May 21, 2021

Antisemitism must be met with a strong Judeo-Christian alliance - opinion

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by Irit Tratt

Incidentally, strengthening the Judeo-Christian alliance begins in school.

The recent spate of antisemitic attacks in New York is a sobering reminder of why the Judeo-Christian relationship must be strengthened rather than squandered. Darryl Jones, with 12 prior convictions including attempted murder, was released on parole when he knifed members of a Jewish family visiting Manhattan last March.

Less than a month later, Shokhobiddin Bakhritdinovan was arrested after he deliberately reversed his minivan and hit a group of hassidim in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Most recently, seven incidents of vandalism against Jewish synagogues have occurred in the Bronx. And while the Jewish population in America stands at just under 2.2%, the FBI’s latest hate crime statistics documented that approximately 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes targeted Jews.

Evangelical Christians are among the strongest domestic defenders of the Jewish people. Pastor John Hagee, founder and director of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) regards antisemitism as an “evil darkness” that both Christians and Jews must come together “to fight until it is destroyed.” To date, CUFI has recruited 4,000 students on US college campuses and sponsored trips to Israel for over 1,000 pastors. CUFI’s 2019 “Night To Honor Israel” summit drew more than 5,000 supporters and raised $1.35 million for Israeli and Jewish charities.

The authenticity of their support is evidenced by a lack of political posturing in their advocacy. CUFI propelled the bipartisan passage of the Never Again Education Act, which was signed into law last year. And in February, the Christians United For Israel Action Fund issued a press release calling for GOP leaders to repudiate Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene following her comments trafficking in antisemitic conspiracy theories.

The Philos Project is another organization critical to deepening Judeo-Christian bonds through its engagement and education. The group’s Christian Advocacy and Leadership Program provides opportunities for cross-cultural cooperation between Arabs, Jews and Christians while their #WeResolve campaign empowers “individuals, churches and organizations to take tangible action in confronting antisemitism in the world.” In a 2019 op-ed, founder and director Robert Nicholson called upon all Christians to “lead the fight against antisemitism.”

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that Israel has “no better friends than Christians,” there exists what the late Jewish political pundit Charles Krauthammer described as a lack of enthusiasm for our Evangelical friends. Various eschatological interpretations of conversion and apocalyptic prophecies are often cited as justification for said uneasiness.

This theological narrative is propagated by a mainstream media and left-leaning politicians whose commitment to liberal secularism often depict Christians as unenlightened and prone to “Neanderthal thinking.” According to a 2017 survey cited by Jarvis Best, the fulfillment of prophecy as the motivating factor behind Christian support for the State of Israel is shared by only 12% of Evangelicals.

KRAUTHAMMER’S ASSERTIONS are given heft by those who believe that combating antisemitism is best achieved by consorting with detractors rather than aligning with friends. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), a supporter of the Antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was a featured panelist in December at a webinar on antisemitism that was hosted by left-wing Jewish groups.

In a recently deleted tweet, Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) alleged that the Netanyahu government was failing to vaccinate Palestinians.

His tweet went on to state that “this cruelty is another reminder of why the occupation must end.” Bowman was then invited to address hundreds of students at a NY Jewish high school and subsequent to his appearance, the congressman cosponsored House bill HR 2590 which seeks to restrict and condition US assistance to Israel. It bears mentioning that the latest incidents of vandalism in New York occurred in Bowman’s district. And last year, while speaking to another group of Jewish high school students, NYC mayoral candidate Dianne Morales referred to Israel as an apartheid state.

While promoting kindness and tolerance is a noble endeavor, would these establishments welcome former pro-Israel secretary of state Mike Pompeo who consistently affirms his “Evangelical faith informs him about the way he thinks about the world?” What about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)? Would these institutions open their doors for a senator whose decades of service include fighting for passage of the Taylor Force Act, and whose efforts are now dedicated to stopping its subversion by the Biden administration? As a parent of children who attend Jewish day schools, I can tell you the answer is not clear.

Incidentally, strengthening the Judeo-Christian alliance begins in school. Jewish and Christian parents should work on cultivating new opportunities for our youth to learn together both inside and outside of the classroom.

A poll conducted by the American Jewish Committee reveals that 43% of Jewish 18-29-year-olds personally experienced antisemitism on campus or know someone who has. Comprising a minority percentage relative to the overall university population, Jewish students remain better equipped to combat campus antisemitism by partnering with Christian classmates rather than with the woke and trendy Left, where Jewish hatred has gained a foothold and is growing in popularity.

That antisemitic events in New York should coincide with a French court’s decision not to hold the murderer of 65-year-old Sarah Halimi criminally responsible for her death is a frightening irony. While thousands of French citizens have protested the ruling, their efforts may prove futile in quelling the permeation of their country’s antisemitism.

In the United States, Evangelical Christians are indispensable allies to the Jewish people. Their uninhibited support is routinely displayed at their conferences, in their churches, and in the halls of Congress. The time has arrived for all of us to stand and applaud them.

The author is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Algemeiner, and Israel Hayom.


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