The Jewish people have been “refuseniks” long before Jews from the former Soviet Union heroically gave that designation such honor. Rav Soloveitchik explained that Yosef, nearly falling into the lecherous clutches of Potiphar’s wife, extricated himself in a way that the Torah (Breisheet 49:8) described in one word: “And he refused.” That word is set apart from the rest of the verse by a psik, a sort of bracket, after which Yosef offers several explanations to the trollop who pined for him. But those disparate explanations are not essential to the narrative. What is essential is that one word: “Va’y’ma’ein.” And he refused. Period. The refusal matters more than the reasons.
Avraham refused to follow the debauched trends of his generation and ushered in a new era for mankind. Yitzchak and Yaakov both refused to buckle to their enemies and their inner strength and courage inspires us until today. Jews have always been refuseniks, and we would not be celebrating Chanukah this week but for a group of refuseniks called Maccabees who defeated a powerful Syrian army, rejected Greek culture, and overcame the Hellenist Jews of their generation who were trying to curry favor with the hostile, anti-Jewish establishment. Jews can refuse the enticements of sin, whether moral, physical or financial.
Herzl, Ben Gurion and Begin were all refuseniks in their own way, and today, we too are again called upon to be refuseniks, as the world community (read: UN) spearheaded by an American government led by a president, for whom so many Jews are still enamored, who has been waiting for an opportunity to stick it to Israel since his favorite preacher schooled him in the perfidies of the Jews. Yes, yes, this US government has provided Israel with $25B in military assistance in the last eight years, most of it spent in America; the same government has also furnished Iran with $100B to spend as they wish on terror, mayhem and the development of nuclear weapons.
Some Jews are irredeemably leftists and Obama supporters and nothing can happen that will change their minds. They have a unique capacity to be spat upon and then to exclaim with joy that it is raining. Gishmei Beracha. Or maybe Gishmei Kelala. Those “Jews” – make no mistake; a disproportionate number of them are not halachic Jews but the product of the scourge of intermarriage that is devouring American Jewry – would sooner blame Israel than open their eyes to Obama. Spare me the crocodile tears of those Obama supporters, some of whom voted for Obama twice, who now castigate him and offer platitudes of support for Israel, and of course would have voted for him a third time given the opportunity.
Obama is as much a product of his background – anti-Israel, liberationist theology – as John Kerry is of his: grandson of an apostate Jew who changed his name from Kohn to Kerry to try to pass himself off as Irish. We are now, indeed, being encircled by the rings of Kerry who does not even recognize his delusions. For example, 2.75 million Palestinians do not live under “Israeli military occupation,” as Kerry claims. Even ignoring the inflated number of Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, more than 90% live under an autonomous Arab government. If they cannot vote, it is because the brutal Arab dictatorship under which they live does not allow elections. And if those Arabs cannot enter “Israel” at will, it is because Israel is supposed to be a separate country, especially according to Kerry, and countries have the right to determine who can and cannot enter. That should be obvious.
Obama’s treachery was widely predicted, including in this space, and it is still entirely possible that he will recognize a “Palestine” before he is shown the door. But, as is the case with almost everything that Obama did as president, certainly domestically, it can all be reversed and erased. That is not to say that it will be easy. It is entirely in keeping with Obama’s world view that he has alienated Israel (and other US allies) and befriended Iran and Cuba. He hates Netanyahu and loves Castro. He has a fierce hatred of the fulfillment of Jewish destiny in the land of Israel even as he has bolstered and promoted the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and presided over the spread of Islamic terror across the globe. What a legacy.
UN Resolution 2334, orchestrated by the Obama administration, is similar in many respects to another act of treachery by Jimmy Carter, later exposed to be a rabid Jew hater. On March 22, 1979, Carter abstained on UNSC Resolution 446 that condemned Israeli settlements, including Jerusalem (!), stated they had no legal validity, violated international law, and deplored … yada yada yada. But Jews are refuseniks, and since 1979, almost 500,000 Jews have populated Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. May the current resolution result in similar growth!
Resolution 2334 differs substantially in only two respects: it calls on the world to “distinguish in their relevant dealings” between Israel “proper” and Judea and Samaria, effectively lending support to a boycott of Israel. And it refers repeatedly to the “two-state solution” and how settlements impair the “two-state solution.” It is time for that narrative change.
The problem is as much branding as it is politics and Jew hatred. There are problems and there are solutions, even if sane, realistic people recognize that not every problem has a solution. The very phrase “two-state solution” is the kicker. If there is a solution to a problem, only a nut would reject the solution and allow the problem to fester. It hasn’t dawned on the geniuses in the striped pants world (although it certainly motivates those who favor Israel’s demise) that the two-state “solution” is no solution at all. No reference was made to a two-state “solution” in Resolution 446 because it was then a dead letter. No rational person believed then that partitioning Israel and awarding its sworn enemies half its territory would be a solution to anything, except to those who perceive Israel’s existence as a problem. No rational person should believe it today.
We have to change the brand. Every time someone says “two-state solution” just write, blurt out or yell “two state illusion.” It is an illusion – indeed, a delusion – to think that an independent “Palestine” will bring peace. There never was an independent “Palestine,” there is no such political identity, no historic Palestinian figures from the 19th century going back to creation, and no means for even a peaceful “Palestine” to sustain itself as a state on territory that lacks material resources and infrastructure. It is a fabricated identity, fabricated not to buttress Arab claims but merely to suppress and eliminate Jewish claims. It is therefore not surprising that the “Palestinians” refused a state before 1948, made no effort to create a state when Jordan and Egypt controlled these territories from 1948-1967 and have rejected several ill-advised attempts to award them a state in the last 15 years. Let’s get real.
“Two state illusion” rolls off the tongue, and when uttered repeatedly, it makes a “two-state solution” sound much less appealing or even sensible. And it is a tribute to a number of Jewish activists that the Republican Party platform this year withdrew its support for the “two-state illusion,” and the incoming Trump administration seems presently disinclined to advocate it. And why would it? It can’t work, and if it could work, it would have worked already.
Much of the chatter makes it seem as if the “two-state illusion” was long-standing American and Israeli policy. It is not. Even the Oslo Accords did not endorse a “Palestinian” state, and the US only signed on to it at the urging of Ariel Sharon in 2004. Sharon encouraged the Bush Administration to support such a state in exchange for recognition of the settlement blocs as legal. This, sadly, was another disastrous legacy of Ariel Sharon. George W. Bush issued such a letter in June 2004, but US support of the settlement blocs was repudiated by Hillary Clinton in 2009 even as she pocketed the “two state illusion” as US policy conceded by Israel. Well, times have changed, and as Einstein noted, only the insane keep repeating the same actions and hope for different results.
Judea and Samaria represent Israel’s past and future. It is immoral to say that Jews can live in Shiloh, Illinois and not the original Shiloh. To articulate that sentiment is to be on the wrong side of history and to mock the Bible. Obama and Kerry are on the wrong side of history. In the story of Chanukah, it is distressing to note that most Jews sided with the enemy, the Syrian Hellenists who tried to stamp out Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel and eradicate the Torah itself. Those Jews were on the wrong side of history. Many of the battles of the Maccabees were fought on land that neither Obama nor Kerry recognize as Jewish. But it was then and is now.
Those Jews who are turning on Israel are also on the wrong side of history. It is patently clear that the closer Jews are to Torah the greater is one’s commitment to the land of Israel, whose possession by Jews is obviously a major element of the Torah. Of course, there are observant Jews who are still enthralled with the two-state illusion but they are an ever declining minority of the Torah world. So be it.
The battles that are being waged now for the land of Israel during the celebrations of Chanukah are reminders to us that the old antagonisms still exist in every generation, and that the spirit of the Jewish refusenik that has animated us throughout history will give us the strength and courage to refuse even the entreaties of people who perceive themselves as well-meaning in their quest to hound, diminish and weaken Israel.
That light still shines in every truly Jewish home, and will shine forever.
Excellent, Rabbi. But Netanyahu is ultimately to blame for this kerfuffle:
Until Israel elects leaders that proclaim to the world that the Land of Israel (all of it) belongs to the Jews, we cannot expect anyone else to proclaim that truth on behalf of the Jewish Nation.
It is sad that PM Netanyahu keeps talking of wanting a 2 state “illusion” if only our enemies would recognize Israel.
He was a total embarassement on 60 minutes.
I blame him for all of this.
No 2 state illusion.
Stand up and be a Torah Jew.
One state. No democracy. No vote for anybody not Jewish.
Rest of the world, have a nice day.
Happy Chanukah and May we continue to see the Miracles each day from G-d.
*** WHY MUSLIMS HATE JEWS ***
“Our hatred for the Jews”, Abdul Aziz told Harold Dickson in [year] 1937 [CE], “dates from God’s condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of ‘Isa [Jesus Christ] and their subsequent rejection later of His chosen Prophet [Muhammad]…
“Verily the word of God teaches us – and we implicitly believe this O Dickson – that for a Muslim to kill a Jew [in war], or for him to be killed by a Jew, ensures him immediate entry in Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.”
Abdul Aziz made this statement to [Harold] Dickson as part of his protest at the Peel Report, Britain’s 1937 plan to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab areas, thereby granting the Zionists the basis for the independent state that they dreamed of…”
SOURCE: The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa’ud (chapter 29, page 259) by Robert Lacey, published in year 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
“Arabians are conspiracy theorists, and not afraid to admit it. Just as they believe in an active power for good intervening daily in their lives, so they believe that evil and the powers of darkness are manifest here on earth.
A Westerner takes the credit for his own successes and blames himself for his failures. And Arabian thanks God for the good and blames the bad on evil influences beyond his control. It makes for a guilt-free existence.
It also makes for deep suspicions, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the Arab attitude towards the Jews.”
SOURCE: The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa’ud (chapter 41, page 386) by Robert Lacey, published in 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
MICROBIOGRAPHY FROM WIKIPEDIA:
“Robert Lacey (born 3 January 1944) is a British historian and biographer. He is the author of a number of bestselling biographies, including those of Henry Ford, Eileen Ford and Queen Elizabeth II, as well as works of popular history.”
Why Pray for Tzahal-IDF:
How to Pray for Tzahal-IDF:
New York Times Erases Israel from Map:
How to Convict the New York Times:
The Obama Administration and Security Council Resolution 2334 equate Jews’ building porches onto homes in neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem with Palestinian-Arab terrorists’ murdering Jews in cold blood. The Administration and the resolution say both are responsible for the lack of peace, but Jews’ building is the more egregious and worth the lion’s share of international blame, condemnation, and sheer time and effort. If condemning Jewish building for being worse than the murder of Jews isn’t a good working definition of antisemitism, pray tell, what is?
Right on Rabbi! Write on Rabbi!
Rabbi, you make some strong arguments as to why a two state solution is an illusion. But you don’t mention what solution you would recommend instead. Is there a solution that will improve the status quo? Please elaborate on what that solution is. Thank you and Chanukah Sameyach.
Ah, I’ve written about this for years, going back to “The Alternative” first published in 1995. It should be archived.
Here it is:
Great piece. However, it is not an illusion. It is a delusion. At this point, you have to be crazy to think it will work.
“The Jews have no rights in Jerusalem,” repeated Faisal, citing a League of Nations inquiry which showed, he said, that the Wailing Wall was part of the Al Aqsa Mosque.
“Another wall can be built for them and they can wail against that.”
SOURCE: The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa’ud (chapter 43, page 419) by Robert Lacey, published in 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
“[USA] President [Jimmy] Carter added insult to injury. No Arab leader he had ever met, he declared, actually wanted to see the creation of a truly independent Palestinian state…”
SOURCE: The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa’ud (chapter 47, page 454) by Robert Lacey, published in 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
“Of course,” says one Saudi prince, “if God granted us a wish,
we would like the Palestinians to vanish off the face of the earth.
We know that they are only nice to us because they want our money.
They are dangerous men with Marxist tendencies.
But their disappearance would be a second wish.
The first wish is the disappearance of Israel.”
SOURCE: The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa’ud (chapter 47, page 455) by Robert Lacey, published in 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
Quick Bible Quotes from Joshua and Jeremiah:
Rambam Rejected Childless Messiah:
New York Times Erases Israel from Map:
How to Convict the New York Times:
How about both, Mr. Slepian?
“[USA] President [Jimmy] Carter added insult to injury.
No Arab leader he had ever met, he declared,
actually wanted to see the creation of a truly
independent Palestinian state…”
The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa’ud
(chapter 47, page 454) by Robert Lacey, published
in 1981 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York,
ISBN-10: 0006365094 ISBN-13: 978-0006365099
The Two-State Solution Blindspot
by Douglas Altabef
@Josh – The link in my comment above will take you to a site where an alternative is clearly laid out.
@Susan Rosenbluth: If I understand your question, of course it would be nice to have a strong Israeli leader who can explain to the world why Judea and Samaria are an integral part of Israel as well as a U.S. leader who agrees. But I would think the former is a prerequisite for the latter.