It has been my custom to reproduce this Purim post every year, with some modifications. This year I do it a day after Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a megillah/Scroll of Esther to President Obama. The scroll, read twice on the holiday of Purim, relates the victory of the Jews over Haman the Agagite, his sons, and a whole bunch of people inside and outside the Persian capital of Shushan who had it in for the Jews. Jeffrey Goldberg explains the point of Bibi’s gift:
The prime minister of Israel is many things, but subtle is not one of them. The message of Purim is: When the Jews see a murderous conspiracy forming against them, they will act to disrupt the plot. A further refinement of the message is: When the Jews see a plot forming against them in Persia, they will act to disrupt the plot, even if Barack Obama wishes that they would wait for permission.
Goldberg reads Bibi right, but Bibi reads the megillah wrong.
In the story, the Jews are saved only because the Jewish Queen Esther convinces the Persian king to execute the wicked Haman, after which the king authorizes the Jews to defend themselves against their attackers.
The real message of the megillah for Bibi should be: Diplomacy works; self-defense is the last resort; and one should act only with the consent of the legitimate authority. In other words, Jewish unilateralism and aggression are dumb and counterproductive. ….
For the rest, click on this title, “Selling Purim to Progressives One More Time.”
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