The rabbi in charge of the National Hanukkah Menorah lighting used the ceremony, held Sunday just steps from the White House, to criticize the Obama administration’s decision to allow the United Nations to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and portions of Jerusalem as illegal.
Daily Mail reported that Rabbi Levi Shemtov gave a speech immediately after Obama’s proxy, acting treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Adam Szubin, talked about fighting the “darkness” of terrorism by “drowning it out with light.” According to The Washington Examiner, Shemtov flipped this around by saying that Obama’s actions was the “darkness” that Jews who support the settlement must fight.
This came after the UN voted 14-0 on Friday to condemn the settlements created by Israeli citizens in the West Bank as illegal. The United States allowed this to happen by abstaining from voting, a major shift in the US’s longstanding policy of always protecting Israel.
“Secretary Szubin spoke before of fighting darkness with light,” said Shemtov, who serves as executive vice president of Orthodox Jewish group American Friends of Lubavitch.
“I remember those words being spoken to a particular man by the rabbi many many years ago on Simchat Torah,” he continued, referring to the time of year in which one reading of the Torah ends and another one begins. “The rabbi told him: ‘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.’”
“That man was Benjamin Netanyahu, and he was at the time the ambassador to the United Nations,” Shemtov added. “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.”
This comes after Obama has almost single-handedly destroyed our tight bond with Israel. On Friday, Netanyahu spoke out to slam Obama by accusing him of orchestrating the vote 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.
“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments had disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue.
We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away.
And, as I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council. I’m encouraged by the statements of our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike.
They understand how reckless and destructive this UN resolution was, they understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory.”