Esther was a perfect symbol for the threat Israel faces at present, largely from Iran. The story of the ancient heroine is a tale of politics mastered by a female to save her people.
A king’s advisor in Persia wanted to execute all Jews; Esther intervened with the king, and the Jewish people rose up to successfully defend themselves. The story of Esther has been recalled by historians and others throughout the ages, including after the Holocaust as Nazis were tried for crimes against humanity.
Iran is part of what was ancient Persia; many Iranian expatriates refer to themselves as ‘Persians’ still.
Purim is derived from the word ‘pur’, and according to some accounts ‘pur’ means ‘lot’ as in judgment. The ancient king’s adviser cast the ‘pur’ against the Jewish people in the story of Esther.
Netanyahu did not mince words and, although most media aren’t talking about it, the resolve in the charismatic prime minister’s speech must have been recognized by President Barack Obama.
At one point Netanyahu declared, “Jerusalem [is] the eternal, united capital of Israel.”
The prime minister specifically recognized Republican Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) who led the effort in Congress to pass a new set of sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu actually asked the audience to give special applause to “representatives” of the U.S., suggesting he is aware of support in the House currently under Republican leadership. Obama took credit for the sanctions.
Netanyahu told the audience, “All options are on the table.” He said Israel must “always reserve the right to defend itself.”
Saying Iran has “flaunted every international rule,” Netanyahu also gave a comparison between repressive regimes in the Middle East and his own country. He noted those regimes “stone women and hang gays” and that Iran is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism.
He reminded the audience that Iran accused the U.S. of causing 9-11 and has also denied the Holocaust.
Netanyahu put the situation into a global perspective by explaining that this is how Iran behaves without nuclear weapons and the country would be even more dangerous with them. He reminded the audience that as sponsors of terrorism, Iran is responsible for thousands of Americans’ deaths.
He said, “It’s time we started talking about the cost of not stopping Iran” as opposed to talking about how costly it would be to intervene. Netanyahu brought up a letter dating to 1944 when the World Jewish Congress begged the United States War Dept. to bomb Auschwitz. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, was in his second term. The Roosevelt administration refused the request, responding that, “Such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.”
Netanyahu didn’t really have to point out how bizarre that response was.
The prime minister said in these days, both the U.S. government and the Jewish people are different. “We now have a state of our own,” he said, adding, “Israel must always have the right to defend itself…We must always remain the masters of our fate.”
In May, 2011, Netanyahu also set Obama straight in another speech when the prime minister declared defiantly that Israel would definitely not go back to 1967 borders in negotiating peace terms with Palestinians. In public remarks during Netanyahu’s visit then, Obama endorsed the idea of Israel reverting to the 1967 borders. The president’s handlers attempted to smooth over the gaffe and most US media assisted with controlling the political fallout.
Netanyahu, with a record of distinguished military service, strikes a sharp contrast to the US president whose resume consisted largely of community organizing before he entered politics.
As Purim approaches, Netanyahu’s message will be heard loud and clear abroad. Incidentally, Esther is believed to have belonged to the tribe of Binyamin. It's also useful to note that the threat to the ancient Jews occurred when Esther's uncle Mordechai refused to bow to the king's advisor. Obama has been widely panned by his critics for theatrical bows before rulers in other countries, some with repressive regimes.
~~Related at The US Report: UN wants Gaza probe…overlooks need for ‘activists’ probe
(Analysis by Kay B. Day/March 6, 2012)