Hanukkah marks the victory over those who sought to erase the Jewish heritage. The Syrian-Greek colonialists may have disappeared from history, but the Arab colonialists remain
This week Jews are celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights. It is a festival that serves as a timely reminder that we are living in an era of not only ‘fake news’, but fake history.
The current and widely publicized idea that the Jews are ‘colonialists’ or ‘occupiers’ of a land that was never theirs, constitutes a particularly egregious example of fake history.
Over 700 years before any Arab Muslims had emerged in history to scream their first ‘Allahu Akhbar’ and to start beheading people, the Jews of Judea, today’s Israel, fought and defeated an impressive enemy, the army of the Syrian-Greek empire under Antiochus IV.
Antiochus’ army vastly outnumbered the Jewish forces, but as has been the case so often since, the outnumbered Jews won.
After the victory, the Jews cleaned up the Temple, which the Syrian-Greek army had desecrated. Wanting to light the menorah, they realized there was only a tiny bit of oil. Nevertheless, it lasted for eight days.
Jews celebrate Hanukkah in memory of not only the miracle of that tiny amount of oil that lasted for eight days — and the divine protection that this symbolizes — but the victory of freedom and truth over the attempt at annihilating Jewish history and identity at the hands of the Syrian-Greek empire.
During the Syrian-Greek onslaught to Hellenize the Jews and annihilate their culture, there were Jews who denounced their own people, actively fighting against those Jews who refused to submit to Syrian-Greek culture.
Jewish Voice for Peace and many other Jews, who revere Palestinianism more than they venerate their own history, their own land, and their own Judaism, have ancient role models, but they probably do not know enough history to be aware of them.
The temple mentioned in the story of Hanukkah, is the exact same temple of which the Western Wall is a remnant. Arabs claim that the Western Wall is not part of Jewish history.
The international community in the shape of UNESCO promoted this blunt attempt at history theft in October 2016, when the organization declared the Temple Mount – site of the two biblical temples – ‘a Muslim holy site of worship’.
In 2017, UNESCO furthermore passed a resolution denying Israel any rights – legal or historical – to any part of Jerusalem with Israel being referred to throughout the resolution as ‘the Occupying Power’.
Hanukkah continues to resonate strongly with the Jewish people. The Syrian-Greeks may have disappeared from history, but the Muslim Arab colonizers have not.
In the 7th century, they ventured out from the Arabian Peninsula and proceeded to colonize the Middle East and beyond – forcefully converting, killing and displacing the peoples who already lived there — in an imperialist frenzy to spread Islam. This colonization included Judea, which was colonized by Muslims in several instances, most recently by the Ottoman Empire.
The Arab war against Israel, which has been ongoing for more than 70 years, is simply a continuation of those colonization efforts. Unlike the previous attempts, these continue to fail.The imperialist ambitions of Islam have never abated, which is why the Arab Muslim world continues to see Israel as an enemy that must be removed.
Acknowledging that jihad in the form of military aggression against Israel ceased to be an option in the face of overwhelming Israeli military superiority, the Arabs instead decided to play the victim card, mixed with the old and tested demonization of the Jews.
This combination worked for the Nazis, who managed to fabricate and distribute the big lie about the Jewish people so effectively, that the Jews were dehumanized in the eyes of the Europeans. The Arabs, therefore, are not mistaken in hoping that it might work for them, too.
Westerners, most notably academics, politicians, journalists and diplomats, not only ache to believe the lies fabricated by the Arab world about Israel, but they happily help the ‘Industry of lies’, as the author Ben Dror Yemini has termed it, by producing new lies themselves.
One of them is the slanderous falsehood that Israel is an ‘apartheid state’, a lie that is peddled on Western university campuses every year as part of the travelling circus of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’.
Most recently, Mahmoud al-Habbash, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser on Religious and Islamic Affairs, claimed that Jerusalem has belonged to the ‘Palestinians’ for 5,000 years, adding that Jerusalem will remain Arab, “until Allah will inherit the earth and whoever is on it.”
Never mind that King David founded Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews 3,000 years ago and that the Muslim Arabs only came onto the world stage around 1,400 years ago. Al-Habbash knows that anything goes today and that people will believe anything, as long as it serves the purpose of destroying the Jewish nation state.
This is the kind of Muslim replacement theology that many in the West support, as if their brains are automatically put on hold, whenever the question of Israel comes up.
The lights of Hanukkah symbolize the importance of truth and freedom. They are reminders to the Jewish people to never submit to those who wish to steal their freedom and identity, whether that theft comes in the shape of massive armies, or through the euphemism of a ‘two state solution’, which – judging from historical experience — would quickly turn into a ‘no state solution’.
Judith Bergman is a columnist and political analyst
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