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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.
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Past Articles
The Perfect Recipe
Strange Bunch These Jewish People
Once They Burned Books
Indicators of Our Time
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
The Perfect Recipe
March 8, 2010

We were working on a new art installation on Wilshire Boulevard in the Business Triangle of Beverly Hills. The installation shows the bare, naked Faces of Humanity, stripped from our differences, make-up and externalities. Suddenly the artist said, "We should add a large sign reading "FREE PALESTINE.” We burst out laughing, as I quickly added "and in small letters in between the two words add ‘us from’.” We realized this would attract an avalanche of immediate attention: A Jewish artist calling from the very heart of Beverly Hills to FREE PALESTINE.

I continued thinking: We can change the opening reception with the Mayor and other members of the Beverly Hills City Council and community to a fundraiser. We should charge $10,000 per couple (or individual if attending alone) and declare the proceeds are designated to benefit "THE CHILDREN OF PALESTINE.” Another very wealthy ex-Israeli living in Beverly Hills is promoting in this manner the cause of Children, but she differentiates not between the race, ethnicity, national origin or other characteristics. Children, after all, do not know to distinguish until taught.

What a great cause, what an added benefit (to us, both in terms of publicity and income)! This is an ingenious way of benefiting us, us again and us a third time. Who knows, maybe four or five "Children” in "Palestine” may be chosen as token models. Oh, I forgot, we already do that in Israel without any fanfare or publicity, with no tax deductions or other benefits. Alas, I entertained myself (and hopefully you as well) with this flow of ideas, and for that I am happy.

I often tried to understand what Jews and Israelis gain from promoting the cause of the enemy: A state on the ruins of the Jewish State, a "RIGHT” of "RETURN,” a Jerusalem divided. We can go a step further and look at the constant flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, from Jews, liberals and other self-haters around the world. Where are these good hearted souls when the Gazans fire rockets at civilian populations, smuggle anti-tank missiles or release casks loaded with explosives into the sea? Where is the outrage toward attacks on their own people?

These acts are simply to gain attention, raise money and bask in some perverted sense of false glory. I fight for the Israel I know and love, the Jewish State that was, is and will forever be. I do not invent sicknesses nor spread them. On the contrary, I belong to the people who try to find cures and bestow the knowledge on humanity at large. I am Jewish, and I proudly defend my people.

Think how successful the ongoing campaign for our annihilation has been: The modern State of Israel has existed only 62 years, and already there are those who call from the pulpit of the UN (and Columbia University) to wipe her off the map, for her utter and complete destruction.

The old anti-Semitism has been transformed, re-defined and crystallized into hatred toward the Jewish State and an overriding need to exterminate Israel alongside the Jews still left in the world today.

Our mere existence as a Jewish State is unacceptable to any of our neighbors. Jerusalem, part and parcel of our religion, history and archeology, not to mention national spirit and craving for Zion and G-d, is being divided, and some are ready to give it away. Many, from within Israel proper and the Jewish communities in the Diaspora, share a narrative with our enemies.

Let us focus on entertainment and the light side of contemporary events rather than on the grim future. To our opening reception of the new Installation "FREE PALESTINE,” we are planning to charge handsomely, "for the sake of Children in the Middle East,” and people will pay, primarily good Jews and ex-Israelis from the local Los Angeles communities. Only one ingredient remains missing: the need.

But why invent? Let us look at one particular organization:

"The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is a nonprofit organization working for the right and the well being of children in the Middle East.” The Berkley, California, based organization reported revenues last year (filed in May, 2009) of almost $4.5m, of which it spent $4m. Apparently, our idea of a lucrative business and attention-gathering mechanism is practiced in reality.

Since MECA was founded in 1988, they "have sent or delivered more than $14 million in aid to children in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon to alleviate their suffering. We sent shipments of food, medicine, medical equipment and supplies as well as clothes, books, toys and school supplies. … humanitarian aid distribution throughout the Gaza Strip, where there are shortages of food and medicine.”

In a letter to "friends,” MECA’s well paid executive director Barbara Lubin writes: "I’m sure you’re aware that the Palestinian people have been systematically deprived of one of the most basic necessities of life, for more than sixty years: Water.”

Lubin’s completely false assertions nonetheless make a good sound bite. "Palestinians” are usually associated with "victims.” Billions were wasted on Gaza, but the infrastructure remains broken and conditions even poorer. All the while, Swiss and other bank accounts fatten and multiply. A few reap the rewards of the eternal refugees. What a wonderful system! What lucrative victims they make, a very profitable business pure and simple.

The fact there is no food or medicine shortage in Gaza does not prevent Lubin from stating otherwise. After all, people may say what they please without the need to provide even a modicum of proof. Water has been an issue throughout arid lands (thus in particular in the Middle East), for all inhabitants, and since MECA conducts tours of Palestine/Israel, possibly they should focus next on the advents of water reclamation, agriculture that is less dependent on water and other miracles to be found growing only in the Jewish State.

Lubin does not talk about the fact that all inhabitants of the lands need to conserve. 300,000 refugees fled from previously agricultural lands into the cities and are now living as refugees in their own country – Syria. Turkey, Syria and Iraq; Lebanon, Syria and Israel; Israel and Jordan; these are examples of overlapping circles, neighbors competing for shared water resources. The region is interdependent and water will be a catalyst for war.

Other than sound bites, one will not find "depravation” of a particular segment of society in Israel. It sounds great and fills the coffers of Lubin and her cohorts – fight Israel’s legitimacy in any way possible, and the best is through spreading lies and concocting defaming rumors. Myths like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion claim that Jews kill—to this day—young non-Jewish children to use their blood to bake Matzo crackers for Passover, and even more recently a "factual” reporting discovered that Israelis kill young Muslim males to harvest their organs. Also for the record, Israeli soldiers do not rape Palestinian women! [Whom do they rape?]

Lubin warns "Today, the health and wellbeing of virtually every Palestinian child and adult is threatened by the shortage of clean, safe water.” I would agree with a more general statement, substituting Middle Eastern or Californian for Palestinian. Every person in the region is threatened by increased usage and population growth. Israel’s only role is providing solutions, the likes of which are now used all over the world (like drip irrigation or drought resistant crops).

Haters like Lubin are interested neither in reality nor in solutions. She wants money (the complete trail of which still should be studied and examined) and to destroy the Jewish State. To that objective, she will stop at nothing: "Israel has constantly attacked the water system. The last invasion, US-backed Israeli invasion, a year ago destroyed around 30 kilometers of pipes and other equipment. Nothing is allowed back in to repair them.” In fact, pipes were absolutely used by the Gazans to build rockets and fill them with improvised explosives. A fact Lubinites fail to note.

News for the accuser and her cohorts: The need for pipes has lessened dramatically. Although Gaza is under a so-called siege and complete blockade, truckloads of advanced weaponry have entered Gaza. Iranian-made missiles are much more accurate and powerful than improvised rockets made of local pipes. Hamas recently advised Israel and the world that Tel Aviv (thus the totality of the Jewish Homeland) is within range of its missiles. Do Lubin’s followers actually believe water will put out of the fires that will be ignited by Iran’s missiles?

Lubin continues: "So children are dying of diseases from poisoned water and that’s going to continue…” If only she would embark on a different project to prevent Hamas terrorists from using children as human shields and kindergartens and schools as launching pads and refuge shelters of armed terrorists. But Lubin is not interested in bettering the conditions or the very lives of children in Gaza. She is focused on raising money to fight Israel’s very existence.

Water is close to the heart of every Angeleno who finally has to start conserving. For decades we have been cleaning the curbs with fresh drinking water. We cared little, if at all. Abundance was at fault, since prices were so low. "Suddenly,” as the situation deteriorated below the last of red lines, we were told to cut consumption or else pay monetary penalties. Are we, too, being deprived of water? Are we dying due to a lack? Nonsense. Yet, it is always easy to blame someone else! Perhaps we should accuse Los Angeles of plotting our demise. Such silliness would be laughed at here.

MECA embarked on a new project – "the Maia Project: Bringing Water to the Children of Palestine.” They took a billboard on Sunset strip, amidst the raw sexuality of Calvin Klein, the computer power of Mac, the fashionable clothes of Banana Republic and the sexy elegance and luxury of Gucci. Perhaps, hating Israel is tres chic in Lubin’s world.

The Billboard reads: "from LA to Palestine / Clean, Drinkable Water is a Human Right.” I could not agree more with the statement, except I would change "to Palestine” to "to the world over.” We here in Los Angeles (and Berkeley too) have often pioneered and championed environmental causes. We all need to conserve and find new ways to live in arid areas. We must remember that over usage and increasing pressures on nature and the environment have come to haunt us all.

Israel is the solution, not the problem. People like Lubin who are trying to flame up a fire to cause Israel’s demise will fail. They are pursuing evil rather than good. They lie, malign and defame. If only they used their imagination and funding to seek solutions instead of to destroy Israel. Yet, Israel is a prime example of creativity through struggle. She fights equally for all. She prevails and will continue to bestow goodness and life-changing technology to benefit humanity.

Learn from Israel, MECA. Be part of the solution for all mankind, not a catalyst that breeds anti-Semitism. Change your ways and try to do good rather than masquerading beneath the guise of concern to inflict harm and destruction where none exists.

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