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November 2021 – In the aftermath of the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews were murdered by the Hitler regime, the expression of antisemitic views became widely regarded as taboo. Still today, people largely shy away from expressing what might come across as racist views against the Jewish people. Instead, the label of antisemitic or Nazi is readily thrown about as an attempt to discredit one’s opposing social or political views. At a glance, it seems everyone in modern culture is eager to avoid being categorized as antisemitic.
It rears its ugly head
Is it an issue today? Is antisemitism again releasing its poisonous hatred into a culture that affirms it? Consider the following.
On October 27, 2018, a White supremacist killed 11 people and wounded 6 in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, synagogue shooting – cited as the deadliest attack on Jews in the United States.
On April 27, 2019, a self-professing Christian man killed one person and injured three in a synagogue shooting in Poway, California.
In December 2019, in Jersey City, New Jersey, a Black man and his girlfriend killed three people in a shooting at a kosher grocery store.
As recently as July 2021, a Boston rabbi was stabbed eight times by a Muslim from Egypt.
These violent attacks describe just a few of the antisemitic crimes carried out against Jews in recent years.
According to The State of Antisemitism in America 2020, a report published by the American Jewish Committee (ajc.org), 88% of American Jews perceive antisemitism as a problem in the U. S., and 82% say it has increased in the past five years. Overall, Jews have a much higher perception of antisemitism than the general American public, only 39% of whom believe antisemitism is an increasing problem over the past five years.
Other reports confirm the increase of crimes against Jews. In 2019 acts of antisemitism reached record levels in the nation. FBI data released in 2021 listed Jews as the top target of hate crimes based on religion.
Dr. Michael Brown, host on American Family Radio (AFR) and himself a Messianic Jew, confirms the rising tide. In 2019 he began observing more evidence of antisemitism, documented in his book Christian Antisemitism released earlier this year.
The attacks are mainly broadcast from these major sources: Islam, and the far-left and the far-right wings of the political spectrum.
“With a rising right-wing radicalism and left-wing radicalism, each of these sides tends to be antisemitic,” he told AFA Journal. “It’s quite an irony that what Black supremacists and White supremacists have in common is hatred of the Jews.”
Aaron Fruh – also a Messianic Jew, pastor, author, and AFR host – told AFAJ that on a political level, antisemitism is driven by a falsely rooted concept of social justice. The modern state of Israel is wrongly cast as a human rights violator and oppressor of the Palestinian people, when in fact Palestinians are given full rights within the state of Israel, including serving on the Knesset (the equivalent of the U.S. Congress), serving in the army, and having citizenship.
“What’s driving antisemitism is the social justice movement,” Fruh said. “The world is saying the Jews need to be cast out of Israel because they’re violating human rights of the Palestinians. What people say is, ‘We’re not against Jews, we’re against the Jewish state.’”
While despising people based on race, religion, or nationality is largely seen as inappropriate in America, it is deemed justifiable to oppose the alleged oppression by another people – the Jews – and thus permissible to react boldly, even violently, against the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
In the church
An even more disturbing reality is antisemitism lurking within the Christian church. Antisemitism in the form of replacement theology, the view that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan of salvation, began to creep into Christian thought with some of the earliest church fathers, but receded in the years following the Holocaust.
“Replacement theology has made a full recovery and is held again in many parts of the church,” Brown said. “What that means is the promises God gave to Israel in the Old Testament are spiritually applied to the church in the New Testament. There are now [supposedly] no national promises that remain for Israel, and Israel can be demonized and rejected.”
The two offenders – politics and Christian faith – are tied together, with political bias sadly influencing the Christian theology taught in many churches.
“Today many of the mainline denominations have embraced the issue of Israel as a human rights violator and the issue of social justice for the Palestinian people,” Fruh added. “And so they reject Israel based on those components as well as replacement theology.”
In this way, Christians are able to justify hatred of the Jewish people by claiming Christian sensitivity, Brown pointed out.
Defining the poison
Despite all the pontificating, virtue signaling, and finger pointing of modern man, the ancient evil of antisemitism is alive and well. And it does not belong only to a fringe group of social media trolls, religious radicals, or contending politicians. When anti-Israel rhetoric is engrained, backed up by wrong teaching within the church, it may be difficult to recognize in oneself or others.
“There are a few standard canards of antisemitism that can quickly be recognized,” Brown explained:
• First, it will generalize: all Jews are greedy, all Jews want to take over the world, etc.
• Second, it will not only bring fair criticisms against Israel, it will completely delegitimize the nation of Israel and its right to exist; and [it will] demonize the nation with charges of genomics and things like that.
• Third, it will attribute all types of nefarious plans to Jewish people: Jews control the money in the world, Jews control the media, Jews secretly run the world [which lead to] this idea of some level of world domination.
In summary, antisemitism can be defined as an ongoing spiritual warfare against the purposes, the people, and the existence of God.
“The Jews brought the God-given moral law into the world, and for this they’ve never been forgiven,” Fruh said, “because the world despises the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it despises God’s law. The Jews were the ones who recorded God’s law and protected God’s law for the nations, and so they are the obvious target.
“Another reason for antisemitism can be summed up in one word: Messiah. Satan knows from what people – the Jews – springs the One who is going to crush his head and in whom the promises of God will be fulfilled. So Satan has long tried to wipe out the Jewish people.”
Studying the issue
▶ Dr. Michael Brown is host of Line of Fire (thelineoffire.org) radio program on AFR (afr.net), Sundays 2:00-4:00 p.m. CT. He is founder and president of askdrbrown.org, and author of more than 40 books including Christian Antisemitism.
▶ Aaron Fruh, vice president of Israel Team Advocates International (israelteam.org), hosts the podcast Israel and You, heard on AFR Saturdays, 6:30-7:00 p.m. CT. He has authored various books including The Decree of Esther, The Forgotten Blessing, and Two Minute Warning.