Sixteen years ago, Dorian Paskowitz said, "God will surf with the devil if the waves are good.” He was wrong.
Like any other Israeli surfer, me and my bro Alex’s life revolved around the surf and skate park at Hilton Beach in the eighties and nineties.
But that childhood as an Israeli surfer had a wild background, a background of a country seeking peace on one hand and constant threat on our lives from the other.
Our dad gone for months in the early eighties to fight radicals in Lebanon.
The scud missiles being shot from Iraq in the early nineties.
Buses exploding in the heart of Tel Aviv in the mid-nineties. Stabbings and shooting on the streets in the 2000’s.
Always the feeling, what next?
But there was always a great trust in our protective might, the IDF army and its leaders and the eternal motto of the Jews “Am Israel Chai” or “The people of Israel live.”
Fast forward to 2007 and we had the opportunity to join the legendary Dorian Paskowitz on a wonderful quest named Surfing 4 Peace where the Israeli surfer would help his Arab brothers and sisters.
In August 2007, two years after Israel disengaged from Gaza, forcefully evacuating Jewish families who lived there, the people of Gaza chose Hamas, whose very charter called for the extermination of the Jewish state, as their democratically elected rulers.
It was a true volatile situation, even worse than before if that was possible.
But Dorian Paskowitz came with a surfer’s peace-driven idea, let’s get some boards and send em to the Gazans. A small act of kindness, a peace offering from Jewish surfers.
Doc had read a story in the Los Angeles Times about the Gazan’s sharing one surfboard between ‘em. Soon he was on the phone to me to organise a stack of boards and by August we set out to the Erez Crossing, which today is completely demolished by the Hamas terrorists who attacked our people on October 7.
But back in 2007, we brought fourteen surfboards made by Israeli shapers and through a peace organisation in Gaza named “One Voice” we managed to deliver the boards. Later, through an American partner who joined the project, Mat Olsen, we delivered even more boards.
The animosity on both ends always existed but we believed we could create a little love in people’s hearts and show them that at the grassroots level, with no politicians, we could make a change.
Maybe it was only in our hearts to start with but we hoped we were planting the seeds of trust through surfing.
We are not clueless nor oblivious to the ongoing situation or history. Our Dad owned a restaurant that employed workers from Gaza and at times if needed they would stay in Tel-Aviv due to blockades and sleep in our beds. Yes they were our family!
But they also stole from us. We always kept in mind, do the best you can to show you’re willing to co-exist but know who the other side is. Our parents raised us on the values of mutual respect and that giving starts the receiving process.
The bottom line of this story that most Israeli’s strive for peace until we cannot anymore and war is inflicted up on us. The world points the finger at us but the river of anti-semitism flows through the capitals of the world.
Seems so: pic.twitter.com/YOAWO5o0kr
— Sceptic observer :/ (@YugoVityaz) October 25, 2023
After all these years we realize this hate is on a subconscious level. We see student clubs from top universities in the US protest against Israel all the way to LGBTQ organizations and porn stars, people who would be executed in Gaza.
We see Greta Thunberg protesting against Israel, without even understanding who Hamas is.
We do believe that both the world will eventually say NO to radical Islam and appreciate the effort made by Israel, the only liberal nation in the middle east and the only productive nation in the region.
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Our people created a miracle in the desert in 75 years. We do not believe we are the chosen people but we are chosen now to sound the alarm of the risk of radical Islam to the world.
Wake up and smell the dead bodies of October 7. The bodies mutilated. The women raped. The children shot.
With our country again under threat let me ask. Will the atrocities of October 7 free the people of Gaza?
The dream is dead.
When we stood at the Erez Crossing with the boards in our arms Dorian said, “God will surf with the devil if the waves are good.”
Sixteen years later, I’m happy Dorian can’t see this because the devil doesn’t want to surf.
Instead the devil chants, “From the river to the sea” which means erasing Israel.
That Devil is now fuelled by an open river of antisemitism of the non-Muslim world which justifies the Hamas actions, people rejoicing after October 7.
The only question left is, how will you react when evil breaks down your door.
Editor’s note: Posted above is a little movie I made on my first trip to Israel in 2014 to document the little state and the Israeli surfer. Shortly after it was released, I split Stab to start BeachGrit with dear ol Chas Smith, whom you know. After supposed pressure from readers, Stab cut the opening couple of minutes of the film which included footage of the death camps and the 1948 War of Independence, there as a little scene setting to explain why the joint was created in the first place, along with two important quotes.
First, from JFK: “Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom” and, second, from the Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Amin al-Husseini on Radio Berlin, “Arabs! Arise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.” Gotta remember, the mufti’s quote came before Israel existed.