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Anti-Semitism: The New Face of a Primitive Hatred

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Jonathan Bernis discusses the issue of anti-Semitism and offers insight on why it seems to be escalating, even in educated and technologically advanced societies.

Sit down with Márton Gyöngyösi, the highly educated, well-spoken leader of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party and you’ll see the clean-cut, sophisticated face of 21st-century European fascism.  “The most frightening thing about him is that he does not look the least bit like a neo-Nazi,” remarked one commentator. And yet it is Gyöngyösi’s own Jobbik party—the third largest in Hungary—that has not only unabashedly allied itself with The Islamic Republic (while calling itself a “radically patriotic Christian party”), but recently the party called for lists of prominent Jews to be drawn up in order to “protect national security.” 

The resurgence of such an overtly anti-Semitic party in a European country is evidence of a much larger global trend: The rapid rise of anti-Semitism. The conclusions of a March 2012 report produced by the Anti Defamation League (ADL) are chilling: Since 2009, the levels of anti-Semitic attitudes throughout Europe have increased by upwards of 70 percent in countries like Hungary and the UK. This percentage is higher than it’s been since World War II.

Ironically, while anti-Semitism has become acceptable in Europe, at the same time, it has become taboo to criticize Islam—even as Islamic terrorism menaces Europe. According to a 2012 FBI report, here in America, out of the 1,318 religiously motivated incidences that were reported in 2011, 62.2 percent were targeted toward Jewish People. Compare this to the 13.3 percent that were anti-Islam motivated. 

Another disturbing trend is where anti-Semitic incidences are now taking place: our colleges and universities. A recent study by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research reveals that since January 2012, 40 percent of Jewish American college students report that they have witnessed or experienced more than 100 anti-Semitic on-campus incidents—including graffiti, vandalism, hate speeches, and violence.

Anti-Semitism, of course, is nothing new. Besides the more recent Holocaust of Nazi Germany, there were other holocausts throughout history: Egypt during 400 years of slavery; the planned destruction of the Jews by Haman as told in the book of Esther; the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles; Herod's edict at the time of Yeshua’s birth to kill all Jewish male children; the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. . . .  the list goes on.

The question is: Why? What could cause such unreasoning hatred, vitriolic rhetoric, and acts of despicable violence . . . including mass near-extermination? And why, even in educated and technologically advanced societies, does such irrational hatred seem to be escalating? The reality is that although anti-Semitism has taken on a more veiled form in the 21st century, it’s still a “primitive hatred” . . . as old as Satan himself. And with good reason: Satan hates God; he hates God’s Word, he hates God’s plan, and he hates God’s People. He knows that the restoration of the Jewish People plays a central role in the return of the Messiah to this earth—and Satan’s ultimate destruction (Genesis 3:15).

This leads us to another thinly disguised form of anti-Semitism: anti-Zionism. Martin Luther King, who knew a little something about discrimination and persecution, once said, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism.”

I believe anti-Zionism is really the neo-anti-Semitism of our day and is as dangerous a threat as Nazism was to the Jewish People in the 1930s and 1940s.

Dennis Prager, a radio host and political commentator states in his book Why the Jews: “The contention that anti-Zionists are not enemies of Jews, despite the advocacy of policies that would lead to the mass murder of Jews, is, to put it as generously as possible, disingenuous. If anti-Zionism realized its goal, another Jewish holocaust would take place . . . therefore attempts to draw distinctions between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are simply meant to fool the naïve.”

But as important as it is to stress the obvious symbiotic relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, there’s an even more subtle form of anti-Semitism.  And it’s alive and well in the Church today.

This form of anti-Semitism has nothing to do with the Land of Israel or blatant hatred against the Jewish People. Rather it has to do with the salvation of Jewish People. The fact that God’s covenant Land, Israel, is populated with anywhere from 96-99 percent of Jewish People who do not believe that Yeshua was—and is—the Messiah should be of deep concern for every Believer. Jewish People everywhere need to know that Yeshua is their promised Messiah.

Yet even though the Bible tells us that we are to proclaim the Good News to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16), unfortunately, Church history has shown that the Jewish People have been the most “unreached people group” in the world! This is despite the fact that it was the Jewish People who brought forth a Jewish Messiah to the whole world.  All 12 of Yeshua’s disciples were Jewish, as well as the first 3,000 Believers.  God’s Word even tells us “. . . for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). 

Consider this: If Paul, an apostle to the Gentiles by God’s design, was willing to give up his own eternal salvation in order to see his Jewish brethren saved, shouldn’t we demonstrate at least a modicum of that commitment?

How will you respond to anti-Semitism . . . in whatever form it takes? Are you committed to stand with Israel and the Jewish People as things intensify? Will you speak out against anti-Semitism wherever you encounter it? Will you be faithful to pray, preach, and demonstrate the message of salvation ‘to the Jew first’—in season and out of season—so that God’s Chosen People will open their hearts and believe in Yeshua HaMashiach . . . their long-awaited Messiah?

If so, then rejoice, for great will be your reward in Heaven for God has promised that “He who blesses Israel will himself be blessed.” 

 

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