Saturday, December 24, 2011
Hannuka Among the Hellenists
December 15, 2006
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
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.
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 Deniers").
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 national one.
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.
2. Ben Gurion University's leading "thinker" - comments on the true Maccabees: