Anti-Semitism is a word that many Westerners get sick of hearing from Jews and Israelis. Many people see it as something of the past and do not understand at all why people continue to worry themselves with it.
It is very true that the Jewish people are often overly paranoid or sensitive, even in situations where this is perhaps not warranted. This should come as no surprise as God predicted this would be the result of not following His covenant. In Leviticus 26:36-37, there is a heavy price given for abandoning the Covenant that the Jewish people were to adhere to. God said, “…for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the land of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword even though no one is pursuing them…” So, first of all, God said that the Jewish people would be paranoid when they are not following Him. He put His Covenant on them in order that they put their trust in Him.
However, the above does not negate the fact that each generation has seen various forms of anti-Semitism, from the crusades to the pogroms in Russia, Europe and the Middle East, to the Holocaust in Germany. Even the United States had institutionalized discrimination against Jews as recently as the late 1970’s! Jews could not be members of community country clubs or pools and were regularly harassed by the Ku Klux Klan and the police. Just this past week, a report by the US State Department even highlighted the recent growth in anti-Semitism around the globe, especially manifested as “anti-Zionism.”
These events also lend credence to the fear that many Jewish people have and are fairly solid proof that anti-Semitism chooses to express itself in new and unique ways in each generation. Such unique expressions cause each generation to look at the older generation and claim they are doing nothing similar to what was done in the past. They are more “progressive” and not “racist,” just trying to make the world a better place. And so the anti-Semitism of today has a very different lingo and very different look than that of the past. If you are looking for Nazi skinheads or crazy fascists, you may find a few, but they are not the face of the more popular, widespread anti-Semitism.
The new anti-Semitism is actually quite “trendy” and is spouted by those who are apparently most politically correct and most cultured. It includes the young, hip university students who are fighting for world peace and justice. It includes the artists and musicians who are looking for a cause to take up and do not recognize why they are drawn to critique Israel rather than Sudan or China or other nations with horrible human rights records. It consists of the wealthy “liberal elites” who are very balanced and rational on every subject, except when it comes to Israel.
These new anti-Semites would actually say they are just critical of the state of Israel. This could be accepted, perhaps, except that it does not line up with reality. When Israelis are killed in a bus bombing in Bulgaria, the BBC reports it as an “accident” and only says that Israel “claims” it to be a terrorist attack. Also, when Israelis request that 11 murdered Olympic athletes be honored in the Olympics for one minute, they are told that honoring the dead is not appropriate for the Olympic Ceremony. However, the same Olympic Ceremony then held a several minutes long tribute to British terror victims who had no connection to the Olympics. Apparently, it is only not appropriate to honor “Israeli” dead, as that is too controversial, despite the fact that none of these victims were part of the government or were political. In addition, when rockets continually fall on Southern Israel (over 400 rockets just in 2012), terrorizing civilians, not combatants, these same trendy activists say nothing and then speak up quickly when Israel responds in any way. Most horrifically, when a couple and their three young children, including an infant, are massacred in their beds by terrorists, the BBC said it was “too busy” to publish the story and many pro-Palestinian activists said the murder was justified due to Israel’s “occupation.”
These anti-Semites do not see the hypocrisy in their actions, as they are blinded, similar to how much of Europe was blinded before the Holocaust. Before the Holocaust, people believed that such sentiment was just because Europe desired peace and progress.
The truth is, Israel is far from perfect and often acts in ungodly and unjust ways, as do many other nations. However, the sentiment that every Israeli or every Jew should be disdained because of any connection to Israel is like believing that each Chinese person should be discriminated against because of their nation’s human rights issues. If people disdained a Chinese person who wanted to see China made into a better place and to work towards this, most progressives would cry “racism” very quickly. So, why is it that Israelis and Jews around the world are scorned so immensely in comparison to other imperfect nationalities? The only response is that it is not rational, but rather there is a spiritual root.
God warns that most, or possibly all, nations will turn against Israel in the end (Zechariah 12; Zechariah 14). He also warns that those nations that do turn against Israel will be harshly judged and will be cursed (Genesis 12:2-3; Joel 3:1-3). However, He also makes it clear that His restoration of Israel will not be done because Israel is just or good, but rather, in spite of the fact that they are just as unjust as many of the nations. He will restore them for His own glory to be shown to the rest of the world (Ezekiel 36:22-23). Though they have actually “profaned” His name to the nations, God will restore them to show not just Israel, but also the nations, that He truly is a God who keeps His promises! This actually makes complete sense if we believe in God’s undeserved grace. We do not earn salvation or deserve it, but are given it by a God who longs to see us restored, even with all our uncleanness. So, it will be the same for Israel, who will both be shocked by God’s goodness and disgusted with her own acts.
Hence, if we believe in such grace and believe that God keeps His promises, then there is no room to believe in the Church versions of anti-Semitism, such as “replacement theology” or Christianized anti-Zionism. If we do not have to earn such salvation and we hope to see many unbelievers restored to Him, despite their current sinful lifestyle, so we can also believe that God will restore unbelieving Israel, just as He promised and despite their current state. And for those who care also about the Arabs, being for Israel’s restoration does not negate this. In fact, Israel’s restoration will bring many others to God, as He says in the previously mentioned verses in Ezekiel. He will restore Israel, so that His glory can be shown to the other nations, which would include the Arab world, who will be shocked when Israel reaches out in love rather than reacts out of fear towards them. His ultimate plan is for Israel to be an example that will show His glory to all of mankind!
To end, I will tell a story of a woman in England who repeatedly tried to get her pastor to understand the place of Israel. He continually made remarks about Jews and Israelis and was very annoyed at those Christians who do support Israel. So one day, she told him that she needed some advice. She said, “I know this family who had one biological child and then adopted another child. The biological child ended up rebelling and leaving the home as a teenager, choosing to forsake his own parents and even speaking against them and using their money. The adopted child continued to live at peace with the parents and was mostly well behaved. The family continued to keep a photo of the biological child on the wall, alongside that of the adopted child, and they continued to pray that he would return. Finally, this got on the adopted child’s nerves. He told them that they should take the photo down and forget the biological child, as he was evil and clearly not returning. The adopted son said that he wanted everything that they kept aside for the biological child-his room and his furniture and his belongings-as he deserved these things and the parents should never receive the older back after all he had done against them.”
Interestingly, in response, this same pastor condemned the adopted son, saying he should be grateful that he was raised by such wonderful parents and should also be praying for his brother to return rather than waiting for a chance to take his belongings and pronounce him as forsaken. When the woman revealed to this pastor that the adopted son was the Church and the biological son was Israel, the pastor was brought to tears and soon after began a ministry for the Jews, which later helped many Jews and Holocaust survivors immigrate to Israel.
The Church must be careful not to be the adopted son, ready to just replace the Jewish people in God’s plan and desiring that God not keep His promises. Furthermore, the Church must be careful not to buy into the trendy, worldly version of anti-Semitism that has become so popular but rather offer a new vision of worldwide justice, one that includes God’s plan for Israel as a central part of showing God’s glory and bringing justice to the nations.
Please pray that:
- The Church will not buy into the world’s view of Israel but rather believe in God’s plan of salvation for the world through Israel’s acceptance of her Messiah
- The world will begin to recognize the hypocrisy of their actions and their double-standard towards Israel and the Jewish people
- Israelis and Jews will live less in fear and not react out of paranoia but instead would come to know the security and love of their Messiah
- Israel will come to know their Messiah and that this would, in turn, also bring God’s light and salvation to the region, similar to what is mentioned in Isaiah 19
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