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As Anti-Israel, so Anti-Jew
Israel - Middle East
Friday, February 06, 2015
Alf Cengia

Hands up all those who have heard that worn out old cliché people are still using, "Just because I speak out against Israel doesn't mean that I'm an anti-Semite, or against Jews." This is one I haven't heard in a while, "I'm not an anti-Semite because Arabs are Semites and I have nothing against them."

So, you like Arabs, but you don't like Jews. You'd be anti-Jewish, then.

Of course you still have the proclamation that the Jews are behind it all. The other week I came across this sentiment in a popular online prophecy group. One person noted that the Antichrist has to be a Jew because they are behind Rome and Islam, and they run the world.

Apparently the Antichrist is running Israel right now. I'm not sure whether the person meant Prime Minister Netanyahu or someone else. Sadder than those assertions was the fact that no one in the several hundred member group saw fit to challenge the individual's outburst. Worse still, one of the administrators actually liked the comment. As mentioned once before, this is a growing trend.

Most of the excuses for anti-Jewish behavior have become somewhat more sophisticated and devious as time goes by. Israel (and Zionism) has become the convenient pretext for the anti-Semite because nobody (normally) wants to be labeled as a hater of any particular ethnic group. So, Israel's "human rights violations" are often touted instead.

Last week anti-Israel protesters interrupted a New York City Council meeting as it discussed the commemoration of the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The leading protester (Jewish BDS activist Pam Sporn) said:

“I’m a Jewish New Yorker. I live in the Bronx, and I do not support so-called progressive City Council members taking a trip to Israel. It is a trip to legitimize the discriminatory practices of Israel."

Here you have one of those inexplicable examples of a Jew attacking Israel, thus providing an outlet for anti-Semitic expression for those who hate Jews. If a Jew is anti-Israel then anti-Israel activism is justified. Yes, Virginia, there really are bigots hiding behind concern for the Palestinians.

Sporn's dogmatic assertions didn't wash with Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn). Unfortunately for her, the councilman had heard the all-too familiar excuses over the last few weeks: "It's not that people don't like Jews, they only dislike Israel." I suspect he'd had enough and his emotions gave way to anger. Of the interruption he declared:

“What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism...That’s what you saw, and that’s what you watched, and that’s what you witnessed – people who were upset for one reason. Do you want to know why they’re upset; do you want to know why they’re angry; do you want to know why they unfurled that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job. He only wiped out half of my family.”

Greenfield is correct regarding these tattered excuses. This is patently obvious in the latest debacle involving anti-Israel activist and English Vicar, Stephen Sizer. During Auschwitz Memorial week, the vicar had put up a post on his Facebook page asking: "Show me evidence Israel wasn’t behind 9/11."

After complaints, The Church of England announced an investigation into the incident on its webpage. On the following day the statement was removed. As it stands, all Sizer's internet activity has been suspended until further notice.

For his part, Sizer admitted that it was "particularly insensitive" of him to raise that issue on that week. He promptly back walked his narrative by declaring:

"I removed the link as soon as I received adverse feedback, and realized that offence had been caused. I have never believed Israel or any other country was complicit in the terrorist atrocity of 9/11, and my sharing of this material was ill-considered and misguided."

There are at least three questions to ask following this fiasco. First and foremost; why would a vicar (who loves touting Matt 5:9) lend credibility to an absurd conspiracy theory by visiting it? Given, Sizer's previous indiscretions, why hasn't his church firmly dealt with him? And, will they release him to business as usual after a token period of discipline? Sadly, I think so.

In truth, Sizer is as Sizer does. It wasn't a simple faux pas and he knows exactly what he's doing. In his 2004 book Christian Zionism on page 251, footnote 170, he linked to a Sunday Herald article which gave voice to Israeli involvement in 9/11.

Then there's the infamous Lausanne affair. The Lausanne Movement is considered to be a leading evangelical movement. It recently featured an article by U.S. World Vision V.P. Steve Haas in its Lausanne Global Analysis. Haas wrote:

“For over 60 years, many evangelicals have clung to a very narrow theological narrative that weds Christian theology with a political ideology known as Zionism."

He compared Christian Zionism to the Spanish Inquisition, Apartheid South Africa and other atrocities. This is because Christian Zionists support Israel, which is a Jewish state. Haas needs to find himself another line of work (or take a long holiday) if he cannot see that Israel is a beacon of virtue compared to its surrounding neighbors.

Greek Orthodox priest Gabriel Naddaf provided an excellent and welcome response:

“The Lausanne Movement attacks the one Jewish state in this world. But it doesn’t question any of the 57 Muslim states. Shamefully, Lausanne voices admiration for Boko Haram. Shamefully, Lausanne is silent on ISIS. Shamefully, today Lausanne sides with terrorism.”

Isn't it about time the church got its act together regarding Israel? Isn't it time these people put theological differences aside and wake up to what is occurring once again? In his February 2015 Newsletter, Mitch Glaser of Chosen People Ministries makes some salient observations:

"Anti-Semitism is the most critical arena of spiritual warfare there is."

And this:

"You see, the only way a Jewish person is going to get beyond the Holocaust, the pogroms and the threat factor of Christianity is through our loving testimony."

He is right. But, as it stands, by consistently demonizing Israel, these self-professing Christians are complicit in feeding global hatred of the Jews and alienating them from the gospel.

What a shame!

About Alf Cengia

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