Not backing Israel at the UN means not understanding the true meaning of Chanuka

On one of my many travels around the world I found myself engaged in conversation with a fervent believer in the need to boycot Israel. They explained to me that the Jews had no right to be in “Palestine” and would be better off back in their home continent of Europe.

I asked them what they thought of the holiday of Chanuka, since it was the holiday season.They said it was a wonderful celebration of lights and they had no problem with that particular holiday.

I pointed out to them that Chanuka celebrated the Jews connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and how they defeated the Greeks who religiously oppressed them. I told this person that they could try to boycott, defeat, undermine or eradicate the Jews all they wanted. We have lived through the worst murderous regimes in history and survived to tell the tale.

This is why the decision by President Obama and Ambassador Power to go against America’s long standing tradition of protecting Israel from the blatant and rampant anti-semitism at the UN is so hurtful. This is not a democratic or republican issue. It is a fact that while hundreds of thousands of innocents are being butchered in neighboring Syria, the UN only focuses its attention and condemnation on Israel.

I have spent the last 18 months working at Aish HaTorah in the old city of Jerusalem. We have witnessed brutal stabbing attacks against Jews for no other reason than they are Jews. A Rabbi who taught Talmud at Aish HaTorah was butchered with a machete. Was that due to his politics?

It is no wonder that Jews around the world have cheered the pronouncements by President Elect Trump to finally move the American Embassy to the eternal capital of Jerusalem. The pundits have said that if this move happens then violence will break out across the middle east. As a Jew I have come to realize that violence against us will break out no matter what, so let’s at least have our strongest ally stop pretending that Jerusalem is not our capital.

The world has long forgotten the oppressors of Jews throughout the centuries. The Jews have chosen never to forget and that is why we light the Menorah. It is time for America to realize that lining up with Israel is the ethical and moral choice. If not, then please stop lighting our Menorah.

About the Author
Rabbi Steven Burg is the Director General - Mankal of Aish HaTorah. He previously served as the Eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance, as well as the Managing Director of the OU and International Director of NCSY. Rabbi Burg has his Masters in Medieval Jewish History and has studied at Harvard and Kellogg Business schools.
Related Topics
Related Posts