- Pathfinder

Reply To: Why is it important for Christians to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present?

Hans Vogel

I think the basic problem of the conflict is the attitude of superiority. To think we are better and superior is deeply rooted in western culture, since the Greeks and Romans (Greeks versus Barbarians). We do not see this distinctive arrogance in the Bible, nor in the cultures of the ancient Near East, but in certain Greek thinking. This superiority penetrated Christian thinking and created replacement theology, in Christianity and also in Islam, with all the sad consequences in relation to the Jews.

The superiority of western powers over oriental cultures has destroyed much trust in the Middle East. Yes, we need discernment when dealing with Israeli Jews, and with Arabs.

To what extent was Zionism also influenced by European superiority? In Israel, the Askenazi (European) Jews deny it, but the Sephardic / Mizrahi (Oriental) Jews – about 50% of the population -, feel disadvantaged. Until now, all of Israel’s prime ministers and presidents have been of Askenazi descent. The Sephardic Jews knew Arabic and understood the Arabic culture. Unfortunately, these skills were little used when the Jews lived together with the Arabic population and its neighbors.