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?

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    • #1445
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster
    • #1973
      Dominic Gialdini
      Participant

      I have never thought about viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of Christian antisemitism’s role in the creation of the issue. Previously, I was aware that others blamed things like Western society, colonialism, etc. on the conflict, but I never connected the fact that Christian actions had direct consequences that would play out in the Holy Land. In general, I viewed the conflict as “their” (i.e. Israelis’ and Palestinians’) problem and considered the West altruistic in wanting to solve the conflict. To remind myself of Christian antisemitism’s role in the conflict is to create a sense of responsibility for Christians to play an active role in undoing what they helped to cause. This consideration is a strong reminder that our actions (and inactions) have great influence, and we are all connected in one way or another to conflicts that ostensibly have nothing to do with us. The nature of Christian antisemitism should serve as a motivator for us to create a more perfect future for ourselves and others, including those who live in the Middle East.

      • #2226
        Dan Harre
        Participant

        Dominic, thanks for the great post. I also had never considered the culpability of the Church in creating the Zionist movement. And indeed, I never saw the Church as being responsible for Israel’s current position. After taking this course, I now see that our involvement is a beautiful opportunity to rewrite the largely negative history of Judeo-Christian relations and to bring justice to an unjust situation that we helped to create.

      • #2251
        Elise Van Hierden
        Participant

        Hello Dominic,

        Thank you for sharing how the course influenced how you view anti-semitism and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I had a similar experience to you in that I had not thought about the role of Christianity in the conflict until I had gone through this course. It’s easy to blame conflicts on different nations and people groups, but much harder to realize that your religion also was central in creating the problem. I also liked what you said about how considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes us more aware of how our actions can affect and have an influence on situations that we’re not even directly a part of. Having that kind of view forces one to take responsibility for every action, rather than merely blame it on someone else. For us as Christians, it forces us to take responsibility of our part in the conflict rather than just blaming the Jews for all the Problems in Palestine.

      • #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.

    • #1976
      Connie Hammond
      Participant

      It is important for Christians to keep the sad history of Christian antisemitism in mind when responding to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present because many Jewish people are more aware of the history of Christian antisemitism than Christians often are. When I have had the pleasure of interacting with Jewish pro-Israel students and young adults, I have noticed that many of them were informed early on in their lives that Christians have hurt the Jews in history and been some of the leaders in antisemitic acts in some situations. Even if we deny that history as Christians, it still occurred and it still a part of their story and what they learn about Christians. I have met a good amount of Jewish people who have never met a Christian supporter of Israel in their whole life or had an opportunity to have a deep conversation with a Christian. We must remember the wounds that have been inflicted upon the Jewish people in the name of Christianity in the past and show them by our actions that we are different.

      • #2004
        Marina Ghaly
        Participant

        Hi Connie,
        Thank you for your post. I agree with you, even if individuals deny a part of history, it doesn’t change what happened in the past. I find it surprising and sad that many of the Jewish people you have met never met a Christian supporter. I have had the opposite experience, many of the Jewish people I have spoken with know many Christians who are in support of Israel. The same Jewish people I have dialogues with also know about Christian antisemitism. We’ve had a good dialogue about the two. At the end of the conversation, we both learned from each other. It was a nice experience.

      • #2103
        Mary Schulten
        Participant

        Hi Connie, it’s nice to see you’re taking this course too! What great insight you have. I agree, we as Christians need to put a stronger emphasis on learning the history of antisemitism within the church. Our first time hearing about this shouldn’t be from a Jew or in a college class, it should be straight from the pulpit, Sunday school, or our families. Armed with this knowledge, we can forge a stronger path of friendship and alliance.

      • #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.

    • #2003
      Marina Ghaly
      Participant

      I’ve always been big on owning the history – the good, bad, and ugly parts of history. Once history is owned, then we can learn from the past so it will not happen again in the future. I remember the first time I heard about Christian antisemitism. I was a university student taking a course on the History of the Jewish People. I was appalled to learn that many famous Christian leaders and influencers were anti-semitic. It was hard for me to believe until we read primary sources. I remember leaving the class shocked, saddened, and frustrated that I never learned about it before. Learning about Christian antisemitism helped me understand the relationship between Christians and Jews better. Furthermore, understanding Christian antisemitism helps Christians understand a bit better about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This needs to be reminded because many Christians (at least in my experience) view this conflict as Arabs versus Israelis, or Muslims versus Jews, and don’t take into consideration the full history which plays a role in the conflict.

      • #2102
        Mary Schulten
        Participant

        You’re an inspiration, Marina! I struggle to properly address the bad parts of our history with the Jewish people. I don’t want to pretend everything is perfect, but I have a hard time truly realizing just how much damage that the church did with antisemitism. You’re right – understanding antisemitism is a key part for Christians to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is the most ancient hatred, that keep returning in more awful ways and has used this conflict as a way to disguise itself.

      • #2105
        yasmin mata
        Participant

        Hi Marina,

        Thank you for sharing, I totally relate to the feelings of remorse and grief that come with learning about Christian antisemitism and I agree with you- understanding Christian antisemitism helps us have a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is so interesting how fast we can forget or ignore the bad and the ugly and like you mentioned if we desire to move forward it starts with us being willing to learn, consider history, and respond in truth and love.

      • #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

    • #2042
      Madeline Hall
      Participant

      I think it is always important to keep our history in mind and be aware of our propensity toward evil. Throughout history, we have seen humans skew truth and oppress people groups in order to achieve their own agendas. I think keeping in mind our own history will keep us humble in our approach to getting involved with the conflict. I think there is always a tendency to want to choose a side in a particular issue, but when recognizing our own faith is attached to centuries of anti-semitism, it will enable us to humbly empathize with both the Jews and the Palestinians. I believe this approach will open us up to learn more and listen more as well, as opposed just to coming to a firm conclusion.

    • #2056
      Tom Woodward
      Participant

      When watching a movie a hero advancing their altruistic actions for the benefit of the innocents, we automatically identify not with the villain, but the ‘good guy’. We imagine that if we were given the choice of fruit in the garden of Eden, that of course we would not disobey God’s commands to not eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Never would we have betrayed Christ Jesus to the chief priests.

      Our lack of holiness should keep our knees bent and our hearts humble to acknowledge that Christians are capable of antisemitism. We make amends when we openly admit the sins of our Christian forbears who did nothing to defend the jewish people from heinous acts of violence. Our people committed sins of omission and commission against the ‘Christ Killers’ that have no worse a legacy than those of us who call ourselves Christians.

    • #2101
      Mary Schulten
      Participant

      As someone who has been engaged in the conversation about Israel for a while, I think I’ve been in defense mode when it comes to Christian antisemitism. As an activist in college, I was often faced with opposition from professors and other students who doubted if my support for Israel was genuine, or as some sort of road to meet and convert Jews. They often pointed to Christian antisemitism in history as a reason that my support for Israel could not be genuine. So, rather than owning up to that history, I would redirect to all of the Christians throughout history who stood by the Jewish people and risked their own lives to do so. This lesson was a good wake up call for me that the history of Christian antisemitism isn’t going anywhere, so I need to be armed with the knowledge to own up to the mistakes of my church and rebuke it.

      • #2300
        Harvest Prude
        Participant

        Mary, I think this response to the course shows growth and humility. I think being able to respond to the tragic antisemitism that was systemic among many Christian denominations and believers in the past with awareness rather than defensiveness will be so helpful in these kinds of conversations going forward! I think oftentimes when people bring up these sorts of tragic histories it is based on a justified skepticism towards current supportive rhetoric that doesn’t match up with what they have experienced or what their ancestors experienced. Hopefully the acknowledgement of that will allow for more productive conversations in the future.

    • #2223
      Hans Vogel
      Participant

      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.

      • #2225
        Dan Harre
        Participant

        Hans, you make a great point about the tendency of the Church to highlight the superiority of gentile populations. While the Greeks and Latins are a beautiful element of the body of Christ, they are not, ultimately, the ethnic population through which the Lord chose to reveal himself to the world. While Hebrew culture is not worthy of our worship, we must recognize that Jewish believers are the first among equals. They are those through whom the Lord chose to send our beloved Christ.

    • #2224
      Dan Harre
      Participant

      As an American, I am constantly receiving pressure from society to support Palestinians OVER Israel in the name of “justice.” Additionally, as a Christian, there is also pressure from the Church to view Israel as the irredeemable aggressor who murdered our Christ. Of course, neither of these narratives is true. In fact, Christians must remember that over the centuries, Jews have been the oppressed (not the oppressors) almost without exception. Their history is one of loss and tragedy. This loss has often come at the hands of Western Christians, as European civilization gave itself over to anti-semitism. 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.

      • #2250
        Elise Van Hierden
        Participant

        Hello Dan,

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I completely agree with you. There is so much pressure to support either Palestinians or no one since the Israeli are often seen as an oppressor. Looking at the history of anti-Semitism makes us as Christians realize their our part in the narrative, and how we were the oppressors that brought the Jews to where they are now. However, even when we understand how anti-semitism played a role in the conflict, it doesn’t make it any less complex. One of the questions people ask me is whether previous oppression justifies what many would consider another form of oppression.

      • #2581

        Hi Dan,

        I also, as an American, have received pressure from our society that the Palestinian side is the “right” side and that only “religious” people (Jews and many Christians), support Israel. Since our society is moving farther and farther away from religion, I think that is part of the reason why Palestine is seen as the “right” side. I think it is less about choosing sides, and more about choosing to have friendships with the Jewish people while also believing in Palestinian rights–rights that all nations deserve.

      • #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!

    • #2249
      Elise Van Hierden
      Participant

      When looking at any conflict, it’s necessary to look at at all the factors which led up to and created the conflict. What was the history of any given conflict? Doing this not only gives understanding for the conflict, but compassion as well. When we as Christians look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today, we must do the same. Looking back, we discover that without Christianity there would be no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If it had not been the anti-Semitism that had arisen within Christianity, Zionism would have never gained the momentum we see in the mid twentieth century. And, if it had not been for anti-semitism within Europe, masses of Jews would not have left their homes and the state of Israel would have never been created. Thus, anti-semitism is foundational to understanding how the conflict arose in the first place. For us as Christians, it’s important to understand this history as it makes us aware of our own role within the conflict. It forces us to take a level of responsibility for what has happened in the past, to have compassion for the present situation, and look forward to what we can do to help both the Israelis and Palestinians.

      • #2299
        Harvest Prude
        Participant

        Hi Elise, I appreciate the thorough, thoughtful response here. The clarity with which you laid out the facts–that masses of Jewish people felt unwelcome all across Europe and the rejection of refugees during the Holocaust–are elements that Christians are often unaware of and can conveniently ignore when talking about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Definitely also always think its important, like you said, to examine the past while considering what solutions to encourage and move towards in the future.

      • #2402
        Michaela Todd
        Participant

        Elise, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Learning about the domino effects from terrible actions from the Christian church that led to the situation in the Near East today was eye opening. I knew that the history of the church wasn’t spotless, and that there were many instances when so-called Christians took Christ’s teaching’s into their own hands, but I didn’t know of the ramifications it had on the Jewish and Palestinian communities. I agree, knowing about these events give us the ability to as a church take responsibility and show compassion, and most importantly gives us the ability to learn from those mistakes.

    • #2298
      Harvest Prude
      Participant

      I think the question of how we should think about the effect Christian antisemitism has had on Jewish people historically is an important issue for believers to wrestle with as they consider modern day challenges in the Middle East, and so I’m glad this course addressed that so thoroughly. One thing that struck me is that it is important not just on an international relations/political level but it is important on a personal, theological level. It’s indisputable that bad theology can lead and has led to hateful ideology that is far from what the Gospel preaches and the values that are consistent with Scripture. Another example that comes to mind is the teaching of the “mark of Cain” and how that led to a distorted theology towards black people to justify slavery in America and elsewhere. But as this course addresses, the fact that the dominant view of the role of the Jewish people around the time of the Holocaust was antisemitic should not be something that is swept under the rug and should be a wakeup call for Christians. When thinking about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, we cannot divorce any proposed solutions from those historic injustices or ignore or downplay that the role many Christians (though not all) played was one that was negative.

      • #2401
        Michaela Todd
        Participant

        Harvest, I very much agree with your thoughts. It’s not only important from an international relations/political point of view to understand the tragic influence Christians had in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but from a theological and spiritual one as well. The Christian church in Europe discussed during this course were practicing theology without the Holy Spirit within them. If we do not have the Holy Spirit in us and giving us the ability to have soft hearts toward all of God’s people, the teachings of Christ’s gospel are meaningless to us. As the next generation of leaders in the world and in Christ’s Church, it is paramount that we remember this and do our best not to repeat history.

    • #2400
      Michaela Todd
      Participant

      If we as Christian leaders want to move in the Near East and help the people in this area that are hurting, it’s important for us to understand how they see us. I fortunately was raised in a church that did not cast hatred on Jews, but throughout this course I’ve learned of tortured past between Jews and Christians. It has given me a better understanding of Zionism and what it means to Jewish people. If we want to be strong leaders, we need to be informed and have good intel on the land we want to move in. The rich but tragic history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was deeply influenced by the mistakes made by Christians, and as Christians ourselves we need to know that they may view us differently because of that. Most importantly, if we as disciples of Christ want to spread his gospel and help people form a relationship with the Savior of the world, we are called to know all his people. By knowing who they are and their past, we can better communicate Christ’s gospel to them and help them know that the awful actions made by Christians were not ones that reflect Christ – they were living out the gospel for their own purposes and without the Holy Spirit in them.

      • #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.

    • #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.”

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #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?

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #1990
      Connie Hammond
      Participant

      Hi Sarah, I appreciate what you mentioned that we need to recognize that there have been times when Christians or people claiming to be Christians have acted out of antisemitic beliefs. It is important for us to own up to that as part of Christian history and do our best to stand up for the Jewish people today. I think many Christians are ignorant of Christian history related to antisemitism. Unfortunately, I think many Christians are also becoming unaware of the Holocaust as a whole these days as well, which is very sad.

    • #2123
      Alex Cevallos
      Participant

      Hello Sarah,

      I truly appreciate your emphasis on reconciliation with the Jewish people. I honestly just think of this course as a wake up call to the horrific history of the way the Church has treated the Jews, but your post reminds me is not to late to change the narrative. Obviously, we can not erase history, but we can start a new season in which the Church is the most supportive of the Jewish people rather then the most oppressing.

    • #2141
      Cristina Varela
      Participant

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for sharing your perspective! I think it is so hard to admit when we’re wrong but the added religious aspect of admitting we’re wrong here makes it that much harder than usual. The first step, admitting our faults in the past, is so difficult but so necessary for us to make peace with the Jewish community.

      Prior to this course, I was unaware how Christian anti-semitism played the role of a catalyst in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the present. Now that I know, I can work to fix it.

    • #2262
      Collin Bastian
      Participant

      Hi Sarah,

      You bring up such a good point! Learning more about the history of Christian antisemitism has been quite the surprise for me – too often, it seems that even those same voices who yielded much fruit in Christian theology and defining Christian orthodoxy which remains sound to this day, have also unfortunately been given to antisemitic behaviors. Of course, history is a complex thing. It is good to remember our history so that we may learn what to keep from our past (of which there is much to keep), as well as what is good to discard (and on this topic in particular, there is an unfortunate amount which needs to be disposed of). Only after we have resolved our history to ourselves can we move forward to address the current ramifications of that history.

    • #2263
      Olivia Layne
      Participant

      Hi Sarah,
      I agree wholeheartedly with your point about recognizing how Christian antisemitism still affects our relationship with the Jewish community today. I think so many Christians are either unaware of the Church’s antisemitic past or are under the belief that it can be easily swept under the rug. Without acknowledging the people that we hurt and how we hurt them, how can we ever attempt to make meaningful relationships? So glad you brought up that point!

    • #1992
      Connie Hammond
      Participant

      Hi Thomas, I like what you mentioned about remembering the past and gracefully walking with those still feeling the effects thousands of years later of anti-Semitism from those claiming to know Christ. It takes a lot of grace to move forward after learning about the atrocities that Christians in the past have committed in the name of Jesus. Looking back on it, it is disappointing that those individuals acted in the way they did and left such a negative taste in the mouths of so many regarding Jesus and Christianity. I think each of us today should remember that we are part of writing a different story by loving the Jewish people.

    • #2043
      Madeline Hall
      Participant

      Hello Haley, this is a great point. Robert made such an amazing point that we must choose love and compassion above being “right” every time because that is what Jesus demonstrated to us.

    • #2044
      Madeline Hall
      Participant

      Hello!

      This is such an important point. The tendency of the human heart is to deceive above all else, and this is why we must stick to the truth and scripture and how Jesus tells us how to love and be compassionate.

    • #2122
      Alex Cevallos
      Participant

      Hello Axel,

      I love how you referenced Hosea 4:6. I think anytime we can implement scripture it brings authority to what we believe. With that being said I appreciate how you talked about knowing things of the past both good and bad. This is always a hard pill to swallow when the bad stuff in the past is something that can never be reconciled. However, understanding the past will help us not repeat our same mistakes in the future.

    • #2330
      Joseph Danaher
      Participant

      Well said Axel. I think we see so much evidence of that when we see antisemitism just flippantly and casually bandied about in our politics today by elected Members of Congress in what’s supposed to be the nation most tolerant of religious and ethnic diversity in the world. This spells doom if we don’t nip it in the bud. And to nip it in the bud, we have to acknowledge it. When someone like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks on stage at a white nationalist conference right after pro-Hitler sentiments, it ought to be roundly condemned by all. Yet some astoundingly horribly way it isn’t. If this is not fixed, it will lead to consequences, very bad ones that nobody should have to be the victim of.

    • #2582

      Hi Axel,

      Wow! I love how well you weave the Bible into your description. I believe a better understanding of the Bible will give us a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think the Old Testament, especially, is helpful. As Christians learning about the Jewish people, we share so much! We share the five books of Moses, the writings, and the prophets. It was cool that I could watch the movie, The Prince of Egypt, with a Jewish friend of mine, because we both wholeheartedly believed in the same biblical account.

    • #2151
      Michael Caplan
      Participant

      Dylan,

      Likewise I have been dismayed learning about the correlation between ascendant Zionism and rising Christian antisemitism in Europe during the latter part of the 19th century. Following from what you stated, it is even more remarkable that after the horror of the Shoah the international community did not rally to support the fledgling Jewish state but rather was awash with indifference or outright hostility. Having this in mind definitely puts into perspective the importance of Christian engagement in the Near East and support for our Hebraic brothers and sisters.

    • #2152
      Michael Caplan
      Participant

      Sarah,

      I am glad you mentioned the duty for Christians to respond to the various forms of antisemitism today. We cannot stand idly by as groups seek to launch Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) campaigns against Israel to isolate it on the world stage or as acts of violence against synagogues and Jewish centers increase in Europe and the U.S. Every Christian today should examine how they can combat displays of antisemitism, sometimes perhaps even sadly within their homes and communities.

    • #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.

    • #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.

    • #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

    • #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.

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