Though we’re both in the same business, you and I have never met.
I wanted to cast you in a movie I was going to do a few years back when you were just beginning to leave the Disney fold and establish yourself as an actress, flowering into a beautiful womanhood. It wasn’t the direction your people they wanted you to go in at the time, and we moved on to another truly wonderful actress, a great kid named Olesya Rulin, who's become like an adopted daughter. It was a little Indie and it was lucky you didn’t say yes because we had a first time producer who recut the picture on her laptop and destroyed what could have been a little “ Juno” of a film and hacked it into a grade B tv movie that wound up on basic cable. So good career move by Team Selena.
But I was a fan even back then.
Recently you tweeted out something regarding the Hamas launched war in Gaza, that expressed a beautiful sentiment and you caught some flack for it. Your tweet was, “ Please pray for those families and babies today. Please always remember what’s important in life. We are here to help, inspire and love. Be that change.”
Any father or grandfather would be proud of a sweet sentiment like that, coming from his adolescent daughter or grand daughter.
Think of me as your Jewish Uncle for a second and know that I’m a little concerned, because while it’s an absolutely sweet adolescent posting, you’re a young woman now.
I promise you I don’t mean this in any condescending way whatsoever. I know how tough the spotlight and paparazzi can be. I shared my life with an actress for 17 years, an absolutely spectacular woman, and I saw what the paparazzi did to her at times, trailing her through Heathrow airport with her gay hairdresser, whom they claimed was her new boy toy , and with whom she had supposedly trashed a hotel room the night before. Total lie from start to finish. You live in a tough world , in a ruthless profession. I remember the night my sweetheart and I were chased through the streets of Rome in a taxi by a dozen paparazzi on motorcycles, and how terrified she was that someone would be killed as this was only a short time after Princess Di and Dodi Fayed met that fate in an all too similar chase through the streets of Paris.
So trust me there is not a whiff of condescension in this. Just a Jewish Uncle, putting his arm around a sweet young woman, and offering the best possible advice I can give.
Understand also, that I know you’re a Christian and your faith is at the heart of that sweet sentiment. As they say in the South ," I luv me some Christians! “ By that, for the uninitiated, I don’t mean” Some Christians” , I mean I love Christians. Period. I’m the co founder of the Zaki Gordon Cinematic Arts Center at Liberty University in Lynchburg VA which is already the largest and finest Christian Film School in the world and within a few short years will be one of the finest film schools in the world, period.
So there is not a whiff of condescension regarding your faith either. I trust it is heartfelt, sincere, and at the center of your life.
But as your uninvited Jewish Uncle, let’s say you had a close friend who was in trouble. Maybe a girlfriend who had an eating disorder or a drug problem, or was in an abusive relationship. You wouldn’t be doing them any favor at all, no matter how much you loved and prayed for them, by turning a blind eye to what was at the heart of their problem, and enabling them through well intentioned naiveté. In fact you’d be doing the opposite.
I grew up both in Israel and the US. I had two sets of best friends , who have stayed my best friends for over fifty years. Some of those friends, of my Israeli youth, were killed in battle in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, a war Israel is never wanted to be in , in which we were attacked by the armies of Egypt and Syria.
In that war we lost almost three thousand boys killed in three weeks.
But that was a war of armies vs armies. Soldiers vs soldiers, and the Egyptian and Syrian soldiers fought bravely for their countries, as we did for ours. There were almost no civilian casualties, just soldiers on both sides. That was because even though they invaded us, in a Pearl Harbor style attack, they never hid behind their own civilians. They did what soldiers are supposed to do , they put their civilians far behind them, and protected them, and engaged us, as soldiers, on the field of battle. They neither targeted our civilians, nor hid behind their own.
So only soldiers died, amongst them, two dear friends of my youth.
In America I had four dear friends: Corby, Larry, Tim and Jeffrey. Tight as buddies could be. In fact we all sang together in various trios and folk quartets. Thye were as close to me as brothers.
Three of us are still alive.
Tim was Tim Buckley. He was a fairly successful folk rock star in the sixties, a gorgeous singer with an amazing voice and a totally fearless talent. He was the father of Jeff Buckley, who was oddly enough conceived on my living room floor when Tim, and his soon to be wife Mary, ran away and hid out in my apartment, since I was the only one of us in high school who lived in my own apartment. I wasn’t about to give up my bed in my tiny abode for the young lovers, no matter how good friends they were, so they got some blankets on the floor.
Jeff Buckley, whom I loved like a son,was killed in a tragic accidental drowning at the height of his career.
A few years later my son Zaki, at the start of what would have been a glorious career as a writer/director, was killed in a no less tragic car accident.
But Jeff’s father, Tim, was something else.
He was a junkie.
Not full tilt , mind you, just doing too many and too dangerous drugs. I was in the Israeli army. It was 1974 and I was on leave in the US doing my first produced feature, because the producers had some juice and got me a leave to come to LA and finish the screenplay there. When I saw Tim and saw what bad shape he was in we got into a terrible fight. I told him at the rate he was going he’d be dead in less than a year. I was furious because my Israeli friends had died in combat in a war not of their choosing and here was a talented young musician who had everything in the palm of his hand and was throwing it away because everyone around him was enabling him. I told him I would go AWOL, risk court marshal to stay in LA and help him kick his habit, but I wouldn’t enable him out, of misplaced pity for the demon that was riding his back into an early grave.
That, I wouldn’t do.
So we got into a fight and I told him it was his life and if he wanted to end it uselessly, I wouldn’t be a party to it. It was the last thing I could think of to save him.
It didn’t work.
I went back to Israel and the army, and Tim was dead in less than a year, of an overdose . And all the misguided sympathy, and the enabling hypocrites who supposedly loved him, and helped lead him to his destruction, cried crocodile tears at his funeral and then went on to the next story.
Forgive the bitterness. But I truly loved him. I mourn him to this day.
Sweet Girl, I too pray for the Palestinian people of Gaza and my heart goes out to them.
They are ruled by the most ruthless occupier in their history.
We unilaterally ended the occupation of Gaza and used our own army to uproot ten thousand people form the homes they had lived in for forty years.
We pulled them by force from their farms, their businesses and their places of worship.
If they had been Palestinians we would have been denounced as Nazis.
But they weren’t Palestinians, they were Jews and Israelis.
And we used our own army against them, to pull them out of their homes and villages, in order to end the occupation of Gaza and “ Give Peace a Chance”.
The policy was called “ Gaza First” and the idea was, if it could work in Gaza, it could be the template for ending the suffering of the Palestinian people, and finally seeing them have their own Palestinian state, living side by side in peace alongside the Jewish State of Israel.
We prayed for them and wanted them to become the Singapore of the Middle East. And they could have.
But they were cruelly taken over, not by Israelis , but by the terrorist army of Hamas, in a blood thirsty coup in which Hamas lined up and machine gunned their fellow Sunni, Moslem Palestinian brothers, blindfolded and bound them and pushed them off three story buildings, and shot their knee caps off if they protested, in their so called interrogations.
The families and babies you urged people to pray for have been killed because of Hamas.
Sweet Girl, WE ACCEPTED A CEASE FIRE BEFORE THE GROUND INVASION BEGAN!
It wasn’t our cease fire or an American Cease fire or a UN or EU cease fire. It was an Arab Cease fire proposal, put forward by Egypt and endorsed by the Arab League and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. AND ISRAEL ACCEPTED IT IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY.
It as supposed to take place at 9:00 a.m. the next day and all the killing and suffering would have stopped, and those babies and families you would have us pray for now, would all have been alive.
You know how Hamas gave its answer to the cease fire proposal? It launched a massive rocket attack all aimed, not at our soldiers , but at OUR families and babies , and then later that day, thirteen terrorists, armed with anti tank missiles, machine guns , grenades, thousands of rounds of ammunition AND hand cuffs and tranquilizers, popped up from an underground tunnel, just a short jog away from our civilian farming communities.
You jog farther on a treadmill, in your workout, than they would have had to jog to murder hundreds of OUR families and babies , and take them hostage and drag them back into the terrorist tunnels, into Gaza.
Then and only then did Israel realize what horrible danger we were in from a network of dozens of tunnels, with sixty different access points, scattered throughout Gaza in private homes, hospitals, in crowded neighborhoods, and under schools , all aimed at providing access to terrorists who wanted to kill , maim and take hostage, not our soldiers, but OUR families and babies.
If Hamas was a drug it would make crack and crystal meth look like M&Ms.
They are a terrorist army of Iran’s making, and Qatar’s financing, and they used the cement and steel that the good people of the US and Europe paid for with their tax dollars, supposedly to rebuild Gaza, and which Israel let through the border crossings because we knew if they could build houses, and schools and hospitals and community centers for their families and babies, it would bring us all closer to the peace we all pray for.
But instead of rebuilding Gaza with what you and the good people of the US and Europe donated to them, and we allowed to go into Gaza, Hamas played all of us, and the Palestinian people of Gaza for suckers, for chumps. And they used that cement and steel to build the terrorist tunnels which just popped up on my peoples’ front lawns like gopher holes to disgorge not rodents, but terrorists, who did everything humanly possible to murder them.
Just yesterday we found one of those terrorist tunnels, that came up inside the dining hall of a farming village, called Nahal Oz. The plan was to use it to murder, maim and take hostage hundreds of families while they were eating a holiday meal.
They were stopped only by the actions of my fellow soldiers who put their lives on the line every single day, not to build a caliphate, nor get seventy two almond eyed virgins in Paradise, nor even to maintain any occupation of Gaza , which we ended almost ten years ago. We put our lives on the line literally to protect our homes and families. Not our metaphorical homes and families, but our actual homes, the houses in which our families,whom they panned to murder, live in.
I have attached a link to a blog where I’ve kept a sort of soldiers diary and an entry, in particular, called "We’re both From The Same Village. "Read it to the end. Please, Maideleh ( that’s a very endearing Yiddish term).
You’re a young woman now with a huge voice. You owe it to yourself, and the people who follow you on social media.
And when this is over and I get back to LA, honestly have your guys call my agent.. I don’t want to do lunch or talk movies.
I’d like to pray with you.
Capt. IDF ( Res)