A rabbi in charge of the National Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony held near the White House chose the opportunity to criticize President Obama’s administration and compared it to “terrorists” for not condemning the United Nations' decision against illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The United Nations Security Council voted 14-0 on Friday in favor of the resolution and the measure was passed after the United States held back from voting — a move that was turnaround from its usual policy of siding with Israel and which did not sit well with Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of a Jewish religious organization, American Friends of Lubavitch.
The rabbi gave a speech after Adam Szubin, Obama’s acting treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, spoke about the symbolism of lighting candles during Hanukkah at an event on Sunday.
He also later lit up a 30-foot menorah.
However, Shemtov, angry about the West Bank decision, took the speech about “fighting darkness (of terrorism) with light” and turned it into an attack against the Obama administration.
“Secretary Szubin spoke before of fighting darkness with light. I remember those words being spoken to a particular man by the Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson] many, many years ago on Simchat Torah,” he said, referring to an annual Jewish holiday which marks the conclusion of one reading of the Torah and beginning of another.
“‘You are working in a place where there is great grief and darkness, but remember that in that place of darkness, you can only counter it by lighting a candle. By creating light,” the rabbi said. “That man was Benjamin Netanyahu, and he was at the time the ambassador to the United Nations.”
"So as I know that some of us are so sad at what happened there with regard to Israel, we must remember that the way to counter any darkness, any disappointment is not with harsh rhetoric, not with anger, but when we create light, the darkness dissipates,” he concluded.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was furious at the decision and even accused Obama of orchestrating the resolution himself.
“From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed,” Netanyahu said.
However, the Israeli aggression in the West Bank has been a source of contention for years, especially as it continues to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, and has been condemned by numerous world leaders, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In fact, global private businesses, like Coca-Cola, have been involved in the settlement since the start, exploiting Palestinians for forced, cheap labor and paying tax to Israel to do so — while Palestinian companies are refused the right to operate in the territory.
Banner/thumbnail credits: Reuters