Yesterday, marked the beginning of the eight days of Hanukkah – the Jewish Festival of Lights. The holiday commemorates the Maccabees’ victory over their Syrian Greek oppressors who denied these ancient Jews their liberty and religious freedom. Following the recital of the braches (blessings) for the first night of Hanukkah candle lighting we noshed some US kosher gluten-free versions of sufganiyot (Israeli jelly doughnuts), quaffed a small libation while we listened in flickering candle light to Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabeus. Something we usually do on first night of Hanukkah. After reading today’s news this air from the 1747 libretto of Judas Maccabeus by John Morell takes on new meaning given developments in Europe. We refer to the mind numbing EU court ruling lifting the designation of Hamas as a terrorist group and the EU Parliament vote of a Palestinian statehood recognition resolution in principal by a vote of 488 to 81:
45 . Judas Maccabeus
Sound an alarm! Your silver trumpets sound,
And call the brave, and only brave, around.
Who listeth, follow: to the field again!
Justice with courage is a thousand men.
Sound an alarm. . . da capo.
Listen to an excerpt of this Handel air, Sound and Alarm in a performance of Handel’s Oratorio , Judas Maccabeus conducted by Sir Charles Mackarras and the English Chamber Orchestra circa 1976 on DG/Archiv Records.
Sound an Alarm for the Europeans have effectively thrown Israel under the bus. These EU actions abet the objectives of Palestinians and their Muslim allies in the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to enforce a potential draconian settlement threatening the Jewish nation’s existence. The PA failed to line up the requisite votes for a UN Security Council resolution fixing a two year demand for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. However the PA is emboldened by today’s European Parliament vote to push for resolutions to be brought by Jordan and France before the Security Council. France has emerged to play a leading role on such a UNSC vote pushing for an action before year end. The language of those resolutions differ and in the case of France is still undergoing refinement, we have been told by sources in Europe.
Note these comments from a Jewish Week report:
A diplomatic source noted that [French Foreign Minister] Fabius conferred Monday with his German and British counterparts. Although there were reports that they failed to reach a consensus, France later reaffirmed its desire to submit a resolution on the Palestinian issue.
Asked if France was prepared to wait until after Israel’s March 17 election, the source said that was not in the cards.
“The quicker the better,” he said. “It is time to move ahead on this.”
He added that as of Tuesday it was still unclear whether Jordan was preparing to introduce a resolution on behalf of the Palestinians.
“The Jordanian delegation is being encouraged by the Palestinian Authority to present a resolution,” he said. “I don’t know whose resolution will be submitted. It depends on what Jordan proposes and whether it is a good, balanced resolution. If it needs more work, France will propose its own. And the U.S. is saying it wants to see the resolutions before making a decision.”
Another diplomatic source has been quoted as saying the U.S. is now open to a resolution calling for binding Israeli-Palestinian peace talks if the timeframe remains unspecified.
Witness what we saw in Rome, Secretary Kerry raising in conversation with Israeli PM Netanyahu, the ante of a UN Security Council resolution that could possibly witness a US first, a threatened abstention. Netanyahu, pushed back, saying:
Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations, and I do not see a reason for this policy to change.
The reaction to the EU court decision on ‘technical grounds” lifting the designation of Hamas as a terrorist group received brusque reactions from Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Economy Minister and Yuli Steinitz, Knesset Speaker as reported by the Jerusalem Post:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before a meeting with Joni Ernst, the newly elected Republican senator from Iowa, said this was one example of “staggering” European “hypocrisy.”
Hamas, he said, “has committed countless war crimes and countless terror acts. It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we’ve learned. We’ll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy.”
“The burden of proof is on the EU and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list where everyone realizes they should be,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization whose charter says that its aim is to destroy Israel. We will continue to fight it with determination and strength so that it will never realize its aims. ”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that if anyone thinks that sacrificing Israel can save Europe, they are mistaken.
“The corrupt law of the EU court gives license for the shedding of Jewish blood everywhere and demonstrates the loss of a moral path,” he said.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said that the European Union must have lost its mind.” Edelstein said that the decision displays “inflexibility, moral distortion and grants a prize to the extremist Islamic terror that is currently plaguing the entire world, including Europe itself.”
Watch Israeli PM Netanyahu discuss today’s EU actions with Iowa Republican Senator-elect, Joni Ernst on this JP video:
All this is occurring coincidental with Congress recessing for the Christmas -New Year Holidays effectively ending the truculent 113th Session. Congress returns for the 114th Session on January 3, 2015 under Republican Control which might make a difference in recognition of American support for this valued embattled special ally in the Middle East.
It is not lost on many of us concerned about Israel’s security that the Administration is engaged in a less than sophisticated game of isolating Netanyahu. This may be reflective of by the U.S. Administration’s support Labor Party head Herzog and fired Justice Minister and Hanuat Party leader Tzipi Livni who favor renewal of Palestinian negotiations.
Let us not lose sight that there are American Jews who support these EU and Administration moves and imperil Jewish sovereignty to their ancient homeland. Do you see anything of concern emerging from AIPAC, the Council of Major American Jewish Organization? Not surprising because these alleged powerful Jewish lobby groups reflect the sentiments of 65% percent of American Jews who support and consistently vote the Democrat line. The Reform Movement is aligned with J Street and supports declaring an instant Palestinian state dividing Israel’ unified capital of Jerusalem. The leadership of the Conservative movement is totally lost reflected in continuing interfaith outreach to Muslim Brotherhood Fronts courtesy of Chancellor Arnold Eisen. The Anti-Defamation League’s long term executive director, Abe Foxman , is departing, replaced by an acolyte of anti-Israel billionaire and J Street supporter, George Soros. Bizarre.
A Zion that the Maccabees and Bar Kochba had bravely fought to preserve in liberty and freedom was crushed by Roman legions and Jewish divisiveness. Thus causing a lapse of 2000 years, until following the Shoah, the miraculous rebirth of the third and hopefully enduring Jewish Commonwealth. Israel has become a beacon of hope to the Jewish world- Hatikvah-the theme of its national anthem. Israel is a bastion for the Jewish people and for preservation of basic values inherent in both the US Constitution and Israel’s Basic Law; i.e., liberty, freedom and human and civil rights for all. That is not lost on the majority of Americans, especially those in the Christian Zionist evangelical and Pentecostal religious communities.
This latest round of calumnies against Israel comes amidst the darkened Middle East beset with thousands of jihadist atrocities committed against dwindling ancient Christian and religious minorities by the extremist Sunni guardians of the religion of peace, the Islamic State or ISIS.
Sound an Alarm this Hanukkah. We need millions of contemporary Maccabees to rally to Israel’s cause of liberty, religious and human freedom.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Images provided by NER.