I read the following on the weblog of Hirschi Ayaan Ali, a famous Dutch woman. In the blog she explains that she had applied for asylum in Holland: “I was granted. The fact that I got asylum gave me the opportunity to study.
I needed to pass three courses: language, civics and history.
It was in this preparatory history course that I, for the first time, heard of the Holocaust. I was 24 years old.
On the day that my half-sister visited me, my head was reeling from what happened to 6 million Jews in Germany, Holland, France and Eastern Europe. I learned that innocent men, women and children were separated from each other. Stars pinned to their shoulders, transported by train to camps, they were gassed for no other reason than for being Jewish.
I saw pictures of masses of skeletons, even of kids. I heard horrifying accounts of some of the people who had survived the terror of Auschwitz and Sobibor. I told my half-sister all this and showed her the pictures in my history book. What she said shocked me more than the awful information in my book. With great conviction my half-sister cried: “It’s a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed nor massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed.” Growing up as a child in Saudi Arabia, I remember my teachers, my mom and our neighbors telling us practically on a daily basis that Jews were evil, the sworn enemies of Muslims whose only goal was to destroy Islam. We were never informed about the Holocaust.”
What is the origin of anti-semitism?
In the Greek-Roman antiquity it almost was absent. Some people like Cicero and Tacitus wrote nasty things but that was all, it was the voice of the conservative, xenophobic circles in Rome, that were afraid of the increasing popularity of Judaism that took the shape of a universal religion more and more.
But it was nothing more than a few incidents. On the contrary Jews were held in great esteem. They were appreciated because of their religion, of which the roots were so old, a sign of truth and reliability, and which was also very ethical. Some thought that the Jewish people were a nation of philosophers and legislators. Some thought that Moses laid the foundation of Sparta. The synagogues were full of people who were attracted by the Jewish religion, the so-called God-fearers.
That changes in Alexandria, the large hellenistic metropole, where hundreds of thousands Jews live. Alexandria hates Rome, especially after the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra. The hatred of the Greeks and the Egyptians against Rome finds its way out by attacking the protege of Rome.
One accuses that the Jews have caught a Greek young man and fattened him for a year and than sacrificed him to their God and ate his entrails. The message is clear: This is bestial behaviour, the Jews are an inferior people and it is right that they are persecuted and being killed. They are a plague for every right-thinking human being. It is the first account of the so-called blood fairytale that later on will turn up in the church everywhere and anytime nowadays in the Arabic world.
The argument that the anti-Semitism of the church is just a heritage from the Roman-Hellenistic world is not defendable. It is no more than an attempt to diminish the guilt of the church.
The Anti-Semitism of the Church
Within the church the roots of anti-semitism are different. It has to do with rivalry, competition. The young church had to deal with two severe attacks.
On the one hand there was Gnosticism, the docetism from the Greek world: The Greeks said: Jesus …was actually not a real human being, he only appeared in a human shape.
On the other side there was the attack of Judaism. The Jews told the gentile Christians: If you really want to be a full member of God’s elected people, you need more. You need circumcision, observing the dietary laws, Sabbath. Everything. That was really a threat for the young church, because in this way the law would function not as a gift of grace but as a necessary way to redemption and would diminish the importance and unity of Jesus.
You can say that the church repelled the pressure from Judaism with a great portion of docetism: They began to teach: But it is not about the body, but about the spirit, not about Jerusalem, the land, a people and the earth, it is about heaven and the soul and our spiritual life. Salvation is not material, but spiritual. (1 Cor.15: We receive a spiritual body. What does that look like, a ghost? No, it is a new body made by the Holy Spirit, the power of God)
And there was something else:
- Jews and Christians were fishing the same fishing pond.
- And, very important in those days: Christianity was a newcomer on the religious market and could only uphold/maintain itself if she could prove that in fact she was very old and was actually Judaism in a new and better form.
Especially after the Jewish Revolt of 132-135 C.E., the church presents herself to the same public as the new Israel, with the attractive part of Judaism: the morality, the scriptures, the age, her monotheism; and without the offensive: the autonomy of the land, the dietary laws, circumcision and her strong identity as an exclusive nation.
More and more we discover that the top of the church was so sharp against the Jews, because the Jews had apparently still an enormous attractiveness towards Christians. The fact is that in Caesarea and probably also in other cities, like Rome, Christians observed Sabbath and the feast of tabernacles together with their Jewish neighbours.
In fact there were a lot of different streams in Christianity and some of them were closely connected to Judaism and they came very close to the way Jesus believed with his observance of the Law. When you study, for example, the so-called Pseudo-Clementines, the epistle of Peter, the sermons of Peter you can see a very Jewish form of Christianity.
After Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire under the emperor Constantine at the beginning of the fourth century, the theological anti-Judaism led to severe and strong measures, the emperor wanted unity and uniformity. That would separate the church totally from the synagogue. There was no place anymore for Jewish-Christian streams or groups. Within a year a huge council was held in Nicea with the proclamation of the true and only faith of the Church. When you wanted to believe in Jesus as a Jew, you had to leave Judaism, leave the laws of your ancestors, abolish your observance of the Sabbath etc. If one accuses Judaism nowadays of the fact that they say that if a Jew believes in Christ, he has left Judaism, one must realize that this was the message of the church for centuries and centuries.
The anti-Jewish laws had to show that the church of Rome was superior. Jews were supposed to be outdated, a people of an old and inferior history, doomed to disappear and it was only very inconvenient that Judaism had not disappeared and was still very vital and still very much alive.
In the fourth century A.D. a debate emerged about the question if one should kill all the Jews or that one should let them live as a living example of the truth of the church.
But the real reason of that discussion and all those measures was that the church did not conquer Judaism at all.
Luther (and we have arrived suddenly in the late middle ages), writes a most horrifying anti-Jewish scripture: About the Jews and their lies: 1543: In the beginning the reformer is still mild, he hopes that the Jews will follow him now he exposes the failures of the church. But if they refuse to do so, he becomes very sharp and then you get frightened at the stereotypes that in the meantime have come alive and that he strengthens. ‘Jews are bloodthirsty They are objects of the wrath of God They are revengeful, stingy, if one encounters a Jew alive and well, one must quickly cross oneself, because the devil himself stands before you.
The anti-Judaism and the anti-Semitism
The anti-Judaism and the anti-Semitism proceeds, enlightenment or not, it has poisoned the spirit and the mind of Europe. At the end of the nineteenth century the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion are published, actually written by the Russian secret service of the Tzar, in which the Jews reveal that they conspire against humanity with the goal to take possession of the power in the world. It leads to pogroms, countless Jews seek their refuge in the United States and in the promised land, which, it must be told, was certainly not crowded with other inhabitants from times immemorial, but a desolate corner of the Ottoman empire. It didn’t even get a name. It was owned by a few landlords who resided in Cairo and Damascus.
In this way the Christian church was one of the main forces together with the cancerous tumour of the nationalism that formed the breeding ground for the holocaust, that in fact also could have taken place in England or in France. There the vibrant anti-Semitism was not less.
Taking another step. Prof.Hans Jansen, well-known for his book about the theological and clerical roots of anti-Semitism, has made a report of 1500 cartoons published in the last few years in newspapers in the Arabic world and Greece and has made a study with his institute in Brussels of the schoolbooks for teenagers that are used in the territories that are governed by the Palestinian Authority.
1. Israel is not present on any map. 2. Israel has no religious and historical ties with Palestine. 3. Jews are bloodthirsty monsters 4. Jews happen to be unreliable 5. Jews are stingy and greedy 6. Jews conspire against God and against humanity 7. The end of the world will only be reached after the destruction of Israel and the Jewry is completed 8. Everyone who stands up against the Jews gives mankind a benefaction and will be rewarded. This is not Hamas as many expect, this is PA.
With other words the anti-Semitism of the church has been passed on to Islam.
And still for a lot of people in the church it is obvious: The Jews are an inferior people with a wrong religion. Remarkably: She consists of less than 1/1000 of the population of the world, but is good for 28% of the total amount of Nobel prize winners for science, and 27% when it concerns medicine. Add to that record the jeans, the microphone, the traffic light, the telephone and the well-known processors of computers ‘Intel’ that are from Jewish origin or make and you cannot deny that the Jewish people have blessed humankind. In the field of agriculture it has developed drip-irrigation and one of the newest discoveries is the massive raise of the St-Peters fish, the Tilapia which has great significance for third world countries. And on a list of philanthropists the American magazine Newsweek Jews don’t make a poor figure with 44% of the names. At the same time the Jewish state is surrounded by a sea of hatred and in the course of years I cannot mention a people that is more oppressed and persecuted than the Jewish people. 2000 years without land, without a state, without an army with generals, without wars, without colonies to mention and still accused of pursuing the power of the world and of being vermin, a plague for the human race. That can only happen in this sinful and broken world to God’s chosen people.
That brings us anew to the roots of anti-Semitism. First 1. Religious annoyance. In fact the church said: You shouldn’t have been here anymore. That’s what both the church and Islam has said: You are outdated, an anachronism.
The origin of anti-Semitism is jealousy, unconscious jealousy.
God had elected the children of Abram and Isaac and Jacob. He could have chosen the French, The Russians or the Moroccans, the Belgians if you like, but He didn’t. And He is not obliged to discuss or to explain this. He is sovereign in his choices.
He only says: Jeremiah 31:20 ’Ephraim is my dear son, My darling child, For as often as I speak against him, I remember him still. My heart yearns for him.’
That evokes envy, aversion among the rest. Israel is the sweetheart of the schoolteacher and so the rest of the world again and again has the tendency to treat Israel as the pariah of the world, as something that cannot do anything right, an obstacle for world peace.
And when you read history, you see an immense row of empires and nations that ignore, or hate and oppress Israel: Egypt, Amalek, the Philistines, Moab and Ammon and Edom, Syria, Nineveh and Babylon, Persia and Greece, Rome and Europe and Nazi-Germany and the world of Islam. And Israel survives them all and they know that and if they don’t know, they feel it and if they don’t feel it, the spiritual powers, angels behind those nations do. Because behind Israel is the one and only God of the Universe, the God of Israel.
Anti-Semitism is irrational
Why can’t we talk quietly about Israel and about the Jews just as we can speak about Iran or North Korea or Afghanistan? When I begin to speak about the Taliban during a nice birthday visit everyone is interested, but you’d better be silent about the Jews. Why is Israel accused of disproportional violence? I tell you: The day when the Lord comes with the army of his heavenly warriors, that will be disproportional. Read, Ps.108, 109. Ez.38…
Why is Israel then accused of conspiring, of pursuing world power? Because that is the truth! And the powers of darkness know it! I saw them walking during the Gaza-Operation, the crowd, like a pack of hounds, marching through the streets of the capital city of the north, marching and screaming against the Jews, like the SA in the thirties.
Spirit of evil
And why so irrational, so disproportional? Because there was another spirit in them, a spirit of evil, a spirit who knows how late it is on the clock of the History of Salvation. When the Lord gathers the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and brings them back from the exile, when Jerusalem, the eternal city is restored and rebuilt, then the days of God taking over the power of the world are so near. These are the days of Noah, these are the days of Lot, these are the days that every knee will bow before the Lord and his Messiah, these are the days in which the Satan, the old Snake will be bound for 1000 years,
But the biggest point of all is this: Anti-Semitism is a secret rebellion, resistance against God Himself. Psalm 2 declares loudly…It is not against you, Israel, not against you my people, but against me and My Messiah. The nations and the powers behind those nations resist the coming of the Kingdom. No doubt you can tell me what places, what areas are the main issue in the conflict in the Middle-East. It is not Haifa, it is not Ashkelon, it is not Tel Aviv in the first place. It is all about Jerusalem The place of the temple The Mount of Olives, where the feet of the Messiah will stand on that day. It is about Hebron, the burial place of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, about Elon Moreh, where Abraham entered the land, about Gilgal where the nation of Israel entered the land, about Shiloh the place of the tabernacle for 400 years. It is about the mountains of Israel, the area with an enormous prophetic significance. It is the region Caleb and Joshua received, the only two spies who didn’t believe in politics but in the promises of God.
The return of the Jewish people
The return of the Jewish people means indeed, only in the most wonderful and beautiful manner that Jerusalem will gain the power of the world. The coming of our Messiah, the King of Israel means the end of the United Nations, the end of a unified Europe, the end of Islam, the end of whoever and whatever has power in this world.
Of course, nobody can touch God, what you can do is touch His protégé. At least it seems to be so. But the Lord said: Who curses you, I will curse. At the end anti-Semitism is a certain way to self destruction. But there is another way too. He who lives through the spirit of Jesus, receives in his soul, in his mind the love of Christ for Israel. There is no other way. If you live with the King of the Jews, sooner or later the love for Israel will enter your heart. Amen.