Man’s inhumanity toward man began almost at the dawn of recorded history and hatred for the Jews is just as ancient. The Egyptian pharaoh and his people became markedly anti-Semitic based on fear and not much has changed.
The past two thousand years have seen vicious and brutal physical attacks on Jews the world over. In Europe, anti-Semitism is particularly virulent and historically has often been instigated by Christians who believed they were serving God by punishing the Jews.
Hitler deeply believed the Jews were an inferior race. While religion played a part in the rise of Nazi Germany it was not the lone driving force. The quest for power and the creation of a “superior race” through eugenics ultimately led to the Holocaust whereby six million people, mostly Jews, were tortured and murdered. Whole families were exterminated. Church doctrine created fertile ground for anti-Semitism to grow largely through the false assertion that all the blessings from G-d for Israel were transferred to the church. In short, the church taught that Christians replaced the Jews as G-d’s chosen people; a concept still taught today and it’s called Replacement Theology.
But many Bible believers who did not follow mainline church leaders felt otherwise. When Israel was reborn as a nation-state in 1948 as foretold in the Bible in Isaiah 66:7-8, Replacement Theology was turned on its head. Clearly G-d was not through with Israel or His people!
After World War II there were fewer episodes of organized pogroms against the Jews however Jew-hatred persisted and, sadly, is prevalent today. The horrors of the Holocaust made it apparent that the Jews needed a land of their own. For millennial Israel has been a haven for Jews. Their connection to the land of Israel has been unbroken even when the majority of the Jews were dispersed throughout the nations following the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E.
In 1948 the Jewish people reestablished the Jewish state of Israel on their ancestral homeland assisted and blessed by the United Nations and certain governments around the world. Why Israel? For one a central part of the Jewish faith has always been an expressed desire to return to their ancient homeland. Another reason is that Theodor Herzl and others began a campaign for Jews to return to their ancient homeland in the late 19th century because of anti-Semitism. This was while the Ottoman Empire had authority over the land. Eliezer Ben Yehuda played a very large part in Jewish Aliyah (immigration to Palestine as the land was then called) and revived the Hebrew language to be used once again for a national language.
Of course there were many who opposed Jewish Zionist aspirations based on anti-Semitic sentiments. In 1947 the United Nations voted to partition the land into two states; one Jewish and one Arab. Even though the land allotted for Israel was largely desert and swamp, the Jews immediately accepted the plan but the Arabs flatly rejected it. War ensued with five Arab armies invading tiny Israel which had barely taken its first breath as a new state. Even so, the fledgling state of Israel prevailed against the full force of Arab aggression and sent them running back to the U.N. asking for protection from Israel.
The displaced Arabs who rejected the U.N. partition plan are now calling themselves Palestinians. They have become masters at public relations and media manipulation and today are claiming they want land lost to Israel during the various wars to be returned to them even though it is land which they declined to accept when originally offered in 1948. The Palestinians seem to be winning the psychological war of world empathy so much so that much of the world no longer recognizes historical and current facts and is reticent to label attacks by Palestinian extremists as acts of terror against Israel and her people.
As anti-Semitism around the world rises, emotional support for Israel is declining. Open hatred for the Jews is today expressed in many forms both overt and covert. Overtly, Jewish or Israeli speakers invited to address students on college and university campuses are often treated disrespectfully as their words are drowned out by hissing crowds who are often paid by Muslim student organizations. On the streets ordinary Jewish citizens are openly attacked. While especially prevalent in Europe, it is also happening in the United States. Synagogues, Jewish places of worship, have been burned and vandalized and Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated. Even in “small town, USA,” police are hired to stand guard around synagogues while worship is taking place. Jews in certain parts of Europe, to include London, are being warned to refrain from wearing jewelry, kippahs or other outward signs or clothing marking them as Jews as this marks them as targets.
Thankfully, many states in the U.S. have adopted legislation making acts of anti-Semitism punishable as hate crimes. The U.S. State Department defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” While outward acts of anti-Semitism are easily recognizable, anti-Semitism also manifests in more subtle ways designed to have a negative impact on Israeli and Jewish businesses. A more subtle and therefore covert form of anti-Semitism is the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement which has taken root around the world. Those who engage in BDS are attempting to keep Israeli products away from consumers and Israeli artists from earning a living as actors, musicians, painters and so on. Ironically, such boycotts are actually backfiring as a great percentage of the Palestinian people are gainfully employed by Jewish and Israeli businesses.
The only way to combat anti-Semitism is to know the facts. To be anti-Semitic is to be anti-Israel and to be anti-Israel is to be anti-G-d; the G-d of the Bible who loves Israel and His special chosen people who happen to be the Jews. I don’t know about you but in the fight of good versus evil, I prefer to stand squarely on the side of good with the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post