President Obama has done everything he can to undermine and delegitimize Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past eight years. Obama even went so far as to send an election team to Israel to campaign against Netanyahu in the most recent election.
Now, with three weeks left in office, he’s taking one final shot at the Jewish state.
Refusing to use its veto power, something the U.S. has regularly done when it feels the language is too harsh against Israel, the U.S. helped pass U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Last week’s resolution passed 14 votes to 0 with the U.S. casting the sole abstaining vote.
The resolution is one of the harshest the UN has ever passed regarding Israel.
The resolution condemns Israeli “settlement” activity and calls for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and declares that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The resolution also asserts the Temple Mount and Western Wall are not historic Jewish territory.
Palestinian leaders have already said they will use the resolution to seek International Criminal Court indictments of Israeli leaders, push for a formal probe into whether Israel is violating the Geneva Conventions and petition foreign governments to ban the import of any products made in Israeli “settlements.”
Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech yesterday defending the U.S. decision to not veto the resolution.
Kerry, no longer attempting to hide the administration’s disdain for Israel, repeatedly referred to Israel as “the occupier,” even going so far as to say that “it is not this resolution that is isolating Israel. It is the permanent policy of [Israeli] settlement construction that risks making peace impossible.”
Kerry went on to say, “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both –and it won’t ever really be at peace.”
Not surprisingly, Kerry failed to acknowledge the role terrorist group Hamas plays in the Palestinian government nor of the Palestinian’s singular goal of “wiping Israel off the face of the earth.”
And yet, none of this is new for Israel.
This is not the first time Israel has had to defend itself against a more powerful enemy to ensure her survival. In fact, that spirit of survival is what we celebrate in this season of Hanukkah.
Over 2,000 years ago, the Maccabees, the rebel Jewish army, faced the mighty Greeks in a seven-year struggle to defend their right to exist, to worship in their own way and reclaim their God-given land of Israel. After miraculously defeating the Greek army, the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They cleansed and rededicated the Temple to YHVH and reestablished the Jewish way of life in Israel.
While the names may have changed, the situation has not.
Israel is still fighting for the right to simply exist and there are still those who seek to destroy her. But just as in days gone by, there are also those who choose to fight alongside Israel.
As many of you know, I did not enthusiastically vote for Donald Trump. Voting for Gary Johnson was not an option. Voting for Hillary Clinton was definitely not an option. And so I found myself somewhat backed into Donald Trump’s corner.
But to be honest, from the moment I realized he had beaten Hillary Clinton, I felt hope and excitement for the first time in eight years.
I was excited to see his plans for the economy, to see Obamacare repealed, to see stronger foreign policy and to see less of the debilitating political correctness that defined this administration. But most of all, I felt hopeful regarding policy towards Israel.
Trump has made no secret of his intentions to support and defend Israel, a markedly different approach from his predecessor. In fact, Trump tweeted out the following series of tweets in response to the Obama administration’s decision to not veto the UN resolution,
“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect,” the tweets read. “They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”
While I’m definitely not trying to promote Donald Trump as the savior for the Jewish people, it is encouraging to know the incoming administration is poised to be a true ally and friend of Israel.
Let us be encouraged this Hanukkah as we remember what this season represents.
As we light the candles on the menorah, let us remember there is always light to be found in the darkness. Let us remember we can be that light in the midst of darkness if we are willing to stand for truth and righteousness. May we remember the Maccabees of old and be reminded we, too, are modern-day Maccabees who are not alone in the fight for Israel’s right to exist.
And above all, let us remember that the same God who delivered Israel 2,000 years ago is the same God who will defend and protect Israel today.
Am Israel chai! The people of Israel live!
Chag sameach Hanukkah! Happy Hanukkah!