STANDING AGAINST SURGING ANTISEMITISM
We condemn the antisemitic speech and violence that has escalated during and since Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas. This outpouring of hatred should be a matter of deep concern for people of goodwill regardless of religious or political affiliation. It comes amidst historically high levels of antisemitic hate crimes in the United States, with 2020 marking the third-highest year for hate crimes targeting Jewish people in the US in more than forty years. In June of 2021 alone, antisemitic violence tripled and quadrupled in multiple countries.
Anti-Jewish rhetoric has become fashionable across the left-right divide, infecting political discourse in North and South America, Europe, and across the globe. Lately, anti-Semites use current Israeli policies as a pretext to lash out at Jewish people and Jewish communities throughout the diaspora. The State of Israel (and the Jewish people more generally) have been unfairly smeared with charges of complicity in “apartheid,” “genocide,” and “ethnic cleansing.” These accusations are wholly inaccurate, misleading, and inflammatory. While opposition to Israeli policies is perfectly legitimate, refusing to recognize Israel’s very existence as a refuge, sovereign nation, and historic homeland of the Jewish people only serves to fuel antisemitism worldwide.
Whether or not one supports specific Israeli policies, all people must recognize that antisemitism is not caused by Israel’s behavior, but has deep spiritual and historical roots. The notion of corporate Jewish culpability has been a tool of anti-Semites for millennia, inspiring mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing, including the Crusades, the Inquisition, countless pogroms, terror attacks, and the Holocaust. We note with anguish that the global Jewish population still has not recovered from the horrors of the Holocaust, the Farhud, and other campaigns of mass violence against Jewish people in the 1940s and 1950s.
As representatives of Jewish congregations that honor Yeshua (Jesus) as Israel’s promised Messiah, we also call upon the global Christian community to continue its progress in renouncing antisemitism in all forms, including in its interpretation and teaching of Scripture. We believe that healthy Jewish-Christian dialogue can be a powerful force against antisemitism. We commend Christian groups that have shown humanitarian concern for the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, and we encourage them to express and act upon such concerns in ways that also respect Jewish Israelis as well as Jews around the world.
As Messianic Jews, we view the deep challenges of Israeli-Arab relations in the Middle East with hope. Our own Scriptures portray the complex relationship between Isaac and Ishmael, estranged half-brothers who reunited in their later years. Their story provides hope that peace is still possible, and animates our belief that we will stand together in unity with our Arab cousins at the time of Messiah’s return.