Forty Days At Sea
By Barry Chamish

I left on March 2, returned, April 11; forty days of lecturing in America. I finally met the loyal legions who created this peculiar career of mine and discovered they have almost nothing in common. In New York, my sponsors were religious Jews, including one memorable evening at the Lubatvitch world headquarters in Brooklyn. In Springfield, Missouri, the prophetic David Lewis Ministries were my hosts, while in Denver, the American Freedom Network organized a memorable evening. There, I was told, they take a historical view of Jesus, regarding him as a divine freedom fighter against the New World Order of the times, the Romans. My plane landed in Salt Lake City at 7:50 and Joel Skousen rushed me to a nearby university campus for an 8:00 PM lecture. The lecture hall was packed with Mormons who knew more about my work than any audience yet. In Dallas, the maverick archaeologist Vendyl Jones presented me to his convention of Bnei Noah, gentiles who accept the Old Testament but reject the New. In El Paso, my presenter was Eliezer Ben Yosef, a Reform Jew with a Saturday morning radio show. And my last stop in Hawaii was organized by Peter Goodgame, unaffiliated with any movement.
If there is a thread of commonality amongst my sponsors and audiences, I couldn't find it. Put them all in a room and the party would break up early. This diversity was a kind of revelation. Those people who find in my work the best explanation for what is happening to Israel today are united only in their love of the Jewish people, their battle against the New World Order and their profound hospitality towards a speaker who came a long way to meet them.
Before I left, I vowed not to keep up with news from Israel unless it was too disturbing to ignore. My idea was to both take a vacation from the hothouse and return with a refreshed viewpoint. The strategy mostly worked and I have nothing to add to anyone's knowledge of the Middle East. In fact, my most striking memory has nothing to do with politics of any kind and shortly I'd like to take the liberty of expanding on new information I was given on a very different subject for me, seasickness.
However, religion and politics did rear their heads on the trip and I suppose it would be in best character to point to a few highlights:
* I arrived in New York to awful news. The worst snowstorm in fifty years was set to hit the city on the night of my first lecture and bury the landscape in two feet of snow on the evenings of the next two. My New York tour was to be wiped out, including a Television interview I had been looking forward to; The Americans For A Safe Israel program on Manhattan Cable TV.
But then Ray Antoky and G-d decided to help me out. Ray provided my accommodations on condition that I wear tefillin on my trip. For those unacquainted with this tradition, tefillin are written prayers placed in small boxes attached to the head and arm by thin leather straps. He and a dozen buddies chipped in $350 to purchase a handcrafted set of tefillin and just hours before the blizzard was set to hit, I put them on. I hadn't worn teffilin since my bar mitzvah but they felt comfortable. I recited the prayer for wearing the tefillin with the rabbi who made them but added one phrase: "And please stop the storm."
The storm missed New York City by ten miles. I managed to get to Manhattan for the TV interview. None of the lectures was cancelled, in fact hundreds arrived at the Lubavitch world headquarters for the speech.
Do I think it was because of the tefillin? Yes.
* I was privileged to have been interviewed on numerous radio shows in the past forty days including five hours on the legendary Alex Jones program and an hour on Hawaii's most popular morning show, hosted by Rick Hamada.
But the most troublesome program came out of Omaha. The host, Marty, told me that he would like to support Israel wholeheartedly but its laws against evangelizing prevented it. I replied, "How would you like it if a bunch of Jews came into your neighborhood trying to change the faith of your children. Or how would you like it if Scientologists handed out pamphlets in your church?"
He admitted he would not like it al all.
"Well, we Jews don't proselytize your young people because we respect your faith too much for that. Naturally we expect the same respect shown to us."
He said he had never considered that side of the issue but it made sense. Then he opened the phone lines to callers. One of the first brought up the silly matter of the Khazarians. A few decades back Arthur Koestler wrote a book about the Khazar empire whose leadership, late in the Middle Ages, did covert to Judaism. Then he took the crazy leap of hypothesizing that all Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of Khazars who migrated to Eastern Europe at the fall of their empire. This caller insisted that 95% of Jews are actually not descended for Abraham but rather of a Medieval Turkish tribe called the Khazars.
"Do you think," I asked, "that if 95% of Jews were from Khazaria we would have forgotten that? Jews have long, exact memories and we know where we were. If it was in Khazaria we wouldn't have forgotten it. And if we were Khazars, Yiddish would be a Turkish-based language, which it is not. I don't think there are any Khazarian words in Yiddish. The Khazarian royal court did covert to Judaism, mostly for political reasons, but the Khazar people didn't or we would have remembered it."
Marty stated that my reasoning had to be right and invited me back on his show two weeks later. If I ever earn some sort of legacy, it might have something to do with having straightened out a few anti-semitic notions held by people who have no reason to dislike Jews if they thought about a few things a bit differently.
* The Texas leg of my tour was the longest and most confusing. While some crowds were ample, over 150 in both Dallas and San Antonio, others were the smallest by far of the tour. And the smallest of the smallest was to a group of 15 Israelis in the Dallas home of Rabbi Moyal. Despite the paucity of people, I gave my best as always but wondered why I flew 8000 miles to address an audience of two dozen souls.
The answer came a few days later when Wayne Linksman accompanied me to a gala Dallas Jewish social event, The Kosher Chili Cookoff. One person after another told me they heard I gave a very controversial but thought-provoking lecture at Rabbi Moyal's home. A couple of Israelis gave me the cold shoulder at first but within an hour came back to ask if what I was doing really was healthy for Israel. I told them that it was beyond healthy, it was vital to the nation's survival. " Both of you know how corrupt our government is." I noted. "How long do you think we can survive this level of corruption? The very people who murdered Rabin are still ruling us, so when do you start saying this has gone too far?"
One Israeli, Iranian-born asked, " Why are you stirring things up and why should we talk when no one of influence is willing to say anything?"
Rabbi Malka provided the answer. He had attended my lecture and had been deeply affected. He came up to me and said, "I brought something for you.It's from Friday's Yediot Ahronot. I have a subscription."
He flipped through the weekend magazine section until he found an interview with the leading spokeswoman of Israeli Russians, Ida Nudel. The headline read: Ida Nudel Believes Rabin Was Murdered In A Conspiracy: That Amir Was Just The Patsy.
I showed it to the two Israelis. The Persian smiled. "See," I said, "I'm not alone. Now it's your turn."
There were only 15 people at Rabbi Moyal's home to hear my lecture but now I knew that was more than enough.
The Secrets Of Seasickness
Yitzhak Rabin made a dream come true. He provided me with an expense-paid working holiday to Hawaii. My host Peter Goodgame covered the costs for no other reason than to get the truth of Rabin's murder to the Hawaiian people. Unlike my previous sponsors, Peter had no church, synagogue or political organization behind him. He's a working man saving for a home for his handsome family but he set back his plans because he believed in me. I was humbled.
And for a first-timer he did just fine. He got me a spot on Honolulu's most popular morning talk show. The host Rick Hamada conducted a superb interview and a fine crowd arrived for my lecture later that evening. Once over, I was free to pursue a dream, to catch a marlin off Hawaii.
Accompanying me was Ron, a longtime American soldier. And lest you believe there are no black helicopters harassing American citizens, Ron flew his share of missions on these choppers, until his Christian conscience opened up. "The goal of the black helicopters is urban warfare." He told me. "I was in a special ops unit which trained with foreign troops and I can tell you that armies are being used today to control or eliminate troublesome individuals and groups."
On this tour, I had about ten other former military men with not dissimilar stories. I guess my work is of great interest to former soldiers. Ron reserved two seats on a six seat party boat and it was just a matter of time before he would be clicking shots of me beside my lifetime dream marlin.
I had never been in a squall on a small boat. I had never spent eight hours in nine foot swells,going up and down, side to side, up and down until I became sick. Not just sick, I've been sick before. I was so sick that when a fish, after seven fruitless hours, finally took my lure briefly, I prepared myself to let Ron reel it in. The dead and dying do not reel.
After disgusting myself and all aboard, the nightmare was over. Only one of us caught anything, two had come down with serious seasickness, while another spent the day lying in the cabin to prevent his from worsening. I had paid $150 to spend the day on a never ending roller coaster. Once on land I recovered my health but I was humiliated by the whole experience.
But Peter came to my rescue. "You have nothing to be ashamed of, "he said. "I want to introduce you to my neighbor Gordie. He knows all about what happened to you."
Gordie's home is decorated in blown glass fishing floats. These are thick green glass balls up to two feet in diameter used to float huge fishing nets. He picked them up floating free during his many voyages. "Feel the smoothness of the glass, " he said. "This is the best glasswork made in the world today. They are perfectly designed not to shatter at sea. Now look here, the blower left his signature in the glass. When I started collecting them, it was for their beauty. Now there are collectors everywhere and I hear they're sold in galleries in Paris."
Gordie is a middle-aged, tanned sea salt. He skippers fishing boats in major tournaments and has worked from Washington State, to Alaska to Hawaii. I told him about my day.
"So you had a bad day? You didn't feel anything! I once had it for 30 days straight with nowhere to go. I knew what death was, you didn't even get a hint of it."
I disagreed because what I felt was as close to death as could be but he was right about the duration of Hell. An Israeli lady named Naveh, living in Hawaii, later told me about her nine day bout on a trip to Palmyra, an island a thousand miles to the south. As bad as I had it, it gets worse over time.
"There is no sickness known to mankind as powerful as seasickness," added Gordie. "I'm told the last stages of AIDS is as close as it gets. It makes men crazy. I took a guy out, real tough, loved his guns. Just a few hours after it hit him he said to me,'Gordie, I've got a Baretta in my jacket. There are two shots in the clip. You have to get it and finish me off." I told him no and he grabbed my shirt and yelled, "You gotta do it Gordie. I can't live another second like this. Just do it and throw me over. No one will know.
"And he wasn't the worst. I'll tell you how crazy it makes you. I used to work on this island in Puget Sound. The only way to get to it was by a small ferry and I saw the same people on it all the time. Well one day we got caught in a winter storm and I didn't think we'd make it. That ferry boat got tossed as bad as any small yacht in a squall. And this guy got the sickness so bad he almost fell in the water a few times. The last time though, I saw him crawling to the side on purpose. I knew he was going to jump and grabbed him. 'Just let me go,' he said, 'It's the best thing.' Well, I didn't and we made it to the island. He hasn't been back to the mainland since and I'll bet it's been twenty years. Nothing will get him on a boat ever again and there's no other way out."
Gordie has made a study of seasickness. "It's 90% psychological. The dramamin and ear patches only work because people think they do. But when you get into really rough water, seven out of ten people get hit and the figure is the same for those who take the precautions. I once proved it was psychological. I took this arrogant (expletive) fishing and he kept bragging how the sea never got to him. So I worked on him all day, you know, 'Are you okay, you look a little queasy,' I'd cook up greasy food and offer it to him, talk about moving, flying, falling, asked him to read small print, and it worked. Had him begging me to turn back but I said not until we caught a big one.
"Another couple bragged they could take any sea but I wasn't a mile off the sandbar before they begged me to leave them on the bar. So there they are sprawled on the sandbar in the middle of nowhere refusing to get on the boat. The husband yells that he paid for the day and I could use it to catch fish. I caught $3000 worth that day. By evening they were prepared to sail to shore, maybe ten minutes away.
"But that was nothing compared to this lady who wanted me to sail her to Kono, four days away. I told her I made arrangements in Kono and once we were past our island there was no turning back. No problem, she said, she'd been on boats before. It took less than half an hour before the sickness got her. Half a day later we're at the edge of the island and after that it's open sea. 'I have to get off,' she announced, and I told her no way. She sees a boat anchored maybe half a mile a way. She shouts,'I'm not staying here,' jumps in the water and swims to the other boat. I radioed him and she was safe in the end but that's how crazy the sickness makes you. I don't know of another that saps you of all rationality and makes you do suicidal things.
"And if you think it's only the passengers who suffer, it's just as hard on the crew. How'd you like to be on a boat where the skipper gets seasick and can't operate the craft? I've seen that lots of times but the worst was when the sickness killed the skipper. Seasickness will kill you two ways. After the belly is empty, it attacks what's left. In the most severe cases, the body will dehydrate the organs and refuse to accept liquids. Or, the severity will cause a cardiac arrest.
"That's what happened to this skipper. Straight out of Gilligan's Island. The skipper is dead at the wheel and the first mate doesn't know how to control the boat. He radios for help and I get there and see the boat doing short circles in the water. And no one aboard figured out anything was wrong. The girls all covered up in their beach blankets when I approached. How you can't suspect something is amiss when your boat has been doing sharp circles for two hours is explainable by the fact that despite federal regulations, lots of people take intoxicants on boats. And that's a real bad idea. I've seen passengers throw everything overboard when they get the sickness. First they vow never to touch the vile inebriant ever again as long as they live, then over go bottles of booze, cocaine, pot. The only one I try to stop from going overboard is the pot.
The cancer and AIDS patients who want it legalized because it stops nausea are right. It's the only stuff I ever saw that is a cure for seasickness. All the other advice like lie down, concentrate on one point, or even steer the boat to keep busy is worthless. But that stuff works.
"And the skippers hate it when the passengers come down with the motion sickness. For one thing, the plumbing in the head gets clogged and it takes forever to clear it. One skipper tells passengers not to use the head for seasickness because just a few weeks back a passenger got so sick he fell unconscious in the head and died of drowning. Right in the head, he tells people. No way it happened but that's how desperate he is to keep his plumbing flowing. And the passengers always believe him and when it hits them, they go to the edge of the boat.
"Which is awful because everyone sees him and then begins the domino effect. Now boats aren't seasick friendly. The edge is too thick to go on the knees and use. And if you stand, it's overboard for you lots of times. I had this great product idea. It's like a big airsickness bag only with a harness attached to your head. You just find a corner somewhere and don't bother anyone else. I'd like it to be bio-degradable so you can throw it in the ocean before you land. I'd call it, In Case Of Seasickness Take One.
"If you think you had a bad day, I say you're wrong. You learned a lesson . Man is a land animal; he was never supposed to go to sea. His body rebels with all it has. But if there is ever to be greatness,truth or discovery, we have to fight it until we finally get our sea legs."
I have succumbed to Gordie's wisdom. I will take the next opportunity to go to sea and catch my dream marlin. I wouldn't be me if I surrendered to mere unnatural risk.
The final leg of the tour. Twenty four hours of flying from Honolulu to Tel Aviv. I change planes in New York to El Al. Yediot Ahronot is given to the passengers and I read my first Hebrew newspaper cover to cover in forty days. I find out that after a meeting with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who for forty days in America I had been proving was the prime suspect in Rabin's murder, Prime Minister Sharon has agreed not to build new settlements in Judea and Samaria. A fellow passenger observes, "No one understands it. He's no different than Barak."
I took the taxi from Ben Gurion Airport home. The driver asks why I was away so long and I answer that I gave lectures in America on Rabin's murder. "Oh that," he replies. "I knew Avishai Raviv personally. I even bailed him out of jail once. We all know what happened. Raviv gave Yigal Amir a gun with blanks in it. He shot the blanks and Rabin's bodyguard murdered him after that. Why do you need to give a lecture about that? Everyone knows already."
After a hazardous journey, I was clearly reaching land.
* * *
The author's book The Last Days Of Israel is available from Dandelion Books in the US. Write The new edition of Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin is available from Brookline Books. Write Both books are available in Israel from the Zionist Book Club. Write or call 02 6712284. All books by the author are sold over amazon or barnesandnoble. Please visit

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