This is a ‘not exact’ transcript of what I said at the beginning of the May 20 th Civil Discussion here at the farm:

Thank you for coming here today. I believe that anyone taking the time to do so cares about the farm and the people here…thank you for caring.

The reason and the only goal I have for offering to have this discussion here at the farm today is to save time and energy.

Over the last several weeks and months I’ve met personally or carried on lengthy email correspondence with several individuals, many of you who are here today. It commonly has taken several hours to have a proper dialogue to unpack the reasons I flew the Israeli flag and the issues surrounding it. I know that if one person has questions and comments…there are undoubtedly several more. I want to hear your thoughts and share mine.

That is the only goal of calling for this meeting…it’s not to try to argue one side or another…it’s not a debate…it is simply to be more expeditious in the use of my time.

I plan to be the last one here tonight and will try to answer any questions to the best of my ability.

FIRST, If the flag offends you or hurts you…I am sorry. This was not my intention. In no way shape or form would I ever want to do that. I know that it has had that effect on several of you…I’m sorry for this.

SECOND, I want to be crystal clear on this next point: WAR SUCKS…WAR SUCKS…WAR SUCKS

When I’m not here at the farm or building things, I read a lot of history. History is typically full of war. And in every historical account of war that I’ve read…nearly everyone loses. The soldiers on both sides lose. The families of the soldiers on both sides lose. The communities on both sides of the war lose. Even the leaders, the generals, prime ministers, and presidents lose.

The only groups I’ve found that win in a war are the makers of bullets, boots, and bombs…and the writers of stories, as war creates a lot to write about.

Other than that…history shows that no one is better off during or after a war!.


THIRD, I raised the Israeli flag here at the farm in early November of last year before Israeli forces entered Gaza. I raised it in support of a Jewish team member in response to the many rallies in US cities where “from the river to the sea” was very prominent on placards and chanted loudly and frequently.

“From the river to the sea” to me is a clear reference to the land of Israel which lies between the Jordan River on the East and the Mediterranean Sea to the West. I have since found that many people don’t know which river or sea this phrase is referring to. Chanted immediately after the horrendous events on Oct 7 th it’s was clear to me that “from the river to the sea” was a call to continue the effort of wiping Jews out of Israel. This phrase is a call for the genocide of the Israeli people. This was for me a line that could not be crossed.

Disagreement among neighbors and family is natural. At times as in Israel and other parts of the world these disagreements can become bloody. This is an unfortunate reality of life and has been since the beginning. But for me the call to eradicate a people off the face of the earth is unacceptable. I raised the flag in support of the Jews right to exist.

Obviously this sentiment is not only reserved for Jews…it applies to every member of humanity…Palestinians as well.

FINALLY, I went to a college in the early 90’s with classmates from over 100 nations and every state of the US. Only 2 flags were prominent in dorm room walls: the Canadian and the Texas flags. These flags weren’t hung in support of political policies, military strategies, or certain political parties. These flags were hung because the Canucks and Texans were proud of the culture, traditions, dialects, and mentalities of their homes. These flags represented the things they loved and missed the most of their homes and the people that they had to be away from for a semester or more at a time.

During the first Gulf War my roommates and I hung an American Flag up outside our dorm room. We lit it up at night and placed a poster next to it that read “We Support Our Troops”. We hung the flag because of the individuals that were fighting or about to fight in Iraq and Kuwait, many who were the same age we were. None of us agreed with war, none of us agreed with the political policies of the US or other governments. We simply wanted the men and women of service that were far away on the front lines of a country most could not find on a map to know that we did not take their efforts for granted. We wanted them to know we knew them, thought about them, and wished they would come home safely!

The Israeli flag…and every flag we’ve ever flown here at Ruhstaller over the last 12+ years is about people who are part of our team or associated with Ruhstaller. The Swiss flag is for Captain Frank Ruhstaller’s (our founder) home country. The Swedish flag is there for my Mother and to help folks see that the Swiss and Swedish flags, people, and countries are not the same, a common occurrence I still find. The Lebanese and Italian flags represent my Father’s heritage. The Mexican flag represents the Mexican and Mexican Americans on our team. The Dallas Cowboy, Iowa Hawkeye and Chicago Cub flags were raised in honor of our teammate’s daughter’s birth.

Flags represent people to me…I understand that to many people they represent governments, politics, and militaries…but to me they have never and don’t to this day.

The Israeli flag was flown here at Ruhstaller in support of our teammate. No other reason.