Adapted from the work of David R. Parsons, ICEJ Vice President and Senior Spokesman
One of the sad outcomes of history is that antisemitism has not just survived in the post-Holocaust era, it has thrived. One would have thought that when the depravities of the Nazi genocide against the Jews of Europe were exposed after World War II, such vile hatred would have disappeared. Alas, it has come back in waves and without any shame.
It also is tragic Theodor Herzl’s hope that the rebirth of a Jewish state would be a cure for antisemitism has failed to materialise. In fact, the restored nation of Israel has become a lightning rod for antisemites worldwide, and a pretext for them to demonise and attack Jews everywhere.
With every escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict here in the Land, Jews abroad have had to brace for the inevitable hate-filled protests and venomous attacks in social media and even on their persons.
While rockets rain down on Israel from Gaza, Jews wearing kippahs are openly assaulted on the streets of American cities. Corporations came under renewed pressure from their own employees to divest from anything Israel. And equally worrisome, Jews were widely pilloried on the Internet.
One of the most odious sources of unrestrained and unchallenged antisemitism today is Palestinian textbooks. A study commissioned by the Europe Union recently concluded that books and teachers’ manuals used in Palestinian schools, including those run by the United Nations, are filled with anti-Israel incitement and denigration of Jews, thereby seriously undermining efforts for a ‘two-state solution.’ When the report was finally released after being kept under wraps for months, the mainstream media has ignored the story, largely because it does not fit their narrative of the Palestinians as the eternally innocent victims of Israeli aggression.
So, what did the EU study find in those textbooks? That the Palestinian curriculum repeatedly encourages and glorifies violence against Israelis and Jews, who are depicted as inherently evil and deceptive. One textbook reminds students of an Islamic hadith (tradition) which maintains that treacherous Jews made numerous attempts to murder the prophet Muhammad. Another schoolbook presents Muhammad’s aunt, who clubbed a Jew to death, as a model of strength and ‘resistance’ for Palestinian women to emulate today.
Scholars have tried to understand why antisemitism remains so persistent and rampant in our day, and although they can identify and explain it to a degree, it still remains a mystery. Speaking at the gates of Auschwitz last year, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a Holocaust survivor and chairman of Yad Vashem, described antisemitism as a “spiritual madness.”
This strikes at the core of the problem regarding this ancient and irrational hatred. Antisemitism is indeed a spirit, and we all have a choice to either agree with it or not.
Many Christians are rightly sensing an urgency and need to stand up and combat the pandemic of antisemitism in our day, before things get totally out of hand. But we must realize that we cannot cure every antisemite from this malady. We can, however, educate and enlighten those coming under its creeping influence in hopes they can be delivered before it’s too late for them.
The spirit of antisemitism seeks to make Jews feel isolated and afraid. But this gives us the opportunity to come along side and make them feel appreciated and surrounded by a God-given love. And that is a great victory over antisemitism.
Finally, we must remember that to hate the Jews is to curse oneself. In waging this spiritual battle, it is important to consider that even while we are being blessed for blessing Israel, there is a flip side to the equation – namely, those who curse the Jews end up cursed themselves and thereby separated from God. Ever since God declared His divine election over Israel for the purpose of world redemption, the demonic realm has targeted the Jews for destruction. And these dark forces know that if they can turn someone into a Jew-hater, it alienates that person from God. People need to know that – and to be warned and delivered from the scourge of antisemitism for their own sake and sanity.
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David Parsons is an author, attorney, journalist, and ordained minister who serves as Vice President and senior spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/