Hello and good day!
It's hard for me to think or write about anything else other than what is going on in Israel.
I'm sure this is the case for a lot of people around the world today.
I've read at least a dozen books about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I've done my best to examine the subject from every viewpoint.
I know that I have a very balanced and sober view on the historical causes of the ongoing violence in that part of the world.
I'm not a partisan.
In general, I have sympathy for people on both sides of the conflict.
As I never tire of mentioning, nobody chooses where they are born.
If you are born in North Korea, you'll think that the leader of your country is literally a God.
You'll be brainwashed to believe that from the time you are born.
If you are born in the district of Huarango in northern Peru, you are very likely going to be a cacao farmer.
You'll have very little say in the matter.
If you are born in a war zone, your destiny is to suffer through a hell of a lot of trauma. And trauma does terrible things to people.
I am by no means an expert on the current state of the conflict.
I don't understand all the current geopolitical alliances that may have an impact on the immediate future.
In truth, I don't follow the news very much at all.
I try to only worry about what I can control and all I've got under my dominion is our chocolate business and my family. As such, that is where I mostly focus my attention.
Unfortunately, this recent massacre by Hamas does touch my family and I am qualified to offer an expert perspective in one respect.
I can tell you how American Jews of my mother's generation feel about Israel.
Take this as you will.
You might agree. You might disagree. I am just reporting the facts.
My great grandmother on my mother's side immigrated to the United States from Poland around 1910.
If she would have stayed in Poland, I wouldn't be alive. My bloodline would have been wiped out by the Nazis.
My mom was born in 1945, right at the tail end of World War II.
This means that my great grandmother and her daughter, my grandmother, lived through the Holocaust as adults with a full understanding of its significance.
Hitler intended to exterminate European Jewry and he almost succeeded.
Israel was created in 1947. I know something of the history of Israel's creation, but I am not knowledgeable enough to give a reliable recitation here.
Suffice it to say that Jews of my grandmother's generation viewed Israel as a sanctuary for the Jewish people, a place where persecuted Jews would be safe to live and worship in peace forever more.
My mom was raised with this belief as were most other American Jews of her generation.
The awful historical complication of Israel's creation, beyond the fact that it was necessitated by the Holocaust, was that people were already living on the land that was designated.
This is a historical fact, and any honest assessment of the conflict must take this reality into account.
The Palestinian people were victims of victims.
Whether the Jews had a valid longstanding claim to their holy land dating back to Biblical times is something I am not qualified to address.
The political reality was that Jewish victimhood in Europe during World War II was so severe that the international community decided that the necessity of a homeland for the Jews superseded Palestinian rights to their longstanding territory.
Come down on the justice of that historical event how you will, but that is what happened, and we can't change the past.
Palestinians have been fighting to get back their land from that day forward. We've been hearing about terrible violence and strife between the two sides since then.
Now back to how American Jews of my mother's generation view the conflict.
Our bloodline was nearly exterminated and now there was a sanctuary, a place where our people could go to ensure the survival of our race.
I'm not religious in any way but I do self-identify as an ethnic Jew and I like the idea of being Jewish.
I appreciate the historical, cultural, and intellectual heritage that come along with it.
However, I did not grow up during a time of extreme Jewish oppression.
As far as I've been able to experience it, the world is no longer a predominantly unsafe place for Jews.
I'm pretty open about my ethnicity and I've never received any negative backlash whatsoever.
In fact, ironically, it would seem that the homeland of the Jews is the most dangerous place in the world to be Jewish.
Given her age, the Holocaust still looms large in my mom's mind. She grew up in the shadow of it and it is burned into her psyche.
Any time innocent Jews are slaughtered, as they just were, you will hear the shouts of "never again" and troops will be sent marching to defend the sanctuary, as they should be.
The primordial job of governments everywhere is to protect their citizens from violence. Retaliatory wars to eliminate further threats are justified.
Invasions, wars of conquest, and of course the wholesale murder of innocent civilians can never be accepted under any circumstances.
It is a sad, cold, reality that war will always be with us.
The facts bear this out and to ignore the facts is to live in self-delusion.
But self-delusion is not a good life strategy.
We must look at the facts honestly and make our decisions accordingly.
I know that my mother is suffering great emotional hardship and my heart breaks for her.
My prayers go out to the families of all the victims who were senselessly murdered.
Likewise for every innocent person who will be hurt during the terrible days to come.
On the other hand, though, we in the United States live in a peaceful and prosperous country.
The lights are on.
The water is running.
We can ship delicious chocolate right to your front door.
Little kids and young at heart adults will be in our chocolate shop today drinking hot chocolate and eating ice cream cones.
In addition to hating evil, we must also love peace and express extreme gratitude that we are safe and healthy and living a good life.
I believe we have a moral obligation to enjoy ourselves and be kind to one another while we can.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day! Adam