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? - Pathfinder

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?

Topic

Viewing 34 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #1445
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster
    • #2601
      Ian O’Hagan
      Participant

      To some, Christian support of Israel might be seen as disingenuous, seeing as how it has only been in the last 60 years that Christian understanding and perception of Judaism has evolved. Conversely, any support or sympathy for the Palestinian people’s plight can be seen as being an acceptance of antisemitic beliefs. As Christians, however, we are called to take pity on the sufferings of all peoples, and to alleviate them as best we can. It is important to keep in mind that support for both Israelis and Palestinians is not an oxymoron, but rather a radical living out of the Christian message. Furthermore, it is important for Christians to identify and to call out those individuals and organizations who seek to exploit the mistakes of the past and the false dichotomy of current conflicts to in order to benefit their personal agendas.

      • #2618
        Jordan Karausky
        Participant

        It is important to recognize, as you have, that one can be in favor of both Palestinian and Israeli interests without contradiction. One of the most frustrating things about this conflict is how polarizing it has become. The nuance required to speak with import on the conflict is often perceived as vacillation rather than a genuine recognition of its complications. But as Christians we are called to be peacemakers, and one hopes that recognizing the evolution of the conflict and acknowledging the egregious faults of Christians in the past can help diffuse some of this tension. Thanks for the comment Ian!

      • #2662
        Mitchell Schwab
        Participant

        Ian,

        I agree wholeheartedly. A quote comes to mind: “It is my conviction that the world needs, as it needs no other thing, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the people of the world want what the gospel will give, but they do not realize it. They want the anchor which the gospel provides, which gives them the answers to the problems that face them; that brings them a feeling of security and a feeling of inner peace. The gospel is the only answer to the problems of the world, my brethren and sisters. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family.” US Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Benson.

        This may seem like a cop-out for just placing a quote for my response, but I have no better words. If there is conflict in the world, only Christ and his gospel can unite and heal the discord. Our attempt to cause harm or bring forth justice will not further the gospel message, it only hinders our own progression on the path to salvation.

      • #2776
        Christian Brehmer
        Participant

        Well said Ian. I agree. I have had similar conversations where there is confusion on the genuineness of how one can be pro-Israel & Palestine. Sometimes looking for some ulterior motive. I’m reminded of the verses in Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

      • #3354
        Lillian Gillespie
        Participant

        Ian, what a good point. I am grateful that accepting and understanding Jewish traditions was never undermined by my Christian faith. Your point about a false dichotomy and exploitation are so astute. I think the best that we can do as we learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is move forward from the legacy of Christian hatred towards Jews by celebrating essential (!) Jewish contributions to our faith and treating all sides in the conflict as Christ would have.

        For me personally, it is sometimes hard to empathize with a Palestinian desire for an independent state when I see news reports that terrorist groups intentionally use schools, hospitals, etc to operate. I question whether they would be the ones in power if Israel were to make more concessions. But, I was roommates with a girl whose mother fled Palestine, and I saw her hatred of Israel. I wanted to treat her with love and also understand the conflict through her experience. I think that experience made me realize how much more complicated all of this is, and the positive role that a Christian worldview can play in understanding and attempting to bridge the divide.

    • #2619
      Jordan Karausky
      Participant

      When regarding the Arab-Israel conflict it is common to believe that being a Christian comfortably places one on the side of the angels. But historically, Christians have been unconscionably comfortable with the sins of omission and commission against our Jewish brothers and sisters. It is unsettling to think how easily those same rationalizations, funded by political fervor or misplaced outrage, could reemerge within western Christianity. This is especially relevant given the current volatility in America’s political discourse. Cries for social justice are quickly turned into scapegoating, and if our history has proven anything, it is that the Jewish people are often the first scapegoats.

      Because this is the case, Christians who are informed ought to be prepared to affirm our checkered past while recognizing the complexities of the current conflict. Both Israel and their Palestinian neighbors have a right to exist, but in a conflict which is deeply motivated by the pursuit of God’s land, we do well to remember that, in the end, it is the peacemakers who will be called children of God.

      • #2768
        Samuel Vandeputte
        Participant

        Hey Jordan,

        Thanks for your contribution. I like how you put the hatred against the Jewish people within today’s conflict into the self-reflective perspective that not only did the same happen in the West, but it could very well happen again. As a matter of fact: it may be happening as we speak.

        I also appreciate your remarks regarding the humility we should have in today’s conflict. It does make me wonder: to what degree do you think we can be peacemakers given our checkered past? Wouldn’t it be better for Christians not to be involved and throw fuel on the fire?

    • #2620
      Janae Robinson
      Participant

      It is important for Christians to keep the history of antisemitism in mind for a couple reasons. First, as I learned on my trip to Israel with Passages, Jews often do not view the average American Christian as any different from a Crusader or Old European Anti-Semitic Christian that was common before World War II. I was surprised to learn how little I knew of Christian history on my trip when my tour guide explained this to me as we visited Christian sites. As an American raised in a non-denominational church, the only church history I identified with was the 70 years my church has existed. Now, I know that all of Christian history is mine too. Second, Christianity as a whole had a large if not total part in creating the situation where Jews were no longer safe in Europe. To be a Christian means we have to own the good and the bad, even if we loudly condemn the bad and had no part in it. Third, Christianity has to destroy the idea that God has completely turned His back on the Jewish people and they have no place left in society. The Abrahamic covenant includes the Jews, yet this is largely ignored in my experience. Most of the Christians have spoken to that are at retired age or older reject the idea that Israel or the Jewish people should have any meaning to our Christianity. This has always confused me, because Jesus is Jewish and the Old Testament is the Hebrew Bible.

      • #2769
        Samuel Vandeputte
        Participant

        Hey Janae,

        Thanks for your thoughtful and honest reflections.

        I appreciated your first point – I can resonate with your sentiment when discovering the =often dark- history of Christianity in relationship to Judaism. Yet, we need to own it, all of it, as Christians. I love your insights on the inter-linkages between both faiths and it’s good to see that you are channeling this confusion into creative rather than negative energy.

        I do wonder to what degree you see the linkages between Christianity’s antisemitism and today’s Arab-Israeli conflict. Some would argue that, because of the lessons we learned from the Holocaust, we should stand up for the rights of Palestinians, who are being suppressed by the Israelis. What would you say to such an argument, rooted in Christian guilt towards its past in suppressing minorities more broadly?

      • #2848
        Christian Brehmer
        Participant

        Hi Janae, thanks for sharing and highlighting supersessionism. I could not help but wonder how the world would be different if we had Nostra Aetate before the twentieth century. Yes, the generation(s) that proceed us would often focus on what is different between our communities than what we share in common. David Novak suggests in his article: Suppersessionsm Hard and Soft, that Jews and Christians should instead focus on the dangers of secularism and envisions a Hebraic monotheism.

    • #2661
      Mitchell Schwab
      Participant

      This discussion reminds me of an interesting discussion I once had with a good friend of mine who is a Messianic Jew. He shared with me the difficulty of becoming the only to become a Christian in his family. He was met with anger, despair, and animosity as Christians were blamed for the holocaust in his family. That is what Christianity meant to his parents. Similarly, he found it difficult when speaking with fellow Christians about Judaism. Most of his Christian friends still blamed the Jews who are now living for being the root cause of Jesus’ death. All this said, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex as is, but many blame Christians for their unfortunate circumstances. Christian antisemitism may be a key reason for Ghandi’s quote: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

      We have a difficult past to overcome due to self-proclaimed Christians encouraging atrocities to the Jewish people. However, that is not who we are, and the current Jews are not the same Jews who crucified our Lord. Our response must be delicate and empathetic.

      • #2725
        Hannah Straub
        Participant

        Mitchell,

        Thanks for sharing your friend’s experience. I can’t imagine what it’s like to convert to Christianity and face the reactions of pain from your family. It also seems just as difficult to walk into a Christian community with a Jewish heritage.

        I think you are right that a response of empathy is essential. A Christ-like love of neighbor demands a response of love.
        I’ll be praying for your friend!

      • #2934
        Devin Humphreys
        Participant

        Mitchell, your reflection makes me think about the ways that simple, misleading syllogisms shape the rhetoric surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both of the ones you discuss in your reflection (assigning blame to Christians for the Holocaust or to Jews for killing Jesus) illustrate this point. But one of the things I’ve noticed as a general historical principle is that where the temptation exists to blame a faith tradition for a historical event, the on-the-ground reality is individual actors purporting to act in the name of faith instead acting in a manner antithetical to that faith – there was nothing remotely Christian about the Holocaust, and nothing remotely Jewish about putting Jesus to death.

      • #3018
        Cara Brown
        Participant

        Mitchell,
        I am glad you shared your friend’s story and the challenges he faced both with his Jewish parents and discussing his background with Christians. It is disheartening to hear, but all the more important to share. When I went to Israel with Passages, I was shocked to learn how deep the wound was (and continues to be) between Jews and Christians, originating with antisemitism espoused by many Christian leaders, including many from the Reformation who we highly praise in the larger Christian Church. Not only is it terribly sad to realize this history, but the tragedy continues in that the church seems to largely ignore this past to the detriment of our current relationships. For how can we “love our neighbors” in this conflict when Christians persecuted the great-grandfathers of the current generation and we neither discuss nor condemn that past? Perhaps if we do that more as a larger Church, we can flip the narrative.

    • #2680
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      In “Light of Hidden Candles”, Daniella Levy has asserted, “Our story is not only about exile and oppression and suffering. It is the story of thriving, of triumph, and of great faith. It is the story of a people that laughs in the face of deepest despair, that stubbornly clings to life and to joy even in the face of horror and death. We take our pain and turn it into poetry. We take our misfortune and transform it into opportunity.” With this being said, I believe that keeping the sad history makes Christians to remember the very nativity of the Jewish people and to unite with them in their sad history. Don’t forget, their sad history is every Christian’s history. Importantly, it is out of the sad history comes the healing story for every Christian. For me, Anti-Semitism is not only traced to Jewish-Palestinian conflict. It is traced far back in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, the issue of anti-semitism cannot and will never be abolished until Christ Jesus comes. However, as we respond to this conflict, it helps Christians to share in the very sad history of not only the Jewish people but in our own sufferings as far as our contextual reality is concerned. It also makes love, peace and joy to overshadow this anti-semitism syndrome!

    • #2724
      Hannah Straub
      Participant

      It’s easy for Western Christians to stand back and judge a bloody conflict halfway across the world, but it’s harder to acknowledge our own shadowy past in it. Learning about the history of Christian antisemitism has been eye-opening. From the harsh words of Protestant Reformer Martin Luther to the pogroms in Europe, Christians have historically been hostile to Jews.

      A fundamental misunderstanding of the Biblical text has led to real-life consequences. Christians have tortured and killed Jews. It’s a historical fact and violent acts by Christians still scar Jewish-Christian relations. Slurs of “Christ-killer” don’t just vanish. Their memories linger.

      When stepping into engaging with the Modern State of Israel and the Jewish people, it’s important for Christians to first examine and acknowledge their own violent past. Even if we weren’t the ones who directly committed antisemitic actions, we still inherit this troubled legacy. Without the history of Christian antisemitism, would there have been Jewish refugees in World War II? Christians must examine their collective past and take full responsibility before trying to “fix” someone else’s conflict.

      • #2734
        Shawrath Anthony
        Participant

        Hannah,

        I really appreciate you bringing to light the heinous acts committed by christians against our Jewish brothers and sisters. Thank you for holding us accountable. I believe accountability to be a stepping stone towards better jewish and christian relations and you don’t shy away from doing that in your post.

        I also like how you said “take full responsibility before trying to fix someone else’s conflict” reminds me of the verse in which Jesus said “remove the log in your own eye, before pointing to the log in your brothers eye”

        thank you for your post.

      • #2817
        Dominique Hoffman
        Participant

        Hi Hannah, I wrote about something similar in my post and completely agree. I think there is an ignorance amongst modern Christian, particularly Christian Zionist that there has always been an affinity between Jews and Christians when that is so far from the truth. When visiting Israel, I have often asked my tour guides why they are not open to being Christians, and every time they remind me of how Christians persecuted their people throughout history. Far before the Nazis and Eugenics, hatred for the Jews was perpetuated largely by the Christian community and theology such as Replacement theology. I agree that we should not lose sight of that and attempt to bridge the gap and reconcile with modern Jewish communities, largely through supporting their right to self-determine when the rest of the world has done and does little to protect and defend them.

      • #2823
        Nathan Alvarez
        Participant

        Hannah, you make a great point about the notion of “inheriting” problems. While Christians today did not commit the atrocities of the past, or while some Christians today may not be continuing this history of violence toward Jews, as the collective body of Christians, we ought to recognize the areas in which past wrongdoing has affected the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Especially when there exists a temptation to ignore this conflict as something distant to us, it’s all the more important to educate ourselves on the role our religion has had in this turbulent history.

    • #2733
      Shawrath Anthony
      Participant

      I believe that is important to keep the sad history of the Christian anti-semitism in mind when responding to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict because it is necessary to remember history so that evil aspects of it can never be repeated again. Also the Bible says “people perish for lack of Knowledge” Hosea 4:6.

      I believe that if we want to be ambassadors of peace and redemption then we need to understand where we are coming from, where we currently are and where we are going. I think it is really important for a hebraic leader to be firmly rooted in the truth and this means having full knowledge of the past. It is with this awareness of the past that we can move into the future with a distinct humility and fervent desire to see peace restored in the Middle East.

      Therefore, to avoid the same mistakes of the past and to stray away from committing similar mistakes, we need to be aware of Christian antisemitism.

      • #2789
        Ariel Fierro
        Participant

        Shawrath, I admire the scripture you placed in your argument to ultimately define how lack of knowledge creates a loss in people’s understanding. The history that has caused pain, suffering, and loss should never be repeated again, and by doing that, we must learn from the past of their mistakes, their reasonings, and understandings and change our own mindsets to not go on the same path towards destruction and hatred towards our Jewish brothers and sisters.

    • #2767
      Samuel Vandeputte
      Participant

      I think it is important for Christians to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the present Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it is crucial to an honest Christian approach to the conflict. In order to be able to contribute positively to the resolution of the conflict in any way, we need to start by acknowledging our sin. The long history of antisemitism stemming from the church has played a determinative role in Jewish history through pogroms, crusades, and the Holocaust. Perhaps even more important to the current realities of the conflict, it spurs us to be humble. In addition, it fosters an increased sense of duty to prevent future terrors against the Jewish people. As Christians who are truly repentant, we need to stand by the Jewish people against the hatred against it, both within the Near East and throughout the world. This is clearly reflected in the conflict through the antisemetic rhetoric as a driving factor of the behavior of Islamic states in the past and in the present.

      • #2788
        Ariel Fierro
        Participant

        Samuel, your view on how essential to keep the sad history acknowledged is astounding. “We need to start by acknowledging our sin” is a powerful statement. As Christians, knowing the “damage” we have caused amongst our Jewish brothers and sisters, we are entitled to create a loving pathway more than ever for them specifically. It is our duty to prevent any futuristic terrors against the Jewish people. This understanding of our history goes deeper than what we are taught in schools and within the church.

    • #2787
      Ariel Fierro
      Participant

      Christians need to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present to reveal the journey Christians have gone through and learn not to make those mistakes. Each religion, race, and culture has a history that has molded itself to where it is now.

      I was born within the church and had never heard of our history. I was taught that Christianity was brought from Europe to the Americas in school. Nothing more. Learning a fundamental and in-depth understanding of our Christianity, Zionism and Islam upbringings led to weeding Jewish individuals out of Europe and leaving them out to dry. Through this, it is important to know the foundation, the pain and the suffering and learn how the next generation of Christians can do better. How to truly meant “love thy neighbor” is not just another Christian, but those of different views.

      • #2816
        Dominique Hoffman
        Participant

        Hi Ariel! I appreciate you sharing, I agree that it is so important to learn about the Abrahamic religions and their history and how that should inform our worldviews and interactions between people of these three religions. I think the absence of Jewish history in European history books is a testament and evidence to the anti-Jewish ideas that were prevalent throughout the Middle Ages. Jews were easy to discriminate against because they were viewed as “the other,” with their own homogenous communities, distinct religion, language, and traditions often residing within their own neighborhoods within larger cities they were easy to target with racist slurs and ideas because they distinctly stood out from larger European cultures. We have a responsibility to love our neighbors, and educating ourselves is a good start.

      • #2822
        Nathan Alvarez
        Participant

        Ariel, that’s a great point you make about how Christians are educated about their own history. Oftentimes, I find myself and other Christians having poor or even incorrect understandings of our history. In my own experience, my education in this topic tried to justify wrongdoings. In other words, there seems to be a belief that the history of Christianity has to be perfect, and so perceived wrongdoings can always be explained. This doesn’t do anyone any good, especially as you mention, in interreligious dialogue.

      • #3007
        Deneisha Hollis
        Participant

        Hello Ariel,

        You put it beautifully, we must start practicing those values they teach us in our scriptures. Every religious text also talks about love and how we must be understanding of each other without losing our own beliefs. It is possible to coexist without having tragedies happening. There have been loss on the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian side but until people can understand their own history they won’t be able to grasp anyone else’s. It is possible for us to keep changing and still maintain our strong roots in our religions we need to learn from history and our past mistakes.

      • #3274
        Stevin Surajin
        Participant

        I especially agree with the concepts of “Love your neighbor” should be portrayed to other people of different views instead of just Christians. I do find it especially sad that sometimes as Christians, we can be selective with whom we share our love, and at the first signs of those who may differ/disagree with us, we can tend to cast cold indifference and ignore them at best, but at worst, we can tend to actively hate them as well.

    • #2798

      It important for Christians to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because remembering our history helps us understand why the Israelis and Palestinians are in the position that they are in today in the first place, and it also helps us learn from our mistakes so we can take responsibility for our actions. If it weren’t for our antisemitism, the Jews in Europe would not have been forced to leave their European homes and go back to their historical homeland. This also means that the Palestinians would not have had to deal with having to share land that they occupied for generations, in order to accommodate the Jews returning to their homeland. Ultimately, this conflict would not exist if it weren’t for our actions and we need to take responsibility for this. Jesus taught us to love one another and we failed to act in love towards our Jewish brothers and sisters. Today, the Jews and Arabs are suffering because of our bigotry and hatred, and this suffering has continued for generations. Therefore, we cannot wipe our hands clean and pretend like this conflict is not our problem but we instead need to work together with the Israelis and Palestinian to find a solution to this conflict that has already gone on for far too long.

    • #2815
      Dominique Hoffman
      Participant

      My background in International Affairs and getting my Masters with an emphasis on human rights had similar crossovers to this course. My favorite professor and mentor in college is a strong Christian woman, she always placed an emphasis on the plight of the Jewish people prior to the Holocaust. Anti-semitism has a long history in Europe. Dating back to important Catholic Church leaders like John Chrysostom who preached what would become known as Supersessionism/Replacement theology. The famed Reformation religious figure Martin Luther in his book “The Jews and their Lies” perpetuated hatred against Jews as “Christ killers,” encouraging pogroms against the Jews which would be carried out in a similar fashion by the Nazis centuries later. When the Nazis codified discrimination against the Jews in 1935 through a series of legislations such as the Nuremberg laws the world took note and largely did nothing. Even when the discrimination intensified, as cited in this lecture, in 1938 after the Nazis annexed Poland the Evian Conference did little to nothing to help the Jews. After the Holocaust the world vowed to “never forget”… and here we are, already forgotten. As a Christian I feel the responsibility to make sure the Christian community never forgets to protect and support the Jewish people, the long history of Christian anti-Semitism hurts my soul and is a stain on our collective past. Supporting Israel and a land for the Jewish people, a home to protect them from another Holocaust, is so important for the Jewish identity. To be pro-Israel is not anti-Palisitnian. Having been to Israel many times, I am convinced that the only way for peace in the region is through the plurality and tenants of our Christian faith. The only thing, is all sides must value these ideas and currently Palestine does not but I have faith that a new generation could turn the tides and as Christians it is also our role to pray for those leaders.

      • #3197
        Emmanuel Berrelleza
        Participant

        Hi Dominique, thank you for sharing your perspective. It was a great pleasure reading your response as someone who also studied International Affairs in college. Your specialization on human rights certainly came across as I read about your in-depth analysis on the plight of the Jewish people prior to the Holocaust. It is important to acknowledge Europe’s long history of antisemitism long before World War II, and your response captures the essence of these events fairly well.

    • #2821
      Nathan Alvarez
      Participant

      Christians must keep the history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it allows us to truly address the problem. In other words, if we ignore the history behind a present day problem, we will not only approach resolutions without sensitivity but also whatever “solutions” we come up with will not truly address the problem at hand. While there is a long and complicated history behind this conflict, remembering the history of Christian antisemitism will allow us Christians to rebuild bridges previously broken and work towards strong resolutions. Furthermore, it allows us to take responsibility for the role the Church has had in this conflict and work to overcome biases that still linger within Christianity today.

    • #2855
      Sarah Victor
      Participant

      I think it is important because of the humility required in how this subject is approached, realizing that the past includes many wrongs: faith twisted to hate and support outright racism. Christianity has often been used to as a banner under which wrong has been justified, and this is even more cruel because wrong is done in the name of God, while acting as if actually doing good by pillaging, killing, discriminating. The past teaches us we need to be careful what theology we believe and how we relate to others as an outflow, not allowing demagogues to dictate how live our lives and hold us under their sway. Also like all prejudice, antisemitism intellectually falls apart: considering the violence often tied to antisemitism, would Christians have killed Jesus if they knew he was Jewish?

      • #3071
        Donna Molloy
        Participant

        Your response to rebuild bridge is definitely something I am thinking on. As Christians we were raised to believe Jews killed Jesus and seen as the enemy but we also miss that the Old Testament needs to be viewed in a Jewish context to be completely understood. I believe American Christianity misses that and it leads to many denominations going died and losing the truth of the gospel. Also it over simplifies what we need to be doing as Christians.

    • #2883
      Audra Jones
      Participant

      By understanding the effects of past Christian antisemitism on the present Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Christians can better understand how to aid a peaceful solution between the two states. For much of the history of Christian antisemitism, there was a belief amongst Christians that they were holier than Jews and those of Jewish descent. Even though this belief has deteriorated in the present Christian community, the Western/Christian majority nations seem to assert some type of dominion or responsibility over the Jewish state of Israel, which pushes Christians into thinking they can solve the conflict. Historically, this “big brother” mentality was shown by the West’s land partitions of the Middle East at the end of WW1 and the Palestine partition by the United Nations in 1947. The mentality and the failure of these partitions to soothe the problem explains how important Christians’ awareness of antisemitic history is as Christians currently respond to the conflict. Christians’ response to the conflict should be to set aside their own sentiments on the issue and maintain a neutral role as a potential mediator in the conflict that allows the Israelis and the Palestinians to decide the best way for peace for both of them. In essence, history illuminates the role of Christians in assisting the development of the conflict because of their Christian beliefs and actions while highlighting how essential it is for any Christian involvement to be weighed carefully and without a sense of superiority over Israel or Palestine.

      • #2935
        Devin Humphreys
        Participant

        I appreciate the portion of your response where you unpack the issues with historical developments like the Sykes-Picot Agreement, but as far as the second portion of your response (discussing the Christian’s potential role as a mediator in this conflict), I would encourage you to dig a little deeper. Advocating a neutral role from Christians certainly sounds appealing, but I think the same historical conditions that led Christian antisemitism to run so rampant for centuries make it nearly impossible for the Christian’s role in this conflict to be fully neutral. Indeed, I think the only way for us truly not to assert the “sense of superiority” you discuss in your reflection is to remember what Prof. Nicholson said about owning our bias – we have as vested an interest in this conflict as those on the ground in the region, because for us as for them, Jerusalem is our center.

      • #3090
        Medgine Present
        Participant

        Great response Audra! I think it is a reoccurring theme in history (and even today) where we see groups of people claiming some sort of superiority over others. I think that is why the Bible, so clearly, warns us to not pretend to be “holier than thou.” These types of conflicts are a possible result. I like the point you made about Christians being mediators for conflicts. I think many Christians (myself included) tend to shy away from conflict but we are actually supposed to be peacemakers, not just in a spiritual sense but a natural one as well.

    • #2930
      Austin Pellizzer
      Participant

      Before this course, and with many years of Israeli education and advocacy under my belt, I honestly had no idea of the extent to which the antisemitism Christians played had actually shaped the re-establishment of a Jewish state. From the pogroms of Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries to the denial of Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in the face of World War Two, I believe we, as Christians, owe much to the Jewish communities not just in Israel but in the diaspora also. It is essential to acknowledge this sad history not just to see the concept of this conflict under the lens of an already persecuted minority but also to understand the skepticism many Jews and their communities might have when it comes to interfaith dialogue and community. When it comes to a conflict which is so very nuanced, many Jewish individuals feel that a community which has forced them into this situation are the last people who, as a whole, should be dictating and or counselling them on how to approach this conflict, and what they as a whole should feel.
      As Christians, we need to approach this conflict, not with just an open heart but also to see the realities that this issue goes far beyond Muslim-Jew, and hits at the core of centuries of persecution by their brothers and sisters who have treated them as anything but fair and in a Christian manner. With this fundamental first step, we might be able to open our minds and approach this conflict with a more nuanced and historical understanding that has been needed from day one.

      • #3397
        Alexandra Adair
        Participant

        Austin,

        Wow. I sincerely applaud your writing. You articulated everything I thought in the most intriguing way, I wish I had your skills! Yes, since we essentially forced the Jews into this situation we should be the last ones to counsel/dictate. Another thing to address and incorporate in our response is that just like there are many sects of Christianity, there are many “sects” of Judaism that believe different things about Christian/Jew/Muslim relations. These beliefs can be opposed to the beliefs of the general “Jew” we might first think of. So we must open our minds even more to approach this conflict on more of an individual basis rather than making it seem so large and lofty.

    • #2933
      Devin Humphreys
      Participant

      Writing as a Catholic, I know all too well the checkered history of antisemitism within the Church. On one hand, for years on Good Friday when the Church offered her Solemn Intercessions, the Jews were referred to as “perfidious” and blamed as a collective religious group for the death of Jesus, and only in 2011 was the form of the Solemn Intercession we offer on Good Friday finally amended to acknowledge the Jewish people as those “to whom the Lord our God spoke first.” On another hand, in 2019 I had the opportunity to visit the Museo della Memoria in Assisi and learn about the clandestine protection of Assisi’s Jewish population by the cooperation of the city’s mayor, a printmaker, and the diocesan bishop to provide the Jews of Assisi with false identity documents which ensured that every Jew in Assisi survived World War II. Thus, when thinking about the sweeping impact Christian antisemitism has had on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, my mind is drawn to the examples we have in history of how others forged another possible path, taking action to stand in solidarity instead of demonize a whole people. In turn, I think we are called to keep in mind how much more common the first of these paths has been in Christian history, so that we may lean towards the second, better path in the years to come.

      • #3089
        Medgine Present
        Participant

        Hello Devin! Thanks for sharing. I like that you shared a little bit about your personal history and knowledge. To expand further on your points, I think the importance of knowing history is that it helps us analyze problems and solutions. Likewise, when we do not know our history, we stay stuck in lies that may only further divide us. I also found it interesting that God spoke to the people of Israel first and in spite of the fact that he already knew that many would reject Jesus even till the point of death. This resonated with me a lot.

      • #3196
        Emmanuel Berrelleza
        Participant

        Hi Devin, thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this matter as a Catholic. As someone who was not raised an a Catholic church, I found it incredibly insightful to learn how you interpreted the prompt and how you further inserted your personal experiences grappling with these big questions. It was also fascinating to learn about the clandestine protection of Assisi’s Jewish population by the cooperation of the city’s mayor, so thank you for sharing that as well.

    • #2955
      Sean Moore
      Participant

      This is very important because, to many middle eastern cultures, history is everything. I have talked to Israeli-Jews before. They know of the many sad and horrible things that Christians did to Jews in Europe. For many centuries, it was the Muslims who were far more lenient on Jews then Christians. Now, our role has been reversed. A good example of this is about 10 years ago there was a massive terrorist bombing of a train in Madrid. It was committed by radical muslims. What I always found weird about it was the terrorists reasoning was the reconquering of Spain by the Christians. This happened nearly 600 years ago at this point. But in their culture, they never forgets defeats or wrongs. So, as weird as it was, that was still an issue they cared about. It is the same for many middle eastern jews. They appreciate Christians recent help, but are still very wary of us.

    • #2960
      Joshua Johnson
      Participant

      I find Christian anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism extremely sad. I was once attending a Lutheran church, and I was speaking with an elder I very much appreciated. I must have said something about Israel, because he became very defensive and made some anti-Semitic comment. I responded with some verses from Isaiah (including the ones we read here, Isaiah 60). He said those applied to the church, which had destroyed Israel.

      The problem with Christian anti-Semitism is it has theological underpinnings. There are three aspects of Christian anti-Semitism: the theological aspect (Christian anti-Judaism), the racial hatred aspect, and the physical violence or mistreatment aspect.

      Since the early centuries of Christianity, the religion has sought to differentiate itself from its matrixial mother, Judaism. It had to divide and conquer. By making itself different from, and therefore better than, Judaism, Christianity bolstered its fabricated yet inherent anti-Jewish sentiment. Since the claim that the Jews killed G-d (or G-do’s son) rang out, the logical imperative of the Church dominated any other discourse. Who can argue with the claim “you killed G-d,” when you have the imperial might of Rome and the Vatican behind you? Certainly not minority Jews, and any Jewish-sympathizing Christians would be disenfranchised.

      Sadly, until Christianity repents of its own inherent anti-Judaism (which includes the charge of deicide, and more importantly, the claim that the Church replaced Israel as G-do’s people, known as supercessionism, and relatedly, that G-d’s covenant with Israel and Abraham has been abolished {contrary to what Christ said in Matthew 5}), there can be no end to Christian anti-Semitism. A right reading of Romans 11 will show that the Church has been *added* (or grafted in, the language of Romans) to Israel, Christians are a part of the commonwealth of Israel. That is, Israel is composed of two parts: physical Jews and spiritual Christians. Bad theology must be repented before breakthrough can come.

      • #3078
        Christiana Gellert
        Participant

        Joshua,

        It is indeed very uncomfortable to confront anti Semitism among our fellow Christians and understand that older church members may have inherited bias from another era. It was not until 1965 that the Catholic Church for instance officially revoked its stance that the Jewish people carried a curse for killing Christ, and a little later John Paul II officially acknowledged the Catholic Church’s failings by Jews during the Holocaust.

    • #2978
      Emily McCray
      Participant

      The reason why it is important is that one needs to own responsibility in order to effectively see where and how they need to respond to this conflict. Consequently, if a Christian seeks to engage with Israeli and Palestinians who may need to accept hard facts about their pasts, who are we to be hypocritical and deny our own regarding antisemitism? In fact, I remember attending a conference in Washington D.C. a couple of years ago where I first learned the extent of Christian antisemitism. The event was held by an organization called Operation Exodus and they had speakers from Yad Vashem. It was there that I learned of the antisemitism in speech and writing by the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther. If this is not a wake-up call to all Christians to repent for this history and seek reconciliation with our spiritual brothers, I do not know what could.

      • #3006
        Deneisha Hollis
        Participant

        Hello Emily,

        I agree this a very deep and hurtful history of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish relationship. I think we have to be more involved in learning about each other to see we all have a past of resentment, anger, and hate. The differences in our religious practices should not deter us from seeing each other as human and people of God. Once we learn to love our neighbor and nurture our growth we will be able to have these open and honest conversations.

      • #3238
        Stephanie Vega
        Participant

        Indeed, when we search history we must own our troubled past. For instance, in the first century the Jewish religious leaders and authorities persecuted the early church (Christians), many christians died at the hands of Jews for believing in Jesus. The book of acts depicts the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:54). Moreover, after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, Christians returned the favor by persecuting Jews. In addition, many of the Protestant reformers were anti-Semitic, Martin Luther. Even more, the Spanish Inquisition brought terrible persecution against Jews and increased tension between the Jews and Christians. Ultimately, we must consider history in order to move forward and come to and understanding, we must set aside all resentment, conflict, anger, vengeance or retaliation. In considering the Jewish and Palestinian conflict, one must understand all aspects of the conflict, we cannot show favoritism or preference towards one side, we must remain neutral and be compassionate.

    • #2984
      Sarah Victor
      Participant

      Yes I agree that it is important that we take responsibility for the toxic and hateful ideologies that were perpetrated under the banner of Christianity. Thanks for sharing your perspective, as it speaks to how we should enter this space with humility in our approach to dialogue. I think the dimension of immersing ourselves with a knowledge of history is crucial to contributing with compassion to the conversation as well.

    • #3005
      Deneisha Hollis
      Participant

      It is very important as believers in Jesus we remember how we were persecuted in Roman times. There is no set answer to how to heal the division but with God, love, and understanding we can learn to live with others in harmony even if we believe in different things. Many Christians were being stoned and crucified therefore we can not allow the world to continue in anti-Semitic behaviors. We are called to teach the way Jesus would have us by being accepting of difference and allowing us to sit at tables with people that are different then us. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has many facets but we have to learn from each other and listen to both sides to get a better understanding of how we can move past previous judgments and beliefs. When I went to Israel I got to hear about the devastation from both sides and see that by finding a middle ground we can begin to heal from antisemitism.

    • #3070
      Donna Molloy
      Participant

      I think I’m America we over simplify a very complicated and lengthy issue that is well older then the US. The Middle East has been always been a source of contention and Christianity plays a serious role in that just as much as Muslims and Jews. Antisemitism unfortunately has a large history with Christianity and we like to think Islam is the only enemy to the Jews. But it’s false and many Christians have used the gospel and the death of Jesus to hate the Jews even today. But through this course it gives me a better appreciation of our combined history and understand of the Bible and how much the gospel draws from Judaism and we cannot split the two. On top of the now Arab Jew conflict over the holy land. The crusade history is just as much to feed into this conflict and it still can be referred to today for this.

    • #3088
      Medgine Present
      Participant

      I think it is important to know about the history of Christian antisemitism when responding to Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it can foster a better understanding of the present conflicts. By knowing this history, Christians may begin to learn about both sides and understand them better. We can also have more empathy. I think many people reject the dark truths of the groups they represent or are a part of because it may reflect poorly on their faith. However, there is no nation, no religion, and no ethnic group, that has a perfect or spotless record. By knowing these truths, we can humble ourselves and learn to move forward rather than stay living in the past. That also means that people must let go of resentment towards other religious or non-religious groups who have had negative feelings in the past about them. This can extend beyond the Christian antisemitism into race or ethnicity.

      • #3352
        Griffin Weiss
        Participant

        Hello Medgine,

        I love the point that you make here about humility being the main benefit of recalling the history of Christian antisemitism. What I think is the important undertext of this truth is that just because Christians know the God of the Near East, that doesn’t mean our opinions or our own way of thinking is better than any other human and member of any other religious group. Humility does not just thinking less of self, but it also, sometimes more importantly, means listening to other people intentionally and openly.

      • #3396
        Alexandra Adair
        Participant

        Hey Megdine,

        I like that you write about how some people blot out the negative or dark sides of their past record because it may “reflect poorly on their faith.” I think this point is all the more relevant with what’s happening in the world today. I see it in myself so much, it’s not surprising other groups do the same. Sometimes to “forgive and forget” is not the right action to take. Remembrance is the only way we can ensure we become better and stronger, not making the same mistakes.

    • #3103
      Marieliana Cadet
      Participant

      When responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present, I believe it is important for Christians to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind because in order to move forward and make the necessary changes it is important to take a look back into history. In general, one must take into consideration the accounts that happened in the past to guide them in coming up with solutions to present problems. Without history, one will fail to make improvements in areas needed and continue to practice the same negative habits done in the past. Also, as Christians keeping the sad history of Christian antisemitism in our mind give us a sense of accountability for our errors and allow us the opportunity to begin to fix our mistakes by contributing to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict positively.
      Altogether, history must be considered in our response as Christians to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present, as this is a vehicle for the changes we want to see in the present.

      • #3247
        Santiago Baron
        Participant

        I agree, we need to remember our history and our mistakes, this will help us not to make the same mistakes again, you also mentioned accountability, this is also very important because looking at history a lo of the things happening in the conflict is because Christians made a lot of mistakes that lead us to where we are now. we are trying to fix a problem we crated. we need to be mindful and understand our history.

      • #3367
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        This is so true. Moving forward is very important so that we can finally come up with a solution and move closer towards peace. Accountability is so important because people do not get away with things and keeping this in mind can only be beneficial in the long run. Christians must be led with prudence and wisdom. The only way to do this, is taking into account what Christians have done and make sure that it does not happen again.

    • #3195
      Emmanuel Berrelleza
      Participant

      It is important for Christian to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestine conflict in the present because history is a significant reminder of what has happened to inform better decisions in the present. While difficult to confront, it is imperative the Christian reconcile a past of antisemitism because it created a large domino affect on the events that followed in Europe during World War II — particularly in during Hitler’s rise first in Munich and then throughout the rest of Germany. The oppression that already existed only served to kindle and further inflame anti-Semitic political, social, and economic acts against Jews. Due to this reality, Christian must keep this history in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestine conflict to contextualize the various historical factors at play. If Christians fall short of doing so, the risk of repeated history runs a tremendous risk that humanity cannot afford to relive.

      • #3248
        Santiago Baron
        Participant

        It is really impressive that we look at Hitler and the Nazi as the only antisemitism movements. But we forget that Christians made a big part on that as well. also you are right that if we don’t keep this in our mind we may be doom to repeat history. We really need to be mindful not to make the same mistakes we already did, we need to look back and change the way we try to run things.

      • #3273
        Stevin Surajin
        Participant

        Great comments! I think it especially true that the Holocaust is the worst possibility that could have occurred when considering the damage that Anti-Semitic thought has brought to the world. I also believe that some level of this was caused by ideas and philosophies wrongly espoused by influential Christian figures and the centuries of Anti-Semitic thought in Christian circles as well. It is deeply saddening to note that many of these ideas came into fruition despite being contrary to what we note in the Bible.

    • #3209
      Kelen Rojas
      Participant

      Hate has always been with the Hebrew people, the conflict has always been in force, and it is that God has a promise with that people, if we observe what happened in the Holocaust in 1930 – 1945 we realize the hatred and the focus of the enemy in wanting to destroy and disappear this people, but they have not been able and will not be able to, it is the chosen people of God, the bible says that the more they oppressed the Israelites the more they multiplied. The Christian people must know the reason for hatred (anti-Semitism) in order to have a better perspective of the current conflict that is taking place between these two nations, a struggle for territory, possession, conquest, culture, promises, among others. But what if we can be sure as knowledgeable of the scripture, that there may be conflict and war and constant threats against Israel, but God will give them victory. This conflict that has been going on for more than half a century has left dozens of dead, the industries and productive sectors have been affected by this conflict.

      • #3237
        Stephanie Vega
        Participant

        Kelen how strong but true that hatred has always been in the midst of the Hebrew people. How difficult this fight that has brought so much suffering and division is clear as the word of the Lord says that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. But as you say, from the Lord is the Victory and we know that his word will be fulfilled for his people. I think we need to take more seriously to pray for the Jewish and Palestinian people and bless their lives and nation.

      • #3368
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Hate has been imbedded in this conflict for far too long. I think that that is a very good and important point that you hit. The conflict has gone on for longer than it should. Peace needs to occur because the poor people cannot continue to live under constant fear for their lives all in the name of hate. God always brings out the best of any situation and I know that He will prevail.

    • #3235
      Stephanie Vega
      Participant

      I believe that as Christians in the West we must know history in order to have a more complete vision and educated opinion on the subject. Although it is true that this story is not over yet and we know from the word of God that there are things that must be fulfilled, it is clear that the Jewish people are very special to God and God will fulfill the promises that He has spoken to them as He has always done. For me, after learning more about the Jewish and Palestinian conflict, I think I can be more empathetic and sensitive to what these people have experienced. The current situation between Jews and Palestinians must be seen through the lens of compassion. As Christians it is our duty to pray for these people, since only they know how difficult it must be to suffer and fight for the land where they were born, culture and beliefs that define their identity as human beings.

    • #3246
      Santiago Baron
      Participant

      often we believed that Christians had always back up the Israelites. But most of the time Christians have blames jewish for the death of Jesus and treated them as the enemy of Christianity. this is not Biblical at all and we need to remember that hey are the people chosen by God. We need to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that there is not easy answer to how is right and wrong. just as we can not say that Jewish are all bad because they killed Jesus, we can not condemn the Palestinians for living in the land that now we try to claim to be for the Jews. We need to be carful and understand both parties and try our best to find solutions that would help everyone and make both Jews and Palestinians have equal voices and make sure they are both heard and they can come to a final agreement that not only beficiates one but both parties. We have already made the mistake of misjudging a group of people before based only in out bias, so now is time to listen and do our best for both of them.

    • #3272
      Stevin Surajin
      Participant

      In my time spent learning history and educating myself about the history of our world and its effects on the way we live, one especially troubling part is the way that the Jewish people have been treated throughout history. But I also find the term “Christian antisemitism” to be a troubling concept. Antisemitism is an idea that is not found within scripture. I cannot think of any solid arguments for it or instances where Jesus, the disciples or the apostles espouse violence towards Jewish culture or the Jewish people. If anything we see the opposite where it is the gentiles that are discriminated against in some cases (As in when Peter refused to eat with the gentile converts, for which he was admonished by Paul).

      However, does this mean that I am denying the fact that Jewish people have not been affected in Europe? Of course not, Jews have been throughout the years the victims of many false accusations (such as being falsely accused of blood libels), facing expulsion via the Alhambra decree (which forced Jewish people to convert or to be expelled from their homes), and even sadly facing demonization from influential figures such as Martin Luther. However, it is also important to recognize that these responses and actions fall outside the purview of Christian conduct as mentioned in the Bible which should be the authority on how we live our lives.

      What I do think is especially important and is something that can be agreed upon, is to recognize that like a lot of ideologies, Christianity too can be corrupted and be used to spread discord and destruction throughout the world. And as Christians, we must recognize the damage that Individuals, organizations, and empires have wreaked havoc on the Jewish people through a fundamental subversion of Christianity for personal gain or biases. It is this knowledge that should inform us as we make decisions concerning the present Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in that scripture or our belief in Christianity should be the driving factor as we are involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      • #3351
        Griffin Weiss
        Participant

        Hello Stevin,

        I agree with your point that Christianity, like any and all world religions and ideologies, can face corruption and become a weapon or tool of discord and division. However, I am curious about your concept of disconnecting antisemitism from scripture. I think that throughout the old testament, there is a strain of antisemitic behavior from other people groups. The fact that Israel is constantly at war and being attacked by other groups is one evidence, but more visibly is the treatment of the Jews in the book of Esther, which is commonly seen as one of the first obvious cases of antisemitism. Also, in reference to your point about Jesus and his apostles, they were all Jewish people, and their teaching was also directed at redemption for Jews as well as Gentiles. Christian anitsemitism, I agree with you, is not something espoused in scripture, but I do think that there is evidence of it already occurring as Jews are targeted and mistreated in the Old Testament.

    • #3350
      Griffin Weiss
      Participant

      The sad history of Christian antisemitism serves as a stark reminder that our ways are not God’s ways and our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Every man’s way seems right in his own eyes, and culturally and societally, the way that seems right regularly shifts and changes. Because of the historic antisemitism of the Christian church and ‘Christian’ Western people groups, we should feel a sense of wariness with our own attitudes and opinions on the current state of the Near East. What we see as ‘the right way’ forward is not necessarily the right way and the ‘best’ solution may not be. We have limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and known and unknown biases within us, so the moment that we say we have discerned enough, or have stopped listening, we should set off alarms in our minds and discourse. It is so tempting to look into a conflict from afar, especially one that is greatly concerning and close to many hearts, and want to provide solutions and insights, but the reality is that our hearts and minds are as broken as every other that has tried to ‘fix’ the Near East, and we must be more reliant on God than ourselves.

      • #3372
        Miriam Cavanaugh
        Participant

        Thank you Griffin for mentioning that “Every man’s way seems right in his own eyes, and culturally and societally, the way that seems right regularly shifts and changes”.
        Being German and married to an American, I experience the difference of cultures on a daily basis, even more so, that we now live in the USA.
        Tied to this – and in fact every – political conflict, one always has to remember that different cultures do different things differently and this is normal, there should be no evaluation of this other than what goes against Natural Law.
        Being convinced, that we, as Christians, do share a responsibility to be peacemakers in the world – which includes the Near East – it is equally important to not act as a sort of “know-it-all” telling the Israelis and the Palestinians what to do.

    • #3366
      Iliana Owen-Alcala
      Participant

      As Christians, keeping the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present is extremely crucial. My must respond with compassion and understanding. Keeping the unpleasant history will allow us to be appropriately sensitive to the subject, acknowledge the wrong doings, and prevent Christians from making the same mistakes. The only way that we can have any progress in the conflict is by trying to understand how the other side feels and approach the matter with humility. The Jewish people were victims to horrible treatment and as Christians, we cannot be okay with this despite our difference in beliefs. The last lesson spoke about how Christians are tied to the Jewish people and experience a sort of bias in their favor because they are a representation of humanity. We can more easily agree then that we should protect them and extend compassion towards them.

    • #3371
      Miriam Cavanaugh
      Participant

      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.

    • #3395
      Alexandra Adair
      Participant

      It is critical to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to this conflict because of our tendency to act as outsiders who have come to “save” the people with valor by acting as mediators for peace. Historically, the West has seen itself as a third party that is neutral and somehow superior and tasked with helping this conflict to end. I think that the fact that Christian antisemitism helped create the Zionistic movement should be the major reason that we come together to help find an end to the conflict, instead of just helping to end the conflict to make ourselves feel or look good. Also, there is a feeling of wariness felt by some Jews due to the evangelistic practices of many Christians that can seem threatening to the Jewish people and faith. We need to keep both our previous antisemitic deeds and our present evangelistic mindset and tendencies in mind when speaking to the Jewish and Israeli people so that they feel they are respected. Showing respect is essential to communicate and find common ground in response to the conflict.

    • #3402
      Kacie Marks
      Participant

      Any branch of Christianity that calls for the hatred or oppression of a people group is neglecting the most basic and foundational call of the follower of Jesus- to love God and love people. As modern day Christians and friends of Israel, we are called to reject any kind of antisemitism, but especially Christian antisemitism. But in doing so, we cannot reject the very real and long history of antisemitism from professing Christians or deny its horrible effects. While Christians have the privilege of being ignorant to our history of antisemitism, Jews do not. When I traveled to Israel last August, I was shocked to hear Dr. Faydra Shapiro explain the brutal and harsh antisemitism coming form mainstream Christians of the 1800’s and 1900’s. We are not responsible for the personal wrongdoings of our religious tradition, but we are responsible for the effect that this history has on our modern situation. We are called as followers of Jesus to understand the mistrust and suspicion that many Jewish people may have towards Christians so we can build new relationships based on respect, love, and trust. As Paul said in Romans 11, the Jews are loved on the account of the Patriarchs.

    • #2599
      Ian O’Hagan
      Participant

      I wholeheartedly agree; a lack on condemnation of antisemitism on our part will only allow for future persecutions and pogroms, and once again, we will be justifiably condemned for our silence and/or tacit approval on the matter. Keeping such events from happening starts in the home; it is important for Christian families to teach their children to hold the Jewish faith in the utmost respect, and to have zero tolerance for any bigotry towards it.

    • #2600
      Ian O’Hagan
      Participant

      It’s not just a lack of compassion, but a very reckless use of words. While a person who says such things may think that they are simply making a point, or are just trying to get a rise out of people, the simple truth is that there are individuals who hear such words, and truly take them seriously. The last couple of years in the US have demonstrated as much.

    • #2616
      Jordan Karausky
      Participant

      I have also experienced the pressure to choose either the Palestinians or the state of Israel. The word zionist often seems on a par with racist at liberal institutions (like my alma mater). The red herrings from all directions are frustrating, and the further complication that western Christianity has often participated in violence against the Jews makes dispassionate discourse almost nonexistent. It is very difficult to find a middle path which affirms Israel’s right to exist, while also avoiding the pseudo-Biblicial retort that the Jews have been blinded by God and therefore do not deserve support. Thanks for the thought provoking comment Dan!

    • #2622
      Janae Robinson
      Participant

      Dan, you make a great point. The narrative with Israel and the Jews having been cast as the oppressors with their thousands of years of one tragedy after another making up their history is baffling. I do not understand it either. I too have experience with Christians that hate Jews because they “murdered Jesus.” Yet, the establishment of the State of Israel is justice. A Jewish State does not mean that Palestinians should be without, but the world seems to see that either the Palestinians get Israel or the Jews do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • #2682
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Dan,
      My questions are: “Where is the God of the Palestinians? Where is the God that created both the Palestinians and the Jewish people? For me, until we see all human race created in the image of God as God’s own people, antisemitism will continue to reign. God’s justice is for every human race makes his love for all – except you believe in Jesus Christ! Even in Palestine, there are Palestinian Christians who ridicule Palestinians Muslims, and vice versa. Right here in Liberia, many Christians see Israel as the “aggressor” and Palestinians as the “victims” and vice versa. However, your closing statement is powerful: “By recognizing this truth, modern Christians can see the reestablishment of Israel as an act of justice, rather than an act of injustice toward Palestinians.” And I strongly believe if every side recognizes the truth it shall set every side free! And this freedom is God’s justice over injustice! This freedom is love over hate! This freedom is peace over conflict!

    • #2621
      Janae Robinson
      Participant

      Andrew, I agree. Christians need to learn from our past even if we are not completely aware of the damage done by previous generations of Christians. I too was blinded and unaware of Christian antisemitism. Only after reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer was I somewhat aware of how anti-Semitic Europe, especially Germany. The end of your post hits the nail on the head. We have to do better and I think it is ridiculous that we have pushed away a people group that we share scripture with and can learn a lot from.

    • #2663
      Mitchell Schwab
      Participant

      Amen, Michaela.

      Sometimes I think we forget that some of the greatest reasons for the destruction of the covenant people in the Old Testament were due to the sinful nature of the believers, not because of outside groups. I mention this because Christians, in the name of Christianity have undoubtedly caused heinous acts throughout history, similar to Jews living in Judea, or other Israelites in the Northern Kingdom. We need to recognize that not all “Christians” throughout history were admirable. However, we have a wonderful opportunity to learn from their mistakes and reach out to our Jewish or Palestinian brothers and sisters in empathy and love. When doing so, we must be well versed in their own history and biases toward us and sympathize with them. Your responses highlights these issues well and on a simple yet profound level: they didn’t have the Holy Spirit in them. Well said.

    • #2735
      Shawrath Anthony
      Participant

      Hey Michaela,

      I really appreciate you putting things into perspective by first helping us understand that it is crucial for us to know how our brothers and sisters in the near east view us, especially if we feel called to the region.

      I also really appreciate towards the end you draw the reader into understanding that it is only when we realize and apologies for our past can we truly share the love of christ to these people in a new and fresh way.

      Thankyou for your post.

    • #2681
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Hey Josiah,
      I want agree with you by stressing that, “As Christian, it is important to keep in mind the sad history of Christian antisemitism in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it gives us a sense of accountability over the unlikely contribution to or participation of Christians in enkindling the early sparks of today’s conflict.” In fact, if we don’t keep in mind this sad history, for me, it makes us lesser Christians. In order words, we refused to embrace the pain, strife, and agony that results to eternal joy, love, patience, kindness, peace, etc. – the fruit of the Spirit that awaits us in the very soonest future. Until we Christians realize this, we will continue to miss it. May God Almighty open our spiritual eyes to see, and share in the pains of the Jewish people, and also to appreciate our own pains and suffering too.

    • #2690
      Evan Crain
      Participant

      Exactly. My prior knowledge of Muslim / Jewish conflict began with the 1948 wars. I had assumed this persistent state of conflict had always been the case. I am sadly surprised to find that Christians are more notorious and actually consistent in singling out Jews for persecution. Further, this understanding assists in my accepting one of Nicholson’s conclusions: Jews deserve a state in which they are not persecuted. I suppose however, even then, the state of Israel itself is persecuted, but at least there is communal structures for self-defense and the foundations for economic and societal flourishing as has not been seen since Israel was last a state.

    • #2726
      Hannah Straub
      Participant

      Gabriel,

      You bring up some good points. Many Jews and Muslims do have a longer memory of Christianity than many American Christians today. Even the physical landscape of Israel is marked by wars led by Christians. The ruins and walls of the Crusades loom like a concrete reminder of our shared history. Education and knowing history are so important. The details in your post bring that home.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • #2884
      Audra Jones
      Participant

      Hi Gabriel,
      Thank you so much for your post. It gave a quick snapshot of history while answering the forum provided to us to argue and discuss. It is true that most of history seems to be maligned with some sort of discrimination against the Jewish people by Christians and Christian nations. It is a devastating truth that Christians and even the West as a greater society need to be taught. In dealing with the Christians who respond to the conflict, I agree, the first step for positive movement toward peace between these two entities is knowing how and how not to engage. History gives Christians an answer on how not to perpetuate past errors.

      Great Job,
      Audra Jones

    • #2847
      Christian Brehmer
      Participant

      Hi Connie, thanks for sharing. I have had similar experiences with the Jewish community in the States & the Holy Land, where they better understand Jewish-Christian relations than their Christian peers. The Shoah happened because of centuries of Christian participation in anti-Semtisim and Christian inaction of not standing up for their Jewish neighbors. I love your point that we can show them we are different by our actions.

    • #2980
      Emily McCray
      Participant

      Hello Connie,

      The sad truth is that you are totally correct in your analysis. Jews tend to be very aware of the antisemitic actions of Christians more than many Christians will dare to admit. The pain and wound run deep that a people who claim a religion of love would be the originators of such betrayal towards Jews. As the scripture tells us Jews are the tree and we are the branches, without Jews like Abraham, Moses, and David the fruit of Christianity would not be here.

    • #2885
      Audra Jones
      Participant

      Hi Marina,

      Thank you so much for such an honest and reflective post. From your elucidation of your first-hand experience, I can tell that you have seen the importance of knowing Christian antisemitism history in relation to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. This history is not taught as much as it should be, especially in schools. However, I can say that there seems and is a societal shift among Christians’ views of Jews, especially in the US. The US appears to be one of the few countries to noticeably care about the Jewish people through their emphasis and support of Jewish cultural museums and centers. While this country and others should better their delivery of Jewish and Christian antisemitism history, I think there is always hope that as long as there are projects like the Pathfinder course that Christians and the irreligious will learn from past persecution of people groups.

      Thank you again,
      Audra Jones

    • #3106
      Marieliana Cadet
      Participant

      Hi Marina,

      I enjoyed reading your writing in response to the question, such a moving and honest post. Yes, I agree with the fact about owning the history, the full account because it is from history that we are able to reflect upon and make necessary changes needed to make in the present. We need to take accountability of the things done in the past, the good and bad parts for us to move forward. Like you said, we learn from our history and knowing that, we can’t disregard it.

      Thank you,

      Marieliana Cadet

    • #2931
      Austin Pellizzer
      Participant

      Hello Ian,

      I like the idea of this history being taught first in the home, as with many other things in the past that communities have to take responsibility for, having conversations will start the dialogue to understand why and how the Jewish communities who call Israel home do not only have a historical and legitimate right to the land of Israel but show why it is our Christian duty to support our brothers and sisters to mend centuries of suffering and persecution.

    • #2956
      Sean Moore
      Participant

      Hello Olvia. I very much agree! Knowledge of the past is key. I think that many Americans have forgotten, or don’t care to learn, about history. It can really hurt us, as many countries around the world take history far more seriously. But at the end of the day, we just need to be more knowledgeable about things like history and foreign relations. These things are necessary to able to operate freely as a country int he world.

    • #2979
      Emily McCray
      Participant

      Hello Dominic,

      The expression you took in your response to the question was well thought out and written. It was eye-opening to see the distinct role that Christians played in the tension in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I was familiar as you mentioned with the antisemitism that plagued Christian history. However, the course pointed out and walked us through the links between Christian’s actions and where the Israeli and Palestinians find themselves now very clearly and convincingly.

    • #3107
      Marieliana Cadet
      Participant

      Hi Hans,

      I agree with you when you mentioned that the basic problem of conflict is superiority highlighting the fact that in the western culture this is a common thing that is witnessed. I believe that this superiority way of thinking and going about things are what is causing conflicts in the first place. Also, because of it the relationship with the Middle East has been compromised and destroyed.

      Thank you,

      Marieliana Cadet

    • #3119
      Loncey Elie
      Participant

      Hi Madeline,
      I like the perspective that you had in regard to why Christians should keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The key word that struck me was humility. Humility is key in everything and understanding that we had our own weaknesses in our own history demonstrates how much empathy we have. Knowledge is power and by us being educated with an open-minded perspective about everything that needs to be known in an unbiased manner is a key quality to have.

Viewing 34 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.