Standing with Israel
Monthly Archives: December 2011
On Tuesday evening we light the first of eight candles, ushering in Hanukkah – the Feast of Dedication. The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the miraculous victory of a small band of faithful Jewish men over the Greek Seleucid armies in 165 B.C.E.
In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple had been seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. While this upset the Jewish people, many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus Epiphanes IV made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods. When in the town of Modi’in Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish people and told them to bow down to an idol and then eat the flesh of a pig, Mattathias, a priest, and his five sons rebelled and killed all the soldiers. After fleeing to the mountains they were joined by other Jewish people and the Maccabees, as they became known, brought about a great victory for the Jewish people against overwhelming odds.
The struggle that took place back then has repeated itself over and over again. The Jewish people in the time of the Maccabees had gradually been assimilating into the Greek culture. Judaism for these “enlightened” folks meant no more to them than it does to so many of us in the Western world today. Forget spirituality or truth – we have symbolism, social justice and, of course, a gastronomical experience. Because of the disconnect with Judaism and Israel, a majority of us are totally clueless when it comes to defending Israel against Arab rewriting of history. Sadly, many Jewish young people have embraced leftist ideology and blame the world’s problems on Israel.
Daniel Greenfield in his blog entitled, “A Holiday of Resistance”, challenges Jewish complacency by stating, “The Maccabees fought to resist having their culture and their religion replaced with just that kind of empty hedonism and self-worship. They fought because they believed they had something worth fighting for. Not for their possessions, but for their traditions, their families and their G-d. The celebration of Chanukah is not just how we remember them, but how we remember that we are called upon to keep their watch. To take up their banner and carry their sword.” In other words, if we view our scriptures and our rich history as nothing more than nice stories and good food, how will we have the strength and courage to defend our right to the land of Israel?
At the first night’s candle lighting ceremony last year at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Knesset Speaker, Reuven Rivlin (Likud), said, “Hebron was the birthplace of the Kingdom of Israel, and on Hanukkah independence was returned to Israel. Hebron was the basis of our right to the Land of Israel, as a moral right that has no superior, and the right of ownership that cannot be questioned; it was our right then and it is our right today.” Rivlin went on to say regarding Hanukkah, “We did not take a foreign land, nor the property of strangers to us, but rather the Land of our forefathers which had been conquered in the past by enemies.” He then challenged the people, “Will we be able to stand by that today as well?”
In the biblical book of Daniel, written several hundred years before the fact, there is a detailed prophecy about the character and deeds of the Maccabees:
Those who do wickedly against the covenant he (Antiochus Epiphanes) shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)
The Hanukkah struggle continues today against overwhelming odds. But the same God who brought a miraculous victory for our people almost 2200 years ago is still able to do the same. The question is, will we be the people who know their God, who will be strong and carry out great exploits?
God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please – you can never have both. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
It has never been easy to speak the truth. The truth is frequently uncomfortable. Human nature prefers to be stroked, lulled into a nirvana of our own imagination. Lest you think this is a new phenomenon, the prophet Isaiah penned these words in the 8th century B.C.E. describing the majority of his nation:
These people are rebellious and deceitful children,
children who refuse to listen to the Lord’s teachings.
They say to those who have visions,
‘Don’t have visions that tell us what is right.
Tell us what we want to hear. See illusions.
Get out of our way! Stop blocking our path!
Get the Holy One of Israel out of our sight.’ ”
The problem of ,“Tell us what we want to hear,” is further exacerbated in today’s upside down world in which wrong is right, good is evil, darkness is light and light is darkness.
Dare to speak the truth and literally all the forces of hell will be unleashed against you, especially if you’re speaking about Israel.
On Friday, December 9, Republican primary candidate, Newt Gingrich, in an interview with The Jewish Channel had the chutzpah to say: the Palestinians are an “invented people” … “who are in fact Arabs and were historically part of the Arab community.” So there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. How about the much-touted “peace process?“ Gingrich: “I think it’s delusional to call it a peace process.”
Was Newt simply being opinionated and “islamophobic” or was he speaking the truth? You can judge from this piece of history:
On March 31, 1977, Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member, Zahir Muhsein, in an interview with a Dutch newspaper, Trouw, admitted:
“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.”
Reaction to Newt’s words was predictable – rage.
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, described his comments as “despicable.” “This is the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach.” Hanan Ashrawi, another top official, said Gingrich’s “very racist comments” showed he was “incapable of holding public office.”
I’m not endorsing Newt Gingrich’s candidacy (or anyone else’s for that matter) but I have to express admiration for a man who isn’t afraid to take the heat.
Then there’s President Obama. The following words were meant to stroke his Jewish constituency, lull them into comfort and keep them on the plantation (can’t run a campaign without those Jewish contributions, you know):
“I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.”
Very nice – but is it true? Unfortunately it seems that Mr. Obama was trying to be the nice guy while expressing his true feelings and intentions through his high-level lackeys: Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman. Click on the links to view their outrageous comments. Can anyone imagine that they would voice opinions like this without the approval of the “big boss” himself?
Sadly, taking a stand without waffling is rare even in the Israeli government. One exception is Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, who in cooperation with StandWithUs has just released, The Truth About the Refugees. This is the third of the Truth series – the other two are The Truth About the West Bank and The Truth About the Peace Process. All three videos clearly explain the historical facts about the ongoing Israel – Palestinian conflict. I cannot encourage you enough to arm yourself with truth and view each of these videos and then pass them on to your friends and family!
Finally, Palestinian Media Watch has just released a new book, Deception – Betraying the Peace Process, written by PMW Director, Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik which “exposes a year-long duplicitous campaign by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to utilize the various cultural, educational, and media sources under its control to promote messages of hate among Palestinians and undermine the peace process with Israel.” Marcus hopes to distribute his book to every member of Congress as well as those in the European parliaments.
Going back to the sage words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: truth or repose – which will you choose?
Like many of you, I was raised in a liberal Jewish home in America where I was taught – or rather absorbed from the atmosphere around me – two supposedly immutable facts. First, that Islam is one of the three great monotheistic religions. Second, that the Western world in general and the United States in particular have become safe havens for Jews. Never again will there be danger of a holocaust; the countries of the “enlightened” West are much too advanced for barbarity like that to raise its ugly head again. I’ll deal with the “Islam as a great monotheistic religion” issue in a future post, but today I want to tear away the façade of “the West as a sanctuary.”
It seems that almost every “progressive” still idolizes Europe and wishes to remake America in its mold. European culture as seen through their eyes is so marvelously civilized as opposed to American garishness; the gentleman vs. the cowboy. How could ancient Jew-hatred rear its ugly head in such a multi-cultural paradise?
Sweden, once an idyllic land of lovely landscapes and peaceful, crime-free towns has become the become the rape capital of the world. Why? Massive Muslim immigration! For the same reason Swedish Jews have begun running for their lives, realizing that the government in which they trusted is unable or unwilling to protect them. Evidently Muslim Jew-hatred has emboldened the home grown variety of haters to express themselves openly without fear of punishment.
Norway, known for its breathtaking fjords, northern lights and midnight sun is no longer the home of the brave Vikings. Forget bravery and standing up for their own values. It’s so passé to think that one’s own country or values are exceptional in today’s world. And so, Norway has, for all intents and purposes, surrendered to the Islamist tyranny that arrived on its shores with Muslim immigration. Rather than assimilate into Norwegian society and culture, these new-comers aspire to take over – Allah’s kingdom must rule over all the earth! And the Jews are fleeing.
The “Emerald Green Isle” is no longer the innocent home of leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Ireland is now infamous as the “most hostile country in Europe.” Not a comfortable place for Jews…
All of Europe is sliding toward that same precipice, from which I fear there is no return, and European Jews need to have their suitcases packed and not convince themselves that everything will be alright.
What about the U.S.? For now it’s still a somewhat safe haven for Jews, but that status is getting wobbly and it’s by no means guaranteed to remain as such into the foreseeable future.
Our president has chosen as his best international friend an unabashed Islamist who hates both Israel and the U.S.
Islamists are working overtime to convince the American public, whom they see as good-natured idiots, that Islam isn’t so bad after all. A new TV show endeavors to present Muslims as regular folks who just want to make a living and be happy, like you or me. Violence? Jihad? We must be imagining things about the “religion of peace.”
Finally, Muslims understand rightly that the last bastion of support for Israel and the Jewish people is the believing church, particularly in the U.S. By portraying Palestinians as the oppressed under-dogs and the Israelis as oppressors, “moderate” Muslim groups are attempting to peel off support from Christians. And to a certain extent they’re succeeding. Only the groups whose roots are deeply in the Scriptures, who love the God of Israel and who are willing to be stigmatized as ignorant, heartless buffoons will be unmoved by these appeals.
This is a challenge for those of you who call yourselves “Christians.” Where will you stand when the going gets rough (and make no mistake about it, it will!)? And for my Jewish readers – are you willing to recognize and appreciate our friends and not ascribe ulterior motives to them? These brave souls stand with us because of a relationship with our God, something all of us might want to emulate.