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.
Bunch These Jewish People
They Burned Books
Indicators of Our Time
Candles of Darkness
December 1, 2009
Palestine, Stand Proud Israel
for Israel, But Why?
Blaming the Messenger
for Our Country, Fighting for our Lives
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
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
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
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
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
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
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