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.



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?



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



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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When Jews Stand Silent

Concentration Camp Murdered Jews

Result of Jew-Hatred – My GOD Don’t Forget!



After Hitler’s Holocaust was discovered by the winning Allied

armies, the West experienced a collective guilt on how badly Jews were treated in a horrific Jew-hatred manner. In Ari Bussel’s essay he expresses the very legitimate concern that the pre-Holocaust days are here again – even in America.


JRH 10/23/14

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When Jews Stand Silent


By Ari Bussel

Sent: 10/21/2014 6:23 PM


Allow me to start with a bit of family history.


During WWII, among the Allied forces, my grandfather was in General Anders’ (Polish) army fighting the Nazis.  At the end of the War he was in Italy.  After the war, my grandfather joined his brother in NY and remarried (my grandmother had been murdered by the Nazis). 


To his last day, my grandfather lived on the Upper West Side, whereas his brother lived on the Upper East Side.  NYC was his favorite city, a magical place with much to do.  He regularly attended operas and concerts at the Lincoln Center.  I remember when my father and I were packing his things, after my grandfather passed away, and found stacks of programs of performances he had attended.  We may still have some of them.


My grandfather is buried in NY, where he is likely turning in his grave, at how—after seventy-five years—we have come full circle backward.  Not just in Europe, but in the USA as well.


Today, everything is permissible, even in America.  Acceptable now, first and foremost, is Jew-hatred.


Once we knew how to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil.  Today, the lines are blurred, terrorists become “freedom fighters,” and the blame always lies with someone else, most readily and easily with Israel and the Jews. 


Metropolitan Opera of the pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel opera “Death of Klinghoffer.”


Tonight at the Met is the opening night of Death of Klinghoffer.  So what is all the fuss about?  “Munich” humanized the terrorists who targeted and murdered Israeli athletes because they were Jewish.  Its director was none other than Schindler’s List director, Steven Spielberg, himself a Jew.


Many movies in recent years that vilify Israel and glorify her enemies are made in Israel and are supported by funding from the Israeli government.


So why is everyone up in arms against yet another such occasion, one that happens to be at my grandfather’s favorite city and performing arts center?


Those who do not understand the premise we must fight all these instances may stop here.  Others will dwell into the following questions:


* Who stands up and takes action?


* What type of action is sufficient to effect change?


* Can we even fight modern-day anti-Semitism?


I will attempt to answer these three questions.


Good people are expected to fight back but seldom do.  A major shock to the system is necessary before they spring to action and for its effects to remain etched in memory.  The Holocaust was a drastic shock and its effects lasted some seven decades but now have almost faded away.


Short of a major system-wide tsunami, as we learned time and again, “money talks.”  To effect change, one must get to the major source of funding.  Then those at the helm pay attention.  For change to be meaningful and lasting, rather than passing, pressure must be sustained. 


Thus the call for major funders of the NY Met to withhold their donations must be a consideration. 


Experience, though, teaches us that such efforts rarely work.  Ha’Aretz, Israeli leading intellectual paper, is still up and running, none of its advertisers has backed off, despite its working tirelessly to bring about the fall of the Jewish state.


Not only in Israel.  The NY Times, LA Times and other major papers still exist and their main advertisers (many Jewish) have not backed off, despite a systematic anti-Israeli approach.


And this experience extends well beyond the printed media.


To effect change, there has to either be a major groundswell or the major benefactors behind an operation must take a stand (i.e. stop the flow of funds) and remain firm on their convictions. Either one will create the necessary shock effect.  Yet, this is as rare as a major earthquake here in California.


There are instances when we must stand up and take action, not just hope that a storm will pass and everything be forgotten.  These shocks have positive effects, for they force us to change the status quo.  And what is happening today is not good, by any stretch of one’s imagination.


So allow me to highlight a friend, who is now on a plane to NYC, to participate tonight in the demonstration in front of the Lincoln Center.  She will be sitting in a wheelchair this evening at the Klinghoffer Demonstration against the Met.  It is inspiring, but not enough.


Several years ago, a professor from Ben Gurion University, the head of the Poli-Sci department, wrote an op-ed that was published by the Los Angeles Times.  It was not personal musings, rather the professional presentation of a person very established in this field.  He called to “Boycott Israel.” 


Jews were outraged.  The University President flew in to Los Angeles to meet with the major donors who were very upset.  She refused to meet with anyone else; they were of no concern or value to her.  The major donors were appeased, and nothing much has changed since.  Post-Zionism is alive and well at BGU.


The Jews have persuaded themselves that everything is OK, someone else is to blame (clearly noise created by some troublemakers) and there is nothing the university president can actually do.  Life continues.


The same happened when J Street, the self-proclaimed “pro-Israel, pro-peace” (anti-Israel, undermine-AIPAC) organization came into being.  The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles was gravitating toward supporting it, until Newt Becker went from one friend to another (all major donors) and made it an issue.


Then, and only then, the Federation paid attention.


Promises were made.  The Federation resorted to legalities and ultimately confused the issue.  “It depends what ‘supporting’ really means,” they said, and the shenanigans continued.  United we stand, divided we fall, and J Street continues to bring about the fall of the walls of Jerusalem.  Alas, it happened before, we will survive it again.


Newt’s actions were a necessary, but not a sufficient condition. 


In Orange County, activist Dee Sterling has been fighting the Olive Tree Initiative (and the world-wide travel intifada) for years. Philanthropist Dr. Shelley Ventura Cohen arranged several meetings at the Federation here in LA, alongside a major contributor.  The president of the Federation had to make time for these meetings, but not much has resulted.  Shelley passed away, the philanthropist spends her time abroad and the Olive Tree Initiative goes from strength to strength, having expanded now to numerous other universities.


Major Met Donors Deafening Silence Is An Operatic Kristallnacht- If Bloomberg, Annenberg, Neubauer, Toll Bros. Spoke Out, Anti-Semitic “Klinghoffer” May Have Been Cancelled


Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, in a press release this morning, calls the Deafening Silence of major Met donors “an Operatic Kristallnacht.”  He names names – Bloomberg, Annenberg, Neubauer, Toll Bros – and points out that had they spoken out, the anti-Semitic Klinghoffer may have been cancelled.


He recognizes a necessary, but not necessarily sufficient condition.


But I am a simple, practical person, and I know that ZOA’s calls will not bear fruit.  Not yet at least.  Tomorrow is another day, and life continues.  Today’s “noise” becomes tomorrow’s history, thus must be relegated to oblivion.  That is exactly what we learned with the President, the Democrats and Benghazi.  The 2012 “Spontaneous” attacks did happen, whether because of a video or not.  “Who really cares?  Get on with your lives, Republicans, you are just starting trouble” has been the prevailing attitude.


ZOA’s call is a call to action.  It follows James 2:14-26.  It expects the obvious, which is simply too much.


The Annenbergs were Jewish, but their main focus was the arts.  Alas, Jews in the USA were not very concerned about their brethren in Europe.  Life here was somewhat isolated.  Life was good.


That was then.  It evolved into an anti-Israel sentiment coming first and foremost from American Jewry today.  It is well concealed under layers of “just criticism of Israel,” “disagreeing with policies,” “love and strength to tell the truth,” “the overarching community tent,” and on and on as a never-ending list of excuses that permits Israel hatred to blossom.


A few years ago, Wallis Annenberg opened her “Space for Photography” in Century City with a National Geographic exhibit about water.


Covered with the most beautiful dress of “National Geographic” and a brand new “museum,” hatred became the new truth.  Israel became the guilty party.  20% of the exhibit was focused on Israel.  But rather than highlighting all the good Israel has bestowed on the region and the world in terms of water (including conservation, reclamation, desalination, development of drought resistant crops, drip irrigation, regional cooperation and assistance), Israel was highlighted and portrayed as the wasteful thief and the source of all evil.


Reality was obfuscated in favor of baseless attacks and a most amazing portrait of lies, most befitting the new Annenberg Space.


Apparently, this sells.  More accurately, it is acceptable.  It spreads like bacteria on a Petri dish.


Where were the Israelis and the Jews?  Where were the State of Israel and her local representatives?  How about other sane and rational people?


Were there any demonstrations?  Was the exhibit scrapped or corrected?  Annenberg definitely has the clout to achieve it, had she only wanted.


Some people remember work done “behind the scenes.”  Alas, the exhibit continued as planned, and the many thousands of visitors were exposed to one of the worst viruses ever to dwell on earth – the purest form of anti-Semitism, blood libels distilled to such high proof, their potent strength alone is dangerous.


Wallis Annenberg was being courted at that time for money for the new Beverly Hills Cultural Center.  Money, it seems, is the solution for all the world’s ills.  One would ignore evil for a payment of $25 million.  Oh, how satisfying.


Israelis in Israel were busy too, and the National Geographic special issue was allowed to stand, thus remaining a testament to a new reality.  Students in the near future will study water shortage and its aftermaths, and they can always refer back to an amazing pictorial presentation, accompanied by some of the most horrific lies; “it is all Israel’s fault.”


Likewise, the President of Iran’s Conference on the Holocaust-that-never-was also remains a factual resource for future generations, of history that was re-written while the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, stood silent.


Mort, salvation will not come from Wallis Annenberg.


From her fellow mega-donors?


My experience has taught me that until something affects them directly, we can talk and shout until we fall exhausted out of breath, and nothing will happen.


A case in point:  A member of the Board of Regents for the University of California system was kind enough to hear my ranting about what was happening at the UC Irvine campus with dangerous activities of the Muslim Student Union, the threat to Jewish students and the implications to all of us.


She was kind not to me, but to a close friend of hers, whose guest I was year after year after his wife died.


Except, nothing was internalized.  I talked and was gently dismissed as the “Meshugane” (the crazy one, not really in possession of his faculties).


This continued until Israeli Ambassador to the US, Prof. Oren, came to give a talk at UCI.  Until the pressure on Jewish students and others intensified so much that people started taking notice. Everything I had described time and again happened, and everyone was shocked at the “discovery.”


It happened right under their watch.  They enabled it.


We can continue with other examples.  I seem to carry a bag full of them.  But allow me to return to my own family history.


I am the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors.  Not much was left of our family, and all of us here and now have an obligation:  Not to Forget. 


When we remember, we know that our true mission is to protect Israel, thus protecting the Jewish people.


Remembering, the essence of “Never Again,” does not translate to the fanfare usually connected with “remembering” the Holocaust.  Rather, it is off the well-traveled road that we venture. 


In Israel, one started “remembering” the survivors when the deplorable living conditions of many were highlighted for all to see.  It shamed Israel into action.


While survivors are struggling in their last years, there is a robust and thriving “Claims Conference.”  Many years ago, they told my mother they did not reach her mother’s year of birth.  They did not reach it until my grandmother passed away.  But throughout the years, they enjoy their salaries, benefits and other perks, like clockwork.  It became their “entitlement,” not the survivors’.  


For those who wonder, not much has changed with the Claims Conference.


In Los Angeles, I regularly pass the statue of Raoul Wallenberg and stop to salute.  The plaque reads “he restored our faith in humanity,” signed “the survivors.”  (For those who may want to read more, here is the link to “The Angel of Faith” I wrote in 2010:


Not long ago, LA Councilmember Paul Koretz held a major event at the intersection where the statue stands.  There were numerous Holocaust survivors in attendance, yet not a single child from all the religious day schools or the high school (Fairfax High) just a few blocks walking distance from there.


No one bothered to clean the square where the statue stands, daily the sleeping place for homeless people.


The act of “remembering” has to translate to action, and that action must be meaningful.  I found the ceremony lacking, since it did not translate into meaningful action.  No one thought of bringing children, and I stood at shock and wept.


Somewhat like the neighborhood itself, once the heart of Jewish LA, turned into a heap of eateries and trendy t-shirt, shoes or skateboard stores, the generation of survivors is slowly disappearing into the memory bins of history.  A sad story, for who may remember the past? Should we even bother with it? Will it ultimately be rewritten out of existence completely?


My grandfather, Newt, Shelley, Atara, Roz’s mother and so many others are up there, in council, looking down, advocating on behalf of the Jewish people. Hoping now is the time for all sane, rational beings to ponder.


They understand well when good people stand silent, evil is triumphant, and tonight will be no different.


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, October 2014


First Published October 20, 2014