As we enter the Holiday Season, once again we are reminded of a truly shameful episode in history: the Celebration of Zionist violence and dispossession known as “Chanukah”. Approximately 2200 years ago in Historic Palestine, the Jewish people were fortunate enough to fall under the wise leadership of Syria, a nation whose current leader I consider a friend and which I have visited in the spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood. Syria was then ruled by a most dynamic and motivated man, King Antiochus Epiphanes. Now Antiochus was a rather forward-thinking leader who encouraged the Jews to engage in physical exercise at the well-appointed leisure centres known locally as “Gymnasiums”. The tradition at the time was to exercise naked, which may strike some as unorthodox, but not anyone who has ever visited me in my Gardening Allotment during Mid-Summer. Additionally, Antiochus did his best to encourage the Jews to participate in group activities within the Syrian polity, but again and again he was rudely rebuffed. They even declined to take part in the Community Pig Roast and Pot-Luck that Antiochus sponsored at their Temple.
Just when Antiochus seemed to be making serious headway in terms of showing the Jewish Community a path toward peace, a gang of Likudniks known as the “Maccabees” began agitating and detracting from the shared sense of community in Palestine. The clique’s leader, one Judah Maccabee, felt compelled to attack his Syrian neighbors, a trend that sadly continues to this day. And in an incident that really should be brought to the attention of the RSPCA, the Maccabees engaged in wanton cruelty toward the Syrians’ pet elephants. Finally, despite the noble resistance of the Syrians, they were expelled from Palestine by the Maccabee war machine.
Then the Maccabees returned to the Temple and proceeded to undo all of the improvements made by Mr. Antiochus. Tellingly, they first sought fuel to light their lamps, sadly marking this as just another War for Oil. Today, this unfortunate episode in the Struggle of the Dispossessed is celebrated with such crass spectacle as unhealthy fried foods, doughnuts filled with empty calories, and encouraging children to gamble. Stay tuned next month when I decry the Imperialistic Land Grab known as “Tu B’Shvat”.