- 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?

Erik Nilsen

The history of Christian antisemitism is important to consider when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because, historically, European Christians have rejected peaceful coexistence with the Jewish diaspora, regardless of how assimilated the Jews were to European society. Even upon converting to Christianity, ethnic Jews were viewed with suspicion and disdain, as the so-called “Old Christians” viewed conversos in post-Reconquista Spain.

However, Professor Nicholson’s statements implicating Christians as categorically responsible for the antisemitism of previous generations reeks of the same rhetoric as the generational attribution of blood-guilt to the Jewish people for the Crucifixion.

“The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

Furthermore, while it is true that Jews and Christians share more in common morally, philosophically, and religiously than with Muslims, non-Messianic Jews (the vast majority) reject Jesus’s deity and messiahship, and historically considered him to be an arch-heretic. Naturally, Muslims also reject the deity of Christ. While Christians absolutely must respect the dignity and right to self-determination of Jews by virtue of their humanity and being made in the image of God, I remain unconvinced that Christians should grant them special favor on the grounds of religious fraternity, seeing as both sides deny Christ as God.