On Friday, the day before Hanukkah, the United Nations Security Council voted on a resolution condemning Israeli settlements outside the 1967 Green Line. This was a deliberate anti-Israel push by the Obama Administration and, according to Israeli officials. The only thing the world can unite on is condemning Israel.
News of the resolution sent an outcry through the pro-Israel community around the world. One prominent settler from Judea and Samaria commented – “It is not foreign land we have taken, nor have we seized the property of others, but only our ancestral heritage which for a time had been unjustly held by our enemies. Now that we have the opportunity, we are holding onto the heritage of our ancestors.” This political leader was Simon the Maccabee, about 2,000 years ago.
Just a few days before the UN vote, President Obama hosted an early Hanukkah celebration at the White House, during which he praised the Maccabees for serving as forces of light who defeated evil. The irony here, of course, is that the Maccabees were actually Jewish settlers, the same kind the UN has condemned. The Maccabees lived and fought for the so-called “settlements” of today. Indeed, their struggle never ended. The fight for our land today can be seen as a continued battle between the Maccabees and their oppressors.
This resolution should serve as a wake-up call to those who still believe settlements are the main obstacle to peace. The UN resolution isn’t just condemning those Jews living in Judea and Samaria. World leaders actually determined that Israel is an occupier of places you may have heard of – like the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter and that Israel should give the Golan Heights – a strategic territory that is crucial to Israel’s security – back to Syria, a nation that is massacring its own people. And if you still believe that the settlements should not belong to Israel, then you also lose the moral ground to say that Tel Aviv or Jerusalem are part of the Jewish land. A part of the University of Tel Aviv was actually built on an abandoned Palestinian village called Sheikh Munis. Even more interesting, the Israeli Supreme Court was constructed on an abandoned Palestinian village called Sheikh Badr. So in actuality, Israel is all one big Jewish settlement and all Israelis are settlers, whether some of them admitted or not.
Historically, when the world has praised Israel, it means that Israel did something not in its own interests, like the Oslo Accord, which was followed by the Intifada, with over one thousand Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists, or the disengagement from Gaza, an event that resulted in the expulsion of 8,000 Jews from their homes and rockets raining on Tel Aviv shortly thereafter. When the world condemns Israel, it usually means that Israel did the right thing, like when Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor or when they annexed the Golan Heights in 1981.
Part of celebrating Hanukkah is remembering that the Maccabees stood up to condemnation by the Greeks, by the world empires and even by Hellenistic Jews like Jstreet, in order to fight for our religious freedom and for our land. It is time to follow in the footsteps of the Maccabees and reclaim what is rightfully ours by annexing Judea and Samaria and thriving in this G-d-given land. Yes, we may be few in number, but when the Jewish people can unite in the understanding that the entirety of the land of Israel, including the settlements, belongs to us, the rest of the world will follow suit.