December 15, 2007


Greens, Atheists Attack Chanukah: Candles cause global warming, Maccabees compared to Osama (Jonathan Mark, 12/12/07, The Jewish Week)

Jewcy, an online hipster magazine praised by The Guardian in the UK for being “a cultural icon at the forefront of a new wave of Jewish culture and pride,” greeted Chanukah (Dec. 4) with the headline, “A Very Osama Hanukkah.”

Writer Steve Almond describes himself as assimilated and intermarried, but his wife wanted to convert to Judaism so he did some homework: He concludes, “Osama Bin Laden may be the person on the planet most attuned to the joys of Hanukkah.” After all, the Maccabees were an “insurgency,” and Eliezer, one of the Maccabees, who died sacrificing himself in battle, “sounds to me like a Biblical version of the suicide bombers who launch themselves at military convoys in Iraq. He isn’t trying to kill and maim innocent bystanders, so it’s not an exact comparison, but his mindset is essentially the same: He relishes the chance to give his life in exchange for the glory of the cause, and his own name.”

When Judah Maccabee decapitated an enemy general, Almond writes, “isn’t the gesture really just an old school version of the decapitation videos Al Qaeda uses today to horrify its Western foes?” Chanukah is “about a strain of unchecked aggression that infects those who are convinced that God is on their side.”

Slate, a usually excellent online journal, offered this headline (Dec. 3): Chanukah “celebrates the triumph of tribal Jewish backwardness.”
The writer, Christopher Hitchens, author of “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” argues that if Judaism would have been conveniently eliminated by the Greek-Syrians, “we would never have had to hear of Jesus.” And “without the precedents of Orthodox Judaism and Roman Christianity... there would be no Islam, either.... When Judaism repudiated Athens for Jerusalem, the development of the whole of humanity was terribly retarded.”

So far, no condemnations of Slate or Hitchens, no fist shaking across the continent and, to the best of our knowledge, no major media rebuttal except by Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun.

In Israel, environmentalists charged that lighting Chanukah candles contributes to global warming. This is a serious charge. As syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman wrote earlier this year in The Boston Globe (Feb. 9), “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers,” and she’s not the only one to make that comparison.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2007 9:55 AM

So, when is Hitchens going to convert to Catholicism? He sounds like every anti-religion twerp I went to college with.

Posted by: Bryan at December 15, 2007 10:56 AM

Most of them have converted by now too.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2007 12:15 PM