The Hate That Won’t Die
People talk about tolerance these days. But there’s an evil that should not be tolerated, and it goes back thousands of years.
A friend of mine told me a story recently that I think you’ll appreciate. A few years ago, her daughter Andi attended an event at Disney World that called for audience participation. The emcee picked three women in their 20s to stand up. The first question he asked was where they were from. With great hesitation, they answered, “Israel.”
After the show, Andi waited outside to speak to them and excitedly asked, “Are you really from Israel?”
Hesitantly, they said yes, whereupon Andi burst out, “I love Israel!” The Israelis were shocked. Seldom in their young lives had they encountered people who love the Jewish state. They told Andi they were afraid to say where they were from because “the world hates us.”
Sad to say, they probably are right. Anti-Semitism is widespread. David Bar-Ilan, who died in 2003 after serving as executive director of The Jerusalem Post and then spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government from 1996 to 1999, once said, “Israel itself has become the world’s Jew.”
According to a 2014 Anti-Defamation League (ADL) survey of more than 53,000 people in 102 countries, anti-Semitism saturates the Middle East. The numbers are staggering: 93 percent of the people in the West Bank and Gaza hate Jews; 92 percent in Iraq; 88 percent in Yemen; 87 percent in Libya; 86 percent in Tunisia; 82 percent in Kuwait; 81 percent in Bahrain; 81 percent in Jordan; and 80 percent in Morocco, despite the fact 70 percent of those surveyed never met a Jewish person.
These statistics explain, in part, why so much violence and hatred are directed toward Israel. Hundreds of Hamas rockets strike the country regularly. Since 2005, Hamas has fired more than 20,000 projectiles into Israel. Suicide bombs, car and bus bombs, incendiary kites, weaponized cars—all these devices and more are used to terrorize the Jewish state. Worse yet, many Muslim countries have institutionalized anti-Semitic propaganda in their education curricula, ensuring new generations of Jew-haters in the future.
Outside the United States
Anti-Semitism is not a recent phenomenon. As early as the book of Esther, Haman, the anti-Semitic Agagite, manipulated Persian King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) to order the annihilation of world Jewry. Haman, of course, failed to achieve his objective; and Jewish people consequently celebrate the festival of Purim.
In 165 BC, Mattathias Maccabeus and his family saved the Jewish people from both death and forced assimilation by defeating the anti-Semite Antiochus Epiphanes. That victory led to the festival of Hanukkah.
As time passed and the Jewish people were dispersed from their land, they became victims of the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms, and the Holocaust. Millions were murdered.
The ADL survey suggests 1.09 billion people in the world are anti-Semitic. Here is a minute sampling of what happened in 2018 alone:
→In March in Paris, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was murdered in her apartment because she was Jewish.
→In August, in the Russian village of Lyubavichi, the cradle of the Chabad Hasidic movement, someone scrawled “Jews out of Russia, our land” on the wall of a Jewish center.
→In the same month in Romania, the home of the late Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate, was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti that read, “in hell with Hitler.”
→In September in Paris, graffiti reading “Jewish scum live here” was sprayed on an apartment building.
→In October in Nice, France, four Jewish boys were beaten because one of them was wearing a Star of David pendant.
→The new bestseller in the Netherlands is Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
In the Goldene Medina
Sadly, none of this news surprises me. I was born in America because of the anti-Semitic pogroms in Eastern Europe. All four of my grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century because they knew the Goldene Medina (Yiddish for “golden land,” referring to America) would give them hope in a country where they did not have to be afraid of being persecuted and killed for being Jewish.
Little did they know the Goldene Medina—the safe haven they enjoyed and that my father, a World War II veteran, fought to defend—would become more and more anti-Semitic in the 21st century. Today Jewish people have good reason to be concerned. The ADL reported a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, Jewish people were the victims of more than half of all the hate crimes against religious minorities in America. When the figures are tabulated for 2018, the number of incidents will probably be higher. Here are but a few of the things that took place:
→In September, in Marlboro, New Jersey, anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted on a tree and roadway stop line around the Jewish center.
→In September, the home of a supporter of Jewish Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) was vandalized with a swastika.
→On two consecutive days in October, separate attacks took place against two Orthodox Jewish men in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Both men were beaten.
→In Cherry Hill, New Jersey, anti-Semitic flyers containing offensive language and displaying the emblem of the Ku Klux Klan were placed on the lawns of 30 homes.
→In a speech given in October to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March, Louis Farrakhan, former leader of the Nation of Islam, spoke directly to the Jewish community: “To the members of the Jewish community that don’t like me, thank you very much for putting my name all over the planet because of your fear of what we represent. I can go anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Farrakhan. Thank you very much.” Farrakhan continued, “I’m not mad at you because you’re so stupid. So when they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, you do what they do, call me an anti-Semite. Stop it, I’m anti-Termite.”
The Online Cesspool
The Internet is a cesspool of anti-Semitic activity. A study by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) found that more than 382,000 anti-Semitic comments were posted to social-media platforms in 2016—an average of more than 43.6 posts per hour, or one post every 83 seconds.
The WJC survey also determined that an overwhelming 63 percent of all anti-Semitic content online can be found on Twitter. WJC CEO Robert Singer said, “We knew that anti-
Semitism online was on the rise, but the numbers revealed in this report give us concrete data as to how alarming the situation really is.”
That alarm sounded loud and clear in October in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when Robert Bowers walked into Tree of Life Synagogue shouting, “All Jews must die!” and murdered 11 Jewish worshipers in what has been called the worst anti-Semitic act in American history.
Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire and an observant Jewish man wrote, “America is the most tolerant and accepting and loving country the Jews have experienced, outside of Israel, in the long span of recorded time. But the curse of anti-Semitism never leaves the Jews.”
Shapiro is right. Anti-Semitism never leaves, but neither does the opportunity to love Jewish people. As Christians, we know they are God’s Chosen People (Dt. 7:6) and the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8). That is why Andi waited after the Disney show for the three Israeli women. She wanted them to know she loved Israel and that she loved them.
Love for Israel and the Jewish people should characterize all believers in Jesus. It motivated those of you who gave to our Friends of Israel Holocaust Survivors Fund. As a result of your gifts, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey has $5,000 more to provide emergency medical needs and support for elderly Jewish people who suffered so much in the past.
God says in His Word He loves the Jewish people “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). They need to know that, and they need to know you love them too.