Monday, 5 March 2012

Repeating History: Obama and the Book of Esther



Of course, the parallels between today’s unfolding events, and the Book of Esther are undeniable.

The Persian megalomaniac (Haman/Ahmadinejad) is bent on the genocide of the Jews.

What struck me today is the parallels between the edict of King Ahasuerus, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s summit discussions with Barack Obama.

A peculiarity in the Esther story is that King Ahasuerus does not instruct his gentile subjects to NOT attack the Jews on Purim day, but rather he:

granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,

With Israel soldiers now so much a part of our daily reality, we often lose sight of the rarity in history of Jews being able to have a right of self defence.

Prior to King Ahasuerus’ decree, the status quo was that Jews did NOT have the right to defend their lives, and the Jews were required to be murdered without organized or armed resistance. Like sheep to the slaughter.

This was indeed the case throughout our millennia of exile – and, indeed, ever since the fall of the independent Hasmonean kings.

Obama said to AIPAC yesterday: “Iran’s leaders should… not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.”

Both Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu have repeatedly referred to Israel’s right to protect herself and to take such military decisions alone.

Of course, we want Obama to go one important step further – and to commit his own awesome military power to neutralizing the Iranian nuclear threat.

Hopefully, this will come soon, very soon – but in the meantime, simply recognizing that today’s Jews can and do arm ourselves, and organize ourselves as the IDF, for our protection against those who would annihilate us, resonates through our defenseless and tragic exile, back to that very first Purim in Persia/Iran.

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