Pe­sach pol­i­tics

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

If ev­ery­thing is po­lit­i­cal, then how much more so a fes­ti­val whose main theme is one of lib­er­a­tion. Pe­sach has much con­tem­po­rary rel­e­vance, es­pe­cially when we con­sider Ti­bet’s strug­gle for au­ton­omy, the po­lit­i­cal tur­bu­lence in Zim­babwe — and, yes, the search for a peace­ful and eq­ui­table so­lu­tion to end the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict. But this does not mean that the fes­ti­val should be­come a cyn­i­cal lever for in­ter­ested par­ties to ex­ploit. This week, con­sis­tent with our pol­icy not to cen­sor law­ful ads from Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions, the is run­ning a full-page plea from Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans which rather crassly ap­pears to equate “the bit­ter­ness of slav­ery” with the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza. This, they im­ply, is “the en­dur­ing mes­sage of Pe­sach”. In Is­rael it­self, the strictly Ortho­dox par­ties have cho­sen to make po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal over whether goods con­tain­ing chametz can be sold openly dur­ing Pe­sach or not. Hav­ing been thwarted in their in­ten­tion of ban­ning such goods dur­ing the fes­ti­val, Shas is threat­en­ing a ter­ri­ble re­venge for next year. And in Jerusalem, as they have done for the last two decades, res­i­dents will be draw­ing their wa­ter from sources other than the Kin­neret — just in case some in­con­sid­er­ate fish­er­men had thrown their sand­wiches into the lake, thus mak­ing it treif. All of the above goes a long way to dis­tort­ing both the spirit and the unique mean­ing of this fes­ti­val. The wishes all its read­ers a happy and re­flec­tive Pe­sach.

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