by Bil Aulenbach

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Am I Anti-Semitic?

According to many Jewish folks, especially the Orthodox Jews, I am anti-Semitic. Interesting!

When I was young, I was anti-Semitic. I called Jewish people bad names and said unkind things about them. I didn’t personally know many Jews. I had a Jewish friend in prep school, but I never called him a bad name. (Strange reasoning!) I wonder if I picked up subtle messages in church about the Jews killing Jesus. If so, I don’t consciously remember such a message.

As a youth, I thought Jesus was a Christian—John the Baptist baptized him, then Jesus started the Christian church. Then I went to seminary and found out that Jesus lived and died a Jew, and the word Christian didn’t exist until several decades after his death.

The foundation stone of Christianity is Judaism. However, this Jewish Jesus is the Christ to Christians. He’s my Christ! How could I be anti-Semitic?

Jesus’s Jewish teachings, his scripture, many of his customs, and his liturgical calendar (how the religious year is designed) are nearly identical to Christian traditions. For example, both the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter are always on or after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

The concept of agape comes from the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, which states that we must love our neighbors as ourselves, whether we like them or not.

I have many Jewish friends, but I don’t like how some members of the Israeli government (I did not say all Jews) treat the Muslim and Christian Palestinian Arabs.

Having read the Oslo and Camp David Accords, I don’t consider Israel to be a country for Jews only. I believe it was intended to be a safe haven and a homeland for Jews and Judaism, but I can’t find anything that says Israel was set up solely for Jews.

My conclusion is that Israel was also intended to be a country for the Palestinian Arabs, who have lived there for centuries, and a mecca for Christians.

That’s not how the Orthodox (or fundamentalist) Jews see it. They think the Holy Land is all theirs. No one else is welcome.

I have a friend living in Israel who converted to Judaism but was told by an Orthodox Jew that she was not a true Jew and was not welcome in the Holy Land.

The Israelis welcome the money from Christian tourists but make it very clear that Israel is not a country for Christians.

The Orthodox Jews seem to be fine with the genocide occurring right in front of them. They encourage taking land from the Palestinian Arabs and withholding permits to build new housing or upgrade old homes. The Orthodox Jews have no problem with encircling Bethlehem with walls twenty-six feet high and making that holy city an open-air prison. The unemployment rate among young Palestinians is in the 40 to 50 percent range because the Israelis make it almost impossible for them to leave their segregated areas. The Israelis commandeer Palestinian homes and force the owners out. When the Palestinians protest, Israeli snipers pick them off—even if the targets include children and reporters.

I could go on and on, but my point is that when I suggest that this is awful behavior, compare it to the Holocaust, and suggest that people of faith, including Jews, need to protest this evil, I am called anti-Semitic.

The Christian church’s silence during Hitler’s regime was deafening. Refusing to take a stand against evil is another form of evil. Speaking out against what some members of the Israeli government are doing is not anti-Semitic but moral.

Your thoughts?

 

Image courtesy of Montecruz Foto (CC BY-SA 2.0)

7 Responses to Am I Anti-Semitic?

  • The Jews hated the holocaust and the Germans for creating I. Interesting that they have now become the evil that they abhor.

  • What is Anti-Semitic mean … when both the Hebrews and Palestinians are both historically semitic? Sem·ite

    noun: Semite; plural noun: Semites: a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs.

    Appears to be like Cain and Abel. What a glorious history.

  • Yes!

  • Excellent article (above). I have sometimes wondered similar things. Recently on Australian TV there was a story about this and it featured two Jews: one was a fundamentalist from Melbourne, Australia, living in Israel; the other a Jewish / Australian lawyer living in Palestine. The former kept saying he was one of the ‘chosen’ people and the land all belonged to Israel and the Israelites. I did think, how do you even begin to have a discussion with such fundamental thinking?

    • Thanks Ailisa. A stack of replies to my blogs were lost…but now found.
      On August 19 our church is starting a series of dialogues with peaceful Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Xns, Muslims about all the things we can do.
      One of the first things is to get rid of Trump and the Trumpers. Then there are divestments and a bunch of Xns who scream about Israel moving their capital (It the Xn as well as Muslim holy place) and finally screaming as loud as we can that Israel is committing genocide right in front of our eyes. We let Hitler get away with it. We can’t let Israel get away with it. (I can’t believe I’m saying that w/the Holocaust still fresh in our minds.) PeaceLoveJoyHope BIl

  • I do not see you as anti-semitic, but rather as an egalitarian who values all people. Some folk will disagree, believing they are superior. Narcissism?

  • Bil,

    I finally had time to reead and study your email! Re Jews: my dad was not an educated man. He went to sales in the 1930s or earlier with GE appliances. Then most refigs and wahsers were sold in the Jewish furniture stores so my Dad’s cusomters were Jews..my Dad was so pround that he was the only gentile ever invited to the lunch round table at the Deshler Wallack hotel for lunch. So I grew up wiht great respect for Jews…His best firend, Jerry Kohn JK – had a pipe with silver JK initials and I ask him to will it to me and he did! My son in law here in AR has it….actually, I was never bias about any race or religion! thank God

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