On the first night of Hanukkah this year, Jewish singer Pink reposted a gorgeous video of her and her daughter Willow singing the Hanukkah blessings, as well as a picture of her menorah with the first candle lit.
“Happy Chanukah to all those who celebrate. May there be light in darkness always. May there be peace in our hearts, our homes, and in the world,” she wrote.
She got many adoring comments from Jewish followers, like Israeli singer Shiri Maimon and Jewish Grammy-winner Joanie Leeds, but as unfortunately expected, she also got quite a few comments conflating the current situation in Israel and Palestine with the mere celebration of a Jewish holiday.
“Really tone deaf in the currently climate. But enjoy your holidays,” one user, whose profile image features a Palestinian flag, commented.
Pink, who is known for sometimes taking on trolls, responded scathingly, “tone deaf to be a Jew? Or alive? [I’m] confused.”
— Sarah Mango ✡️ (@Sarahmango23) December 8, 2023
“Absolutely nothing wrong with being Jewish or being alive, there is something wrong with having no empathy towards an ongoing massacre happening and not having the grace to celebrate in private while the world is in pain,” another user commented in response to Pink’s response. But the singer refused to stay silent on that comment, too.
“I’m not clear on how being Jewish equates with having no empathy. I’m not sure what Chanukah has to do with anything other than Chanukah. You’re not making sense to me,” she wrote.
Pink is right. While some people have chosen to explicitly use the holiday’s story of a military revolt to talk about current politics — from those who lit a menorah for ceasefire, to those who light one in honor of Israel — simply celebrating the holiday and writing about light is not making a political statement one way or another.
In fact, it is antisemitic to conflate posts of Jewish people simply being Jewish or just living in the world with the actions of Israel. That’s also true to anyone who believes that being overtly Jewish right now is “in poor taste.”
Pink’s comment is an important reminder that no matter our politics, we shouldn’t have to apologize for being Jewish, celebrating our holidays and practicing our traditions. Not now, and not ever.