The Blight of Rising Antisemitism
The existence of the Jewish people throughout history is an account of constant adverse threats and persecution. In antisemitic plots that are as old as Pharaoh and Haman, Israel has repeatedly been a target among those who hate both the people and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
To be “chosen” by God has become synonymous with being hated by much of the world.
Over 80 years ago, Hitler’s killing machine was put into operation, in a maddened rage to destroy any vestige of the Hebrews from the earth. Though many onlookers were silent, a remnant of non-Jewish voices arose to Israel’s defense – partnering with the Almighty to undergird the rebirth of the State of Israel, just a few years after the demise of Hitler’s coalition in World War II.
Despite irrational voices that try to deny the presence of the Holocaust in the record of world history, there is still agreement from the vast majority of people today that this dark chapter in Europe was a contemptibly evil attempt to dehumanize an entire race of people.
But somehow, in the cyclical way that history often repeats itself, we are facing now the resurgence of antisemitism at a level that is shocking after the unspeakable horrors of less than a century ago.
The streets of Berlin and Krakow in the 1930’s and 40’s became war zones where a Jew walked only under threat of his or her life. Now, the streets of cities like London, New York, and San Francisco have become hotbeds for antisemitism to a degree that we have never seen before in the West.
We must ask ourselves, is this really happening? If we are honest, it is difficult to deny when we hear report after report of these incidents, even in Western nations that at one time were considered a relatively safe haven for Jews.
But have we become truly awakened to what is taking place on our watch?
Like a disease, antisemitism festers and grows where it is not treated and eliminated. In Germany in 1933, at the outset of Hitler’s tenure as Chancellor, few could have guessed the extent to which the cancerous policies regarding the Jews would metastasize when not confronted.
Now, in the 21st century, it may be easy to believe that murderous edicts towards the Jews could never take place again like they did in Nazi Germany. But if that thought comes to your mind, think again.
In 2022, according to the report by the Anti-Defamation League, there was a 36% increase of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. when compared to 2021. And it does not show any signs of stopping.
The buzzword of ‘tolerance’ in our day is anything but tolerant towards Jews (and Christians). ‘Tolerance’ has become a misnomer for the militant dismantling, or canceling, of any culture that is centered in a biblical worldview. The Jews, who for thousands of years have lived by the Torah – and also by extension Christians, who share the same foundations as the Jews – have become a target for those who want to create their own anti-God ‘religion’.
Because it is, ironically, often sympathetic to the overtures of the radical Islamic agenda, the deconstructing of our Judeo-Christian heritage takes on a whole new level of danger. It is in this social context that Jews are not safe to dine in the upscale Beverly Grove area of Los Angeles without being attacked; Jews in Pittsburgh are not safe to celebrate a bris ceremony at their synagogue on Shabbat; and Jews attending certain university lectures in San Francisco now do so under threats of violence.
What is the answer to this rise of antisemitic violence?
One of the most powerful responses to these threats against the Jewish community takes place when non-Jews speak out against the dangers of antisemitism. When antisemitic attacks take place in our nation, Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League are expected to issue a response because they represent their own Jewish community. But when pastors and other non-Jewish leaders unite with the Jewish community to combat these issues, the effectiveness is multiplied.
As Christians in particular are awakened to the volatile rise of antisemitism, our shared heritage with the Jewish people leads us to be not only an advocate on their behalf but also an extension of the Jews’ spiritual family. Our connection to the Jewish community is a connection of spiritual DNA, which speaks to the core of who we are.
When Christians speak out for the Jews, we speak out on behalf of our spiritual brothers and sisters.
In the fight against antisemitism, one of our greatest weapons is the truth of the Word of God. Sadly, throughout much of church history, those who have named the name of Christ have often misused the words of scripture to justify animosity towards the Jewish people.
We would do well as Gentiles to remember the exhortation of Paul the apostle to us as the “wild olive tree” grafted into the root of Israel: “…remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you” (Romans 11:18).
In this grave and challenging hour, now is the time more than ever to lift our voices in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. The time has come to stand side by side with our arms locked together, forming an unbreakable bond that will only become stronger in times of trial.
As watchmen on the wall, this can become our finest hour. May we remember that the God who connected us to His covenant with Israel is now seeking those who will partner with Him – to declare and defend the eternal truth of that covenant throughout the nations of the earth.