Since the latter half of the 20th century, the world has seen a steady decline in anti-Semitism… or so many of us thought. But for those who have been paying attention—who have never taken their eyes off of God’s treasured people Israel—we have seen anti-Semitism continue and even thrive in many forms. Today, we are beginning to see anti-Semitism in what we previously thought were impossible places—and it is only getting worse.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the U.S. Jewish community saw “near-historic levels” of anti-Semitism in 2018—1,879 recorded attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions—and it is trending upward. Indeed the U.S. saw its single deadliest attack on Jewish people ever in October of 2018, when a gunman killed 11 and injured 7 others in the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
Since then, there has been a steady stream of anti-Semitic activity, much of it happening in recent months.
For example, on February 10, 2019, current Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Muslim and naturalized Somali-American, publicly invoked age-old stereotypes and anti-Semitic tropes about money and Jews, suggesting that Jews were buying political support for the state of Israel. This is hardly the first time that Omar has expressed her views, saying negatively in 2012 that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” and in 2018 referring to “the apartheid Israeli regime.” Omar has since pushed back on the claim that her views are anti-Semitic, stating they were not aimed at American Jews. Attributing her comments to ignorance, she said that “Anti-Semitism is real” and that her “intention is never to offend… Jewish Americans as a whole.”
On April 25, 2019, the New York Times International Edition published an anti-Semitic political cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog, guiding a blind, yarmulke-wearing American President Donald Trump. Pulitzer prize winner Bret Stephens said of the cartoon, “Here was an image that, in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer [a Nazi propaganda newspaper during WWII]…. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign.” Despite the apology eventually issued by the paper, it left the international community wondering how such a blatantly anti-Semitic image could make it past the newspaper’s editors, much less be conceived of—in 2019—in the first place.
Then, just two days later, on April 27, 2019, tragedy once again directly struck the American Jewish community when a shooter opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California during a joint Shabbat service on the last day of Passover week. The shooter killed one woman, and wounded the rabbi and two other people. In a statement issued by the shooter’s parents, they said of their son, “To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”
Just a week after the Poway shooting, on May 4, 2019, Palestinian militants in Gaza began showering Israel with over 250 rockets in an unprovoked attack. After Israel responded with airstrikes, current Michigan congresswoman Rashida Talib, also a Muslim, publicly repeated past claims that Israel was “dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free” and is “unjustly oppress[ing] & target[ing] Palestinian children and families.” Later that month, the American congresswoman repeated more Palestinian propaganda in an interview, claiming that after the Holocaust, Palestinians “lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways” when all they were trying to do was to “create a safe haven for Jews.” These claims of ongoing occupation and original altruism, of course, fly in the face of both history and reality. Israel has long since completely withdrawn from Gaza—giving the Arab population there complete autonomy—and during WWII, the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, actually met with Adolf Hitler to offer Arab support against their common enemy—the Jews.
Of particular concern is the revisionist history and slander perpetrated against the Israeli people, which is intellectually dishonest at best. Both Omar and Talib—again, United States congresswomen—claim to be against anti-Semitism, while at the same time reviling the nation-state of Israel. In reality, this is a distinction without a difference. It is akin to saying “I hate olive trees,” but then defending that statement by claiming it was never your intention to offend olives. To hate the state of Israel is to hate the Jewish people who inhabit that state. Indeed, physical proximity to or distance from the Gaza strip are not legitimate grounds for distinguishing between the types of Jews one hates. Were it up to Omar and Talib, the nation-state of Israel—and therefore the homeland of the world’s Jews—would cease to exist. In what way is this not anti-Semitic?
The Jewish people of America and the Israelis in the Land of Israel are one, united Jewish people—and to hate some of us is to hate all of us. Anyone who thinks that the global hatred aimed at the state of Israel will not one day be turned upon Jewish Americans is sadly mistaken—indeed, the trend already exists, and it’s only getting worse. Though Christians and the United States are said to be Israel’s best friends, even those relationships will one day be tested, and believers worldwide will need to choose whether or not they will continue to stand with God’s people. We must, therefore, stand against and call out anti-Semitism in all its forms today—both as individuals, and as the collective Body of Messiah—as well as educate the people in our spheres of influence about today’s anti-Semitism and God’s continuing plan for His Jewish people.