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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

Antisemitism is mainly a Judeo-Christian Problem

What is antisemitism? Does the answer depend on your political ideology is? Or are there some geopolitical factors that determine the response?

Antisemitism refers to statements, gestures, and actions against Jews as a religious community and Judaism as a religion in a demeaning and humiliating manner. The term did not come into common usage until the 19th century, but it includes previous anti-Jewish incidents. The Rhineland massacres preceding the First Crusade in 1096, the Edict of Expulsion from England in 1290, the 1348–1351 persecution of Jews during the Black Death, the massacres of Spanish Jews in 1391, the persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the Cossack massacres in Ukraine from 1648 to 1657, various anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire between 1821 and 1906, the 1894–1906 Dreyfus affair in France, the Holocaust in German-occupied Europe during World War II, Soviet anti-Jewish policies are examples of antisemitism in the past. Antisemitism was and is mainly a Christian issue. One of the earliest critics of Jewish religious hierarchy was Jesus, a Jew.

The Gospel narrated an incident when Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem, where the courtyard was full of livestock, merchants, and money changers, and said the following.

"And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade." — John 2:13–16

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. — Matthew 21:12–13

The Gospel of John uses the word Jews 71 times in the text and 16 times in synoptic. Jews, in John's views, are on the side of the world who do not believe.

In 3:1-4; 6:52; 7:35; 8:57, he says that the Jews failed to understand Jesus. In 5:16-18; 7:1; 10:31, 39; 11:8, 5, he says that the Jews persecuted Jesus and seek to kill him. In 5:39-40; 7:19; 8:39-44; 10:31-39, he describes the Jews are untrue to their tradition/Torah

In 19:15, John says that the leaders were more faithful to Caesar than to God. In 9:40-41; 11:46-53, he calls the Pharisees blind and false teachers.

In 4:1; 7:32; 8:13; 12:42, he blames the Pharisees for opposing Jesus, and in 12:10; 19:6, 15, 21, John accuses the chief priests of opposing Jesus

Furthermore, in 18:3, 12, 19-24; 19:15-16, he holds the Jew responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Not content with the above description of Jesus, John in 8:44 says: "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Judaism rejects Jesus as a failed Jewish messiah pretender and a false prophet. Judaism also considers the worship of Jesus a form of idolatry, It does not believe that Jesus was divine.

Judaism asserts that Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies by ushering in an era of universal peace (Isaiah 2:4), did not build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26–28), and did not gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5–6).

Jews believe the Messiah will be a direct descendant of King David through Solomon on his father's side and born naturally to a husband and wife (Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23–24).

Jews believe that no Jew accepts Jesus as the Messiah, and someone can't be both Christian and Jewish."

Historically, many Jewish writers and scholars have considered Jesus as the most damaging false prophet.

The most antisemitic sentiments came from Martin Luther, the founder of Protestant Christianity. The Jews & Their Lies is a 65,000-word anti-Judaic and antisemitic treatise written in 1543 by the German Reformation leader Martin Luther (1483–1546)

In the treatise, Martin Luther describes Jews as a "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must is filth".

Luther wrote that they are "full of the devil's feces ... which they wallow in like swine", and the synagogue is an "incorrigible whore and an evil slut".

In the first ten sections, Luther expounds upon his views concerning Jews and Judaism and how these compare to Protestant Christianity. He advises Protestants to carry out seven remedial actions, namely:

  1. to burn down Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them

  2. to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians

  3. to take away Jewish religious writings

  4. to forbid rabbis from preaching

  5. to offer no protection to Jews on highways

  6. to abolish usury for all Jews' and to remove silver and gold from them, put aside for safekeeping, and returned to Jews who truly convert

  7. to give young, strong Jews flail, ax, spade, and spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow

No other religion vilified Judaism and Jews, as did Christianity and Christians.

There is no consensus among Christians on the definition. In 2016, the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, adopted a non-legally binding "working definition" of antisemitism in Bucharest. It states:

"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, expressed as hatred toward Jews. They are Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

IHRA gave the following examples as illustrations:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country is not antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity and blames Jews for "why things go wrong." It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or Jews controlling the media, economy, etc. government or other societal institutions.

  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers), or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

  • Comparing Israel with Nazi Germany.

  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.

Antisemitic acts are criminal if defined by law

Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, school, places of worship, and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Antisemitic discrimination denies Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

The US state department has accepted the IHRA definition as its guidelines. The definition does not make a distinction between Israel as a political entity and Jews as people. It gives the impression that Israel is a legitimate manifestation of Jewish will and any criticism of its policies is an attack on Jews and Judaism.

The pro-Israeli groups in the US take advantage of the vagueness in definition and malign Muslims and Palestinians of antisemitism because of their opposition to the apartheid policies of Israel and its continued occupation. The Muslims and Palestinians are not alone in their criticism of Israel. Thousands of Jews and Christians support their view that the United also endorses through its resolution. But the Zionist groups use the term to divert people's attention from the honest debate on Israel.

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