Chag Urim Sameach!
May the Festival of Lights bring joy and happiness to your home, peace and security to Israel, and a clear and well-lit path to health and prosperity to all.
The Story of Chanukah Repeats Itself
In every generation there is the rise of Jew hatred, taking new and ever more egregious forms, it morphs. While increasingly prevalent in alt right and alt left circles, antisemitism is brewing among Black supremacists (Nation of Islam and the latest claims of Kanye West and others that the real Jews are Afro Americans, and European Jews usurped their identity), Islamo-fascists, and myriad anti-Zionist groups. Sadly, there is no concerted effort to gain the collective hearts and minds of the Jewish people to counter all the hatred that is targeting us.
Chanukah is not the outcome of one battle, but several over an extended period of time, and one in which Hellenized Jews, those who had sought assimilation/secularization, and had already abandoned the Temple, and supported the Greeks who had controlled all Jewish practice and desecrated the Temple. Chanukah celebrates the liberation of the Jews, the return to the Temple, and re-establishment of Jewish practices. Lest we fail to understand who Judas Maccabeus (Judah Maccabee) was and where he came from, what was at stake, who were the enemies, and the divisiveness among the Jews themselves at that time, we might not appreciate the Maccabees success in gaining Jewish independence in Judea.
This excerpt from Wikipedia is instructive:
“The rebellion started as a guerrilla movement in the Judean countryside, raiding towns and terrorizing Greek officials far from direct Seleucid control, but it eventually developed a proper army capable of attacking the fortified Seleucid cities. In 164 BCE, the Maccabees captured Jerusalem, a significant early victory. The subsequent cleansing of the temple and rededication of the altar on 25 Kislev is the source of the festival of Hanukkah.
The Seleucids eventually relented and unbanned Judaism, but the more radical Maccabees, not content with merely reestablishing Jewish practices under Seleucid rule, continued to fight, pushing for a more direct break with the Seleucids. Judas Maccabeus died in 160 BCE at the Battle of Elasa against the Greek general Bacchides, and the Seleucids reestablished direct control for a time, but remnants of the Maccabees under Judas's brother Jonathan Apphus continued to resist from the countryside. Eventually, internal division among the Seleucids and problems elsewhere in their empire would give the Maccabees their chance for proper independence.
In 141 BCE, Simon Thassi succeeded in expelling the Greeks from their citadel in Jerusalem. An alliance with the Roman Republic helped guarantee their independence. Simon would go on to establish an independent Hasmonean kingdom. The revolt had a great impact on Jewish nationalism, as an example of a successful campaign to establish political independence and resist governmental anti-Jewish suppression.” (Ed. added bold)
Melanie Phillips writes in the JNS on December 1, 2022 that diaspora Jews keep making the same mistake, thus history repeats itself. In her introduction, she states: “A perverse feature of the Jewish people is that they make one particular mistake over and over again. They are persecuted. They frantically try to assimilate into their host community in the belief that this will avert future persecution. They are persecuted again. They frantically assimilate again.”
Greatest Antisemitic Propagandist is Palestinian Authority
If one travels in Judea and Samaria, it is soon evident that any apartheid that exists in the state of Israel, is that practiced by the Palestinian Authority, which has stated many times and incorporated it as unbreakable policy, that no Jews will be allowed to live on any land under their control. The Arabs who illegally occupied Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem for 19 years evicted all Jews, thus demonstrating ethnic cleansing but have never been forced to admit it, pay compensation or allow the return to their homes of the rightful owners and multi-generational inhabitants. The sign in the cartoon below is actually found on the roads leading to all major Palestinian Arab cities, put up by the Israeli government to protect Jews who might otherwise find themselves lost in an Arab enclave which is utterly unsafe for Jews.
Karma Feinstein Cohen, President of Herut International, outlines the issues within the war against antisemitism and urges attention to the major supplier and beneficiary of Jew hatred, the Palestinian Authority (one could add Hamas, a terrorist organization that repeatedly gains the sympathy of antisemites when it attacks Israel.)
Writing in the Jewish Press on December 7th, 2022, Feinstein Cohen notes that the battle must pay attention to the harm being done by the PA which is very well documented by Palestinian Media Watch. Check it out here.
Celebrate Chanukah 2022—Take Action
Chanukah is about lighting up our homes and places of worship, so let’s shine a light on antisemitism. Look at available resources and join in Shine a Light on Antisemitism.
Today’s Maccabee "Truth from Fiction: Judea and Samaria and the Jewish History of Area C"
Watch webinar with Naomi Linder Kahn on the Truth about Judea and Samaria and how Regavim is defending the Jewish land.