Rivlin slammed for Obama Hanukkah 'disgrace'

Nationalists accuse Rivlin of rewriting story of Maccabees to make it PC, ask him not to attend Haaretz conference tonight.

Gil Ronen ,

The Obamas with Talve and Rivlin
The Obamas with Talve and Rivlin

President Reuven Rivlin is coming under unprecedentedly harsh criticism from patriotic circles in Israel for his part in the Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony at the White House last week, and his planned participation in an event Sunday evening that will include representatives from ultra-leftist Breaking the Silence.

The White House ceremony included a speech by "Rabbi" Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri, which included references to race riots in Ferguson and gun control. Talve is a member of T’ruah, a group which is now promoting "soft BDS" programs, according to the American Thinker.

"I stand here with my fierce family of clergy and Black Lives Matter activists who took to the streets of Ferguson," she reportedly said at the ceremony. "I stand here to light these lights to say no to the darkness of Islamophobia and homophobia and transphobia… Inshallah, inshallah.”

In his own short speech at the occasion, Rivlin praised Obama's "strong and clear moral leadership" The Maccabees, he said, "did not fight against, they fought for -- for liberty, for freedom of religion, for their traditions, for our traditions, for their ability to celebrate their own identity. Hanukkah is the holy day of spiritual activism."

On Army Radio, pundit and writer Irit Linur angrily stated that Rivlin "should keep himself away from the Presidential Residence, the microphones and Facebook." The candle lighting ceremony, she said, "was a scandal of sycophancy, an interpretation of the Book of Maccabees, who supposedly fought for freedom of religion, acceptance of the other and teddy bear hugs."

"Seriously, was that the story of Hanukkah?" she asked, accusing Rivlin of "rewriting Hanukkah in order to be viewed favorably by President Obama and a Reform 'rabbah' who is a member of BDS groups and blesses the candles with 'inshallah,' because this is a Judeo-Muslim holiday."

"Inshallah in Hanukkah? It was… I was disgusted," she said.

Linur also attacked the president's planned participation in a conference hosted by ultra-leftist Haaretz, which will include a representative of Breaking the Silence – a group that besmirches IDF soldiers and portrays them as murderers. "It's a leftist conference and that is where Rivlin belongs," she stated. "Let him host the panels there."

The President's Residence responded by saying it would "be glad to invite Linur to talk about the holiday and different interpretations of the Maccabees' story."

Rivlin was also attacked by dozens of reservist officers and soldiers who held a protest outside his home Saturday night, calling on him not to partake in the Haaretz conference.

Major (res.) Amichai Shikli, one of the organizers of the protest, told Arutz Sheva that "at a place in which people like [Haaretz writers] Amira Hass, Gideon Levy and 'Breaking the Silence' appear - you can't give a speech there, Mr. President."

"Breaking the Silence" has been accused of inciting against Israel on the global stage by accusing it of "war crimes," has been caught accepting false "testimonies" allegedly from IDF soldiers, and admits it has no real vetting process for verifying which claims are true.

The President's Residence noted that the Breaking the Silence representative is only "one out of tens of participants" in the conference, and that Rivlin will not be present during the panel discussion that includes him.

Journalist Kalman Libeskind of NRG noted that Rivlin could have used the occasion of his US visit to tell Americans about the ongoing stabbing murder campaign that is terrorizing Israelis. Instead, he chose to write an op-ed in the Washington Post that plays into the hands of Israel's critics.