“But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there” 2 Chronicles 6:6
Given the centrality of Israel in the Old Testament and in Prophecy I believe Antisemtism is a clear sign of rejecting God. That is why antisemitism follows us in the modern day as an extreme and irrational hatred of Israel today.
Everyone knows that Jerusalem is special. Did you know there is a greater concentration of the world’s news media in Jerusalem than anywhere else in the world but Washington, DC? The conflict between Israel and the surrounding Muslim states is one of the most tense and complex in the world. While there is a lot of room for differences of opinion regarding specific Israeli actions, antisemites will often use that room to peddle new kinds of antisemitic conspiracy theories. But how can we discern between honest opinion and hatred of the Jews?
Former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky found a way to spot what he referred to as “3D Antisemitism”, attempts to Delegitimize or Demonize Israel, through the use of Double Standards.
The former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Per Ahlmark had this to say about the changing nature of antisemitism.
“Compared to most previous anti-Jewish outbreaks, this new antisemitism is often less directed against individual Jews. It attacks primarily the collective Jews, the state of Israel and then such attacks start a chain reaction of assaults on individual Jews and Jewish institutions. In the past the most dangerous anti-Semites were those who wanted to make the world judenrein, free of Jews. Today, the most dangerous antisemites might be those who want to make the world Judenstaatrein, free of a Jewish state.”
Delegitimization is the process of denying the right of Jews to a Homeland while affirming the rights of others to a national home. Following World War One, American President Woodrow Wilson famously declared that each nationality should have the right to self determination rather than facing foreign rule. After suffering in the Holocaust who could say the Jews should not have the right to safety and security? Who could deny them the right to safe harbour?
Yet antisemites will often apply double standards stating that while other nationalities should have the right to a homeland, this right should not be extended to the Jews. Often they will do this by denying Jewish history such as the Holocaust or the ties Jews have with the Land of Israel in clear contradiction of the facts. They will also say that Israel should not exist because it was “colonized” by the Jews while defending the sovereignty of other nations like Canada and the United States which were also founded by those seeking refuge from persecution.
Demonization refers to the way in which Israel is singled out and attacked as especially evil, in a similar manner individual Jews were in the past. Through double standards, Israel is singled out vastly disproportionately and targeted for condemnations and sanctions despite the actions of other nations, often neighboring nations being far more severe. The charges against Israel are often bizarre and the results of an antisemite’s twisted imagination. The Syrian government recently produced and aired the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and accusations of draining gentile blood, poisoning wells and other such accusations abound.
There are many places where this battle is being waged. On college campuses groups like BDS are aggressively spreading misinformation against Israel. In the UN Israel is subjected to intense attacks, form 2006 to 2016 the UN Human Rights Council issued over 50% of its criticisms at Israel more than all other Middle Eastern nations combined. UNESCO, the UN department which monitors world heritage sites has repeatedly denied Jewish history in Jerusalem.
As Christians it is important that we keep a watchful eye on discussions of Israel, and be wary of this new, “3D” Antisemitism.