Hanukkah wishes from Trump, Johnson, Talib, Omar, other public figures

Politicians and celebrities tweeted in celebration of Hanukkah.

All Rabbinic commentaries agree that the light of Hanukkah candles may not be used for our own benefit - we are not even permitted to use the light from the flames to read in a dimly lit room (photo credit: REUTERS)
All Rabbinic commentaries agree that the light of Hanukkah candles may not be used for our own benefit - we are not even permitted to use the light from the flames to read in a dimly lit room
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In honor of Hanukkah, politicians and celebrities from across the world posted messages and videos of support on social media. Everyone from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to talk show host James Corden took to Twitter to celebrate the Jewish festival of lights. While most stuck to a traditional “happy Hanukkah” greeting, some added a bit about the story of Hanukkah and pledges to stand against antisemitism.
All four members of “The Squad,” a group of congresswomen, all of whom were elected in 2018, which includes Representative Rashida Tlaib, Representative Ilhan Omar, Representative Ayanna Pressley and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). Tlaib, Omar and AOC are known critics of Israel.
Tlaib tweeted “#HappyHanukkah to all my Jewish friends and neighbors across #13thDistrictStrong and around the world. Wishing you light, love, and blessings as you celebrate the Festival of Lights.” However, another of the congresswoman’s Hanukkah messages garnered criticism from some Jewish groups.
In addition to the message on her own Twitter, Tlaib sent a Hanukkah message with a twist. In the video, Tlaib wishes IfNotNow Detroit members a happy Hanukkah and praises its “2020 platform calling for every public official to commit to defunding the occupation in Falestine and fighting antisemitism and white nationalism,” as something she could “support very strongly.”
IfNotNow, an organization that describes itself as “a movement led by young American Jews to end our community’s support for the occupation,” tweeted the video message on Friday and wrote, “She wasn’t able to make it in person, but Congresswoman @RepRashida Tlaib sent this wonderful video to the folks at INN Detroit for their Chanukah party. Thanks, Rashida!”
Jewish organizations criticized Tlaib’s adding a message about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a Hanukkah message, claiming she would not do the same for other groups. The Israel Advocacy Movement called it “insulting.”
The remaining members of The Squad wrote more generic Hanukkah messages wishing their Jewish constituents a happy Hanukkah and “chag sameach.”
UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has faced accusations of antisemitism and referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends,” released a Hanukkah video on Twitter, expressing messages of hope. However, due to the accusations, many ridiculed his making a Hanukkah message in the first place, some even expressing gratitude that his party lost the recent election.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose party defeated Corbyn’s, released a video recognizing that “recent years have not been easy ones for British Jews.” In his video Johnson evoked the Hanukkah story, saying that Jews should be proud and that, while the Maccabees had to fight on their own, that British Jews seeking “to drive back the darkness of resurgent antisemitism,” have “every decent person in this country” fighting with them.
Accompanying the video was a tweet, “Britain would not be Britain without its Jewish community.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a similar acknowledgment in his video, saying that Hanukkah in Canada is “a chance to recognize the many contributions Jewish Canadians make.” He also pledged that the Canadian “government will always stand with Canada’s Jewish communities.”
Although the White House held its Hanukkah celebration last week, during which US President Donald Trump signed an executive order addressing antisemitism, the president released an additional Hanukkah message on Sunday.
Trump tweeted the official White House Hanukkah message and wrote, “Melania and I send our warmest wishes to Jewish people in the United States, Israel, and across the world as you commence the 8-day celebration of Hanukkah.”
Having celebrated Hanukkah in the White House during her husband’s term in office, former secretary of state Hilary Clinton tweeted a photo of herself and former president Bill Clinton lighting candles with children at the White House. Clinton wished “everyone celebrating” a happy Hanukkah.
Diplomatic ties were also strengthened when Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged holiday greetings as both of their populations are celebrating festivals of light, Hanukkah and Diwali.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted “Chag Hanukkah Sameach to the people of Israel. The festivals of Hanukkah and Diwali depict yet another cultural affinity shared by India and Israel, celebrating light and the victory of good over evil. @netanyahu.”
In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, “May #Hanukkah and Diwali shed their lights on the Peoples of India and Israel and strengthen even further our incredible friendship. Thank you my friend @narendramodi!”
Former Beatles member Paul McCartney tweeted, "Happy Hanukkah to ye! - Paul." Actress Alyssa Milano replied, "I love you. That’s all. That’s the tweet."
Not all Hanukkah messages posted online were from political leaders, celebrities and professionals also tweeted in celebration of the holiday. Two messages in particular went viral, one from The Late Late Show host James Corden and another from NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.
While Adam Sandler is most commonly associated with modern Hanukkah songs, this holiday season Cordon lit up the Internet with a tune of his own. He joined forces with Jewish celebrities Zach Braff, Charlie Puth, Josh Peck and Christopher Mintz-Plasse to make a parody band called Boyz II Menorah. The band, whose name references R&B group Boyz II Men, produced a new Hanukkah-themed song entitled “A Week and a Day.”
Meir, who is currently on the International Space Station, tweeted a photo of herself wearing socks with menorahs and Stars of David with the Earth below her. She tweeted, “Happy Hanukkah to all those who celebrate it on Earth!”