This year, Chanukah has a special meaning — and not just because it coincides exactly with Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The UN Security Council resolution declaring the Israeli presence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank illegal — an area that includes the Western Wall and Judaism’s holiest sites — is not just a diplomatic challenge, but a direct attack on the Jewish faith. That is why even liberal American Jews — with a few execrable exceptions — urged President Barack Obama to veto.
He refused — and UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who never found the courage to stand up against genocide in Syria until it was too late, eagerly raised her hand to abstain from the resolution, effectively allowing it to pass. The White House’s Ben Rhodes deployed one of his typical lies of omission: “I’d take umbrage at language that suggests that this was our preferred course of action and that we initiated it,” he claimed. Technically, the U.S. did not introduce the resolution, but it was clear to all that Obama had organized it. And the idea that the White House “preferred” otherwise is a cruel joke. Obama spent eight years refusing to pressure the Palestinians, even after the Israelis did what he wanted. This was a calculated, anti-Israel hit.
Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon, delivered a defiant speech rejecting the resolution. He pointed out that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had passed a resolution earlier in the year denying Jewish historical and religious ties to Jerusalem. And he ended by tying the UN’s latest farce to the Jewish holiday of Chanukah:
Tomorrow night, Israel and the entire Jewish community around the world will celebrate the holiday of Chanukah. Over 2000 years ago, King Antiochus banished the Jewish people from our Temple in Jerusalem, and issued decrees trying to sever us from [our] religion and our heritage. But we prevailed. The Jewish people fought back, regained our independence, and relit the Menorah candles in the Temple.
I ask each and every member of this Council who voted for this resolution: Who gave you the right to issue such a decree, denying our eternal rights in Jerusalem? … We overcame those decrees during the time of the Maccabees, and we will overcome this evil decree today.
President Obama once promised that he would “always have Israel’s back.” He meant: with a dagger.
Now President Obama, and Samantha Power, and the dictators of the UN Security Council — including the likes of Venezuela, whose brutal regime cannot even feed its own people anymore — take their place with Antiochus among the tyrants of Jewish history. This year, amidst the fun and games, Chanukah has a renewed sense of defiance.
And, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Saturday night: just as in the first Chanukah, a redemption is coming.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.