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An Ancient Hatred in Modern Times

November 4, 2021
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A bridge in Tennessee, USA

Humanity should have learned its lesson—after the Crusades, the pogroms and most definitely after the Holocaust. Yet here we are: a so-called progressive society crediting itself with tolerance and respect for human rights, still battling the most ancient of hatreds—anti-Semitism—in modern times.

Sadly, the hallmarks of 2021 include a shocking surge in anti-Semitism sweeping the nations. To a large extent, the uptick can be ascribed to libels, hype and propaganda surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and Operation Guardian of the Walls, 11 days of nearly uninterrupted volleys of Hamas rockets raining down on Israeli civilians and the Israel Defense Forces’ retaliatory efforts to protect its people from the deadly attack. Yet these two factors were merely the catalyst, the stimulus that brought what simmered below to the surface.

Yes, 2021 will be remembered for a bevy of anti-Semitic attacks and a slew of violent protests, but if history is a pretext for things to come, the ancient hatred may very well follow us into 2022 and beyond. And just like Mordechai exhorted his young niece Esther to speak out against the oppression of the Jewish people (Esther 4:14), now is not the time for Bible-believing Christians to be silent.

Never Again?

An anti-Israel Protest in Sydney, Australia

“Even 75 years after the end of World War II, it is a tragic reality that anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past. This venom still exists, right in the midst of our societies…This isn’t a fight between anti-Semites and Jews. This fight is between anti-Semites and anyone who believes in the values of equality, justice and liberty.”
—Alexander Schallenberg, Austrian foreign minister

“Our country, and for that matter all of Europe and most Western democracies, seems to be facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II.”
—Emmanuel Macron, French president

“Assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews remain at near-historic levels in the US.”
—Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

“As Jewish groups have been warning, anti-Semitism is on the rise again in Europe. In recent years, Jews in many European countries have reported an increase in hate incidents and say they feel increasingly unsafe. Synagogues have been attacked. Jewish cemeteries desecrated. Jewish children bullied in school for their faith.”
—Human Rights Watch

“We cannot remain silent in the wake of the recent anti-Semitic attacks in cities and towns across the country. We know firsthand the danger of unchecked anti-Semitism. It is deeply painful for us to see our personal history—the systematic destruction of our families and communities and murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children—exploited in this way.”— 51 Holocaust survivors in an open letter to American leaders and citizens amid a spike in anti-Semitic incidents

“It’s the oldest hatred, but its resurgence signals a wider disturbance in society’s soul…There’s something especially unsettling about the newest eruption of the oldest hatred.”
—Gerard Baker in “The Rise of Woke Anti-Semitism”

“We should not leave. But maybe for our children or grandchildren there will be no choice.”
—Alain Finkielkraut, French philosopher and son of Holocaust survivors, upon being asked whether Europe had once again become inhospitable for Jews

It’s time to face the truth: There is no place for Jews in Europe, or at least no safe place for them, including in Germany.” Jews can either leave or “spend the rest of their lives in a gated community, being protected by the state.”
— Henryk Broder, German–Jewish journalist

Anti-Semitism and COVID-19

An anti-Semitic social media post…

COVID-19 “had continued to contribute to anti-Semitic, racist, and xenophobic hate speech, conspiracies, and public rhetoric.”
—Tendayi Achiume, UN Human Rights Council special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism

“The rising rates of anti-Semitic sentiment are expected to lead to a significant increase in violence against Jews and Jewish sites in 2021. This is expected to challenge communities around the world, especially the American Jewish community….Throughout history, the Jewish people have served as an easy scapegoat for the world’s illnesses. Anti-Semitic sentiment has unfortunately been on display during the current pandemic.”
—Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry annual report

“It is sad, but not surprising, that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered yet another eruption of this poisonous ideology. We can never let down our guard…There is no vaccine for anti-Semitism and xenophobia. But our best weapon remains the truth.”
— António Guterres, UN secretary-general

Anti-Semitism and the Israel–Gaza Conflict

“Every time the virus of anti-Semitism reenters our society, it masks itself as social justice.”
—Robert Jenrick, British politician

“During the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza…and in the immediate aftermath, anti-Semitic incidents in the US more than doubled compared to the same time period last year. The ADL recorded 251 incidents…from May 11 to May 31—a 115% jump from the same period in 2020…”
—ABC News

“As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate…It’s happening around the world— from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform. To those who choose to indulge in age-old anti-Semitic tropes, exaggerated claims, and inflammatory rhetoric, it has consequences: attacks in real life on real people targeted for no other reason than they are Jewish. This is anti-Semitism, plain and simple.”
—Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO

“We fear that the way the conflict has been used to amplify anti-Semitic rhetoric, embolden dangerous actors and attack Jews and Jewish communities will have ramifications far beyond these past two weeks.”
—A letter of concern penned by the ADL, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Federation of North America, Orthodox Union and Hadassah to President Joe Biden

“The anti-Semitism we’re seeing across our country isn’t in isolation and isn’t just a few incidents. It’s part of a horrible and consistent pattern. History teaches us we ignore that pattern at our own peril.”
—Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City

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