Awakening My Israel Gene


Ben-Gurion Airport

Imagine having a known heritage stretching back thousands of years. Norma Zager recently traveled to Israel. Norma is Jewish so she got to experience the exhilarating feeling of coming to Israel and knowing who she is and the struggles and victories of the Jewish people.

 

[Norma sent a huge amount of photos of her Israel experience. I am including many but not all. Sorry about that Norma.]

 

JRH 10/28/18

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Awakening My Israel Gene

 

By Norma Zager

Sent October 28, 2018 12:39 AM

 

For a writer, knowing you have to write something can be a mixed blessing. The urge to fill a page with gleaming rhetoric and prolific phrases can be quite motivating at times, and yet…there are other times when it can be downright intimidating. It is with much trepidation I begin this piece.

 

By all accounts there should be a million words rushing forward to describe my first trip to Israel. So much seen and felt, a lifetime of expectations achieved.

 

As a baby boomer I shared the experience with my fellow boomers of filling coin-cards in Sunday school with a clear understanding of our responsibilities toward the modern Jewish State. Our nickels and dimes would plant forests and help Israel grow and prosper. It was as natural to us as breathing, and we held a vested interest in this historical effort.

 

So recently when I found myself walking out of the plane and stepped foot on Israeli ground for the first time, I was both emotional and strangely at home; not quite certain what or how to feel. Although waiting in line to get through customs tested my ardor, I remained in a sleep-deprived coma of disbelief that I was actually standing on sacred soil.

 

It took the entire 70 years or Israel’s existence as a modern country for Norma to finally arrive

When my friend Ari showed up at the airport and we headed to his cousin’s home for Shabbat dinner, it felt so natural I really did not think anything unusual about the evening. Yes, I thought this is Shabbat in an Israeli home, but the table filled with every food you could possibly imagine and the warm entreaties to eat, eat, eat seemed as familiar as the sunshine.

 

Shabbat Meal

Having the good fortune to have my friend Ari along on my journey made the experience more unique. His American-Israel dual citizenship affords him a perspective I could not achieve. I see and feel American, he both. I gazed at a landscape in Tel Aviv and saw what reminded me of Central Park South, while he saw the IDF GHQ offices in the building where he had served.

 

Still I waited to feel the explosion of excitement I was certain would arise and overwhelm me, but it was all so normal, it felt odd.

 

The next morning after I had checked into my hotel in Jerusalem, I began my day with an Israeli breakfast. No lack of calories here. My first response was that I was having one of those diet dreams, as I perused the endless buffet of items from eggs, salads, breads and cheeses to cereals, desserts and pastries as far as the eye could see. Aha, I thought, thank Goodness I brought elastic waist pants along.

 

After I had ingested enough calories to sustain me for a month, I headed for the Old City and the Western Wall, or as I continued to refer to it from my childhood, the Wailing Wall. I was corrected many times by Ari who reminded me we are not “wailing” any longer, thus the name no longer applies. Yet feeling certain I would be wailing at the wall, the moniker felt appropriate.

 

I traversed cobblestone streets past endless cubicles filled with Jewish and Christian paraphernalia, as Arab merchants shouted pleas to enter and buy and then insults when I did not comply with their wishes.

 

I wandered until suddenly in front of my eyes was a flight of steps leading to the Wall. I numbly moved ahead uncertain how or if I would feel.

 

Standing at the top of the steps leading down to the wall is a panoramic view that is at once breathtaking and quite surreal. Is it real or a picture? Am I really here or simply watching a video taken by a friend who had previously visited?

 

I descended at a snail’s pace, staring at the wall, waiting for the emotional rush I had always expected and envisioned, but instead there was numbness, almost disbelief akin to shock.

 

I grew closer. When I got to the wall I placed my hand upon the ancient stone expecting a charge of electricity; still nothing. I prayed and attempted to place my prayer into the overflowing crevices in the wall, then backed away dropping down onto one of the chairs. I stared for some time then walked up and prayed again. It was very hot and I was feeling grateful to be in the shade when suddenly a river of emotion washed over me. I fought it back, afraid I might flood the entire area with a river of tears.

 

This is how I managed my emotions the entire trip, holding back tears refusing to go to a place so deep inside it might overwhelm and consume me totally.

 

At the Wall my friend Chaya met me to take me to her home for Shabbat lunch. She and her husband Ronnie had made Aliyah to Israel over 14 years before. Walking in the Old City like a Jewish mountain goat and arriving alive without suffering a heart attack from what seemed like thousands of steps and hills seemed like a miracle, but of course I was in the place where they happen regularly, so why be surprised?

 

Sharing an incredible Shabbat meal with friends as though no time at all had passed, I felt blessed. I was feeling blessed every minute, every second I was there. Yes, there is a lot of food, we are Jewish, it is who we are so get over it.

 

I did not absorb all the emotion until I returned home and finally allowed myself to open the floodgates. Being there and close to tears most of the time, I needed to process what I felt.

 

Was it that I was a Jew coming home at last?

 

Being welcomed at Yad VaShem

Was it walking through Yad Vashem and channeling the cries and pain of my grandmother and aunt in the camps or wading gleefully in the Dead Sea?

 

At the Dead (“Salt”) Sea “I am healed!”

 

Was it standing on a mountain overlooking the ancient city of Jericho that Joshua had fought to capture, but now had been given away so we could no longer enter without risking our lives?

 

Was it a sense of pride gazing over palm trees and orchards at what my people had created in a desert?

 

Or the sight of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus? Swelling with emotion and pride and a tie to the past that tugs at one’s heart so profoundly?

Our visit to a solar company creating products to light and modernize Africa?

 

The Temple Mount as viewed from Mount Scopus 

The incredible work in Tel Aviv’s tech center including a new tiny module that can see for the blind?

 

Was it a sense of loss for everything that had gone before and those with whom I could never share this joyous moment?

 

Was it how amazing it felt to see my Christian friends tearful and overcome with emotion as they experienced the Jewish State?

 

Or finally understanding why there is a battle for Israel that raises such enormous emotional levels in people throughout the world?

 

Perhaps it was simply that inside us all there is an Israel gene lying dormant to be truly awakened when we step foot on its land. A land where history disappears and we meander through Biblical times as easily as Moses or Jesus who return to stroll beside us.

 

We all felt, we all shed tears, we all knew we were in a blessed place. No matter Jewish or Christian, we shared a unique bond recognizing what we were witnessing and experiencing.

 

Israel is real. Trite to say perhaps, but also the most real we may ever feel. Emotions are heightened and there is vibrancy, a special lens through which our eyes see brighter, clearer and enhanced somehow.

 

I feel especially lucky to have been able to witness that it is not just a Jewish feeling, but transcends and encompasses the human race in its entirety. The Judeo-Christian world sharing this special time with wonderful new friends from all over the world like Pucci from Manila, Monique from Jakarta, Chris now living and working in Israel, Margaret from Kenya or Sylvia from Spain; everyone on the trip felt the same emotions. Fellow travelers so anxious to engage about their own personal Israel experience.

 

Walking up the hills of Jerusalem, Monique from Indonesia, Norma from the USA and Pucci from the Philippines [Miracles do happen, as the emphasis is on “walking!”]

 

That magnetic pull of history, an ancient legacy of love, hate, war, peace and hope. We all belong to the State of Israel and the State of Israel belongs in us all.

 

The Jewish people inherited the right to guard and protect its borders, to defend our homeland – this amazing paradise – from invading armies as we have done so throughout our history and will continue. Seeing soldiers with innocent young faces armed and prepared to give their lives for this ancient and charismatic land saddens and warms us at once.

 

It is our charge and our destiny, one the Jewish people embrace with joy and rapture.

 

We do not visit Israel; we all go home to Israel. Once you understand this, you really never leave her borders.

 

And may we all say, “Next Year in Jerusalem!”

 

“I AM COMING BACK!” “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!”

 

 

More photos  from Norma Zagers time in the Jewish National Home Land:

 

An Ethiopian Israeli preparing a Hungarian baked specialty inside the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, where several years ago a homicide bomber blew himself up for 70 virgins in heaven

 

 About to enter the Israeli Parliament, the “Knesset”

 

With colleague and “partner in crime” Ari Bussel, where the President usually receives official guests

 

A show inside the David Citadel

 

Walking toward the opening reception with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 

Norma Zager with Nitzan Chen, Head of the Government Press Office:  “I must take a picture with Bibi, a Jewish Grandmother cannot be stopped!”

 

The following morning, “Did you see the front page of the J Post?”

PM Pledges to Appoint Israeli Envoy to Christian World

 

“Bibi’s Fan Club” – breakfast in Israel

From Kenya to the UK, Canada to Indonesia

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This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between Zager, award-winning investigative journalist and author, and Bussel, a foreign correspondent reporting from Israel.  The series, now in its 11th year has been transformed to a radio program, “Conversations Eye to Eye,” “The Jewish Voice on Christian Radio.”

 

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

 

© Israel Monitor- October 2018

 

First Published October 28, 2018

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

World Peace for a Piece of Cheesecake


Norma Zager has found the key to world peace. A great read. Enjoy/

Trump, Putin & Netanyahu -- Shabbat Meal

JRH 12/28/17

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World Peace for a Piece of Cheesecake

By Norma Zager

Sent 12/26/2017 3:15 PM

 

Sabbath dinner isn’t an accident. On Friday nights in the Jewish religion when families sit down to a stuff fest of meats, chicken soup, salads, starches and desserts, there is a grand design afoot.

 

When a group of relations is in one place long enough, it will not be long before the temperature rises and old wounds like where Aunt Rose was forced to sit at the wedding and why Uncle Sol didn’t come to cousin Lilli’s funeral will surface.

 

God looked down at the first Sabbath dinner and in his infinite wisdom figured out that the more carbs he stuffs into his people the less strength they will have for bloodshed.

 

And so the tradition was born.

 

Not just in Jewish homes, but all religions where food is a necessity at family gatherings. Granted the Jews and Italians have risen overfeeding to an art form, but it has definitely caught on in a big way.

 

It has thus occurred to me at numerous times in my life the way world leaders look when they sit down to negotiate. Hungry and cranky like a small baby whose bottle is a few minutes late in arriving.  Sitting in their high chair with cross little looks on their face, lips quivering and pouting close to tears as they wait feeding.

 

Perhaps little Vladimir needs his borscht fix. Would a big boiled potato and some sour cream make it all better for little Vlad?  If he is stuffing his face perhaps he will stop attacking other countries.

 

I am never more aware that there is world hunger than when I see world leaders sit down to “talk.”

 

Honestly Teresa, I know the British are not big foodies, but maybe a good meal of fish and chips before chatting about terrorism?

 

Of course the Chinese are a challenge. By the time they finish eating and walk to the bargaining table they, are hungry again. No wonder Xi made such a deal about the chocolate cake.

 

Angela Angela, maybe lay off so much sauerbraten at lunchtime. A nice green salad and fruit perhaps?

 

If you look at some of these meetings, you will see that of everyone, Bibi Netanyahu is usually the most smiley, which is truly ironic since not a day goes by that Israel is not condemned, maligned, attacked or threatened.

 

So why should Bibi smile? Simply, because he is probably the most well fed of the bunch.

 

I am sure the Mossad has a special detail to ensure that he is never without a hot meal, a snack and some of his grandmother’s mandal bread.

 

If you look at Congress today you can tell in one minute who is not eating.

 

Obviously no one from California, as eating anything but micro greens is against state law.

 

If Nancy Pelosi would spend as much time stuffing her face with chocolate as she does Botox the country would be a far better place.

 

Chuck Chuck Chuckala. You’re a New York Jew.  Stop with the crying and kvetching and EAT!!!

 

Paul you’re looking thin, how about a nice Filet Mignon with garlic-mashed potatoes and green beans?

 

Elizabeth Warren, oh Lord where do I begin? Perhaps some corn chowder and Maine Lobster. Nope, I think a roll in the hay is required when someone is that damn sour.

 

Mitch, taste the fried chicken, it’s out of this world.

 

Bernie Bernie Bernie.  I know you’re not a practicing Jew anymore, but maybe a taste of your mother’s chicken soup with kreplach will put a smile on that puss.

 

It is important to remember that when someone is hungry their blood sugar drops. If you don’t believe that physical circumstances can affect a person’s personality, perhaps you’ve never met a woman PMSing and driving to a 7/11 at two in the morning for a Hershey bar.  Oh that’s right, that was me.

 

In order for the world to be a safer place, we need better catering. I have seen pictures of leaders in discussion, and when there is a plate of food on the table, it’s usually only cookies or donuts.  This is nourishment? I think not. Sugar rush, blood levels peak and fall. Not good for a long time peace process.

 

Bust out a basket of bagels, lox, cream cheese and cut up veggies.  A platter of cheeses and some scrambled eggs, and then we’ll talk. Tough to say hostile things when you’re chewing an onion roll wit a schmear.

 

I guarantee the state of the world would alter immediately if the meals improved.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that if President Trump invited Chuck to the White House and they sat down to a big Sabbath dinner, unbuttoned their pants and had an extra piece of rugalach, much more would get done.

 

Many believe the Jewish people have survived because of their senses of humor. Perhaps that’s big part, but I claim it’s the food. The family that eats together grows together; in more ways than one.

 

If the world would only take my advice, I guarantee the conversation would go like this:

 

Trump and Vlad stuffed to the gills on brisket, borscht and cheesecake all catered by New York’s famous Katz’s Deli.

 

Trump, unbuttoning his pants. “Vlad, I’m so over Assad. He is causing such problems in the Middle East.  Do me a solid here and let’s find a new guy who’ll work with both of us, and dump the butcher.”

 

Vlad, loosening the tie on his sweat pants “ But I need that port, you know I can’t be without such a strategic waterway. Come on, you know I love the power.”

 

“Vlad Vlad Vlad, I’ve got a guy, a cousin of my baker says he knows a guy in Syria that will let you keep the port and also work with our partners in the Middle East. You give a little, we give a little; we can do this. More strawberries on your cheesecake?”

 

“Just a spoonful. You think this guy knows what he’s talking about?”

 

“You’ve had three pieces of his cheesecake, would he lie?”

 

“No, this guy knows his stuff. Tell you what, I’ll meet with him, but I need this recipe?”

 

“I can make that happen. Now lets talk about little rocket man.”

 

“Please Donald, I’m eating, don’t ruin my meal here. We’ll discuss him tomorrow at brunch. Maybe you’ll serve those delicious cronuts?”

 

Peace for our time so much better than Chamberlain. But of course the British have never gotten the whole food thing.

___________________

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

 

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

© Israel Monitor, December, 2017

 

First Published December 24, 2017

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

There’s No Denying ‘Denial’ is a Must See


Here is a trailer to the movie ‘Denial,’ based on the true story of a Holocaust denier’s civil suit against Deborah E. Lipstadt portrayed by the actress Rachel Weisz:

 

VIDEO: Denial Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Rachel Weisz Movie HD

 

 

Posted by Movieclips Trailers

Published on Jun 15, 2016

 

 

Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.

The Fandango MOVIECLIPS Trailers channel is READ THE REST

 

 rachel-weisz-and-prof-deborah-lipstadt

Rachel Weisz (LEFT) – Deborah Lipstadt (Right)

 

JRH 9/28/16

Please Support NCCR

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There’s No Denying ‘Denial’ is a Must See

 

By Norma Zager

Sent Sep 24, 2016 at 11:00 PM

 

Deuteronomy 4:9 reads:

 

9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes saw, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but make them known unto thy children and thy children’s children;

In the dedication to me, some ten years ago, Prof. Lipstadt quoted Deuteronomy 32:7:

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, thine elders, and they will tell thee.

You are invited to read Norma Zager’s “There’s No Denying Denial is a Must See.”  Denial, in theaters this coming Friday. –Ari Bussel

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Sometimes amidst the grandeur and sequel addiction of Hollywood movie making an important movie is created. Denial is such a film.

The story is based on a lawsuit brought in British courts by Holocaust denier and Hitler advocate David Irving against Professor Deborah Lipstadt.

 

A pivotal point of the movie for me was contained in a question asked by the British judge following the summations: If someone is an anti-Semite, but they truly believe what they are saying, can you prove intent to subvert the truth?

 

An interesting conundrum indeed; can evil be justified if one is a true believer, however wrong they may be? It is a compelling question that good people can easily discern. Were the Nazis guilty of murderous acts if they truly believed the Jews deserved to die? If Muslim extremists believe all other religions are Infidels, is that a justification for their murderous ways?

 

In this time of rampant anti-Semitism perhaps I am taking a risk in posing that question, but it is a fact that so much anti-Jewish, anti-Christian sentiment exists today, that question must be asked. Its implications are universal and timeless.

 

Watching the scenes shot at Auschwitz, I felt the cold chill of death hovering and creeping down my back. The inescapable evil and atrocities committed timothy-spall-as-david-irving-in-denial-at-auschwitzby the Germans are second only to those who would deny their existence.

 

But this is not just about the Holocaust; except as it exists as a lesson that evil has lived amongst us forever and continues to do so.

Wars, bombs and trials will not eradicate the dark side of human beings from this planet. Just as cockroaches may be bombed in an entire neighborhood and still thrive in another area of the city.

 

What is dangerous however and what Denial pointed out was that denying or justifying evil only allows it to thrive and grow.

 

Would anyone in their right mind say it is permissible for ISIS to burn a human being alive, to commit the most heinous of evil acts under the guise of true conviction? Because one totally believes Infidels must die, does that mean it is so?

 

As Dr. Lipstadt points out, some things just are:  The earth is round, there was a Black Plague and Elvis is not alive. There was a Holocaust. Some things we just know. Is not any discussion of these issues giving validity to alternate theories and allowing for a contrary and wrong-minded point of view?

 

Because there are some who wish to dispute these facts and offer fictitious proof of their corrupted ideas, does that change the truth?

 

People should know two things:  The Holocaust existed, and the soul of the world ceased to exist in the gas chambers.

 

As I watched Rachel Weisz, who so brilliantly portrays Lipstadt, standing in Auschwitz reciting a Hebrew prayer, in my mind’s eye I saw the ghosts of my family who perished there. Of all the families who lost loved ones, friends and neighbors.

 

Attempting to create a new truth through the use of lies and denial does not alter reality for any except those who choose to believe that which will support their evil intentions.

 

This is not just a movie; it is a look into the future.

 

As radical Islamists destroy religious icons and traces of Christianity and Judaism as they march across the Middle East and the west, I am worried that when the witnesses to their evil are gone and their task complete, no one will remember and testify to what once was.

 

Denial is a rich and intriguing reminder of how much haters can achieve under the auspices of free speech and political correctness.

The movie is brilliantly acted and the story could not be presented at a better time in human history.

 

As evil challenges the world, we are once again faced with the unpleasant task of stopping its march.

 

In sixty years will another professor be taken on for writing and speaking the truth? Will the effort to stop them be successful, or will good overcome?

 

The power of Denial lies in its truth and passion and in the reality that fighting evil is like a Whack-a-Mole game. Hit one and another pops up.

 

Dr. Lipstadt’s courage is admirable and inspiring; the reality of what she faced, frightening and haunting. Her courage and determination was moving and the brilliance of her legal team inspiring. I cannot escape the fact the story, as compelling as it is, is enhanced by incredible performances.

history-in-triak-bk-jk

Today evil does not exist solely in concentration camps, on one continent or in any single area. It spread like the Black Plague, airborne and deadly.

 

How we shall combat its escalation remains to be seen, but attributing any justification or denying its existence is the ultimate recipe for disaster.

 

The very nature of evil’s existence lies in its conviction good men are reactive and will only strike when pushed far enough. One must wonder after this movie how far is far enough?

 

Altering the facts will never change them, and understanding we must reawaken our passion to protect the moral high ground is paramount to our continuation as a species.

 

Denial is a movie that must be seen, not just because it so eloquently portrays one event in human history, but because it is the reminder the past can never be rewritten and – no matter how ugly – can never be denied.

 

history-on-trial-autographed-title-page

Deborah Lipstadt Autographed Title Page

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This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, September, 2016

 

First Published September 23, 2016

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

The Problem with Cockroaches


ISIS Cockroaches

Here is a tongue-in-cheek essay by Norma Zager. Norma uses cockroaches as a metaphor for ISIS and other global evils such as North Korea. What does one do when infested with cockroaches? One figures out how to get rid of them. When getting rid of cockroaches, how do you think the U.S. government’s Rules of Engagement (ROE) are in getting rid of Islamic terrorism and other global evils. If you get the point – ENJOY. If don’t understand the subject matter, you may be a part of it.

 

JRH 8/18/16

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The Problem with Cockroaches

 

By Norma Zager

Sent 8/17/2016 10:01 PM

 

“Violence is never the answer but sometimes, like with cockroaches, it is the only possible response.”  Tanya Huff

 

 

Watching the world decide what to do about Isis is both a comical and frustrating effort. One is forced to wonder the common sense level of these so called world leaders that discuss ad nauseam the problem of these cockroaches and what can and should be done to alleviate the world of this deadly infestation. I don’t think Walmart sells roach hotels the size of Syria.

 

Simply another infestation of cockroaches scurrying through the world and spreading their disease until someone roach bombs them out of existence.

 

I have to wonder if Hitler and his fun group of merry men were alive today, how the world would react. My guess is we’d all be speaking German, except of course for the few Jewish people left on earth who actually wouldn’t be speaking at since they’d no longer exist.

 

The world leaders of today make Neville Chamberlain look like Joseph Stalin. And we thought Chamberlain was a wuss!

 

Evil men are free to speak, do and plan their malice without any repercussions, in fact the more evil you espouse, the more the world seems to cater to your demands. What a great time to be alive, for the wicked that is.

 

North Korea’s little wannabe Cruella De Vil sends off missiles in preparation for the day he will achieve accuracy and hit Rodeo Drive.

 

And what is the penalty for this little cockroach? Someone calls China and asks,” Can’t you do something about your naughty child, he’s causing trouble again?”

 

China of course responds they will do what they can, but you know that boys will be boys. Then they go about their business of feeding and clothing this monster and allowing him to grow and continue plotting his malevolence.

 

Has the world never heard of a roach bomb? Or a roach motel where you could invite the little creep inside using Dennis Rodman as bait and as the ad says, roaches go in but they don’t come out! Problem solved.

 

Of course the list is endless and the fact the US pays and enables Mullahs in Iran who regularly espouse destroying Israel, and shouting “Death to America! Death to Israel!” makes one wonder who the madmen really are here.

 

But oh well, boys will be boys, right Adolph?

 

So what is being done to stop the flow of evil?

 

We hear that Isis is being bombed, and yet Isis bombs seem to be spreading to Paris, Nice, Orlando, Riverside, Istanbul, Belgium, Germany and all points west.

 

Hey, is someone putting roach killer in those bombs or is Isis getting hit with politically correct bug spray that stuns but doesn’t kill.

 

So as I sit picturing the geniuses that are planning Isis’s demise, I can only imagine how those meetings go.

 

I should think if one sees a cockroach there are only two responses. A giant shoe and an understanding he is not an orphan and there are thousands more hiding where he came from.

 

As ridiculous as I find this scenario, can you imagine the cockroach’s response to this craziness?

 

Cockroach Charlie runs out from under the kitchen counter, looks up and sees a human. He stops, looks and waits to be squashed, but nothing.

 

The human makes a call to the other people in the house.

 

“We need a meeting.  There’s a cockroach in the kitchen.”

 

They gather to discuss their options.

 

“I think we have a cockroach.”

 

Horror facial responses exhibited.

 

“What should we do?

 

“I don’t know, shouldn’t we call the neighbors and check to see if they have cockroaches too?”

 

They concur.

 

“But which neighbors should we call?  I mean we want the ones with the biggest feet after all.”

 

They concur.

 

“Yes, but last time we had a problem when only the big-footed neighbors were called, and it is only fair we all take turns.”

 

“I know, but if we call neighbors with small feet they may miss and not hit the cockroaches.”

 

“Or there are some that may claim the cockroaches are their friends.”

 

“You’re right.  We have had cockroach-friendly neighbors before, and we just got more of them in the end.

 

“I know, and some of the neighbors want to be politically correct about the roaches. They claim that cockroaches under 18 shouldn’t be bombed. They need jobs, not bug spray.”

 

“You’re right, but how do we kill them without hurting the little roaches?”

 

“Good question.  Maybe we should call a meeting of everyone and set some ground rules. Then publish them and leave ample time for comments. I mean, we don’t want to look bad to other condo buildings in the neighborhood who might claim we were using excessive force.”

 

“Plus, some of the neighbors aren’t talking and we can’t put them in a room together, so we’ll need separate meetings for them.”

 

“Good idea.  Let’s plan a schedule of meetings to discuss the limits and guidelines for killing roaches. I mean, who will pay for the spray? Should we tent the place and do it all at once? Should we just yell under the sink and give them a warning and a certain time period to get out? Maybe there are some who could be turned into humans?”

 

“And don’t forget shoe size. How big a shoe should we use? Are there rules about that? What kind of shoe, Dutch wooden one, pump, maybe a sling back? Or should it be a boot or a sandal? And should those boots actually be allowed to touch the ground? I think we should vote on that one. You know Marcia in 3B gets hysterical about boots on the ground.”

 

“Perhaps James Taylor is free to come and sing them a few peace songs?”

 

“How about calling in a mediator to handle the discussions, maybe make a deal?  I hear cockroaches can be tough negotiators. Trump will probably be free now to act as a “neutral” intermediary.”

 

Meanwhile back in the kitchen the cockroaches are partying. They broke out the booze and are singing, dancing and attacking the pantry with a ferocity only a celebratory roach can muster.

 

Six months later the meetings are still being planned and discussions held. The roaches are laughing while parading in a conga line singing La Cucaracha throughout the entire city.

 

History has proven when we dismiss evil and stand by and watch, bad stuff happens.

 

God gave man a memory so he wouldn’t repeat his mistakes and yet, shockingly, that’s exactly what he does.

 

Almost 60 million people died during World War II.

 

Do the wusses in charge today truly believe if you ignore evil it just fades away, like a rash from eating strawberries?

 

Or a cockroach can one day turn into a butterfly?

 

Wake up and smell the hummus gentlemen, before the cockroaches inherit the earth.

 

Oh, I forgot, they will.

 

I must apologize to any cockroaches that were offended by a comparison to Isis, the Mullahs or Kim Jong-un.

_____________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, August, 2016

 

First Published August 17, 2016

Contact:  bussel@me.com

What Me Worry?


antisemitism defined

Do you hate Jews? If you are studious Muslim you might answer of course – it is encoded in the Quran, Hadith and Sira. If you are a Nazi or Neo-Nazi you would probably answer yes, your delusional hero uncle Adolf taught you to hate Jews in his writings.

 

Are you an American, a Westerner and/or a Christian? Do you hate Jews (Profanity Warning – Pat Condell condemns Jew-hatred)? SHAME ON Y0U if you answer yes.

 

Are you a Progressive and hate Jews (FrontPageMag & DTN) because Israel exists and those poor non-entity Palestinians have told you they are victims? Then you are a deluded idiot.

 

Any hatred of a people or religious faith is an evil. From a Christian perspective, hating Jews is just plain ungodly. If you think the Jews are collectively responsible for the Crucifixion of Christ, you should their hand. Without Christ’s death and Resurrection, you to realize we would still be lost to the Fallen nature of Adam that the Resurrected Jesus redeemed us from.

 

It is wrong to blame Jews for the Crucifixion, that was actually a collaboration Roman leadership (Gentiles) and the Jewish Sanhedrin leadership. Does anyone persecute Italians for being Christ-killers?

 

Norma Zager wonders out loud if there is an inoculation for hate. Why? Antisemitism is again raising its ugly head among those that should be enlightened to see the idiocy of Jew-hatred in this day and age of the 21st century.

 

JRH 6/27/16

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What Me Worry?

 

By Norma Zager

Sent: 6/26/2016 7:59 PM

 

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” John F. Kennedy

 

So many years ago, and I purposely choose not to remember, Alfred E. Newman graced the cover of Mad Magazine begging the question, “What Me Worry?”

 

An icon of sorts, Alfred’s question became a watchword or guide for my generation.  Peace love and rock n’ roll seemed to fit perfectly into the parameters of “What Me Worry?”  And we didn’t, at least not much until we entered adulthood and found ourselves face to face with actual life.

 

Now it seems to me I feel compelled to raise the question once again, but the worry somehow seems implicit in the question itself, “what me hate?” There is so much hate around us these days; it is almost impossible to escape its ravages or virus-like movement through our lives.

 

Would one invent a vaccine to eradicate hatred? I actually wonder how many earthlings would choose to sign up for a dose.

 

And that is my conundrum.

 

For as I have come face to face with the ugliness of hatred, I now must admit to myself it is a conscious choice and one that is dictated by a willingness to believe lies about those very people we seek to dislike and blame.

 

As a Jewish person I have faced anti-Semitism numerous times. Whether from gentiles or self-hating Jews, the effects are always nauseating and unsettling, and after a bout with a hater I am left spent and weary as a sickly feeling courses through my veins until I can finally dispel its effects.

 

The most difficult task coming face to face with anti-Semitism is what to do. Shall I speak up? Shall I defend Israel? Shall I remain mute, retain relationships and betray my true self? What is my responsibility and how far shall I go? Perhaps to even refuse a job as I once did.

 

Is there a way to make a hater stop hating or a denier accept truth? What is gained by my leaping into the fray and becoming emotionally involved? These are questions only one can answer for oneself.

 

Do I wish I could remain mute, slough it off and change the subject? Yes, I do. Am I able to do so and not hate myself? No, unfortunately not. So either way I wind up feeling like a ton of ugliness was dumped on my head. I suppose that is a problem that has no answer. Hate does not possess a path for winning on any level.

 

Yesterday I came face to face with a hater. Oh of course hatred robes itself in intelligence. Academia prides itself on being above the fray. By their sheer acumen they can better discern fact from fiction, the cause from effect and of course who is to blame for the ills of the world. They believe they are right, defenders of the truth, and feel no remorse when pulling out the trite and careworn blame-the-Jews theories from their intellectual toolbox.

 

And yet laughingly for them it all still comes back to one answer: The Jews are to blame of course.

 

I should not have been shocked when speaking yesterday with an educator who firmly believes Israel is an occupier and killer of innocent Palestinians and that the problems of the Jewish people could be blamed directly on Israel’s behavior in the Middle East.

 

And yet I still find it hard to believe that in the wake of all the information available about Israel’s desire to live in peace with her neighbors and terrorist groups like Hamas that attack innocent Israelis on a daily basis, one would have accumulated the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision.

 

But no, it is still the Jews that are at fault. Or as the anti-Semite asked me yesterday, “Don’t Palestinians have rights? It was their land,” and on and on and on with all the crazy rhetoric that fuels the fires of hatred. Sadly, she believes her assumptions are truth, and being so accomplished intellectually she thus has the right to make this choice.

 

What I find so amusing is that even after the world has seen what the Arab world is capable of – stonings, killings, murdering homosexuals, cutting off heads, burning people alive and barbaric behavior in the most primitive forms – it still chooses to side with them against the Jewish people.

 

It is not information haters seek, it is merely a reason to hate, to fuel the fires of their racist rants.

 

I cannot speak for Muslims, although I know only too well they are suffering terribly for those among them who pay homage to a culture of hatred and evil.  My heart goes out to them, and I hope they as a religion find a way to escape from this dark cloud that has risen above them.

 

I can however speak as a Jew.  I have seen that in a world filled with evil, a Jewish life brings far less on the open market. Although it seems our Christian brethren have now succumbed to the ravages of evil as well, with few to cry out against their tormentors.

 

There is no excuse for hatred and racism if one can forego one’s prejudices and accept the facts. I am not saying Israel or the Jewish people are perfect and without flaws; perfection does not exist on this earth and never will, and we are all a little right and a little wrong at times. I am only saying that when faced with a scenario that includes hating evildoers or a Jew, haters, sadly, opt to blame the Jew.

 

It does not matter how many missiles rain down on Israeli children before they are forced to fight back; it does not matter how many leaflets are dropped by the IDF warning Palestinians to leave their homes and find safety because Israeli jets are coming; it does not matter how many Palestinian leaders hide their weapons in kindergartens or hospitals to rack up scores of victims to serve their PR purposes; it will always be the fault of the Jews.  Because that is the choice the haters make and they will never change.

 

Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

 

Perhaps it is only in the end the world will finally acknowledge the truth, but I highly doubt the haters will choose to see it even then.

 

It is clear to me that Friedrich Nietzsche was correct when he wrote, “There are no facts, only interpretations.” I suppose as long as this is the case the haters will hate, the idealistic will defend and the pragmatists will stand aside and let them fight it out.

 

I often wonder who will win, and that is what truly gives me pause. For it seems more and more each day it is haters 6,000,000+ and defenders of the truth 0.

 

So I must ask myself once again as I have so many times before, “What Me Worry?”

 

You bet I do.

_______________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, June, 2016

 

First Published June 25, 2016

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus; Sort of


I kind of took Christmas off from blogging. The result being I missed this awesome essay by Norma Zager about an American Jewish gal having positive memories of Christmas. She shows Christmas has shown in the past that a spirit of giving, sharing and caring for the needs of others is unselfishly important.

Since Norma is Jewish it is not surprising her memories are not so much about the risen Messiah Jesus Christ. Her found memories are about that spirit being projected to children of all beliefs from jolly St. Nicholas or as he is more popularly known today –Santa Claus.

JRH 12/26/15

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Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus; Sort of

By Norma Zager

Sent: 12/24/2015 11:21 PM

Intro by Ari Bussel

On Christmas Eve, 2015, Norma Zager and I ask ourselves “Where has the Christmas spirit gone?”

We salute businesses like In-N-Out Burger and Chick-fil-A that still celebrate Christmas, Home Depot where choosing a Christmas tree is an excursion to wonderland and Costco that for years has led by example and closed its stores when many others remained open.

Zager reminds us of our role in the world, lighting it up with goodness:

Santa is a symbol of giving, sharing and caring for others. Christmas is a time of year when Rockefeller Center boasts a giant tree, lighting up the world; when lights and stars fill the streets and melodic music plays.

On this Christmas Eve we crave the magical feeling of the holiday; family and friends surrounding us with warmth, love and protection. We remember the less fortunate. We appreciate everything this great country of ours has afforded us, first and foremost its Christian roots and tolerance and acceptance of all.

We must, as one, stand up and protect all that we hold dear. May Christmas this year be a time of reflection. Cherish the moment, encapsulate the special energy so that it lasts, stand up and be counted!

Here is Norma’s special Postcard for Christmas: Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus; Sort of

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Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus; Sort of

A few years ago Faith Hill sang, Where are you Christmas? That has become my new mantra.

Christmas feels so generic you might as well be hunting for Easter eggs.

I heard on the news that mall shopping is down and online way up.

No duh? Why should anyone shop at the mall? It’s no fun when there are no decorations, no Christmas music and Santa is missing-inaction.

In case no one has noticed, the world is a very rude and thoughtless place these days. The crazies are multiplying faster than an alcoholic’s bar bill.

Even at what should be the most festive and happy time of the year, the news is incredibly scary and unsettling. I suppose some would think me crazy if I pointed out this seems to be directly related to the lack of Christmas decorations.

There are daily reports of bans on Christmas décor, nativity scenes and Menorahs. Yep, those Jews gotta get in on everything! As a Jew, I am horrified by the lack of holiday spirit! Happily, some businesses have not succumbed to the political correctness that has infested this country, and Santa is alive and well in certain venues.

However, their number is growing smaller every year.

As a Jewish child I looked forward to the wonders of Christmas. Not for the religious implications of the holiday, but for the fun. I remember fondly sitting on Santa’s knee when one of the teachers in our school impersonated him every year.

It was always fun to try and discern who was beneath the beard. Mr. Foder, our social studies teacher, wore his glasses, so he was always an easy giveaway. Then he would hand us a candy cane, and we would get a glass of Vernor’s ginger ale, since he was the namesake of our elementary school.

How odd you may think that a Jewish person should have fond memories of another religion’s holiday.

Not really. It was always kind of easy since Hanukah usually fell around Christmas, and I always felt the two together made the season extra special. I also believe many of my friends felt the same way.

Although I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, I had non-Jewish friends and neighbors and some in my own family that celebrated the holiday.

As I grew older I loved Christmas for other reasons as well. It was the most fun time of the year to shop. Now what Jewish girl doesn’t love anything that makes shopping even more fun? Why? Because the stores were always filled with festive colors and decorations and people were in a wonderful, happy mood. It was the one time of year when everyone had someone else’s welfare on his or her mind.

Stores filled with people rushing about buying gifts to make others happy. The energy was contagious and uplifting.

The other day shopping at Macy’s, I couldn’t find hide or hair of a Santa or a Christmas tree. Snowflakes? Seriously. Wrapped gift boxes? Sorry, it won’t cut it.

I imagine people spend far more money with Christmas music blaring from the loud speakers, which there wasn’t by the way.

So why do you care, you might ask again. You are Jewish.

Yes I am, and that’s the point. Growing up as a child around Christmas in America taught me something valuable that I still carry with me today: respect for others’ beliefs and a great admiration and gratitude for being an American.

Understanding that I share the world with people of all religions, colors and ethnicities is a valuable lesson best learned through doing.

Most importantly I learned that we can and should all share and embrace the joys of our differences together.

That respect for others isn’t something one can be simply told, it must be felt and absorbed by living it for oneself.

Santa Claus played a vital part in teaching children that there is something beautiful and rewarding in believing. That positive actions produce desired results and sharing happiness with others, despite our many differences, is an integral part of life.

Christmas (and Christianity), after all, is what the United States of America was founded on. Celebrating Christmas is celebrating our very being, and everything we hold dear to our hearts.

Even those who are non-believers still benefitted from the good energy the season brought to everyone.

To say anyone should be offended because someone else is celebrating his or her own special holiday is ridiculous.

If there is a special event in schools or community venues during the holidays, it should be inclusive of course. But to ignore and play down the Season has taken a toll.

Phasing Santa out of our lives is removing the sparkle from a child’s eyes when they write a letter asking for a new bike, a doll or Apple watch.

Santa is a symbol of giving, sharing and caring for others. Christmas is a time of year when Rockefeller Center boasts a giant tree, lighting up the world; when lights and stars fill the streets and melodic music plays.

Those beautiful Christmas songs have spread the holiday cheer for decades. Many, incidentally, were written by Jewish composers.

Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas. Silver Bells was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans after hearing the bells of the Salvation Army Santas. Johnny Marks wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

The Jewish State of Israel makes Christmas trees available for twenty dollars for anyone who wants or needs one. Religious institutions receive the trees, Arizona cypresses, every year at no charge. Yet here in America people are desperate to play down the holiday décor as not to offend others.

Why would pretty trees filled with lights and sparkles offend anyone?

And if they do, we must stand for them, protect our heritage and traditions, lest we find ourselves oust of everything we hold dear, all that we value in life stripped away from us in an instant.

Christmas is not simply a religious holiday, although of course that is its main significance after all. It is also a reason to be kind and thoughtful to others. To believe in peace and good will toward our fellow man. Why on earth would anyone want to play down that message, and who in their right mind could believe that is politically incorrect? It’s about as correct as one could ever be.

I hope this tide to play down and nullify Christmas ends soon.

Perhaps more holiday cheer is exactly what we need to bring us all closer together. The message of Christmas does not divide but unites all people and all religions, even those who aren’t religious at all, and brings home the clear and necessary message we all need to hear, but don’t often enough.

Peace on earth and good will toward our fellow man. I think I’ll write a letter to Santa and ask him for more Christmas spirit next year.

Until then we should all try to keep the Christmas energy alive in our hearts all year long.

So, yes Virginia, there is still a Santa Claus, but he’s hanging on by the skin of his teeth and the last remnants of his long white beard.

________________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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 counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related. Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

© Israel Monitor, December, 2015

First Published December 24, 2015

Contact: bussel@me.com

To Speak or Not to Speak?


Rob Eshman

Rob Eshman
 
Ari and Norma focus this editorial essay on Rob Eshman, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TRIBE Media. TRIBE media owns the largest Jewish circulated English Weekly The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. The “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel” duo write about Rob Eshman because of a recent unfavorable editorial written by him in the Jewish Journal concerning Pamela Geller’s Mohammed Cartoon Contest and subsequent attack by radicalized Muslim Americans Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi at Garland TX event. Here is a short journalistic profile of Mr. Eshman:
 
Rob Eshman is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TRIBE Media, a niche multimedia company based in Los Angeles.
 
Rob started his career as a staff writer at The Jewish Journal in 1993, when it was a small community paper.
 
In 2009, Eshman founded TRIBE Media Corp, reimagining the community paper for the future.   Tribe Media Corp. produces The Jewish Journal,  the largest independent American Jewish weekly, Tribe magazine, a glossy four-color monthly lifestyle magazine, and jewishjournal.com, with 1.5 million unique monthly users, now the largest Jewish news website outside of Israel.   In 2011, Jewish Journal launched the world’s first multi-platform mobile Jewish news app.  In 2013 he launched HollywoodJournal.com.
 
Both The Jewish Journal and Rob have won numerous local and national awards for writing, design and community leadership.
 
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Eshman has written for The Jerusalem Post, The Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post.  He is a frequent commentator on Los Angeles-area radio and television, and has served as a Visiting Lecturer on journalism at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Rob serves on the boards of the Media Policy Center, The Miracle Project and is a founding board member of the Daniel Pearl Journalism Institute in Herzliya, Israel.
 
In addition to his editing and publishing duties, Eshman writes the blog Foodaism, named one of the best food blogs in Los Angeles by CitysBest.com. At his home in Venice, Rob tends to fruit and vegetable gardens, as well as six chickens and two goats. (Rob Eshman; Alfred Friendly Press Partners; Copyright © 2013 Press Partners)
 
Ari and Norma offer some contrasting criticism and support of Pamela Geller per Rob Eshman’s editorial.
 
JRH 5/14/15

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To Speak or Not to Speak?
Pamela Geller – Two Sides of a Coin
 
By Ari Bussel and Norma Zager
Sent: 5/13/2015 11:02 PM
 
Rob Eshman, the editor of the largest-circulation English paper for the Jewish community in Greater Los Angeles, recently dedicated his column to Pamela Geller, declaring:  “You’re no Charlie Hebdo!” 
 
Eshman writes:  “In Texas, she just happened to frost her poisonous ideology with some free-speech icing.”
 
“Except in my opinion, Eshman got it all wrong,” says Ari.
“Except in my opinion, Eshman got it right,” says Norma.
 
Ari’s take is that Pamela Geller, rhetoric to the contrary, is not the enemy.  She is the guard at the crosswalk, keeping a watchful eye over the children on their way to or from school.  She raises her red and white “STOP” sign, warning drivers in stopped or approaching cars of their obligation to yield, be aware and not proceed until it is absolutely safe to do so.
 
Like her or not, call her “Bored Housewife,” “Fat,” “Shorty” (she is none of the above), insults will not deter her.  She is entrusted with protecting the children from a careless driver, from cutting their life short.  However, smearing her with insults may result in a punishment to the person doing the insulting.  Normally there is a police officer in sight, and then suddenly the rude behavior changes 180 degrees.
 
Someone needs to step in to protect Geller who is doing her job, and doing it well, not for the sake of the meager few dollars an hour she receives as a salary, but for knowing no one got hurt on her watch. Although that may not have been the case if one crack shot Texas policeman had not been on the scene.
 
One gets the distinct feeling Eshman really does not like Geller.  She spoils his kumbaya feeling and belief:  “Islam is a peaceful religion.  Muslims are good people (with the exception of those who belong to Isis, but they are an aberration).  We all get along so nicely together.”


To make the point stronger, Eshman points the finger at Geller.  She is the extremist, not those who say “Europe has fallen – America is next!”  She is the one who refuses to live in peace.  She does things “Davka” (to spite) and clearly is a menace to a peaceful society.  In short, she is worse than a troublemaker and must be a very troubled woman.
 
Geller indeed spoils the game.  She exposes the truth and puts it smack in one’s face.  The sights are not pleasant, but the dangers are real. She tells it like it is, as she sees the world, and of course she is not alone in her opinions.
 
The slick propaganda machine of the local Muslims (CAIR, MPAC, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, etc.) is soothing to the ear and smooth as silk.  They are the victims, never the perpetrators.  All terrorist acts carried out in the name of Islam do not belong to Islam but are singular acts by deranged individuals.  In fact, the word “Terrorism” and peace-loving Muslims are two concepts quite incompatible with one other.
 
Thus, continues Eshman’s rationale, Geller is at fault for painting Islam with a skewed brush.  She is a witch casting a devious spell on all Muslims, unjustly smearing their name.  And thus, Eshman who may disagree with her politically or ideologically paints a dreadful picture warning against the icing Geller applies.
 
Eshman is a pure reflection of the established American Jewry, the same “old guard” that surrendered to the Muslims and cancelled an appearance by Geller at the Jewish Federation of Greater LA building because some called to complain.  She was left in the street, doors locked in her face, lest she offend anyone for telling her truth.
 
When was the last time the local Muslims, out of consideration to Jews, turned down the hateful rhetoric against Israel (supposedly committing war crimes and being the new Nazis)?  When did they “disinvite” or even give a second thought when hosting a hateful speaker, one who not only uses blood libels, but also mobilizes listeners to action? Where is the outrage against Muslim students that prevent speakers and Jewish students from exercising their freedom of speech?
There is a tipping point where Eshman has no choice but to change his outer skin.  This was observed recently with the advent of the BDS movement and the thriving anti-Semitism found at local university campuses.  Even UCLA Prof. David Myers wrote a mesmerizing account against BDS, which Eshman to his credit prominently featured.  Yet, how pitiful that Prof. Myers is among those who contributed so much to the advent of this movement.
 
Editor-in-Chief Eshman got it wrong.  Geller is the warning sign that the light is changing from yellow to red.  She is trying to caution us to slow down to a complete stop, look around and be aware of the surroundings, before it is too late.
 
Geller seeks to wake us from our sleep – for our own sake, and for the benefit of the Jewish community at large. Allow me then to add a lesson history has taught us:  Those who helped the Communists attain power were the first to be executed.  That is good to remember even when one refuses to apply the lessons of the past to the present.
 
On another side of the coin – Norma’s – Eshman’s remarks are correct, although laced with insults and demeaning stereotypical comments.
 
There is a great difference between freedom and good sense. When the Nazis marched in Skokie many were appalled they should have the right to do so, but if Americans allow those who hate Jews to be denied free speech, who will be next? And most importantly who will make that call and decide whose speech is allowed and whose is not?
 
That is the slippery slope our forefathers in their wisdom wished to avoid when giving us that precious freedom. Do we all use it wisely and with restraint, perhaps not?
 
If every American agreed with one another’s speech, there would be no need for protection. It is most necessary when we disagree and was designed for that purpose.
 
Having said that, it is also important to note there are considerations of where and how to exercise that right.
 
Where the lives of oneself or others enter into the mix, perhaps a bit of wisdom and caution should prevail.
 
Did Pamela Geller have the right to do what she did? Absolutely and without doubt.
 
Might she have thought better of constructing a situation that would incite violence? Perhaps that would have been wise. Speaking your truth is fine, but when that truth endangers the lives of others, one should be compelled to use a rational and measured approach.
 
Personal attacks against Geller distract from the true issue inherent in her actions. They muddy the waters as much as anti-Muslim rhetoric emotionalizing a serious problem that must be addressed by today’s world.
 
As a Jewish woman I am offended by the “Housewife” remark as trivializing women as unfit to contribute in any remarkable manner. Was Betty Freidan no more than a bored housewife? Did she ignite the Feminist movement because she’d had her fill of “affairs?”
 
Are we not past the Philip Roth’s Sophie Portnoy era of marginalizing and demeaning Jewish women and stereotyping them as annoying and redundant?  If not, I strongly suggest we bury that offensive falsehood once and for all.
 
It is easy to find many on one side or the other of this issue. But free speech is an uncompromising and undeniable cornerstone of our democracy. When we deny it for any reason, we are giving in to the worst kind of terrorism.
 
Should we all exercise discretion in these highly charged and extremely volatile times? In my opinion, advises Norma, that would be the optimum way to proceed. No one benefits when gas is poured on an already raging inferno.
 
Is Ari correct? Yes.
Is Norma correct? Yes.
 
Would we all get along much better if the personal attacks were left at the door and intelligent and mannered conversation were allowed inside?
 
On that we hope we can all agree. 
______________________________________
This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.
 
© Israel Monitor, May, 2015
 
First Published May 11, 2015
Contact:  bussel@me.com
 

If Not Now … When?


Superman- Truth, Justice & American Way comic jk 2

Norma Zager uses just the right metaphors that should get Americans to at least generate some thoughts on the Western World’s most obvious common enemy – the believers of the purest-minded theopolitical ideology inherent in Islam.

 

Norma self-analyzed herself as to the reason her favorite comic book hero was Superman. She chose a valid yet a little different reason than I for Superman to be her favorite. As Norma pointed out Supes was born on another planet (Krypton for you non-comic book readers). For me this represents the American melting pot. America is a land of immigrants that have assimilated into one Anglo-based culture recognizing England as the Mother-Country. Former cultures honored – one culture upheld. Superman’s assimilation is represented by the experience I remember from childhood in that Supes stands for Truth, Justice and the American WayRed, White and Blue.

 

In reality Superman’s image has evolved (See Also HERE) according to the pressing needs of the times from creation to the present. I did comics from roughly 1963 right up to the end of eighth grade in roughly 1970. I grew up with Superman the consummate Patriot incapable lying, definitively knows the difference between good and evil, defender of the weak and an upholder of the Liberty and Freedom that this present day’s Conservatives understand. That is my Superman.

 

[I’m an Evangelical-Charismatic Christian that is extremely pro-Israel. So if you are in my same boat you will be interested in how the then teens Siegel and Shuster began their concept of Superman. Can you say two American-Jewish boys? They lived in an era when antisemitism was not only rampant but cool.]

 

JRH 11/9/14

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If Not Now … When?

 

By Norma Zager

Sent: 11/7/2014 4:55 PM

 

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”  Martin Luther King

 

 

Spending time last weekend at Stan Lee’s Comikaze among the superhero population, aside from the fun raised some important questions I have yet to answer.

 

First in my mind is why has my favorite superhero always been Superman with the plethora of choices from which to select.  Although I had never before given it much thought, believing it was because he was one of the first to arrive on the scene and capture our imaginations, on reflection I understand that is not the truth.

 

Truth be told, my adoration for Superman stems from the fact he is from another planet. Could this have been some deep seeded and early cynicism within myself that we on earth were not capable of saving mankind from itself?

 

It is entirely possible, for my attitude has not changed.

 

Despite the numerous times in history when Jews and Christians have come together to combat evil, we are now more than ever before at odds. Evidence of the success of such an alliance exists at the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem (Jerusalem, Israel), for the many gentiles who saved Jews during World War II.

 

It is a fact that although many Christians have more openly and furtively supported Israel in the past ten years, there remains no alliance that is forged strong enough to combat the significant threat we face.

 

Sadly in a world that now allows murder and genocide to reign supreme, the voices raised to speak out against these atrocities are few.

 

When Christians were facing wholesale extinction recently in Iraq and in numerous other places throughout the continent, not even Christians stood and called for war against this evil.

 

The Pope, the world’s most prominent and well-funded religious leader, was silent until recently when he condemned the killings.  But words are not actions.

 

Of course I am not saying speaking out is not a good first start, but it does little to stop the kidnappings, beheadings and heinous crimes being perpetrated hourly against Christians.

 

With the creation of the modern Jewish State of Israel in 1948, Jews became protected. They were no longer a people wandering and visiting among nations. The strength and resolve of Israel has been a blanket of safety for Jewish people, and all cultures and religions likewise maintain a net of safety and freedom while living in Israel.

 

However the world is now facing its greatest threat. A holy war is raging and few acknowledge its existence. This Neville Chamberlain mentality has led to terrorism poisoning the fabric of the world and like a cancer, killing the healthy cells.

 

So what is the chemotherapy necessary to overcome this deadly virus, and has it metastasized too far to be eradicated?

 

The response to evil by world leaders has been so mediocre it is barely audible through the noise of death and destruction raging and killing across the world. So tepid are the waters of discontent, it is difficult to discern them at all.

 

So what can be done?

 

Many things, but they must be done aggressively and immediately if the poison is to be eliminated from the human spirit.

 

First, Jews and Christians must put their differences aside and realize they face a common enemy. I liken it to earth being attacked by aliens. We have all now become members of one team, like it or not.

 

Whatever petty quarrels exist between Jews and Christians are far less important than stopping the murders of children.

 

However, this alliance cannot solidify unless Christians also acknowledge the bad blood amongst themselves.  The Christian world is as divisive as the Sunni and Shia sects in Islam. There is no ability to join together and unite against a common enemy when they see other Christians as enemies.

 

Then the Muslims must also speak out in a louder voice.

 

Meetings between Israel and the Saudis filled me with a renewed sense of hope. At last I believed the leaders of Arabia have seen the light and the wisdom of putting hatred aside to battle a common evil.  This excitement was short lived however when I realized Saudi schoolbooks and policies still preach hatred and condemnation of Jews.

 

This outward façade of working together, of joining in battle, is far too weak to sustain any strength of resolve.

 

Ancient hatreds are powerful and embedded deeply in the psyche of a nation and cannot mend overnight, especially when they are still perpetrated among the masses. Only by removing all emotion can we hope to succeed and save ourselves.

 

Teaching children to hate and kill Jews will not build a united army against a common enemy. Although the only hope for the world is to overcome hatred and separatism, no one has yet been able to cut it out of the body.

 

Even in the United States where all live freely to practice their religions, race baiters continue to preach hatred where none exists to line their own financial coffers and political agendas.

 

If it happens in the U.S. shall we be surprised it remains a large part of the Middle Eastern mentality?

 

I don’t wish to sound hopeless, so I must believe that walking the walk will follow talking the talk and ultimately become the norm.

 

If it is no longer true that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, we are lost.

 

We must join together, for whatever commonalities we can conjure, to battle this new evil before it overtakes the world and destroys humanity.

 

Jews and Christians more than any other religions share much in common. This is the time for them to solidify their efforts to battle for good in an evil world.

 

If not now, when? After we have all been eradicated and the last voice of reason croaks out a regret from his deathbed? “We should have done more together…we were fools to put petty differences ahead of humankind…” cough – cough – cough and silence.

__________________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, November 2014

 

First Published November 6, 2014

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

Two Roads Converge for Mankind


Vicious Mad Dog 2

 

If spent any time at all reading this blog you would be fully aware that I have a Counterjihad perspective pertaining to Islam.

 

This Norma Zager essay is obviously about the rabid nature inherent in Islam especially toward Israel but now becoming a huge factor for violence in the USA as well. The interesting thing is Norma’s essay does not mention “Islam” or “Muslim” one single time in this essay. This is a very astute piece of writing by Norma.

 

Here is an example from Norma’s essay in order for you to see what I mean – tell me you can’t figure out what she is writing about:

 

We seem to have adapted to the acceptance we must live side by side with evil like a neighbor that trashes his house and lets his dog run wild to bite children at play, and you are simply grateful you are not the one living next door.

 

Of course when his trash and dog travel through the area and land on your lawn, it is a horse of a different pastel altogether.

 

JRH 10/19/14

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Two Roads Converge for Mankind

“DEAL!  For Goodness Still Possesses the Winning Hand!”

 

By Norma Zager

Sent: 10/18/2014 9:08 PM

 

Learning to live in this frightening new world – one that reasonable men would scarcely embrace – is a monumental feat. Faced with two roads, is humanity to take the one less taken or march backward in time to the year 600 A.D. at warp speed?

 

We seem to have adapted to the acceptance we must live side by side with evil like a neighbor that trashes his house and lets his dog run wild to bite children at play, and you are simply grateful you are not the one living next door.

 

Of course when his trash and dog travel through the area and land on your lawn, it is a horse of a different pastel altogether.

 

Most Americans are over the winds of war. We have spent the better part of the last century and the new one talking ourselves into the belief, unless Hitler returns there is no need for bloody battle scenarios. It is no wonder when we have seen innocent American lives and untold treasure wasted and the good we do undone.

 

This misguided and calamitous ideology has led to destruction, 9/11, the Boston Marathon, Fort Hood, and coming soon to a theatre near you, one can only shake in their boots with fear to imagine.

 

The world looks far different than fifty years ago before November 22, 1963.

 

America was then a peaceful village dealing with issues of segregation in the south. Disgusted by news stories of blacks being hosed and chased by dogs, Civil rights workers – blacks and whites – hanging from trees, one couldn’t fathom a sorrier sight in a country so filled with wonderful possibilities.

 

John Kennedy and his brother Robert fought hard for civil rights, yet it took Lyndon Johnson, who knew where all the bodies were buried, to push all the right buttons in Congress and get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed.

 

Hope returned, and America felt it was on the right track and pointed toward the sun.

 

Then came Viet Nam and disgrace, blood and disillusion to the young and Nixon, the reality check where politicians were concerned. Like virgins we awoke to the fact we were no longer unsullied, but in bed with, Lord Help Us, politicians.

 

This is a lesson we too soon forgot to our chagrin, for our elected officials are all the same. Yet now that moment of forgetfulness has cost us dearly.

 

So what do we do now?

 

How do we stop a world rolling downward into hell like a giant snowball on roller skates?

 

Cleopatra Queen of Denial is in the White House, and Congress, well, there are simply no words to describe a sorrier bunch of bozos.

 

We are out there on our own now, on the rockiest seas ever charted by a planet filled with flawed humans.

 

Suddenly we find ourselves in a dilemma of catastrophic proportion, as two species of man populate earth, savages and men of intellect.  Unfortunately, we are discovering that both cannot exist side by side.

 

Man can walk into the future embracing the greatest scientific marvels ever known. The Hadron Collider in Geneva has shown man’s capacity to elevate science and physics to heights previously beyond our reach. A new age of intellectualism – where color, religion and gender become at last insignificant – can arise and lead us toward humankind’s ultimate potential.

 

Or the savages marching backward in time can draw man back into the dark ages where caves once again become the homes of choice.

 

Of course it is easy for reasonable men to decide, but who will make that choice?

 

Who will stop the raging tide of man’s existence down the dark muddy river of extinction?

 

Who will dare rise up to fight the good fight against this malevolence?

 

If there is any hope for the choices that must be made, it lies in the union of reason and humanity. Evil is past any necessity for judgment, it can no longer be disguised but is open and brazen.

 

The enemy is clear, but will good people be wise enough to set aside their differences to rise up and defeat the wicked before their strength becomes unmanageable?

 

It has always been the way of the world that good should overcome evil, but it is also a fact many good men must die in the process.

 

It seems as though the battles get longer and the toll of the good grows higher. Yet, it would seem rational the opposite should occur, but does not. Evil’s proactive posture will always get the jump on good’s reactive nature.

 

They have acted too long and now we need to respond. They have murdered in the most heinous of ways – men, women and children have been slaughtered – so how long will it take until the despicable are defeated? How many must die at the hand of terrorists bent on destruction and death?

 

We know the players, and I beg good people everywhere to get in the game. The sides are easy to choose, all we need is to come to the table and show our hand.

 

To these horrors testing mankind’s future, I say simply, “DEAL,” because I remain certain goodness possesses the winning hand.

______________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, September 2014

 

First Published September 9, 2014

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

The End of Secular Jews in America


American-Leftist Antisemitism

Around September 10 there was a Christian interdenominational summit that included Eastern Rite Churches in Washington DC. The purpose of the summit was to show a rare moment of Christian unity among Christians that do not necessarily agree on how to worship our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior/Messiah. The show of unity demonstration occurred because of the ISIS butchery of Christians in Iraq and Syria in areas controlled by these Islamic Supremacist butchers of humanity.

 

Senator Ted Cruz was a speaker of note on September 10. Senator Cruz began his speech as expected condemning the barbarity of the Christians at the hands of ISIS. Then Cruz included the nation of Israel as a place vilified in the Middle East and that the Jewish is an ally with the USA as a proponent for civil rights. The Senator did not get far when the visiting Eastern Rite Christians that made the trip to Washington DC began booing Senator Cruz’s inclusiveness of Israel. Senator Cruz correctly expressed his disappointment with the antisemitism being demonstrated by his audience and then left the podium in disgust. I used this incident as a starting point to write a post pertaining to the development of antisemitism among Christians in the Muslim dominated Middle Eastern nations which is also the cradle of the beginning of Christianity with this title: “Antisemitism of Middle Eastern Christians”.

 

Norma Zager also uses the Ted Cruz incident to discuss two phenomena emerging in the USA. Namely, the growing antisemitism in America particularly among the Mainstream Media (MSM0 and the self-loathing among Left Wing-minded Jews that too often concurs with the MSM and hence to an antisemitic culture.

 

JRH 10/19/14

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The End of Secular Jews in America

 

By Norma Zager

Sent: 10/18/2014 9:08 PM

 

The incredible and overt rise of anti-Semitism in the world is troubling, yet not as troubling as the astounding increase in the proponents of Jewish hatred in America.

 

Watching Senator Ted Cruz walk off the stage at an event the other night after Christians booed Israel and the Jewish people filled me with sadness.

 

Of course I felt gratitude to Senator Cruz for showing integrity and loyalty, but how sad that it is so acceptable to Americans to behave so visibly anti-Semitic.

 

I realize that anti-Semitism has never left the building, but there is a big difference now that has created a perfect storm against Jewish people. Three factors have been the game changers, and together they will quickly bring on the end of the Jewish people in America:  the media, Jew-haters and the elimination of tradition.

 

First would have to be the media. For a group that has always been accused of taking their orders from Jews, it is shocking how anti-Semitic it has become. Israel has become some evil stepbrother the United States must endure, but would rather not.

 

Sadly, I see no end to this trend. If the media cannot defend the Jewish people against savage monsters that are determined to destroy them, there is little that will ever again bring them to our side.

 

Along with the widespread media bias the Jewish people suffer, there are also the blamers. People who actually believe the world would be better if Israel and the Jewish people just dissolved and were never heard from again. Of course when the Jews disappear they would like them to leave behind all the advancements in medicine, technology and areas too numerous to mention. The haters don’t mind benefitting from Jewish brains, despite the fact they would like to beat our brains out of our heads.

 

Yet, with all those who wish us harm, the true end of the Jewish people will come about at our own hand. It will be the Jews that ultimately destroy themselves, and history will record they eventually assimilated and self-hated themselves out of existence.

 

If that sounds harsh, the reality is much more so.  For anyone that takes the time to notice, the things that kept us a people are being driven to extinction by a new generation lacking the feeling and the Tom for what it means to be Jewish.

 

My late husband sold New York Times outside the bagel factory on Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings were such an important time for Jewish families. Fathers awoke, got dressed and went to pick up fresh smoked fish, lox, herring and a chub for brunch.

 

This wasn’t done solely in the city where I grew up; it was a ritual from New York to California to Montreal. It was the special family breakfast, even the pets joined in. Our dog Lamb Chop and cat Pywacket would sit patiently next to the table and await their bagel with cream cheese and lox.

 

Jewish people lived with certain traditions, bagels Sunday morning, Chinese food Sunday dinner and a fattening and greasy brisket on Friday nights.

 

Healthy, maybe not so much, but my father lived to 94 and my mother at 91 is healthier than some forty year olds.

 

When you were Jewish, you lived a certain lifestyle, and you knew what was expected of you.

 

No one really thought much about it, you just felt a certain inner knowledge that confirmed, “I am a Jew and this is my life.”  You went to college, you married someone appropriate and grandchildren were not an option.

 

Then came a new generation, one that saw cream cheese as the enemy and a brisket or a Sabbath dinner was a heart attack on a plate. Challah was traded for whole wheat, rugalach were exchanged for power bars and smoothies replaced that sickeningly sweet purple concoction called wine you got to drink on Shabbat and holidays.

 

Suddenly it wasn’t cool to be Jewish anymore. Young people questioned the existence of God, although I thought that was settled in the sixties after the whole “God is Dead” debate.

 

But being Jewish is not solely about God. It is about an identity, one that enrobes you as a warm and comfortable furry afghan on a winter night. It is about enjoying a corned beef sandwich on mushy rye bread with crispy double-baked crust. About knowing your mother will go into the kitchen two weeks before Rosh Hashanah or Passover and not be seen again until the dinner is served.

 

Being Jewish is about knowing when the first crisp air of autumn arrived, so did the High Holidays. And laughing as your brother tried on last year’s suit and the sleeves were two inches too short.

 

It’s about searching the house for the eight Chanukah gifts and chanting your Bar Mitzvah portion for your grandfather. Attending Bar Mitzvah or Confirmation services and parties for all your friends, new outfits and dancing in your socks all night.

 

It’s about seeing everyone shopping in the grocery store to get ready for the invasion of family, and cooking while you chatted on the phone with friends about what you were cooking and how they made theirs.

 

I am in no way saying these things are not the same for Christians during Christmas or Easter, I am only saying the feeling of being Jewish has been eclipsed by a new generation that believes corned beef should be outlawed and delis are for 90-year-old men with pacemakers.

 

Yes, there is truly a disappearance of the Jewish lifestyle in America. So, if the lifestyle is gone, we are no more able to survive than deer when their entire forest has burned. The cocoon of Judaism has been torn and has not been replaced.

 

The younger Jews of today practice their form of Judaism, and this works for them, but once a religion has been watered down, that trickle will become thinner and thinner with each succeeding generation.

 

Years from now a child may ask when he is told he is Jewish, “what does it mean to be a Jew?” Sadly, his parent may not have a clue what to answer.

________________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between 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-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, September 2014

 

First Published September 14, 2014

Contact:  bussel@me.com