Hanukkah is a joyous time for the Jewish people to gather with family and see the light in our children’s eyes as we exchange gifts and celebrate our heritage.
But this past year should serve as a reminder of the importance of the festival’s original purpose: to commemorate our distinct identity. The holiday evokes the human sacrifices and divine favor needed to maintain that identity in the face of those who would snuff the Jewish people out like one of the candles on a menorah.
Jews around the world are beset by those who would do us harm, a reality that our brothers and sisters in Israel have lived with for decades. Faced with constant provocations from Hamas terrorists, those in the Jewish homeland see no reprieve in sight from anti-Semitic violence.
American Jews have always stood in solidarity with their Israeli cousins as they bravely faced this violence and hatred. In October, however, we got a sickening taste of our own of that hatred when a bloodthirsty maniac murdered 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
White House holiday statements are usually rather generic, but this year I was heartened to see that President Trump did not shy away from mentioning the Tree of Life tragedy in his Hanukkah message.
The message continued President Trump’s consistent record of addressing anti-Semitism head-on. Just before the beginning of Hanukkah, his delegation to the United Nations threw America’s weight behind Israel in condemning Hamas and its continued attacks on Jewish civilians. It would be encouraging if that humanitarian sentiment were universal, but, alas, it’s not.
The day before the Trump delegation circulated that resolution, Temple University professor and now-former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill delivered a very different message to the United Nations. He called for the end of the Jewish state in favor of a “free Palestine from the river to sea.” Addressing an enthusiastic audience that included delegations from Muslim countries with long histories of anti-Semitism, Hill praised the violence aimed at wiping Israel off the map and condemned Israel’s efforts to defend itself, saying “we must not romanticize or fetishize” peace.
It would be one thing if these were isolated sentiments from today’s left, but they are not. The next Congress is already shaping up to be the most hostile to the Jewish people in memory, thanks to an influx of radical Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Socialist Democrat poster-child Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going around calling the Jewish people’s return to their ancestral homeland an “occupation of Palestine.” Incoming Democrat representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilham Omar are continuing their calls to boycott Israel as they organize a congressional delegation to observe Israeli “segregation.” What’s more, the Democrats’ new attorney general in Minnesota, Keith Ellison, represents what appears to be the ongoing standard for the Democrats’ stance on the Jewish people. For years, he was an associate of Louis Farrakhan, the radical anti-Semite who still calls Jews “termites.”
This Hanukkah, my family and I are enjoying immense peace of mind from knowing that Donald Trump sits in the White House. We hope for a happy Hanukkah for all, and that we all may carry that same peace of mind into the new year.
This year, let’s light our children’s eyes with the reflection of the light of peace.
Michael Glassner is Chief Operating Officer of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.