A survivor of the Cold War

"Are you now, have you ever been .." Image by Richard Correll

“Are you now, have you ever been ..”
Image by Richard Correll

As I get older I find my mind wandering back to events of the past. I look at this as my brain finding ways to keep me young, at least that’s what I tell myself.

Looking back to 1954 has reminded me of my very first personal encounter with the FBI .First, a bit of a background …… to this day I find the incident rather amusing.

First, a bit of a background

I grew up in a Working Class Jewish community in Brooklyn called Brighton Beach. It was known as a ‘hotbed of Communism’ in those days and was often referred to as “Moscow By The Sea” (strangely enough it is referred to today as “Odessa By The Sea” because of the multitude of immigrants living there from the Former Soviet Union. It is now ‘the hotbed of the Russian Mafia’)

But, back to 1954 …

Those were the  days when the Social Networks had it’s emphasis on “Social”. People actually inter reacted with people, not via electronic devices but face to face. We knew who our neighbours were and we knew almost everything about them without having to rely on FaceBook or Twitter.

After school activities did not involve sitting home and watching TV or texting our friends on mobile phones, they involved continuing our education after school hours. Many of my contemporaries went to Hebrew lessons at the local temples or synagogues. As zionism was completely alien to my family I was sent to a Yiddish language school.

And that’s where it happened ….

On the wall of our classroom, two framed photos were hanging ….

One was of the Yiddish writer Shalom Aleichem


The other was yet another Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz


One afternoon two FBI agents entered our classroom and arrested the teacher. Someone had apparently ‘reported us’ for teaching Communism, proof being that one of the photos resembled Lenin, and the other Stalin.

In those days, just pointing your finger in accusation was enough ….

Just a year earlier the switch was pulled executing Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Communism was something to fear, and Jews were to be watched carefully to prevent its spread.

Much like Muslims are treated today in the USA …. strange, eh?

Just another example of not learning the lessons of history and repeating it.

But, just as I ‘Survived’ those ugly, dark days of the Cold War, so will the victims of today.




Today, April 13th, would be the 80th wedding anniversary of my parents. In 1960, on this day, their family and friends organised a surprise party for their 25th anniversary. I was sent to our local Woolworth Store to buy some crepe paper rolls to decorate the walls. When I got there I was greeted by a picket line, was handed a leaflet that I did not read and went into the store to buy what I needed.

When I came out the demonstrators asked if I read the leaflet I was given, I responded “not yet” … it called for a boycott of Woolworth because their stores in the South refused to serve Blacks at their lunch counters. I felt as if I committed a crime by not heeding their call, so I promised to join their demonstration the following week. I kept my word and continued with these good people for over a year until Woolworth finally changed their policies.

That's me under the third 'O'

That’s me under the third ‘O’

The reception from those passing by was not always the friendliest, I was called every name in the book, from ‘N’ Lover to Communist … I didn’t even know what a Communist was even though I was around during the McCarthy days and the Rosenberg Spy Case. I found it strange that suddenly, because I was against segregation in the South I was a Communist. There were shouts of ….

Russia??? That was a place that my mother left in 1922 for good reasons. Why would I want to go there???

The 60’s were years of change in America. A Catholic was elected President, the Civil Rights Movement grew by leaps and bounds as did the Peace Movement. Fidel Castro was the leader of a new Cuba, just 90 miles away putting an end to the infamous dictatorship of Batista. Times were good and the future looked promising.

It was a natural move to get involved in the ‘Ban The Bomb Movement’. There I found myself in the company of great notables like Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Spock, Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell and so many more … and we were all called Communists (sic). Some of us investigated the name calling and realised that the shoe fit, so we wear it to this day.



It was also natural to define 'Communist' and realise that I was one .... that's me next to the cop.

That’s me next to the cop.

Despite the horrible situation that the world is in today, the hope for a bright future prevails. Just yesterday America’s Afro-American President met for the first time with the leader of Cuba. 

There are moves to control the spread of nuclear arms throughout the world.

We lost many Brothers and Sisters along the way, but our ranks continue to swell. Both are the reasons that I never lost the hope of a bright and peaceful future …. and that all started on April 13th.

The rest is history!

Welcome To The Future Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

A Blessing to the memory of those who are no longer with us to see the great changes taking place.





I went rambling through the archives on this Blog today and wanted to give you all a pretty good picture of who I am …. So be sure to click on all of the links and then you might have a better understanding of WHO AND WHY I AM WHO I AM.


A post from yesterday began with ….

Growing up in my Jewish family, it was a given that Jews supported civil rights, opposed the Vietnam War and believed in education, science and progress. This didn’t make it easy to be a teenager in a small working-class town in central Pennsylvania, an area not known for either diversity or liberal views at the time. Israel was a distant place where survivors of the brutal European Holocaust struggled to live in peace, occasionally beset by terrorists and attacking armies from the surrounding countries.


Except for the part about growing up in Pennsylvania, I could have written those opening lines. In an open letter that I wrote to Neil Sedaka four years ago, asking him to cancel an upcoming concert in Israel, you can read a bit about my own personal background. (The letter was ignored)


I am thankful that there are many of us, Jews that oppose the ethnic cleansing and genocidal policies sanction by  the State of Israel. Most are no longer silent, they are quite vocal and active in their beliefs as can be seen in THIS post.


THIS link will take you to a post from the archives that is long, but it is a must read for anyone who is Jewish. It explains the Arab position on many problems still facing us today. It could be an eyeopener for many who refuse to look at the ‘other side’.


For the non Jew to speak out against Israel, there could be ugly consequences. The truth hurts, especially if it is muttered by an ‘outsider’ as in the case of Helen Thomas. The truth has always been the greatest enemy of zionism.


Yes, Jews suffered …. but that does not give them licence to inflict suffering on others. NEVER AGAIN means just that! NEVER AGAIN …. to ANYONE. There are others today with identifying tattoos on their arms as well …



As can be seen in THIS post, not all Palestinians agree with my own personal beliefs. There are various opinions, but hopefully we will all be able to live together as family. I can’t think of one Jewish family I know where all of the members are in agreement (on anything).


So, why do I Blog? Why open myself up to attacks? THIS POST  might explain that. 


There are many people who might wonder why all Jews don’t come to live in Israel … THIS post might explain why. As for those that do live in Israel, there are the GOOD as well as the bad …. never forget that. This is also recognised by many a Palestinian …. one example can be found HERE. Some might wonder why I myself live here … THIS should explain that.


Bottom line is that PEACE IS POSSIBLE. It is not a distant dream that will never be. Living in Israel for 30 years has only strengthened my convictions about that. HERE’S a glimpse of my own neighbourhood in Jerusalem. 


I will end this by posting a thread that I wrote eight years ago …. it is as valid now as it was then.





I have often said that it is very difficult to remain objective towards something when the subjective circumstances seem to be stronger.

The case of Israel and Jews is one of the cases that comes to mind. Many Jews outside of Israel support Israel blindly. The attitude is very similar to the American attitude during the Vietnam War… “My country right or wrong”..

That concept alone is wrong. If you really love something than you let it know when it is wrong… this is not happening in the case of Israel. If you really love Israel then you must treat it as you would treat your own child. Not to do so will only make a very bad situation that much worse. As a result, Israel will think it has a ‘green light’ to pursue its policies of occupation, apartheid and most recently, brutal aggression towards its neighbours. Since the war started in Lebanon, the aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza has not subsided. Do not let our brothers in Palestine think we have forgotten them..


If you support these policies and actions, then you do not love Israel as you claim you do. You are, in effect, helping Israel self destruct.
In order to survive and flourish, Israel needs peace. There is no other way. The Torah is the Law that governs the lives of observant Jews. Rabbi Hillel said the following regarding the Torah…

“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. 
That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary.”


Answer the following questions….


*Peace in the Middle East will only come about with mutual recognition and respect and must be seen as just by both sides.

*Peace requires the end of illegal occupation and settlement.

*Violence against civilians is unacceptable.

*Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza are breeding hatred and resentment.

*It is crucial that Jews speak out for Palestinians’ human rights.

*The values of Israeli society have been corrupted by the Israeli State’s human-rights abuses.

*A lasting peace must be seen as just by both sides.

*Britain, the EU, the USA, Russia and the UN must be persuaded to implement UN resolutions on Palestine.


If you answered yes to all or most of the above questions then you must act on the situation. To remain silent is to be as guilty as the government of Israel is. To remain silent is to witness the very destruction of the State of Israel… from within. 

Show your support for justice by speaking out against the wall of apartheid.
Speak out against the occupation of Palestine.


Boycott Israeli goods until Israel becomes a State worthy of your support.

Show that you truly love Israel and fight for PEACE and JUSTICE… nothing else will do!




Back in the turbulent days of the 60’s, it was women, mothers in particular that were the most vocal and active force in the struggle to end the war in Vietnam. Organisations such as Women’s Strike For Peace demonstrated daily in every major city of the US. The group started at the height of the Cold War and was instrumental in getting the United States and the Soviet Union to sign a test ban treaty.

Going back a decade, it again was women and mothers that were at the forefront to end segregation in the Southern Public Schools.





And on Public Transportation as well ….




Today the situation in Israel/Palestine is horrendous. Murders and kidnappings on both sides of the wall have created a situation totally unbearable for all parties involved. Again, it is the grieving mothers that could be a force in ending this madness, I have always maintained that Peace must come from the people, from their hearts. Decades of negotiations by corrupt government officials on both sides have lead and will continue to lead nowhere. HERE is just one example of a real Peace Process in action … A former classmate of mine penned the Following where she speaks of the anguish of being a Peacenik, but never giving up  hope.

Also from the grassroots, a Book written by a dear friend. A must read for anyone who wishes to see the Peace we speak of.

‘No More Enemies’ is available from Amazon


And now, what could be the beginning of a new hope for a new day FROM


Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain and stop getting angry at each other. Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nation’s liberation. We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.”


Families of Slain Israeli and Palestinian Teens Turn to Each Other for Comfort

Rachel Fraenkel Touches Hearts With Open Door Policy


Open Door Policy: Rachel Fraenkel, the bereaved mother of murdered Israeli-American teenager Naftali Fraenkel, welcomes visitors in her home.

Open Door Policy: Rachel Fraenkel, the bereaved mother of murdered Israeli-American teenager Naftali Fraenkel, welcomes visitors in her home.


The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat took to Facebook on Sunday to write about an “emotional and special telephone conversation between two families that have lost their sons.” He said that during his visit to the Fraenkel family home, he had a chance to speak to Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, and express pain at the “barbaric” murder of his son.

Barkat then suggested that Abu Khdeir speak to Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of Naftali Fraenkel who recently told the press that “the life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood, and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab.” The two men took Barkat’s advice and comforted one another by telephone.

In a separate visit organized by Rabbi Rafi Ostroff, chair of the religious council of Gush Etzion, Palestinians from the Hebron area showed up at the door of the Fraenkel family, looking to comfort the bereaved.

Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain and stop getting angry at each other. Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nation’s liberation. We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.”

He later said that the visit went very well from his perspective. “They received us very, very nicely. The mother [Rachel Fraenkel] was incredible.”

“I see before me a Jewish family who has lost a son opening the door to me,” he added. “That’s not obvious. It touched my heart and my nation.”

The Palestinian visitors also mentioned an initiative spearheaded by Jews and Muslims to transform July 15, the Jewish fast day known as 17 Tammuz, into a joint fast day for people of both religions who wish to express their desire to end violence in the region.


Preparations are underway to usher in a week long holiday in Israel. It is called Succot, or The Feast of the Tabernacles. We eat all of our meals in little booths and the ceilings are usually made of tree branches, allowing the sky to be visible. It is a reminder of the 40 years we roamed in the desert and dwelled in such structures. It is actually quite a fun holiday and a very community oriented one, it is one of my favourites.
A non Jewish visitor to Jerusalem this week might get the impression that the entire city stands in solidarity with the homeless Palestinians illegally evicted from their homes by settlers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Tents have appeared (actually booths) in preparation of the Festival
Family homes were STOLEN, many families have been living in makeshift tents for over three years…. and neither the Municipality of Jerusalem nor the Palestinian Authority gives a damn. As winter approaches, a new meaning is given to the term ‘settlement freeze’ as these homeless literally freeze in their abodes.
I had some flashbacks this morning to my Succot celebrations in Brooklyn as a child, they were much different than here. Here there is a Jewish community and an Arab community. In the neighbourhood I grew up in, there was a Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazi) and a community made up of Spanish Jews and Jews from Northern Africa (Sephardi). Both communities had their own traditions and practices, but basically both were members of the same religion. One of the major differences between the two communities at the time were language, the Ashkenazi Jews spoke Yiddish; a language with Germanic roots, while the Sephardi Jews spoke a language called Ladino; a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
What I remembered this morning was the following;The Synagogue of the Sephardi community was situated very close to the home of my grandparents. They used to build a large enough booth to accommodate their entire congregation. As a child, I used to help them with the preparations. I remembered my grandmother screaming at me from her window to get away from them, not to play with their kids…. I could never understand why. It seemed that part of her ghetto mentality was to distrust anyone that was in any way different. These people were different than we were, as mentioned; they spoke a different language and, for the most part, had darker skins than the Ashkenazi Jews. The younger generation, like myself did not see these differences as our common language was English and skin colour was never an issue with me or my immediate family. I therefore could never understand my grandmother’s logic, or lack of…. So I secretly maintained my friendships with the kids there.
Today, I started thinking about prejudice, why it exists, how to overcome it…. It seems to exist because of ignorance and fear, two very real factors. How to overcome it? Learn about each other and the fear factor will be eliminated. Very simple! It worked in my case.Things are different today, in Israel at least. The Jewish community celebrates together. We have a common language, Hebrew. There are still some remnants of the old world prejudice, but for the most part it’s gone. Now to overcome the prejudices between the Jewish and Arab communities here. My way is to open my booth, as well as my home, to ALL members of the community, both Arab and Jew.  It’s the only way to guarantee an end to the hatred… live together! So, instead of fearing the differences of the others, my philosophy is to say
Let us all live together as neighbours and brothers.Shalom-Salaam!


Almost two years after this originally appeared, the subject of the post is still here, still mouthing off and definitely still bugging me.
I have mastered the art of blocking him out of my sight and hearing, but surely he knows after all this time that he just doesn’t fit in …. but the message of the post is an important one, hence the repeat.
The time has come in my life where I just won’t waste it listening to certain opinions or be with the people that have them… call me closed minded if you wish, but you would be way off base.
Case in point
I live in a fairly mixed and progressive community in Jerusalem.  Mixed as there are both religious and secular Jews living here as well as hundreds of Palestinians. We have maintained our own level of Peace throughout what have been very turbulent years in the city. 
English is the official ‘second language’ in this area which is a big attraction to new immigrants from the States. One such person moved in not too long ago…. one very strange person. He is the type that gets an idea in his head and proceeds to spout it out for the remainder of the week, literally ‘testing the waters’ to see if anyone was in agreement with him. People were tolerant towards him probably out of pity as he was here only with his wife and completely estranged from his children that remained in the States.
I was one that offered my ear to his ramblings, hardly ever agreeing with them….. BUT last week he crossed the line. He started spouting off about the violence displayed in baseball and how terrible that was….. but ended his rant with “Israel should learn something from that game, we should have bombed all of the ships in the Flotilla and killed them all”! I was beyond words, shocked would be too mild a word to express my feelings at the moment. I simply responded that “this is the end of this conversation” and walked away from him.
Last night he approached me again …. but I cut him off before he started talking by telling him that “whatever friendship we might have had ended last week when you expressed the most outrageous opinion I ever heard”. He was not expecting that from me, but should have as he is aware of my views regarding the situation in general in this country. He silently walked away from me, probably with the hope that I won’t be telling others about his madness.
Simply put, it’s bad enough having to witness the crimes against the Palestinians in this country, crimes that I can (and do) speak out against constantly…. but there is no reason in the world why I should have to listen to certain opinions regarding those crimes. Life is way too short to waste it on one ignorant person, there are others with open minds that one day might work together with us to make a real difference.
Hopefully this person will have learned something about ‘resting his gums’ so to speak. Either that or realise that his views are totally unacceptable in certain areas and leave, in which case not a tear would be shed by anyone in the community.


They are not attractive or friendly. They are noisy and obnoxious, truly the zionists of the Israeli birdworld.
The sweet, loveable sparrows are often attacked and killed by the evil crows for no reason at all …. Their nests are destroyed and their young eaten …
…. The same with the sweet, innocent, peace-loving doves.
Watching the birds in Israel is like watching the Knesset Channel on Israeli TV. Makes one wonder who learned from whom….
Just a few random thoughts of the day.


Two years ago I rambled on about My Personal Vendetta Against Donald Trump in THIS post. He continues to add reasons for for my dislike of him by refusing to stop meddling in politics, this time Israeli politics. His opinions are not welcome in the American political arena, surely not in Israel as can be seen in the following …
“A strong prime minister is a strong Israel and you in Israel have a great prime minister in Benjamin Netanyahu – there’s nobody like him. He’s a winner, he’s highly respected, he’s highly thought of by all. And people really do have great great respect for what’s happened in Israel. So vote for Benjamin: terrific guy, terrific leader, great for Israel.”
HaAretz posted THIS about the video.


OMG! Can you believe that???
That is what I was told the other morning by a neighbour who recently visited a small town near Tel Aviv …
He went further to identify the ‘guy’ as Steve. OMG! C’est Moi!!!
My cover has been blown …. what to do??
It seems that for most of my adult life I have been accused of many things by a wide mixture of both zionists and Islamophobes, but this ‘accusation’ takes the cake. I have always taken pride in the fact that I consider myself a hate free person. The only people I have a problem with are those that hate, so call me an anti hate person. Does that make me an Arab lover? Yes, I have Arab friends and neighbours that I love, but I also have Jewish neighbours and friends that I love. Why then was I not labeled ‘the guy in your neighbourhood that loves Jews’? Perhaps because it is a known fact by all who know me that I am a supporter of Palestinian rights and support the creation of a Palestinian State on the lands that were stolen from them by the zionists. If that makes me an Arab lover, then I guess I am guilty as charged.
But why the accusation in the first place??? Simple explanation …. it’s an accusation based on ignorance. One of my favourite quotes comes from a non person, Yoda of Star Wars fame … Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” I have seen enogh suffering in my lifetime and refuse to be a part of seeing it continue, so I will continue refusing to hate.
Below is an excerp from a post I did a few years ago about life in my neighbourhood….
Clash of the Cultures

You see everything in Jerusalem. It draws tourists from all over the world, every race, every religion, every political persuasion. Our own local population is quite a mixture as well…

We have Muslim women who dress like this woman…

We have Jewish men that dress like these men…

It was once thought that ignorance is bliss… that is certainly not the case today and there is no excuse for much of our ignorance, especially when it pertains to our fellow citizens.

A quote from a beloved Star Wars character, Yoda is…“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
It was expanded by an unknown writer to say…”IGNORANCE leads to FEAR which causes HATE which leads to ANGER, which ends in SUFFERING.”
I prefer the second quote and it is fitting to the following episode I wish to relate here…

There was a woman walking towards the bank in my neighbourhood the other day. She was dressed like the woman in the photo. A man, on his way to the coffee shop passed her, he was dressed like one of the men in the other photo.

She covers her face so it would not be seen by men other than her husband, he, by his garb represents the ultra orthodox section of Judaism, is not supposed to look at other women. But he did, and he panicked. He ran from that woman as if he saw the devil himself. Why, because of ignorance. He had no idea why her face was covered. He was afraid. Most likely his fear will lead to hate and that will lead to suffering.

We cannot continue to live in our little isolated worlds. We have to open our windows and see who else dwells there. That alone will be a start to end this type of behaviour. It might even lead to peace.


The Guardian’s Comment is free ran the following about my neighbourhood a few years ago … after reading it you will understand why I chose this particular area as my home. It will also clue you in to the fact that I am not the only guy in my neighbourhood that ‘loves Arabs’.

Thank God, Thank God Almighty I am not alone!



Could the harmony that has developed from an influx of Arab families in an area of Jerusalem set the tone for the rest of the country?

By Seth Freedman


Many critics of Israel’s security wall assert that its construction has driven another nail into the coffin of possible integration between the local Jews and Arabs. However, thanks to an unexpected phenomenon arising from its erection, certain Jewish parts of Jerusalem are experiencing an influx of Arabs into their areas – and the early indications are that their assimilation is progressing relatively smoothly.

The district of French Hill, which is technically over the Green Line but in reality bears little resemblance to the typical “settlement” stereotype, has seen a steep rise in the number of Arabs seeking to move into its neighbourhood in recent years. Not wanting to be caught on the “wrong” side of the security wall, many Arab families have sought homes on the Israeli side of the barrier, in order to ensure their Israeli IDs aren’t revoked, as well as to avoid hours-long delays at checkpoints as they commute to and from work.

With prices in the Arab villages of East Jerusalem soaring in the wake of a flood of eager buyers, those with fewer funds available have opted to move into Jewish parts of the city, including French Hill and nearby Pisgat Ze’ev. Their arrival hasn’t been to everyone’s liking, with the usual suspects up in arms and demanding that other residents band together to keep the Arabs out and ensure that the neighbourhoods remain strictly Jewish.

One such charming individual was quoted as saying: “As a Jew I am happy to be a racist,” claiming that it was the only way to preserve his children’s future in the face of the Arab invasion. Fortunately, however, his odious attitude is very much a minority one – at least, as far as I could tell from a visit to the area.

On arrival in the town centre, it was plain to see that the more level-headed and sedate residents have no problem with their neighbours and fellow shoppers. Jews and Arabs alike thronged the cafes, jostling for position in the bright sunshine as they downed cappuccinos and mint teas at the outdoor tables. The local bank was doing equally brisk business, and customers in kipot (skullcaps) stood in line behind others in Arabic headscarves with no hint of tension present.

Sitting behind the counter at Cafe Malcha, the Jewish owner spoke proudly of the mixed group of customers who pack his shop every day. “There’s no problem here. Jews and Arabs sit together, everyone’s friendly, and they come from all over, including the centre of Jerusalem and the surrounding [Arab] villages.” He pointed out that it is mainly the secular Jews and Arabs who socialise with one another, “since the religious on both sides are far more cautious.”

Iyal, a 19-year-old Arab who waits tables at the cafe, agreed with his boss that French Hill is largely devoid of any racial tension. “I’ve worked here for years”, he said, “and I never see any racism in the area”. Sitting outside was a group of five Arab workers, chatting loudly to one another in Arabic and clearly at ease in their surroundings – belying the image that some reporters portray of French Hill as being a hotbed of anti-Arab racism.

However, that’s not to say that under the surface there doesn’t linger some degree of antipathy between the area’s ethnic groups. Isawiya’s youth have something of a poor track record when it comes to their treatment of any Jews who enter the village. Many Jews go there to shop, or get their cars repaired, and are often pelted with rocks and stones by the local children, which does nothing to enhance relations between the two sides. At the same time, local Arab residents have made no bones about their desire to keep their neighbourhoods all-Arab, forbidding the sale of homes to Jewish buyers for fear of losing the Arab identity of their districts.

Similarly, one Jewish girl I spoke to had a great deal of venom in her system when it came to the local Arabs. “I can’t trust them enough to live alongside them,” she said flatly, before going on to assert that “they all want to kill us simply because we’re Jews, so why should we let them move into our neighbourhoods and get the chance to?” When pressed, however, she conceded that her work as a local receptionist has brought her into contact with plenty of Arabs, “and the ones I know aren’t like that at all. I suppose I shouldn’t generalise about them, actually.”

Despite it going against her defensive mentality, it is clear that the experience of working alongside Arab colleagues and discovering what they’re like as individuals – rather than collectively tarring them as “the Arabs” – has produced a chink in her armour. While I still wouldn’t want her in charge of the peace process, given her overriding penchant for painting the Arabs as bloodthirsty Jew haters, the fact that she softened her position at all during the course of our conversation indicates that the process of assimilation is bearing positive fruit.

And, in the words of another local I spoke to who said: “I can barely tell who’s Jewish and who’s Arab round here”, the success of French Hill’s multicultural exercise might well set the tone for the rest of the country one day. Of course, things aren’t going to change overnight – Arabs are still treated with a great deal of suspicion by many Israelis, at both street and institutional levels, but that shouldn’t stop the moderates on both sides forging on with their goal of overcoming the prevalent racist attitudes.

There is an aphoristic piece of graffiti sprayed near thecheckpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem that reads: “Fear builds walls,” which is as true as it is depressing. However, one unlikely byproduct of the security barrier’s construction could, ultimately, end up eradicating at least some of the fear that exists between the two communities, thanks to the Arab migration into Jewish neighbourhoods that it has created. And that, despite the overarching negativity that surrounds the building of the wall in the first place, is well worth clinging on to for those seeking at least a modicum of hope from a seemingly hopeless situation.


Yesterday I went to check my email and was intending to do some updates on this site, but my monitor was in darkness. Assuming there was a power outage I rebooted the computer, it beeped away sounding off Microsoft’s welcoming theme  …. but the monitor remained in darkness.
I determined that it was dead! In this age of throw aways and redundancies those things happen. I suppose we are expected to buy two of everything when we do in preparation for the day that the first will expire, not a very practical solution, but one that might work.
I had a million things that needed to be done yesterday, a trip to the local Office Depot was out of the question …. a new monitor whould have to wait a day.
But, this wee episode and inconvenience gave me a chance to reflect on the things we take for granted; electricity for one. It gave me time to reflect on the plight of our Brothers and Sisters living in the Gaza Strip whose electricity is turned off regularly by the occupiers. A monitor in darkness is nothing compared to that. A day without emailing or blogging is a frustrating experience, but not life threatening.
All of the above reminded me of the blackout we had in New York City in the early 60’s. I posted about a wonderful experience I had then and want to share it with you all again in case you missed it …

A DesertPeace Editorial

In the early 60’s I shared an apartment in Lower Washington Heights/Upper Spanish Harlem with my best friend Tommy. It was mainly a Hispanic community at the time, quite lively and musical 24/7.


On the street level of our building was a row of stores, one being a ‘Bodega’, a Spanish style grocery store. If I ever ran out of essentials that’s where I shopped…. and was always carefully scrutinized by the owners. Two brothers owned the store, two Polish Jews who had been to hell and back in nazi occupied Poland.
Both of these guys were very distrustful of their clients and carefully watched them through mirrors strategically posted on the upper walls. Both assumed that I was a Puerto Rican, therefore I was a potential shoplifter in their eyes.
In November of 1965, New York City went dark, as did most of the Northeastern States. After a few minutes, it became obvious that it wasn’t just a blown fuse in the building and phone calls indicated that we might remain in darkness for quite a while…
Rather than panic, I ran downstairs to the Bodega and asked if they had ‘Yahrtzeit’ candles…. Yahrtzeit candle was the Yiddish term used for memorial candles that came in a glass and burned for 24 hours. The shopkeeper was shocked that I (a Puerto Rican) knew the Yiddish name for those candles and asked how I knew that word. I told him in perfect Yiddish that it was the language spoken in my home by my parents. His response being ” So you are not a Puerto Rican?” I asked if that would make a difference as far as him watching every move I made while shopping in his store. “Of course it will”, he responded….
At that point I felt obligated to remind him of the discrimination he and his brother experienced in Poland, asking him why he was doing the same to others. We had a long conversation about it and they agreed that the distrust they felt was not justified in any way and they would try to change their attitudes, which they did….In Poland it was distrust and fear that led to hatred, it was hatred that led to genocide…. opening one’s heart and mind can prevent that….
All because a memorial candle lit the way for them.
Bottom line is that I have a new monitor (only bought one btw) so I’m back :)


A ramble about the Post War ‘Red Diaper Babies’ ….
We were post war and pre McCarthy era rebels in the making. The times were turbulent but nothing stood in our way. We had our schools, our cultural activities, but most importantly, we had our summer camps.
As the years went by, as our lives changed, for the most part we lost contact with each other. One of our dearest friends from those days passed away earlier this year. His untimely death brought many of us together again, once again sharing and reliving those wonderful days of yesteryear.
Our camp, Kinderland, took part in the May Day proceedings yesterday. The Forward caught them in action and reported the following … I just know that our dearly departed brother, Gene Sherman, would have been there, I’m sure he was smiling down at all of his brothers and sisters, proud that some lessons were actually learned in our youth. I dedicate this post to his memory, which must stand as a blessing for all of us who knew him.

Occupy Camp Kinderland

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

josh nathan-kazis  – Judy Rosenbaum

On the fringes of the Occupy movement’s May 1 rally in Manhattan’s Union Square, a group of older Jewish activists gathered under the yellow banner of a leftist Jewish summer camp and prepared to march.

“We have to be here,” said Judy Rosenbaum, longtime staffer of the unremittingly progressive Camp Kinderland. “It’s what we do. It’s what we are for. It’s what we support.”

Rosenbaum, whose days as a Kinderland camper are 64 years behind her, was one of a handful of Kinderlanders who had come out for what activists hope will be the reawakening of the anti-corporate Occupy movement, which has been largely dormant since protesters camping in a park in downtown Manhattan were evicted in November.

Founded in 1923 by Jewish Communists, Kinderland is perhaps unique in the degree to which it has maintained its activist traditions. Its theme this summer? “Occupy.”

Asked why she had come to the protest, current Kinderland camper Bonnie, 11, answered: “My mom.” Bonnie’s mother, Catherine Fitz, explained: “I think this is an important moment…I don’t think I would forgive myself if I let my kid miss it.”

Kinderland wasn’t the only leftist Jewish group with a presence at the Union Square rally. Activists with the New York-based Jewish social justice group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice announced in an email that they would participate, though this reporter did not see their banner over the course of an hour and a half in the crowded park.

Other activists also said that they had seen members of the socialist Zionist youth movements Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror at May Day events earlier in the day, wearing their trademark blue shirts. One activist was handing out free pamphlets of the writing of the Polish Jewish Marxist Rosa Luxemburg.

Like at last year’s Occupy events, protest regulars hawking radical newspapers mixed with hip kids dressed in the styles of Brooklyn’s more fashionable neighborhoods.

The south side of Union Square had the feel of the rock festival. And it kind of was. Tom Morello of the leftist band Rage Against the Machine led a sing-along to “This Land is Your Land” from a stage at the foot of the park, followed by hipster rap group Das Racist playing their single “Michael Jackson.” Later a choir sang the union ballad “Solidarity Forever.”

As young women danced along, one 30-something-looking man was overheard remarking: “I’d kill to be a 20-year-old right now.”

The scene on the square’s west and north sides was more generally sober. Unions representing teachers, transport workers, and nurses, among others, prepared for their march down Broadway.

Banners in the square mostly targeted Wall Street banks and social inequality, favorite themes of the Occupy movement. But at least one argued against an attack on Iran, while another read “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.”

“I tend to be very anti-capitalist,” said Jesse Marcus, a yarmulke-wearing activist at the Union Square rally who said he had been involved in organizing Jewish-themed elements to the Occupy protests in the fall. “Capitalism makes for workforce discrimination.”

With reporting by Charlie McLaghan


Vandals also attacked the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education elementary school in the Patt neighborhood, where they spray painted “Kahane was right” and “death to Arabs” on the wall in large letters.
Let me start off by apologising for the crudeness of some of the language used in the text, but there is not a civil or genteel way to deal with the topic at hand, that being racism.
Once again, via a report in the Jerusalem Post, I  was reminded of a telephone call I received at 2 A.M. twenty some odd years ago. The call was short and sweet from a dear friend in London…. it went as follows; “You will have a grave to piss on tomorrow”. You will understand the significance of that call when you read further into this post…..
The McCarthy era was techniclly over but it seemed to have given some a justification to carry on with fascist and racist activities. One in particular justified his actions by claiming he was acting in the name of the Jewish people. One that was called meir kahane, the vilest most dangerous individual that graced our planet since hitler himself.
In the late 1950s to early 1960s Kahane led a life of secrecy. His strong anti-Communist views landed him a position as a consultant with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). His assignment was to infiltrate the right-wing John Birch Society and report his findings back to the FBI. For this position Kahane took on the false name Michael King and spent nearly two and a half years posing as a Christian, learning all he could about the John Birch Society. (From) ….. So you can see he received his ‘training’ from the best….
Soon afterwards he founded the Jewish Defense League. The group was started to serve as an ‘escort service’ for Jews having to walk through predominantly Black neighbourhoods in Brooklyn on their way to their synagagues on Friday nights. In reality it was a group of stormtroopng thugs that terrorised those neighbourhoods with weekly pogroms.
I had my first personal encounter with kahane in 1960 when I was taking part in a Civil Rights demonstration at the construction site of the Brooklyn Downstate Medical Centre. My involvement led to me being arrested. As I was being dragged off to the ‘paddy wagon’ kahane himself was standing there cheering the police on. This resulted in a personal vendetta against the bastard, one that lasted till the day he was murdered.
From that day on I did everything in my power to disrupt and try to stop any activity sponsored by him. I was part of  a group that removed posters put up by his goons, disrupted his meetings and did everything in our power to keep his message silent. In many cases we were successful. His message was not limited to being anti Black, it soon expanded, in true McCarthyite fashion to anti communism and anti Sovietism.
He carried his hatred with him when he immigrated to Israel where he founded the (soon to be outlawed) Kach Party. He was successful in winning a seat in the Knesset in 1984. By that time I was living in Israel, continuing my protests against him and his group.
The last time I saw him was at a street rally held in Jerusalem. We had enough people with us which made it impossible for him to speak. When it was over he approached me, pointed his index finger at me and said “after I get rid of the Arabs I’m coming after you” My response was “you won’t be getting rid of anyone, and I’ll piss on your grave before you get me”! (Hence the phonecall from London mentioned earlier).
From the grave and hell itself his words are being kept as are mine… read the following report from the Jerusalem Post’s weekend edition to see how and why;

Peace Now office site of latest extremist attack

Right-wing extremists spray painted “no leftists, no terror attacks” on left-wing group’s Jerusalem offices

Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
By Wikimedia Commons

Right-wing extremists struck again on Thursday, with the latest graffiti attack against Peace Now’s Jerusalem offices.

The extremists sprayed “No leftists, no terror attacks” on the fence outside of the office, located in the German Colony neighborhood.

Police opened an investigation.

The attack came on the 29-year anniversary of the murder of Emil Grunzweig, an activist who was killed by a grenade thrown at a protest outside Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s residence in 1983. Peace Now executivedirector Yariv Oppenheimer said he doubted the vandals knew the anniversary, but it was still symbolic.

“On this date, it shows even more clearly our feeling that the violence from political right and the price tag attackers won’t stop,” said Oppenheimer. “Without taking care of this problem from the root and dealing with the hilltop youth, the problems will just continue to develop.”

This is the fifth time this year that Peace Now has been vandalized by right-wing extremists. One Peace Now staff member has had graffiti sprayed outside her apartment twice, and the offices have had racist messages three times.

Oppenheimer worried that the attacks will only get worse. “Now we’re in a quieter period and [price tag attacks] are still happening.

Just think about what they will do if the government stands by their decision to evacuate Migron, the violence will just continue to get worse,” he said.

Due to the general strike, the graffiti will most likely stay there over the weekend, according to a municipality spokeswoman.

The attack at Peace Now came two days after the most recent price tag incidents in Jerusalem. On Tuesday, two cars and a stone fence at the Valley of the Cross Monastery, below the Israel Museum, were covered with anti-Christian graffiti, and the cars’ tires were slashed. The vandals wrote “Jesus drop dead,” “Death to Christians” and “Kahane was right.” They called themselves “The Maccabees of Migron” and left the words “price tag.”

Vandals also attacked the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education elementary school in the Patt neighborhood, where they spray painted “Kahane was right” and “death to Arabs” on the wall in large letters.

There are no suspects in the events from earlier this week, police said on Thursday.



In a strange way I found something rather amusing this morning as I was skimming through the ‘news’ on Ynet’s site. There was a report about Israel possibly recognising the Armenian holocaust as an actual event in history. There definitely is no humour involved in or connected to this very dark period of history, but what I found amusing were the reasons why the call for its recognition now, almost a century after the fact. The reasons are not out of sympathy for the Armenian nation, but because of the status of Turkish-Israeli relations. It has nothing to do with the suffering that the Armenians went through. As the report itself states; The question of what exactly happened there is irrelevant to this issue. After all, no sane historian is willing to accept the Turkish claim that it was merely a matter of a civil war and not a methodical massacre of the Armenians by the Turks.
The full report can be read HERE

Recognize Armenian Shoah

Op-ed: With Turkey ties at nadir, time is right to finally recognize Armenian tragedy

There are over 2,500 Armenians living in the city of Jerusalem. The non recognition of the holocaust has not been the strongest point in forging friendships between them, as a community, and the Israelis living in the city. Israel seems to have a knack of not caring about others, especially if they are not part of the ‘chosen ones’ …. perhaps this will be the start of a new policy, although it is highly doubtful.
Ok… at this point you might be asking what all of the above has to do with the Crucifixion. I’ll tell you …. I have a God-daughter in Canada named Stephanie, named after me…
She is the daughter of my very dearest friend. His family are French-Canadian Catholics. Not all of the members of the family were thrilled when I, le Juif (the Jew), was asked to be the God-father.
At a family dinner that I was invited to I was teasing the wee lassie about something until her grandmother butted in and said “if you don’t stop teasing her I will tell her what you did”! I asked what that was ….. her response shocked me, “You killed Jesus”!
Here it is almost 30 years later and that very same logic is being used by some Israeli officials …. both shocking and amusing at the same time. For Israel to speak of holocausts when they themselves are committing one against the people of Palestine is more than ironic.


When Helen Thomas muttered these words it resulted in her forced resignation … 
But her sentiments seem to make sense to at least one rabbi in Israel …
Rabbi Froman: Deport mosque burners

Tekoa’s rabbi calls for firm action against ‘price tag’ activists, says their acts ‘present settlers as savages’

“I am saddened by these actions. These people must be deported,” the rabbi said in an interview to the Makor Rishon newspaper.
Full report can be read HERE.
All of the above reminds me of an incident that occurred about 27 years ago…
The recently outlawed ‘Kach Party’, which was led by Meir kahana had applied to the Jewish Agency, a government created organisation, to rent premises owned by them for their annual convention. Those were the P E M D (pre e-mail days), so I had to use snail mail to correspond with the Jerusalem Post to voice my objections. I wrote to them expressing my concerns about a government sponsored agency renting premises to a declared enemy of the state. I went further by calling for the deportation of the American born kahane as well as his followers.
My letter to the editor was published and the responses were unbelievable ….
I was accused of…
Using McCarthyite tactics ..
Being a fascist ..
Being an Anti Semite ..
It was amazing …. accusations such as those coming from McCarthyites, fascists and anti Semites themselves ..
If I held a job connected to the government in any way I am sure I would have been forced to resign as well …
Let’s watch and see what lies in store for brave Rabbi Froman for taking the stand he did.
For some background on this remarkable man, have a look at THIS post from the archives… (unfortunately, the link at the end of the report no longer works :( )
Also see THIS link.


Modern technology came into my home about 25 years ago when I purchased my first telephone answering machine. It was when I was on one of my many trips to New York.  I will never forget my mother’s reaction to it…. she simply asked, “what is that”? I told her it was a recording device in case someone called me when I was not at home. She responded, ” that’s stupid! If you are not at home they will call back later”! Her old world logic didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but it does now.. we have become too dependent on gadgets to communicate with each other.
It started with the answering machine and has now branched out to umpteen ways for us to communicate with each other without looking into each others’ eyes. We used to sit down and write letters to friends…. that has been replaced with email, no paper or pen required. We used to talk to each other, touch each other, do things with each other, now we send text messages on our mobile phones. We no longer even have to talk to people on the phone.
We had friends, REAL friends, today they are merely a name and a photo on FaceBook. We get requests every day to become ‘friends’ with people we do not even know. Worse yet, we get those same requests to become friends with someone that has been our friend for over fifty years. What have we become?
Some of us have become ‘virtual stalkers’ as we ‘follow’ people on Pages such as Twitter. No longer do we have to wonder what someone is doing or where they are doing it …. it’s all there on the Net. Frightening!
Needless to say, the Internet has its advantages. It is the quickest way to research anything we might need information about. It is the vehicle we use to get our points of view across on the Blogesphere. As a ‘social’ outlet,  all it has done is create the most anti-social generation in the history of mankind. We see dating on line, we can shop on line, we can have our old fashioned garage sales on line…. no need to ever leave your home or interact in any way with another human being… it’s all done via the keyboard. We even do our banking on line today and pay our bills that way as well.
When I look at this ‘monster’ that has been created I cringe. Yes, there are advantages to technology, it is supposed to make life easier for us, but it is not meant to destroy our lives completely.
Let’s get off FaceBook, let’s walk to the supermarket and the bank, lets meet our neighbours in the street and TALK to them. Let’s become human again…. not an extension of some electronic demon.
BUT, DO check in on my Blog daily for updated info on the Palestinian situation. Just DON’T spend the whole day looking at your screen…. GO OUT AND CHANGE THE WORLD! It too needs a good rebooting!
Just keep this in mind…. every time you log onto your FaceBook Page, some fat assed geek makes money from the advertising revenues it generates …. he’s laughing all the way to the bank… AT YOU!



The Jerusalem Post has once again lowered its journalistic integrity by publishing yet another one of Psycho Gal’s rants. This week she really takes the cake in achieving this low level status for the paper by saying that…

What are we to make of the fact that no one has taken credit for Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem?

Wednesday bombing was not a stand-alone event. It was part and parcel of the new Palestinian terror war that is just coming into view. As Israel considers how to contend with the emerging onslaught, it is important to notice how it differs from its predecessors. On a military level, the tactics the Palestinians have so far adopted are an interesting blend of state-of-the-art missile attacks with old fashioned knife and bomb-in-the- briefcase attacks.

The diverse tactics demonstrate that this war is a combination of Iranian-proxy war and local terror pick-up cells. The attacks are also notable for their geographic dispersion and for the absence thus far of suicide attacks.

So, her ‘logic’ seems to be if no one has taken credit for Wednesday’s bombing, ALL Palestinians must be guilty. At least, that is what I read into this.


She concludes this week’s rant with…

The Palestinians recognize that they don’t need to pretend to be good to get Europe to support them. After the people of Europe have been brainwashed by their media and intimidated by the Muslim communities, they have developed a Pavlovian response regarding Israel whereby every mention of Israel makes them hate it more. It doesn’t matter the story is about the massacre of Israeli children or the bombing of synagogues and nursery schools. They know that Israel is the guilty party and expect the governments to punish it.

What the Palestinian silence on who committed what atrocity tells us is that in this new terror war, the Palestinians believe they cannot lose. With Europe in tow, Fatah and Hamas feel free to join their forces and advance both militarily and politically.

As of this posting, her column does not yet appear on the Post’s Website, but I did find it HERE …. just in case anyone wants to read the entire rant.


Much of Diaspora Jewry has a common trait, that being greatly concerned about how certain events might affect their community. This might appear to be a normal trait, but definitely not the case when there is always an assumption that everything that happens is happening to harm them.

When the leadership of the Black Panther Movement raised the slogan of ‘Black Power’ there was near panic in many of the Jewish ghettos of New York. They assumed that the Blacks intended to ‘take over’. It was explained to them that all it meant was that Black communities felt they should be represented in various government offices by candidates of their choice. There was no intention to overthrow the establishment, there was however, a desire to become a part of the establishment.

When the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles it was announced that Ebbets’ Field would be torn down and housing projects would be built on the property. Again, near panic. “What would that mean to the Jews”? Meaning, ‘will these projects, in walking distance of our community become home to non Jews, non Whites in particular?’ Heaven forbid they should live walking distance from them if it was to be the case.

When Barak Obama was nominated to be the Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, sighs of Oy and Vey were heard resounding from every Jewish community across America. “What would his election mean to the Jews, particularly what would his attitude be towards Israel”? Never was it asked if he would be good for America itself, that was a secondary concern.

In all of the above instances it was extremist groups such as the JDL and their echo the ADL that encouraged such lines of thought, always trying to impress upon the communities in question that they were unique, special, Jewish….. In all of the above instances the Sheeple in the communities fell for this.

Due to recent events in the Middle East we have seen a repetition of these attitudes; Movement to restore Democracy in Egypt ….. “What does this mean for Israel”? ….. never once heard, “What would this mean to the Egyptian people”?

There are many more examples of this in Israel, but this is the ‘dilemma of the week’.

Again, these attitudes are encouraged by the very wrong Right. Some might conceive it as self preservation, when the reality is that it is self destruction. It is the basis for a new book that could be called ‘How to NOT Make Friends and Influence People’.

It’s time for these Sheeple to join the human race and start acting like PEOPLE!

It’s time to START thinking and stop trusting the TV News!


Wow! It makes me feel old writing this particular post, but I thought it might be interesting to some of the younger folks out there to see how life was before the advent of the WEB and computers.


Before the Blog, there was a ‘soapbox’. Cindy Sheehan even calls her Blog Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.  And just what was a soapbox? It was literally just that, a soap box! They were set up in strategic spots in crowded areas, usually public parks. Union Square in New York was a popular place as was the Speakers Corner in London’s Hyde Park. ‘Speakers’ mounted the box and spouted out their political or religious opinions to sometimes large crowds of people.  There were usually the same people doing this day after day.

Today we can do this via our Blog or Website without ever meeting another human being face to face…..


Every day I get a dozen or so emails that someone is following me on ‘Twitter’. In the ‘olden days’ the only people that ever followed me were perverts or FBI Agents. How times have changed. Today, via the NET, I am  followed by perverts, trolls and zionists that go as far as to crosspost whatever I write and get new readers for my Blog. I am sure this is not their purpose, but that’s what is happening.

We are also followed today by a system known as GPS. If you have a cellular phone, your location and movements can be tracked by government agencies or the local police. A bit disturbing to say the least….


Also every day I get a dozen or so requests (usually from total strangers) to be my friend on FaceBook. The strangest requests are from people that have already been my friend for over 60 years.

What makes them think that joining them on FaceBook will bring us closer? All it seems to do is open ourselves up to the perverts, trolls and zionists that are  following us on the WEB…. why give them another venue?

Before the advent of the WEB, if you wanted information on anything you went to a reference book, the library or a newspaper. Today you click on Google or another search engine and usually find exactly what you are looking for. Just think of all the trees that have been saved a a result of this. We no longer need books, libraries or newspapers.


If our computer ‘freezes’ or stops operating at its maximum capacity, we simply switch it off and start it up again. This usually does the trick. Family vacations were the ‘trick’ of the past. Families and friends would pack up their suitcases and go someplace to have fun…. to spend quality time together ….. to recharge their batteries. Today, the concept of family and friends is completely different, AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY. As much as I enjoy the WEB and the modern technology of the day, I miss the human touch …..

In days gone by we used to get a nice big hug from our loved ones…. today it’s the ‘virtual hug’ …..

(~~~ HUGS TO ALL OF YOU ~~~)
It’s just not the same :(



I live near the university in Jerusalem in a fairly mixed and tolerant neighnorhood. Most of the residents here own there own apartment, but there is a sprinkling of renters as well. Many of the renters are students who pile themselves into the flats opting out of taking up residence in the university dorms.

Having a spare room, I always rented it out to students. That’s how the following saga began about fifteen years ago….. I ‘dared’ to rent out a room to an Arab law student. I am not what you could call your ‘normal’ landlord, you live in my home, you become part of my family. A simple fact of my way of life. This case was no different, in fact let me give a little background info as to how this came about…

Fifteen years ago a neighbour came rushing down to my apartment to inform me that my solar boiler on the roof was leaking. I ran up to check it out and sure enough, she was right. I went out to the front of the building to see if water was running down the side. In front of my window two young men were sitting on the grass reading the newspaper. I greeted them and we started talking, one lived in the building next door, the other in the university dorms. I invited them in for coffee and when they told me their names I realised that they were both Palestinians, one was Hassan, the other was Azmi.

Azmi turned out to be a most interesting young man and a friendship was sparked, one that has lasted through two intifadas and much turmoil in the country we live in. About a month after we met I found a note on my door when I returned home from work … it simply said, ‘please call me’, which I did. Azmi wanted to know if he could come over to discuss something. He arrived and was silent…. I told him I thought he wanted to discuss something. He replied that he did, but it was a stupid idea that wouldn’t work. I insisted that he let me be the judge of that, so he proceeded…. he said that the school term was over and he had to move out of the dorms. Although he knew me for such a short period he had the idea that we might be able to live together in the same apartment…. but ended the thought with “but I know that would be impossible…. you are a Jew, I am a Muslim, these things just don’t happen”. I looked at him with a look that said “that’s ridiculous”! I told him that the only problem of him moving in with me was that I would not be his landlord, he would become a son to me. He had no problem with that and before the sun set that day he was all moved in.

This is not to say that others didn’t have problems…. not all of my neighbours were that keen on having an Arab living in such proximity to them. The first indication of this was a visit from an upstairs tenant. She heard Arabic spoken in the hallway and wanted to know if I knew anything about it… I told her the Arabic was a language commonly spoken by Palestinians so it was probably people visiting someone in the building …. even more likely, visitors to someone that lives in my apartment. The neighbour was speechless, which was welcome considering the alternative.

Then the fun started…. the very basis for this post….
Azmi became a lawyer after graduation and set up a private practice in East Jerusalem. Lawyers get mail…. lots of mail, so his name was added to my mailbox. About a year later there was a knock at my door, it was a sales agent from Remax, a real estate company. She had a ‘problem’ and proceeded to tell me about it. There was an apartment for sale in my building and she was handling it, but because there was an Arab name on my mailbox, three prospective buyers refused to even enter the building to see the apartment. She requested that I do something about it, which I promised I would…. the very next day five other Palestinian families living in my building put their names on their mailboxes. Problem solved!

The nerve of that woman….. an employee of an American firm that franchises their operation in Israel attempting to get me to play racist …. no way no how! This was not the first incident of Remax’s role in the ethnic cleansing of Israel, another example can be seen in THIS link from an earlier post. My way of life is uncompromisable despite efforts by outfits such as Remax.

That wasn’t the end of my involvement with Remax … five years ago Azmi wanted to rent an apartment of his own for his growing family, a wife and three children. There was one for rent right above my apartment, an ideal situation for all of us. The rental was being handled by Remax. The manager of the local branch was not keen on getting the reputation of being the sole real estate company in the area that rents to Arabs. The only way they would agree to rent the premises to Azmi was if I agreed to have the lease put in my name, which we did. I guess we could have taken the firm to court and made a case out of that, but we wanted to remain in the same building as a family and so we did not make an issue of this.

I was reminded of all of the above because after 15 years, I had to have my solar boiler replaced today. This, just days after the latest tirade of rabbinical racism.  Nothing and no one can change my lifestyle and principles. Racism is as alien to me as those that spout it out. If no one listens, they are defeated …. AND THAT THEY WILL BE!

The rabbis threatened that “Anyone who sells (property to a non-Jew) must be cut off!!” , Remax endorsed that position years ago. As far as I am concerned, both are cut off from my way of life!

Hopefully others will follow our example, a road that can and will lead to a permanent peace in this Godforsaken land they call the ‘Holy Land’.



Reflections of an ‘unAmerican’ American

As a child in elementary school I was taught many songs about ‘my’ history. One that comes to mind was called ‘My Country Tis of Thee’….
“Land where my fathers died”…… what a confusing line to someone whose father was very much alive…..

Was the system trying to force an identity onto me?

And what about the tales we were told about the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving, etc. , etc. What possible significance could these have to a child whose parents immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe just a few years earlier?

And what about the students of Afro-American heritage…. why were they denied a true picture of what really happened to their ancestors? Not until Alex Hailey wrote the book ‘Roots’ were many of the facts exposed.

We were told that America was a ‘melting pot’….. that’s fine, but what about the ingredients in that pot? The school I attended was in a working class Jewish community in the southern part of Brooklyn. We were ‘taught’ that America was a ‘Christian’ nation. What was ironic about this is the fact that those that taught us this were for the most part Jewish. So, just what did that mean? Were we to lose our identity as Jews and start calling ourselves Christians?

Christmas and Easter were both Holidays for us, yet we did not celebrate them at home. Did that make us ‘unAmerican’? Somehow the term ‘melting pot’ did not fit, it was more like a slow cooker where the ‘minority ingredients’ were either burnt away or totally blended in with the other ones in the mix.

There was a sprinkling of non Jews in my school, there were Puerto Ricans whose families moved up north to secure a better life. There were a handful of Afro- Americans as well as some students of Chinese origin. All had a culture of their own, and all were denied that culture…. it just wasn’t American. It was a confusing situation for all of us.

When John Kennedy threw his hat in the ring to become the next President we heard ramblings that he did not stand a chance because he was a Catholic. Were Catholics not Americans? Were we forever to be ruled by the predominant WASPS? Again, a very confusing situation.

Brings to mind a joke that my grandmother used to say to me; You are American born, that means that one day you can become the President…. of the local synagogue…. There was allot of truth in what she said, yet, I was to feel proud to be an American….

The Cold War presented new challenges to our ‘nation’….. “America, love it or leave it!” WTF????? Was dissent not allowed? Was criticism not allowed?? What about the ideals set down by our ‘Founding Fathers’ when the ‘nation’ was established? Was all of that merely documents to be viewed in museums? Were we to believe that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were totally outdated and invalid? On one hand we were taught about the glorious principles of ‘our’ Revolution, on the other hand we were taught that to believe in those principles was unAmerican. Whatever happened to the concept of ‘We the people’? should that be changed officially to ‘We the Sheeple’? Again, a most confusing situation.

So, I ask, where do all of the above ramblings and reflections leave us today? I can only surmise that America is in reality a false nation with false prophets…. am I wrong?

Enjoy the following traditional Thanksgiving treat…

If you get the urge to sing along….. here are the lyrics….

This song is called Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Alice, and the
restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
that’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I called the song Alice’s
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin’ all that room,
seein’ as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t
have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be
a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW
microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
on toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump
closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
decided to throw our’s down.

That’s what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the
next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, “Kid,
we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it.” And
I said, “Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
under that garbage.”

After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
police officer’s station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the
shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
police officer’s station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn’t very likely, and
we didn’t expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again,
which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer’s station
there was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was
both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said “Obie, I don’t think I
can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on.” He said, “Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car.”

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of
Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop
signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach,
the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to
mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
us in the cell. Said, “Kid, I’m going to put you in the cell, I want your
wallet and your belt.” And I said, “Obie, I can understand you wanting my
wallet so I don’t have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
want my belt for?” And he said, “Kid, we don’t want any hangings.”
I said, “Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?”
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
toilet seat so I couldn’t hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
out the toilet paper so I couldn’t bend the bars roll out the – roll the
toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie
was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It’s a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
to the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,
and didn’t get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
of each one, sat down. Man came in said, “All rise.” We all stood up,
and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the
judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And
we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not
what I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street,
where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to
look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.”

And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL.” And I started jumpin up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL,” and
he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

Didn’t feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me
at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
and I walked up and said, “What do you want?” He said, “Kid, we only got
one question. Have you ever been arrested?”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,
with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
the phenome… – and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, did you ever
go to court?”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, I want
you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W …. NOW kid!!”

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W’s
where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean ‘n’ ugly
‘n’ nasty ‘n’ horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
and said, “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage.” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid?”
And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
up and said.

“Kids, this-piece-of-paper’s-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
officer’s-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say”, and talked for
forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it
down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
following words:


I went over to the sargent, said, “Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I’m
sittin’ here on the bench, I mean I’m sittin here on the Group W bench
’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough join the army, burn women,
kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug.” He looked at me and
said, “Kid, we don’t like your kind, and we’re gonna send you fingerprints
off to Washington.”

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.”. And walk out. You know, if
one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the guitar.

With feeling. So we’ll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I’ve been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it
for another twenty five minutes. I’m not proud… or tired.

So we’ll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
harmony and feeling.

We’re just waitin’ for it to come around is what we’re doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice’s Restaurant

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