Thursday, December 14, 2006
Hannuka among the Hellenists
Hannuka Among the Hellenists
by Steven Plaut
Of all the Jewish holidays, the one that I think best captures the
contemporary Jewish zeitgeist, the one that is the most relevant to the
current (and, if certain trends are not reversed, the last?) chapter in
Jewish history, is Hannuka.
Hannuka is, of course, the story of Jewish national liberation. It is the
story of the military victory of the few against the many, of the
champions of Judaism against the pagan barbarians.
But it is more than this. It is the saga of the heroic struggle of Jewish
survivalists (those one would today label "Zionists") against the
assimilationists and self-hating Hellenists of the second century BCE.
Hannuka is less a story about the battle against the Greeks than it is
about the battle against the predominant assimilationist paradigm at the
time among the Jews. It is about the battle against the anti-survivalists,
those who hated themselves for being Jews, those who seek to be
"progressive", "modern", and "in", through rejecting, abasing, disgracing
and degrading themselves and their people. The Hellenists who fought the
Hasmoneans were struggling against Jewish survival. Sound familiar?
In the United States, the main movement of Hellenistic assimilationism has
been the school of "Political Liberalism as Judaism", the pseudo-religion
that holds that all of Judaism can be reduced to the pursuit of this
week's liberal political fads. But the global avante garde of Jewish
self-hatred these days is the Israeli Left.
The Israeli Left is the main manifestation today of Jewish anti-Semitism.
It not only promotes "plans" and policies designed to end Israel's
existence, increasingly endorsing the one-state, bi-national Rwanda
solution to the "problem" of Israeli national existence, but it also
regularly attacks every symbol and concept of traditional Judaism.
You think I am exaggerating? Well just consider the Op-Ed a few years back
in the Israeli anti-Zionist daily Haaretz, penned by one Yehiam Shorek, a
"historian" who teaches at the Beit Berl College in Israel. Beit Berl is a
college run by the kibbutz movement.
The "historian" Shorek devoted his Haaretz column to proving that the
Maccabees were fascist and racist hooligans, bloodthirsty zealots, and
downright Likudniks. His column was entitled "Bloodthirsty Zealots". His
thesis was that Jews should stop celebrating Hannuka and the exploits of
the Maccabees, and should instead feel sympathy for the poor occupied and
mistreated Greeks and Hellenists.
His article was not a spoof.
The evil Maccabees were plotting to perpetrate population "transfer",
wrote Shorek, that most evil of all crimes in the "minds" of Israel's
fundamentalist Leftists. Population "transfer" is far worse than, say,
mass murdering 2000 Jews after signing with them a series of peace
accords, or turning the West Bank and Gaza over to barbarian fascists to
allow them to carry out such mass murders. Shorek is a member of that same
Fundamentalist Left that will not rest until all Jews have been expelled
from the West Bank and Gaza in an act of ethnic cleansing, and until no
Israeli armed forces are left behind to interfere with the terrorist
activities of the "Palestinians."
Matityahu, the father of Judah Maccabee and his brothers, was a lunatic,
wrote Shorek. He was a warmonger who dragged his country into an
unnecessary "war of choice", one that was not a legitimate "war of
self-defense". (Never mind that there is nothing at all in Judaism that
says Jews should refrain from conquering their lands unless it is part of
a war of self-defense.) The Maccabees were the aggressors, insisted
Shorek. And they suppressed the free speech of those who supported the
Greeks; how undemocratic of them!
Judah Maccabee was guilty of causing many families to lose their loved
ones by leading people to war, wrote Shorek, instead of pursuing some sort
of Hellenistic Oslo appeasement and capitulation, the sort the
"enlightened Left" seeks today to impose upon Israel. All Judah Maccabee
really wanted to do was to Occupy, Occupy, Occupy, insists Shorek. No
better than the West Bank settlers today! And not only that, but Judah and
his hooligans were Orthodox Jews, which every leftist knows must make them
primitive and barbaric; you know, unlike the enlightened Marxist
historians who live on nice kibbutzim or teach at the Beit Berl college.
(If you would like to tell the management of Beit Berl what you think they
should do with Shorek, write firstname.lastname@example.org or Beit Berl College,
Doar Beit Berl, 44905, Israel; Telephone: 972-9-7476333; Fax:
Unfortunately, Shorek is hardly a lone phenomenon. Israel's anti-Jewish
leftists have been launching similar jihads against every other symbol of
Jewish valor. Masada was a cesspool of non-tolerant fanatics, according to
them. The Bible is a backward document full of fabrications. Schools
should stop teaching it altogether, they demand, and instead teach
something really useful, like the works of Palestinian "poets". Archeology
proves the Bible is nothing but lies and fantasy, they insist. One wag
labeled such people Pentateuch Deniers (intended as a play on "Holocaust
In Israel, the country's politics - particularly its cultural/educational
elite and its chattering classes - are now largely dominated by those
motivated by the desire for their country to commit national suicide. They
scorn themselves, their own country and their own people, the same way
that the Hellenized Jews did at the time of the Maccabees. Many endorse
boycotts of Israel by anti-Semites abroad. Like the Hellenized Jews, they
are convinced that traditionalist Jews are reactionary and primitive, and
that the greatest national priority should be renunciation of Jewish
peculiarity and the striving to assimilate amongst the cosmopolitan
progressive "Greeks" of the world. They are ashamed of their Jewishness
and convinced that the only path to peace is to renounce it. They insist
that a Seleucid "narrative" should replace the Jews' own reactionary
Israel's universities are by and large the Occupied Territories of these
Hellenists. The Israeli media is to almost the same extent. Hellenists
dominate much of the Israeli military and, somewhat incredibly, the
intelligence services. (It is doubtful the country could have undergone
the Oslo debacle had these intelligence services not operated as lap dogs
for the Beilinized Israeli Left.)
Hellenists have attempted to rewrite the Israeli school curriculum, to
teach Israeli Jewish children to despise themselves. Their message is that
Jews must feel ashamed, because they are mean, selfish, evil and immoral
people. Surely, there would be no anti-Semitism on the planet were not the
Jews such racist and insensitive people.
Their aim is to convince the Jews that the only way they may become
accepted in the world is to adapt to paganism, to stop seeking to exist as
a separate national entity, to commit national suicide. Moreover, their
campaign is aimed at challenging the moral existence of the Jews. They
realize this is the weakest chink in the armor of the Jews. If Jews can be
convinced that they are morally in the wrong, then no Maccabees will
emerge. The aim of the Jewish Hellenists is the delegitimization of the
Jews as a nation, discrediting the moral position of Jewish survivalism.
The message of the contemporary Hellenists is unambiguous: Those who wish
to purify the Temple, who seek pure oil for the Temple lamp, who wish to
evict the barbarians from Jerusalem, are the enemies of peace. The
Maccabees must be arrested for incitement. The Jews must provide Antiochus
with concessions and arms and funds and a Road Map. Under no circumstances
should the Jews seek to defend themselves militarily against the
Seleucids, for there is no military solution to the problem of Seleucid
aggression. If the barbarians murder the Jews, it is because the Jews are
evil, selfish people and because they have been too reluctant to abandon
their primitive survivalism.
If the Israeli anti-Jewish Left has its way, the Post-Hasmonean,
post-survivalist era will be upon us. Dip the latkes in lard.