Either by design or mutual attraction, whenever Israel is in terror groups’ crosshairs one can unfailingly guarantee that not far behind will be the usual collection of anti-Israel groupies.
These latter fellow travellers cover the whole gamut from knee jerk haters of anything to do with Jews to members of the tribe who in many cases find their identification with the Jewish State to be an embarrassment that needs to be combated.
There is obviously nothing untoward in having genuine political differences but when these manifest themselves as eruptions of irrational hate and boycotts accompanied by a denial of Jewish history and facts, one can start to question exactly the actual motives of those involved.
A common denominator is frequently a complete lack of Jewish education and knowledge or a completely inadequate smattering of garbled facts accompanied by a disconnection from communal identification. Others may indeed have had some sort of day school or youth group involvement but sadly a self-loathing gene has mutated which necessitates an embrace of far-leftist ideologies identified with populist slogans against Israel.
Interestingly when one scans the list of organizations that regularly feature in bashing Israel a common thread is the financial and moral support forthcoming from the same collection of NGO’s all of which profess friendship and fraternity with us.
Throughout the Jewish People’s long and tortuous history we have more often than not been plagued by Jews who somehow or other end up advocating the same policies and narratives as our adversaries. What was true in the past is unfortunately still valid today. In fact this malady has in recent times become more manifest as increasing numbers detach themselves either as a result of assimilation, alienation or an embrace of the latest progressive demonization of Israel.
Chanukah, our annual celebration of national liberation and assertion of historic rights is, therefore, the ideal opportunity to survey the current scene.
Ironically many who rush to distance themselves from this commemoration of Jewish sovereignty prefer to concentrate on either the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days, the symbolism of light dispelling darkness or family gatherings and the consumption of certain culinary delights. Thus, politicians will wax eloquently about a Festival they have no clue about and communal leaders will warble politically correct greetings. All of them unfortunately avoid, either intentionally or inadvertently, the real lessons of Chanukah. Given current realities, that is not surprising because if there is one important lesson to be internalized it is the fact that this Chag reminds us of the uncomfortable fact that Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel needs to be defended and asserted.
The irony of politicians pontificating on the symbolism of this week is overwhelming. Almost without exception, they are the same people who condemn us for living in exactly the same parts of our land as did the Maccabees. The Temple stood in what they declare today is “occupied Palestinian Arab territory” and the revolt against the occupying Syrian Greeks was waged in Judea and Samaria. The tragedy is that those lauding our commemoration are either ignorant or deliberately oblivious to these historical facts.
Just as the Syrian Greeks sought to wipe out our Faith, detach us from the Temple and Jerusalem and in essence remove a Jewish presence altogether so present-day Hellenists and fellow travellers aim to achieve the same end results. Rewriting history and wiping Jews out of the saga are challenges we face once again. Witnessing Jews whose Hellenization is so complete that they no longer identify with either our historical experiences or feel any connection to the Land so integral to our being, makes one realize that there is nothing new under the sun.
This Chanukah we have been witness to many of these phenomena unfolding.
Take as an example the lighting of the Chanukiah on the first night of the Festival which took place in Hebron at the Cave of the Patriarchs attended by President Yitzhak Herzog.
Anyone with even only a basic knowledge of Jewish history would know that Hebron is a pivotal place and second only in importance for Jews after Jerusalem. It is the burial place of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs (except Rachel) and where so much of our Biblical experiences occurred. Worth noting by the way is the fact that Avraham legally purchased the site, paid the full price and acquired ownership. Intuitively he realized that in years to come there would arise many people who would challenge the Jewish connection not only to the burial cave but also to Hebron itself.
How true and how prophetic these predictions have turned out to be.
The whole thrust of the narratives propagated by the PA, Hamas, Hezbollah, the UN and all those who embrace them is the fact that Jews as a collective and Israel as the nation-State of the Jews have no historical or any other right to be in Hebron. Our connection is severed – in fact it is completely wiped out.
That is why we witnessed the Israeli left and their accompanying chorus of self deniers issuing condemnations of the President’s intention to celebrate the first night of Chanukah at the very spot where Jewish history is so relevant. Meretz, the ultra-left political coalition partner, convulsed in righteous indignation at the presence of Israel’s President in Hebron. They were joined by among others, Peace Now and Breaking the Silence, this latter group financed by the New Israel Fund. Hamas, not to be seen as too pacifist, issued threats that if the ceremony went ahead it would be a declaration of war and violence and mayhem would follow.
Needless to say neither leftist lemmings nor the international community condemned this display of naked hate. In fact, to make matters worse the publisher of Ha’Aretz, Israel’s declining newspaper of post-Zionist self-flagellation, wrote an astounding item on Twitter. Twenty years ago a 10-month-old baby was shot and murdered by an Arab terrorist while sitting in her stroller near her family’s home in Hebron. This anniversary was remembered as President Herzog visited Hebron with the following thoughts:
“The baby was killed because of the irresponsibility of her parents who thought they could bring up their children in a war zone. There is nothing terrible about this statement – it’s entirely correct. What is terrible is the obstinacy of Jews in establishing a Jewish civilian presence in Hebron.”
Callous as this may appear it exactly epitomizes the loathing that far too many on the left feel as far as the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel is concerned.
At the beginning of the year, it was reported that a collection of left-wing groups publicly opposed the adoption of the definition of antisemitism as formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Their main objection was focused on the fact that this definition of Jew-hate would suppress the free expression of political opinion – specifically critiquing the legitimacy of Israel’s founding.
There you have it in a nutshell. The only country in the world which has its legitimacy challenged is Israel. Despite the incontrovertible fact of a Jewish connection long before the advent of Islam, Christianity and fake Palestinians, the sad fact remains that today we face a rising tide of deligitimization.
This Chanukah we should remember that history is being made every day as Jews return to all parts of the Promised Land from their dispersion among the nations.
Strengthening our presence here will continue despite the mutual attraction of our adversaries.