- 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?

Miriam Cavanaugh

Because, as St. Pope John Paul II once put it, the Jews are the big brothers of us Christians in the history of the world. Our fate is intrinsically connected to them, God chose and prepared the Jewish to welcome the Messiah in their midst.
Many of us connect the word antisemitism to the German Reich under the Nazi-Regime. It is worth remembering people, that antisemitism is as old as Christianity itself, and there were multiple progroms throughout history. Zionism itself was founded as a response to the hatred that Jews were met with by Christians, specifically in Europe.
It was mentioned in the class, that Theodore Herzl, often seen as the founder of political Zionism, was inspired to take an active step towards giving the Jewish people a country and home on their own, because of the famous Dreyfus-affair in France, where a jewish general of the french army was unjustly condemned for high treason, and executed. Even though this affair led to a big public outcry in France, one thinks of Émile Zola’s “J’accuse”, it revealed to Theodore Herzl, that the Jewish would never be fully accepted and welcomed in Europe.
It is thus possible to say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was, among other reasons like the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the double-game of the British as seen in the Balfour-Declaration and to some extend through the reluctance of most nations to take in Jewish refugees 1938, created under the toxic influence of century-old Christian antisemitism. We, as Christians, and me as a German Christian have thus a share in the conflict and a special responsibility to act as a peacemaker.