honor.  Money does the trick, and even a president flies in to be honored.

 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, center, accepted a key to the city from Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch (photo courtesy of the city of Beverly Hills – Photo appeared in Park Labrea News Beverly Press)

 

President Rivlin’s previous visit to Los Angeles was most hastily arranged, after the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America refused to have Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to it.

 

President Rivlin then (11/13/2017) emphasized: “We are all one people, and Israel is dear to all of us.”  On the Western Wall, the President said:  “The symbol of unity, the Wall of our Tears and Joy, has become a symbol of division and disagreement.  I hope that in the future we can return to the table together, and reach an understanding on this important issue.”

 

And he laid the following need for cooperation:  “These are the tasks before us; the fight against anti-Semitism, preserving Jewish identity, safeguarding the security of Israel.  We must continue to pass these duties to our children and grandchildren, from one generation to the next.”

 

The deep rift regarding prayer at the Western Wall still continues.  Neither the Prime Minister’s absence nor the President’s substitute speech helped.

 

Unlike New York, Los Angeles is far away from Israel.  Thus, the total number of times an Israeli president has been here since the formation of the modern state is de minimis.  When Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres of blessed memory, came to Los Angeles, the preparations took some two years.  The President met numerous groups, including a mega event at the Beverly Hilton and another at Dream Works.  It was most apt, for President Peres was respected by the entire world as a “Dreamer” (visionary, in the most positive sense of the word).  The entire region was energized.

 

Like his successor who would refuse to meet with the Iranian Jewish community, President Peres refused to meet with the Christian community, and declined an invitation to a mega event (the President’s requirement at that time was for at least 2,000 people to attend an event; the proposed event was for 5,000).  For each, his own priorities and preferences.

 

So here came President Rivlin, and like his previous visit, it was limited to those who are either super-rich or most connected.  Strange, since President Rivlin is viewed as the people’s president, loved and adored by Israelis for being “one of them.”  A once-in-a-lifetime treat that should be shared and open to the public at large, not only to a select few ended as a photo caption in one paper and a front page headline in another.

 

Israel and the Beverly Hills Courier

 

The coverage of the President’s visit would be a picture on p.2 of the other local paper a week after the visit and an entire issue immediately following the visit dedicated to Israel by the Beverly Hills Courier.  How strange life turns out to be.  Let me tell you why.

 

The BH Courier and the City of BH were always dismissed as insignificant by the Israeli diplomatic mission to the West Coast.  There were other newspapers (e.g. the Los Angeles Times), there were more important cities (e.g. Los Angeles).  So much so, that until the arrival of Consul General David Siegel [Jewish Journal-2011, Communications 2025 profile-2012 & GovServ.org-2019], the BH Courier was not even on the press list of the Israeli Consulate General.

 

The publisher of the Courier at that time, Clif Smith [Blog Editor: I didn’t do a deep search but found it interesting WikiZero’s report on Clif Smith’s publishing style as Conservative as if that was a bad thing.], wanted to meet with top Israeli visitors and hear from them.  His paper and the community are ardent supporters of Israel, and it would have been appropriate that the main local paper be paid the respect and be afforded the professional courtesy it deserved.  But for the staff at the Consulate, a local throw-away paper and a city of 34,000 were … nothing.  Luckily, we in Beverly Hills stand very well on our own.  We do good without expectation or anticipation of thanks.  And we continue our unabashed support of the only homeland for the Jewish people around the world no-matter-what!

 

Came a real diplomat and changed the culture and attitude at the Consulate.  After a pitch was made to include also the local – seemingly insignificant and unimportant – publications, Mr. Smith was invited for President Peres visit and a relationship started that is bearing fruit to this very day.

 

Similarly, slowly it was discovered that Beverly Hills is a unique city in the entire world in terms of Israel.  What makes the City so unique?  Its majority Jewish population?  The number of synagogues within its boundaries?  The large proportion of Iranians who call the City home (about 1/3 the entire City population)?  The leadership, at all elected entities – City Council, School Board, Treasurer – that is usually Jewish?

 

Beverly Hills and Israel

 

We can go back generations of BH City Councils and meet amazing people who have supported Israel in numerous ways.  Previously, mega donors to Israel call BH their home, and there is not a university, hospital or museum in Israel where their names cannot be found at the very top of the donors lists.

 

Then came to the City a philanthropist businesswoman, who does not even reside within the City proper, and turned the City into the strongest pro-Israel fort to be found anywhere in the USA.  Gina Raphael [Algemeiner author profile & JNF Interview] has utilized her connections in the City, her own money and her leadership style to do good.  She brought symposiums about water and cyber security to the City.  She marked 9/11 jointly with Israel, time and time again.  She brought the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office (i.e. the Chief Executive of Israel) to celebrate Israel on Israel’s Independence Day (the one day he should have been in Israel).  She regularly brings the different elements of the community together (i.e. Ashkenazi and Sephardi, competing Rabbis, …).  Gina serves as an example for women in business, women in leadership and women of philanthropy and for parents who would do everything to have children, and she is a bulldozer when it comes to Jewish life and the Jewish people.

 

In short, Gina Raphael managed to change the landscape like a loving, most capable gardener tending to a garden.  A magnificent and most tender work of creation.  This happened at the same time that CG David Siegel was here and changed the attitude toward public diplomacy, that started with working with the press and treating each and every one as if they are the entire world (rather than dismissing those not useful at the very moment or not rich or not important enough as rugs on which to wipe one’s feet, possibly to be used in the future if and when convenient).  It was a new world order.

 

Since then, Israel’s situation continued to deteriorate and the hatred toward Israel continued to intensify.  Ancient anti-Semitism rose again, this time around disguised as “permissible criticism of Israel.”  The United States has seen some horrific anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues.  Hate crimes against Jews rose in numbers and intensity.  The BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement has spread and managed to poison innocent minds with lies and propaganda.

 

[Blog Editor: The BDS Movement is a grievous embodiment of Antisemitic Jew-Hatred as is demonstrated by facts  rather than lying propaganda:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel is compared to evil, and anything bad that happens to Jews is not punishment enough.  Companies like Air BnB and leading figures in the entertainment world like Natalie Portman take action against Israel, for talk has now morphed into action, and even local Jews of the younger generation now support organizations that harm Israel under the guise of “human rights.”

 

And then, there is Beverly Hills, an oasis of safety and sanity, a city where the great divide – between Democrats and Republicans, Netanyahu’s supporters and detractors, Reform and Orthodox Jews – has not managed to blindside those at the helm (“every elected member in the City is Jewish,” as Dr. Julian Gold likes to say).

 

A City like no other

 

Time and again, the Council stands up to fight anti-Semitism, to support Israel, to allow a safe haven for the Jews and to remember those who perished in the Holocaust.  Why do they do it?  Likely because any student of history knows that what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews; that if we do not know our own history, we are bound to repeat it; and if we do not stand up and speak (and act), there will be no one left to stand up for us when the time comes.  Simple lessons; all practiced in Beverly Hills.

 

Nothing happens in vacuum, and the world has not come into being today.  The support for Israel has been a cornerstone of Beverly Hills for the past seven decades.  Giants like Guilford Glazer z”l [Blog Editor: For non-Jews who are unaware, when you see z”l after a person’s name, they are deceased (See CoffeeShopRabbi.com for some info)], Nate Shapell z”l, Max Well z”l, Larry Field z”l and others – many who survived the Holocaust.  Philanthropists like Paul and Herta Amir, Virginia and Frank Maas and Dick Ziman.  Past Mayors like Max Salter, MaraLee Goldman and Mark Egerman.  Journalists like Norma Zager, the former editor in chief of the Courier.  Local leaders like Sue Brucker (“How can we make Israelis understand we – Reform Jews – are Jews too?!?”).  Rabbis like Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Yossi Cunin and Rabbi Kalman Topp (a Reform and two Orthodox; a woman and two men).  City Staff like Mahdi Aluzri and Pamela Mottice-Muller (an Iraqi and a Christian).  Religious leaders like senior pastor Dave Worth (of the BH Presbyterian Church).  In short – a community, Beverly Hills like no other.

 

It would not have happened without a push and a shove and a determination by a diplomat one rarely encounters in one’s life time, and a local mother-businesswomen-leader who focuses on doing good and away from nonsense, on substance than form.  But more importantly, the lesson to be learned is to never belittle the individual, or in this case, a tiny city, seemingly insignificant, or a local paper, equally “inconsequential.”  When you treat the “widower, orphaned and foreigner among us” as equal, as deserving and worthy, God repays, most handsomely.  Pay attention in life, for that is what God wants from us.  A dear lesson to learn indeed.  And if we ignore the other, we may end up finding ourselves … on our own.

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BLOG EDITOR: I’ve apparently been placed in restricted Facebook Jail! The restriction was relegated after criticizing Democrats for supporting abortion in one post and criticizing Virginia Dems for gun-grabbing legislation and levying protester restrictions. Rather than capitulate to Facebook censorship by abandoning the platform, I choose to post and share until the Leftist censors ban me completely. Conservatives are a huge portion of Facebook. If more or all Conservatives are banned, it will affect the Facebook advertising revenue paradigm. SO FIGHT CENSORSHIP BY SHARE – SHARE – SHARE!!! Facebook notified me in pop-up on 1/20/20: “You’re temporarily restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until April 18 at 7:04 PM.”

__________________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Text enclosed by brackets and embedded links are by the Editor.

 

© Ari Bussel

 

Ari Bussel is Vice President of Operations at Saybrex International, a privately held family business specializing in the distribution of fine wines and spirits. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and has held various positions in the company since 1993.

 

Prior to joining Saybrex, Mr. Bussel served as First Lieutenant in the Center for Systems Analysis at General Headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces, where he led the implementation of the Logistics War Doctrine in the Computerized Wargame Program.

 

Mr. Bussel is involved in a variety of philanthropic and civic activities. Mr. Bussel completed the Team Beverly Hills Leadership Program and served on the Environmental Sustainability Topic Committee of the City of Beverly Hills. He was a member of the Steering Committees of former Beverly Hills Mayor MeraLee Goldman and the current Beverly Hills City Treasurer, the Hon. Eliot Finkel. Mr. Bussel also completed and participated in the Community Emergency Response Training Program of the City of Beverly Hills as well as the Crisis Response Team of the Maple Counseling Center.

 

Mr. Bussel was among the founding members and served on the boards of Gen. Shimon Erem’s Israel Christian Nexus, the Western Region of Friends of Israel Firefighters and the Israel Institute for Alternative Energy Advancement. He completed the Salvin Leadership Program of the Anti-Defamation League.

 

Mr. Bussel writes regularly. For the past decade, his weekly columns appeared in print in Israel Jewish Life, Shalom LA, Muslim World Today and Israeli Week. Mr. Bussel’s articles appear on numerous websites, including Canada Free Press, Free Republic, NewsBlaze, SlantRight and OpEdNews. He is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club.

 

Mr. Bussel received a Master of Science in Operations Research from Stanford …READ THE REST

Ari Bussel on Israel’s Water Miracle


Water Desalination

Edited by John R. Houk

February 26, 2016

 

Alas, the day is here that cultured people are using sub-texts and innuendos to blame Israel for wrongdoings never committed.  Before we, too, find her guilty by association, based on unsubstantiated allegations that sound good, let us investigate, learn from all that Israel can offer and celebrate the true Israel and the vital water lessons she provides. Ari Bussel

 

The issue of water is an extremely important issue in the Middle East. This includes the ONLY true representative democracy in the Middle East, viz. Israel. Israel is so hated by Arab Muslims that they continuously propagate lies against the Jewish State. Sadly these lies are too often believed by the Westerners of Europe and America making the diabolical Muslim liars into heroic victims rather than the Jew-hating people their religion has taught them to be.

 

The greatest of ironies is Western Left Wing Jews – particularly in America – believe these libelous lies making them a part of this Muslim Jew-hatred. What does this make Liberal Jews. That would make them self-loathing.

 

Ari Bussel elaborates on this with two email submissions. The first was sent February 23, 2016. The second was sent the next day but was actually written by Ari in 2010. It is quite eerie that Ari presciently wrote on the issue roughly six years ago only to witness an exposé in this present time. I have posted them in the order I received. Note the 2010 article is posted second.

 

JRH 2/26/16

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A Warm Embrace, A Welcome Back

 

By Ari Bussel

Sent 2/23/2016 8:39 PM

 

In 1942-1944 a new Israeli folk song and dance appeared, “Ma-im, ma-im Be-Sasson” (water, water, in joy).  It became a sensation and still exists today.  It reads, in part:  “and you will pump water in joy, from the springs of salvation.”

The decades of settlement of Eretz Israel, first under Ottoman Empire then under British rule, were most difficult.  The Land of Israel was – with very few exceptions in “major” cities – desolate and infested with malaria-bearing mosquitoes and swamps in some parts, and a harsh desert in others.   The Arab population, which was in very large part not indigenous, was doing all it could against the Jews.

There was very little food, times were tough and there were bits of horrible news coming from Europe.  The Brits were doing everything possible to avoid supporting the local Jewish population, and settling the land was a most formidable task.  

Deprived of food, sleep and proper accommodations, the settlers of the land forced themselves not to be dejected and to keep morale up.  They would dance and dance and dance to Ma-im, Ma-im, Oh, Ma-im Be-Sasson!

Today, Israel is a superpower in terms of water.  Half as much rainfall, ten times the population, seventy times the size of the economy than 70 years ago, and yet Israel is self-sufficient in terms of its water needs.  It seems that miracles indeed happen in this tiny sliver of land between the Jordan “River” and the Mediterranean.

Cotton fields in the south and banana plantations along the slopes of the Carmel mountains range, both extremely water consuming crops, stretch for miles.  There are major desalination plants, converting seawater into drinking water.  When there is little rain but conditions are right, clouds are being impregnated and rain becomes a reality.  Cities in desert areas are blooming with reclaimed water (it is easy to notice since the drip irrigation uses purple plastic hoses).  And agriculture, fresh fruits and vegetables, relies heavily on reclaimed water.  

Science and technology have developed around and as a result of necessity.  Harsh conditions dictate a reality of either importing water or becoming self-sufficient.  And Israel has long learned the lesson she cannot rely on anyone but herself for her own survival.

Yet Israel has not kept her achievements to herself.  Quite the contrary, she constantly shares, following the motto “light unto the nations.”  From East to West Africa, India to China, and now coming to the USA, Israel’s water technology is being spread for the general good to everyone’s benefit.

Even in the immediate neighborhood, where wars have been fought because of water and neighbors want to destroy one another as a matter of tradition, pastime sport and culture than any real reason, Israel shares her know-how with her sworn enemies.  

Syria, whose water resources were stolen by Turkey, was being assisted by Israel, pure cooperation without media fanfare, until the civil war erupted.  

In Syria, vast agricultural areas dried up, forcing the farmers to migrate to the major cities or starve.  This caused immense pressure on the political and economic systems, which contributed to the unrest.

The world at large recognizes Israel’s position and contributions in the area of water, except a few Jews and others right here in America.

National Geographic

National Geographic for me has always been an icon.  We used to collect the yellow-and-white-cover magazines and to order the leather binders for each year.  Before the advent of the Internet and smartphones, when travel was limited and extremely expensive, National Geographic took us to wondrous places to see amazing things only nature could create.

We trusted National Geographic; to be fair and balanced, to be neutral in anything and everything with one exception, standing for the might and wonder which is nature.

Little did I expect that National Geographic would betray all that it represented, when its photographers and editors chose to dedicate a whole issue to the subject of water, a scarce – and sacred – resource, and about one fifth of this special issue to the “evils” of Israel.  Oh, so innocent.  Oh, so deceiving.

Israelis “stealing” water!  Israelis enjoying abundance of water at a pool or the Sea of Galilee, in contrast with Jordanian kids with swollen stomachs or skeleton bodies and a non-existent water supply.  Israelis vs. nomad Bedouins.  Israelis growing Bananas minus the tiny caveat that only reclaimed water is used, exclaiming in the text how water consuming are the banana plants.  And it went on and on.  Israel the devil and those horrible Israelis.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and Israelis, who cannot fathom twisting the truth to no (or ill) gain, ignored it.  This Water Issue was allowed to sell in Israel, and Israelis did not go out to the streets in protest.  The distance between reality and false propaganda was so fantastic, that Israelis simply refused to pay attention.

Alas, a major (Jewish) philanthropist, daughter of the Annenbergs whose name adorns music centers and other cultural landmarks, decided to open her “Space for Photography” in Century City (a Los Angeles neighborhood bordering the City of Beverly Hills) with the National Geographic water exhibit.

Shame, people shouted.  All approaches to her offices and foundation were ignored as superfluous and meaningless noise.  Two icons came together, National Geographic and philanthropic wealth.  “Water!” was a lucrative enough title, and with the brand name of National Geographic and a newly opened “museum” in the heart of Century City, success was guaranteed.  Why should anyone worry about truth, ethics or integrity?

Water Summit @ The Wallis

Some years passed.  Annenberg gave $25m to a new Cultural Center in Beverly Hills, now named after her.  On March 1-3, 2016, a Water Summit will be held in Beverly Hills, at the Wallis.  It is part of a series of such summits throughout the United States, held by Jewish National Fund, a local non-profit.

More importantly, it is part of a Memorandum Of Understanding between Israel and the City of Beverly Hills (there was a similar MOU signed with the State of California).

Mayor Dr. Julian Gold (on the right)Mayor Gold (on the right) welcoming the Israeli Water Summit to Beverly Hills, at a Kickoff Event, 2/22/2016

Mayor Dr. Julian Gold, Congressman Ed Royce, Consul General David Siegel and other dignitaries will assemble at the Wallis to explore the wonders that Israel brings to the world in terms of Water.

Congressman Ed Royce

Congressman Ed Royce                                         

Israeli Consul General David Siegel

Consul General David Siegel                                                

There will be a representative of major labor unions, major investment funds, government officials, activists and residents.  In short, people will come to learn about all that Israel has to offer in terms of water, highlighting truth, not fiction; reality, not false fabrications.

This is more important now more than ever, with two thirds of humanity and 40 States of the Union facing severe water shortages.  In California alone, the source for half the agriculture in the USA, one million acres were lost last year due to the ongoing drought, now in its fifth year.

In a breakfast event to kick off the California-Israel Water Summit, there were those who remembered the National Geographic Water Issue and the Annenberg Space for Photography’s decision to showcase it as its opening act.  They looked at one another and inquired, who knows Wallis Annenberg, to extend her an invitation to the Water Summit.

There is no need for an apology.  Correcting past misdeeds and evil-doings such as the betrayal, especially young ones and those most loyal ones, by National Geographic and its editorial staff will not do any good, after the seeds of lies and deception have germinated.  But the truth has a tendency to eventually emerge and see the light of day, contrary to any ill intentions.

It happens every year when Israeli pilots fly over Auschwitz.  When the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces leads Israeli soldiers there.  It happens when anyone visits Israel and discovers for him or herself her numerous miracles of existence.  And it will happen when Wallis Annenberg comes to the cultural center at this iconic city, a center that carries her name, and will be welcomed with the love and appreciation that exists toward a sister; even if she made an error in the past.

 

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Op-Ed: The Water Ambassadors

Under the guise of a photographic exhibit, a new blood libel, using water, has come to the surface.
Ari BusselBy Ari Bussel

Sent 2/24/2016 1:20 AM

Original Publication May 24, 2010 1:42 PM

Arutz Sheva 7 – Israel National News

 

Agriculture and water played a pivotal role in Biblical history, to such an extent that Jewish people still bless G-d every day, “He who returns the wind and brings down the rain” or “He who brings down the early morning dew” depending on the time of the year.  Without water, the Land of Milk and Honey would become barren and dry, its trees would wither, its future in doubt.

 

All it takes is to accuse Israel of the wrongdoings her enemies never hesitated to commit.

 

Water is intrinsically intertwined in Israel’s history, from parting the sea to allow the escape from tyranny and slavery to the days the Israelites were wandering the desert and yet all their needs were met.  Other highlights include Elijah the Prophet standing with his head on the line on Mount Carmel seeing a tiny father-of-cloud approaching; supplying water to Jerusalem in King David’s time; the aqueducts built during the Roman period from Haifa to Caesarea – still standing today – and during the same era, the water-collecting and storing mechanism in the Masada fortress at the Dead Sea.

Now, at the beginning of the 21st Century, water has become the new blood libel against Israel.  Seeing the effectiveness of repeating the argument “The Holocaust Never Happened,” Israel’s enemies now use against her the very weapon once used to parch the Jewish inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem in an attempt to force them to surrender.  All it takes is to accuse Israel of the wrongdoings her enemies never hesitated to commit. No proof needed, just the chutzpa to promote the big lie.

Water assumes a modern, everyday importance as well.  The most known phrase in Israel is “It’s a shame to waste a drop”–of water.  Every drop of water is crucial, from not wasting water to clean one’s car (use a bucket rather than a hose) to using a two-tier water container in the bathroom and soaping dishes with the faucet off.  Water is so expensive in Israel that people are trained, from very early age, to conserve.  

This week the largest desalination plant opened in Israel, changing seawater to drinking water that actually taste good.  Israel has long been the leader and pioneer in water technologies, from drip irrigation to gray water usage in agriculture. (For INN’s article featuring this, click here).

A classroom guide about water for grades one through 12 is readily available online and in numerous textbooks.  Water is part of the curriculum in Israel, thus reinforcing what children learn out of necessity at home.  Moreover, water is the subject of songs and dances in Israel, truly embracing a cultural experience.

It is exactly in this context that foreign photojournalists came to Israel to take pictures and tell a story.  The story is part of a major project, a special National Geographic issue about a thirsty world.  

What did they find in Israel?  Somehow, none of the things I described, not a thing that every Israeli child has experienced since early age:  the great respect shown a very scarce resource, the admiration, the dependence and the knowledge that water comes with a price. Every first, second and third grader in Israel can educate the world about water and its conservation.  

Against that background of care and conservation, the photojournalists did not describe the Israeli reality.  Instead, they focused on a story they wanted to tell, one of hatred and suspicion, one twisting reality into an attack on the Jewish State.  

Dressed as a photo exhibit, National Geographic blames a water shortage and the ills of the region on Israel.  The Dead Sea is drying up and it is Israel’s fault.  Israelis consume more water than Arabs, supposedly, and this too is Israel’s fault.  With ever increasing population pressures throughout the arid Middle East, there is a decreasing water table, so BLAME ISRAEL.  No word on Arab destruction of the aquifer and warnings of Israeli water experts on Arab misuse of water sources.

Reinforcing the photo-exhibit message are pictures and captions showing Israel supposedly exploiting water  by growing crops that are high consumers of water. Implying Israel does not know her right from her left in agriculture is foolish given most crop types were refined over the decades to better adapt to the climate and that each farmer gets strict allotments. In addition, most irrigation types and water used—gray water—were developed for lessening Israel’s dependence on water. Israelis invented water saving drip irrigation.

 

Israelis invented water saving drip irrigation.

 

The sophisticated National Geographic photojournalists with their ultra sensitive cameras and amazingly twisted hearts and minds set out to frame Israel for crimes she never committed.  It is easy to accuse, and let the lies carry in the wind, like fire in a dry field on a scorching day.  

“More humanity per pixel” says the Los Angeles-based Annenberg Foundation that opted to host the exhibit during the fifty days between Passover and Shavuot.  But let us celebrate water, not hate, and let us learn from Israel and her long history intermingled and dependent on water.  We must disallow the spread of propaganda against Israel under the guise of a National Geographic photo exhibit.

 

Alas, the day is here that cultured people are using sub-texts and innuendos to blame Israel for wrongdoings never committed.  Before we, too, find her guilty by association, based on unsubstantiated allegations that sound good, let us investigate, learn from all that Israel can offer and celebrate the true Israel and the vital water lessons she provides.

Israel needs each and every one of us to combat the lies.  The war does not rage in Israel proper, but right here in Los Angeles and on campuses throughout North America.  It is in museums and places of culture and thought, locations that should have been the first to reject the lies, yet most adamantly embrace them.

To counter the lies we need to become Israel’s true Water Ambassadors and restore to the world a semblance of sanity and respect before the truth is buried forever.

In a new leaflet by the Los Angeles based Simon Wiesenthal Center, “2010 Top Ten Anti-Israel Lies,” water is not mentioned.  A recent lecture by a doctoral student titled “Thirsting the Palestinians” held at Loyola Law School in Downtown Los Angeles and a billboard on Sunset Strip promoting the same lies were just appetizers.  The Annenberg Exhibit is ushering in hatred with all its glory, propaganda with all its might, via no other doors than those of the Jewish Community itself.  The very leaders of the community seem not to have noticed what the exhibition is saying–or have they?

Shame, Wallis Annenberg.  Your love of photography and your family’s many contributions to culture cannot justify your helping to propagate hatred toward Israel and the Jewish People.  Take action, lest you remain an accessory, a major facilitator in fact, to this horrible blood libel.

It is time to stand up and speak against the continued delegitimization, demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish State. Lest we ask later “why did we not do something about Israel’s fall when we had a chance,” let us answer the following now:  If not we, who, and if not now, when?

 

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A Warm Embrace, A Welcome Back

 

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between award-winning investigative journalist and author Zager and Bussel, a foreign correspondent reporting from Israel.

Ari Bussel and Norma Zager collaborate both in writing and on the air in a point-counterpoint discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

© Israel Monitor, February, 2016

First Published February 22, 2016

Contact:  bussel@me.com 

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Op-Ed: The Water Ambassadors

 

© Arutz Sheva, All Rights Reserved

 

Ari Bussel

 

Ari Bussel is an activist with a deep passion and commitment to truth. His continuous fact-finding missions to the Middle East to secure truthful and factual information about the status of the situation are disseminated to a worldwide audience through his letters, journals and articles. Bussel is a graduate of UCLA and Stanford. His area of expertise is Israel’s Public Diplomacy.

 

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