President Bush and his Cabinet have seized upon the Maccabean message of refusing to give in to tyranny to reinforce Bush’s refusal to deal with Iran as a means of resolving Iraq’s burgeoning crisis. In at least one closed meeting, Bush made the connection explicitly.Clash of civilizations, anyone?
You'll need to sign in to JTA (free) in order to read the whole article, entitled "Bush appropriates Chanukah moral in depicting current threat from Iran." Because what could be better in dealing with Iran than to compare Iranians with ancient enemies of the Jews?
“After Jerusalem was conquered by an oppressive king and the Jews lost their right to worship in freedom, Judah Maccabee and his followers courageously set out to reclaim Jerusalem from foreign rule,” Bush said. “Though their numbers were small, the Maccabees’ dedication to their faith was strong, and they emerged victorious.Well, true enough, if you believe in that sort of thing. (Super-long-lasting oil, indeed! If only, huh? Meanwhile, the entire Middle East spins like a dreidel.)
The discussion at the menorah lighting was supposed to focus on Jewish higher education. But Bush had his own agenda:
“A lot of the conversation centered on Iran and on the president’s conviction that they not be allowed to pick up a nuclear weapon,” said Avi Mayer, a University of Maryland undergraduate who was one of four students representing Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. “He said there’s no use in propping up despots, they have to be confronted and brought to task for their actions.”One attendee quoted Bush as saying, "‘Terrorists’ can’t be God-believing people."
WTF? Shouldn't we be taking this out of the religious arena and putting it where it belongs, in the realm of politics?