Jan 22, 2022

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President Biden hosted a Hanukka ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday night, the fourth night of Hanukah, and despite much misleading media hype, the presidential event had some bizarre and incongruous elements. To be sure, lighting a Menorah in a room decorated for Christmas is incongruous if not incredibly insensitive.

In his statements released prior to the event, President Biden gave a decidedly un-Jewish interpretation to the holiday celebrating the Jewish victory over the Seleucids and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, implying instead that Hanukka was a universal holiday similar to Thanksgiving in the US:

“Much like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah is a holiday dedicated to the expression of gratitude for the blessings and miracles in our lives – big and small, seen and unseen, from ancient times until the present day,” the statement read.

At the beginning of his address, Biden stated incongruously that the White House Hanukkah event he was hosting was tradition but for “the first time in history it is a family tradition.” This statement seems bizarre as the parties held during the Trump administration included his Jewish daughter, son-in-law, and Jewish grandchildren. Vice President Kamala Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, was honored with lighting the menorah as he was born Jewish. Emhoff described himself as the “first Jewish spouse of a vice president.’ Though this may be technically accurate, this ignores Ivanka Trump being the first Jewish daughter of a president. It should also be noted that her children were the first Jewish White House grandchildren but Emhoff’s two daughters from a previous marriage are not Jewish. His wedding to Harris was officiated by her sister and not by a rabbi.

Biden singled out the Jewish guests by name and then went on to relate how, early in his political career, he worked with Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir. In a bizarre statement, he claimed to have acted as the liaison between Meir and Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War. Biden was 25 years old in 1967 and still in law school and the Levi Eshkol was the Prime Minister of Israel at the time. Biden related his first meeting with Golda Meir as being warm. Biden has told this story several times in various versions. Independent reports of the encounter between Biden and Meir tell a different story, one in which Biden, recently returned from a tour of Egypt, assured the Israeli Prime Minister that Egypt had no intention of attacking Israel and he had seen no preparations for war. 40 days later, on Yom Kippur of 1973,  Egypt attacked Israel.

Biden then misquoted a section of the Declaration of Independence:

“We’re the only nation that’s not based on ethnicity or religion or race.,” the president said. “It’s — we’re based on an idea.  An idea.  ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal…endowed by their…’ It’s an idea. ”

He notoriously muffed this exact quote while making a speech on the campaign trail. “We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing,” Biden said in a speech in Texas in March 2020.

Biden moved from this gaffe to another. He noted that the menorah being used was designed by Manfred Anson — was 1 of 20 boys selected by the Jewish Welfare Society to flee from Germany to Austria in the beginning of World War Two.” Manson was, in fact, sent to Australia. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria and the country was the first country annexed by Germany. It was actively involved in the Final Solution.

In his remarks, the president referred to the Macabees dedicating the Temple In Jerusalem.

It should be noted that the Biden administration recently pressured the Israeli government into canceling the construction of housing for Jews in Jerusalem as part of their foreign policy goal of creating a Palestinian state inside Israel with its capital in Jerusalem. They also reestablished a consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.