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About Ari Bussel
In the series "Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this "point - counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.
Social Bookmarking
Past Articles
Candles of Darkness
Israel, A Nation Lost
Israel, December 1, 2009
Blaming America
Exporting Terror
The Report
Cry Palestine, Stand Proud Israel
Fighting for Israel, But Why?
Stop Blaming the Messenger
A Changing Reality
Fighting for Our Country, Fighting for our Lives
The Second Disengagement

Ari Bussel
Candles of Darkness
January 5, 2010

It was the last Monday of the year 2009, and at 5PM already dark here in Los Angeles. The weather treated us nicely, so we stood with only one or two layers, signs in our hands ("We Stand with Israel”) along with US and Israeli flags and candles.

We were greatly outnumbered, almost five to one. On the other side of the street, just in front the Israeli Consulate building, about 120 anti-Israel protestors, all white-Caucasian, children to the elderly, stood with candles and signs. The darkness and lights of passing cars obliterated them, all except the candles.

I was thinking: Hanukah was just ten days ago, Christmas last Friday, how befitting, albeit slightly late? A peaceful protest, quite unlike most held here. The police in great numbers stood on both sides, ready to react if necessary.

Even the darkness could not completely disguise the hatred that emanated from the anti-Israel protestors who were on the way to join the protest and passed by us. We stood just near the crosswalk, so people faced our "We Stand with Israel” signs and the American Flag we held.

I thought to myself, "What an eloquent statement, an appropriate way to greet!” One protestor could not hold back and repeated "SHAME, SHAME.” Another joined in chanting "Children Murderers, Occupiers.” The first continued "Shame, Shame.” How ironic from those who condone using babies as human shields.

Slightly later, another woman became furious. She warned me, lest I was confused, "USA IS NOT ISRAEL.” She, too, like the man who repeated SHAME earlier, chanted her anti-Israel mantra with a practiced ease time after time. I imagine my smile irritated her as much or more than the flag and sign I carried. Just being there was all it took.

Having just returned from a mission to Israel, I still felt the remnants of jetlag. I could not fathom the reason for their vitriolic protest, or even why it was being held on this particular Monday afternoon when most people are not even in Los Angeles. A fellow reporter stopped to ask me why do we stand here. I replied that Israel is the last fortress standing in the way of radical Islam’s expansion to conquer the world, so for our own sake, we must support her.

The region is reaching a boiling point, I said, and the rattles we now feel are just precursors to an imminent major explosion. Iran’s evil tentacles have already spread via Iraq, Syria and parts of Israel to either side of the Mediterranean, like claws holding the sea from North and South. If Israel falls, the USA is next in line. For the sake of both, I said, we must stand strong together. For America’s sake, we must make our position clear and visible.

I connected this belief with the attempt by the Nigerian national to blow the plane inbound from Amsterdam to Detroit.

My most recent return flight was on Swiss from Israel via Zurich to Los Angeles. I already know to fly as inconspicuous as possible. Now with the use of blankets prohibited, only one handbag allowance and new restrictions coming and going with the hour, my flying habits will have to change. In addition to arriving three hours in advance, taking off our shoes and belt and turning on our computer, we may soon have to submit our underwear for inspection – can you imagine the sight?

The rules, designed to protect us, are not only meaningless, they are laughable. At first, anything small we used to carry (clippers, scissors, pocket knives, cutters, etc.) was confiscated. Silverware (the type used in Business and First) was eliminated in favor of plastic, later only the knife was kept out, now all is once again available. Let us not forget, a metal fork can be as deadly as a knife. If one wants to be really creative, a pencil will suffice as well.

Then the authorities decided to confiscate our liquids, making my mother quite unhappy. Her bottle of water is taken away from her, just to force her to spend four or five dollars on a new bottle on the other side of the examination site. If anyone wants to sneak explosives onto an airplane, it is still very easy to do. I can even think of a few ways myself. Terrorists so far seem to be steps ahead of our intelligence efforts. They are already devising the next, more ingenious, more deadly trap.

All along, our enemies from within urge us not to profile. It is wrong, they say, not all terrorists are Middle Eastern, not all are Muslim. Those spokespersons of the Arab Anti-Defamation League should take the opposite approach altogether. If I were at the helm or one of their slick spokespersons, I would instruct a complete change of course along the following lines:

We know that all attacks against the West since 2001 were done by a small group of Islamist extremists shouting "Allah u Akbar” as they exploded themselves and as many innocent bystanders as possible. Therefore, we, devout Muslims, declare these acts are against Islam, a blasphemy of the Koran and The All Merciful.

Accordingly, we welcome the most strict security measures. Please, check and verify, ask and inquire. We will cooperate. It is our security on the line exactly as much as everyone else’s. It is our objective to catch and punish the extremist minority that stains us all very badly.

The spokespersons’ opposite approach, teaching how to avoid scrutiny, argue rather than cooperate, is very telling. These are the true enemies of the West and the Democratic Ideals it provides and protects. They use the system against itself, wishing for its demise, aiming to replace it with a Caliphate.

Time and again we fail. We are all inconvenienced with checks that are as meaningless as they are expensive. Grandmothers are stopped randomly along with Senators and former Vice Presidents (when the latter take commercial flights which they seldom do), while those with clear warning bells and whistles are completely ignored. The TSA has become a huge mechanism, its value – little if any.

Profiling must be used. We must disconnect ourselves from arguments raised in the name of freedom and humanity while designed to undermine them. We long ago lost our freedom. We experience great discomforts while the perpetrator dances around taunting us "Islam is a peaceful religion, do not use the word ‘terrorist,’ all is relative, one’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, it is not me but a few extremists, how dare you profile, look there – the culprit is just around the corner.” Leading the choir in the background is none other than the President of the United States of America.

Either we do what must be done to suit the new age of terrorism or soon we will be bowing on the floor five times a day facing Mecca. Thanks, but not for me.

I shift my thoughts from the flight situation and the greater discomforts I will have to face in my future travels to the people across the street. Just moments ago they accused me of being a child murderer and an occupier, Israel of committing war crimes. They brandish signs that read the same and express hatred toward Israel and to the USA.

Why do people hate our way of life so much? If it is that bad here, get involved, vote, try to change. If you absolutely hate it here, move. Go away. That is another freedom we afford: You do not need to stay. But why teach your children from young age to hate?

Celebrate America and all it has to offer. You may find that it is the source of much goodness, trying to share some of its wealth with the world. Other immigrants came here, embraced their new land and became invaluable to the American way of life. Why must you seek to destroy it instead?

I proudly continued to stand with the American Flag and the sign reading, "We Stand with Israel." Two countries, shared values, with endless possibilities and mutual goals. Who would have believed, just half a century ago, that a person whose skin color is black would be the President of the USA? Who would have fathomed the possibility of equal rights, women voting, improved working conditions? Only in America – the country we love and must always protect and cherish.

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