U.S. President Barack Obama has a "soft spot" for the Passover Seder and the story of the Exodus. Every year he makes sure to mark the Passover holiday with a much publicized Seder at the White House in which the participants read the Haggadah and Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Only two years ago during his visit to Israel, Obama described what Passover meant to him: "It is a story of centuries of slavery, and years of wandering in the desert; a story of perseverance amidst persecution, and faith in God and the Torah. It is a story about finding freedom in your own land. For the Jewish people, this story is central to who you have become."
Now Obama is behaving as if he lost his memory; as if his statements on Passover were simply lip service. He is spiteful, holding grudges, and simply in denial of the democratic victory granted by the Israeli majority in the elections two weeks ago. He ignores the fact that most Israelis see a united Jerusalem as their capital, that most Israelis oppose the dangerous illusion of the establishment of a Palestinian state in our historic homeland that was conquered by foreigners. Obama is not treating Israel as a liberated entity like in his favorite Exodus story, but as his "vassal state and banana republic" (as Menachem Begin would put it).
Freedom -- there is no better word to relearn this Passover -- is not just a desire to be freed from physical subjugation. After the shackles of a person, or nation, have been removed, they must still ensure that their souls have been cleansed of bondage and the diaspora.
"Let my people go"--the cri de coeur of non-"progressive" Jews to the Zion-unfriendly Democratic Party in the U.S. and the Liberals in Canada.One who seeks true freedom, not just breaking free from handcuffs and finding refuge, must also find inner freedom; that deep understanding that truly free people are not just satisfied with being released from bondage and being in the diaspora. Truly free people espouse the ideal that the Jewish state is their identity and their manifest destiny; and this identity -- with all due respect to interests and dependency -- requires brave Jewish leadership, even in regards to friends who act as if they preside over us...