“Let’s burn the Jew!”
No, the words were not taken from the yellowed pages of a Nazi manual on the mass genocide of innocent people. They were shouted in a Canadian school by a 15-year-old student as he shoved a burning lighter into a Jewish girl’s head and set her hair on fire.
As one would expect, the attacker was apprehended, charged with assault with a weapon, pleaded guilty, and was later ordered to appear in Manitoba Provincial Court. Jaws dropped in January, however, when the Winnipeg judge ruled the action was one of teen impulsiveness and not anti-Semitism. The incident was refused the status of a hate crime and was handled as an insignificant case of student impropriety. The bully was sentenced to 18 months supervised probation and ordered to perform 75 hours of community service.
Besides the obvious question (How is saying, “Let’s burn the Jew” not anti-Semitic?), there is a larger question: What type of environment influenced this young man to use such language? The words certainly did not merely pop into his head on their own, which raises the issue of why anti-Semitism is gaining ground on so many fronts.
Wrote journalist Christine Williams,
Today, we ignore a creeping anti-Semitism that singles out Jews unfairly, and targets the state of Israel. In addressing the New Anti-Semitism, Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses how Israel is being singled out by the international community, with over 75% of recent UN resolutions targeting Israel for human rights violations, far more than for more deserving countries such as Sudan, Congo, or Rwanda in which millions have been killed in genocides. In answer to the question, “why is the international community so anti-Israel?” Hanson points to a “new sort of fashionable and socially acceptable anti-Semitism” that looms large.1
Mein Kampf, a Bestseller
To those who remember the manic rampage of Adolf Hitler, which resulted in the massacre of 6 million Jewish people and took the lives of more than 50 million, popularizing the Führer’s rants more than six decades later would seem inconceivable. Yet that is what is happening.
Mein Kampf, Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto on the “Jewish peril,” spells out the formulation of Nazi ideology. It was written from a Munich prison and published in 1925. Later it became enshrined as the “Bible of the Third Reich,” and jackbooted Nazi legions goose-stepped into history as the greatest killing machine the world had ever seen.
Reason would conclude that, with Hitler’s ignominious demise by his own hand in a fetid underground bunker in 1945, Mein Kampf would have been put to rest with its demented author. But in the convoluted world we live in, where right and reason no longer reign, Hitler’s literary legacy is again making waves.
For years it has been a bestseller among Muslims and Palestinians. Now, however, it is enjoying a resurgence in and outside the Muslim world. A new wave of Hitler glorification is washing over Muslims and Arabs in the Netherlands, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Japan, India, and South Korea. Mein Kampf has become an international e-book bestseller. Journalist Chris Faraone at Vocativ.com wrote,
On Amazon there are more than 100 versions of Mein Kampf for sale in every conceivable print and audio format, from antique hardbacks to brand-new paperbacks. Of those 100 iterations, just six are e-books—yet all six of them rank among the 10 best-selling versions over-all. And those are just the ones people are paying for.2
Understandably, scholars are attracted to Mein Kampf as a historically relevant document. But the recent surge of interest transcends scholarship. Some believe people are now thinking that perhaps Hitler may have been right, which translates into fuel for the fire of anti-Semitism.
‘Jew, France Is Not for You!’
January 27 marked the official international observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Representatives from the United States and Europe, along with the entire Israeli Knesset (Parliament), gathered at Auschwitz in Poland where solemn commemorations were held in remembrance of the Holocaust.
In France, however, radical elements gathered for what has been called a “Day of Anger.” What began as a protest against the policies of French President François Hollande quickly turned into a hate fest aimed principally at the Jewish people. An estimated 17,000 protesters began raising their arms in Nazi salutes while chanting, “Jew, France is not for you!”
The demonstration turned viciously anti-Semitic, shocking the French Jewish community and others who remembered when such rhetoric routinely filled the streets as Jews were marched to the deportation trains on their way to extermination camps. In the aftermath of the genocidal bloodbath of the 1930s and ’40s, few would have believed that such hatred would ever surface again. Yet it has.
Some Evangelicals Shift Left
Unfortunately, anti-Jewish sentiment is coming today from a previously unexpected quarter. According to recent reports, a discernible shift is developing among some evangelicals who are becoming anti-Israel and pro-Arab-Palestinian.
Christian writer Robert W. Nicholson wrote in Mosaic magazine, “The sheer strength of this new anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian movement came as something of a shock to me.”3
Peter Wehner, also a Christian who supports Israel, commented,
Mr. Nicholson does an excellent job explaining the rise of pro-Palestinian sentiment among some segments of American evangelicalism. The basis for this movement rests in part on the belief that Israel is a nation whose very founding in 1947 was illegitimate and immoral; since then, it is said, Israel has become an enemy of justice and peace. Authentic Christianity therefore requires one to embrace the pro-Palestinian narrative, or so this line of argument goes. “The bottom line is simply this,” writes Nicholson. “More and more evangelicals are being educated to accept the pro-Palestinian narrative—on the basis of their Christian faith.”4
Though one may question Nicholson’s conclusions, which likely were drawn from mainline denominations loosely called evangelical, there is no question that forces are moving away from both biblical Zionism and support for Israel.
Fabricated, revisionist history and stories about “social injustice” are parroted by Israel-haters in the UN and religious, theological anti-Semites. These lies have made many inroads. Add to them the liberal media, whose overwhelmingly biased news coverage unrelentingly maligns Israel at every turn in an attempt to turn public opinion toward the Arabs.
However, to a greater degree, evangelical opinion is being altered by Replacement Theology (Supersessionism), now taught by militant anti-Zionists who are revered in some evangelical circles. In short, Replacement Theology claims that God has abrogated the biblical mandates that declare His intentions for His Chosen People and has elevated the church to the position of the “true Israel of God.”
The issue actually can be reduced to acknowledgement or denial. Biblical Zionism acknowledges the veracity and continuity of all of God’s affirmations of Israel’s past, present, and future prospects. When, therefore, Scripture asks the rhetorical question, “Has God cast away His people [Israel]?” (Rom. 11:1) and then answers it emphatically with “Certainly not!” (v. 1), the Lord authenticates the entire scope of Old and New Testament promises yet to be resolved.
Supersessionists deny the undeniable. In reality, they call into question the stability of any proclamation of irrevocability or promise of security made in Scripture. If we can disregard or replace the huge volume of promises, plans, and fulfillments ascribed to Israel as “unchanging” and “everlasting,” then no promise of security in God’s Word—including to the church—would be truly secure.
Aiding and Abetting the Haters
Commenting on what he called Nicholson’s “admirable essay,” Lutheran editor-at-large and self-described nonevangelical James Nuechterlein cited the incomprehensibility of siding with the enemies of the Jewish state:
In the present instance, one need not depend on biblical prophecy or covenantal theology to find reasons to support the state of Israel. Israel has the only truly democratic political culture in the Middle East. It is a friend of the West in politics and political economy, and, more important, a consistent and unswerving ally of the United States. It is a regional bulwark against the radical Islamists who are its and America’s sworn enemies. The more I see of the populist Arab spring, the stronger is my commitment to Israel. I support Israel not because I am a Christian—though nothing in my Christian beliefs would preclude that support—but because that support coincides with the requirements of justice and the defense of the American national interest.5
Why are anti-Semitic hatred and unjustified alliance with Palestinian and Islamic rejectionists flourishing in some evangelical, democratic circles? It cannot be, as some claim, because Israel supposedly stole Jerusalem from its legitimate Muslim heirs. The Jewish people and the Old City, with its Temple Mount, have been inseparable since the days of the Jewish patriarchs. Jerusalem is Judaism’s holiest city. On the other hand, the holiest city of Islam is Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
For peace, Israel has sacrificed land: Three quarters of the original Jewish homeland of the British Mandate was given to create Jordan. Although some argue to the contrary, there is already a Palestinian state: Jordan, in which Palestinians constitute a majority of the population.
For years, wars, intifadas, and suicide missions have threatened tiny Israel’s survival. To this day, Palestinian leaders and Arab hardliners promise never to recognize a Jewish state. America’s and Israel’s archenemy, Iran, promises to incinerate Israel as soon as it achieves nuclear capability. Thousands of missiles have rained down on Israeli towns from Gaza, which Israel gave in good faith to the Palestinians in 2005, even though it meant the eviction of 8,000 Jewish residents by their own leaders.
And while Palestinian leaders promise that no Jew will ever set foot in a Palestinian state, the world has no problem forcing a diminished Israel to assimilate millions of hostile “refugees.”
No, it doesn’t make sense. That is, unless you agree that an evil entity is moving throughout the world in a war of conquest, bent on destroying all we have held sacred.
The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa.5:20). Too many people today cannot tell the difference between good and evil, darkness and light. Israel is to be admired and supported as a jewel of freedom and democracy in the sea of chaotic unrest and violence that is now the Middle East. To join those who hate her is an unspeakable betrayal.
- Christine Williams, “‘Let’s Burn the Jew’ is not Anti-Semitic?” Gatestone Institute, January 15, 2014 <gatestoneinstitute.org/ 4131/burn-the-jew-antisemitism>.
- Chris Faraone, “Kindle Führer: ‘Mein Kampf’ Tops Amazon Charts,” January 7, 2014 <tinyurl.com/vocative-com-hitler>.
- Robert W. Nicholson, “Evangelicals and Israel: What American Jews Don’t Want to Know (but Need to),” Mosaic, October 2013 <tinyurl.com/evIsrael>.
- Peter Wehner, “Israel and Evangelical Christians,” Commentary, October 28, 2013 <tinyurl.com/WehnerIsr>.
- James Nuechterlein, “A Nation with the Soul of a Church: Why Americans support Israel,” Mosaic, October 2013 <tinyurl.com/mosaicJNn>.