- 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?

Kari McDowell

We as Christians are implicated in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of the sins of our spiritual ancestors who have claimed the name of Christ and yet oppressed and mistreated the Jews. Rather than embracing the Jews as fellow heirs of the Hebraic tradition (or at the very least, fellow human beings), Christians have condemned the Jews, often viewing them as less than human and unworthy of God’s love or inclusion in Christian society. To be able to acknowledge this, honestly and openly, is a pivotal aspect of Jewish-Christian relations and also the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First, we should expect that Jews may be wary of Christians (particularly missionaries) and their help and support in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of that fraught history and may take awhile to trust us. Honestly acknowledging Christian antisemitism in the past, perhaps even apologizing for it, may go a long way in building bridges. Second, we need to be very careful not to look at Israelis or Palestinians as projects or numbers, or ever to give that impression, but to view them as fellow human beings created in the image of God that He desperately loves. Third, we are responsible as Christians to engage with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because the Jews are spiritually tied to us, but also because our spiritual ancestors made it necessary for them to leave the nations and return to the land, partially causing the conflict, because of the horrific antisemitism they faced (particularly in Europe).