Given President Obama’s antipathy toward Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, we were more than a little intrigued by his comments at this year’s White House Chanukah party:
Over the eight nights of Hanukah, Jews across America, Israel, and the world will remember an ancient triumph of freedom over oppression, and renew their faith in the possibility of miracles large and small.
Even in the darkest, shortest days of winter, the Festival of Lights brims with possibility and hope. The courage of the Maccabees reminds us that we too can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. The candles of the menorah remind us that even the smallest light has the power to shine through the darkness. And the miracle at the heart of Hanukah – the oil that lasted for eight nights instead of one – reminds us that even when the future is uncertain, our best days are yet to come.
May this Hanukah embolden us to do what is right, shine a light on the miracles we enjoy, and kindle in all of us the desire to share those miracles with others.
Oh, the irony! The president speaks glowingly of Chanukah and the miraculous victories of the Maccabees as “an ancient triumph of freedom over oppression,” yet he never mentions that central to that triumph was the Jewish reclamation of Jerusalem and, subsequently, large parts of the surrounding areas from a foreign conqueror.
Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.
Mr. Obama, like his predecessors in the Oval Office, has chosen to ignore the very history that stares him in the face and that requires such exquisite linguistic and intellectual gymnastics to avoid.