What Everybody Is Missing in Their Definition of Antisemitism!

I have been studying, teaching against and writing about antisemitism for almost 22 years. It has become a fight that I cannot abandon, for the sake of my people. It didn’t come naturally to me. For the first forty years of my life, my frustrations and fears related to the longest hatred were somewhat suppressed. I particularly remember growing in France and hearing my parents rehash memories of the war, the Holocaust and how much the world hated us. My mother in particular, always told me that when I was making new friends at school, I should tell them that we are Jewish so that there wouldn’t be any late “surprises.” It always rubbed me the wrong way, but I was oblivious to the fact that my mother saw her dad taken by the Gestapo when she was 16 to only learn much later that he died in Auschwitz-Birkenau. I now understand this scarred her deeply, and it was a scar she bore until her very last day on this earth.

Then, in 1999, I started to gather data on the resurgence of antisemitism for a research paper while I was working on a degree. Twenty-one years later, I am still gathering data, and teaching in churches and conferences on that very topic more than ever. My research gave birth to three books on the topic, and, sad to say, antisemitism doesn’t show any sign of stopping. As a matter of fact, there isn’t one week when I do not have something to report or write about.

Early on, I felt it was necessary to define antisemitism. Not that it had never been done before, but since it has been morphing over the years, it really needs to be fine-tuned. I found many definitions that I felt were adequate, and for a while, I adopted the one from Edward H. Flannery from the classic volume The Anguish of the Jews. His definition is “Antisemitism is attitudes, words or actions that embody a hatred or contempt of the Jewish people as such.” Frankly, no definition is flawless, especially when it comes to explaining a hatred against the Jews that has lasted millennia.

Eventually, I developed my own, which was close to that of Edward Flannery. For close to a decade, I defined antisemitism as “Antisemitism is the hatred of the Jewish people, characterized by thoughts, words or deeds against them.” I felt that it was important that if someone simply had negative, denigrating, or destructive thoughts about the Jews, that it had to be labeled as antisemitism. Their thoughts might never evolve to words or deeds but could easily be the soil in which more active Jew-hatred could grow.

As I continued to study and gather data, I started to realize that my definition was missing something. I noticed that more and more antisemitic acts were committed by people joining forces against Israel, Zionism, and the Jewish people globally. The odd aspect of this team effort was that some of these people working together to ostracize and demonize the Jews would never agree on anything ideologically if it were not for their common hatred of the Jewish people. The adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” was really coming to life. How could we possibly imagine Liberals agreeing with radical Islamists, except of course if it is about the need to stop the Jews from “taking over the banks or the world.”

So, I saw the need to add one word to my definition. The needed word was “irrational” as in the “irrational hatred” of the Jewish people. It is irrational on two levels. First, because it joins different groups of people who ideologically would never even think of teaming up, but also because what the world is believing about the Jews and Israel increasingly becomes more irrational each day that passes. Thus, I revised my definition to read “Antisemitism is the irrational hatred of the Jewish people, characterized by thoughts, words or deeds against them.”

How else could people in 2021 still believe the lies about Jewish people using blood to make Passover matzah? Who can still believe that Jewish people need to kill Christian babies during Holy week? Who can still read the now-debunked 1904 hoax The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and believe it to be a true plan to take over the world by a Jewish cabal? What about the medieval Black plague supposedly started by the Jews poisoning the wells of Europe, which logically (read “irrationally”) makes them instant prime suspects for the creating and spreading of COVID-19? More people than you think, across the globe, are still buying into those irrational lies. All these lies are vivid illustrations of the irrationality of the “New” antisemitism. It is not new as in “better”, rather it is new as in “morphed” into something more dangerous and more acceptable to the many who do not check facts.

A bit after I felt the need to adjust my definition, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance came up with their own definition of antisemitism in 2016. They posit that “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” In order to help people to understand and adopt that new definition, the IHRA added eleven bullet point items to further define what they meant, and they still call their definition a “non-legally binding working” definition. While I agree with that definition, I find it a bit vague, which explains the need for all the subpoints and examples. I strongly believe that it lacks the irrational component that became evident to me within the last decade.

Then, in the first quarter of 2020, a new group of scholars in antisemitism studies and related fields got together and penned the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA). They have over 200 signatories. Their definition goes like this, “Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).” I like the fact that they identify antisemitism as animosity against “Jews as Jews” which is similar to Edward Flannery’s definition of “contempt of the Jewish people as such.” It reinforces the idea that antisemitism makes no sense at all.

While I will not pretend to be familiar with all the signatories of the JDA, I cannot agree with some of their conclusions, especially point 14 of their guidelines (longer than those of the IHRA). It states that “Boycott, divestment and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the Israeli case, they are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.” While I am not against the ethical use of boycott, divestment and sanctions, the BDS movement against Israel and the Jewish people is anything but ethical. It only targets Israel and Israeli products and corporations when there are many countries that commit crimes against humanity and are completely ignored. The sole targeting of Israel justified by fabricated stories shows the hypocrisy of such a movement. Not to mention all the Israeli products and inventions that BDS proponents use daily, turning a blind eye on the “Jewish Apartheid State” out of convenience. I cannot agree with a definition that doesn’t see BDS as antisemitic.

All these definitions, good and bad are lacking a key component that must be seen as the root of antisemitism, and that is the spiritual element. I don’t expect everyone to believe in God or even have any spiritual leanings, but I believe that without the spiritual component, antisemitism cannot be fully understood, and even less combated.

There is no doubt in my mind that Satan is at the core of antisemitism. For those who don’t believe that Satan exists, this will make my argument difficult to accept but bear with me.

From the moment he got involved with humanity Satan showed his true colors. He is THE deceiver who hates all that God loves and loves all that God hates. It might come as surprise to many, but Satan knows the Bible very well. He knows the past, tries to alter the present and is also aware of his future. He also understands how much God loves Israel, the unconditional eternal covenants He ratified with the Jewish people (Genesis 12:1-3) and the promises He made to never destroy or forsake Israel (Jeremiah 31:35-37).

Moreover, Satan is aware that the Second Coming of Yeshua depends upon Israel’s repentance and cry for Him to return as He promised in Matthew 23:37-39. He will come back when Israel cries out Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” As prophesied in Zechariah 12:10. At that moment begins the end of Satan’s career of deception and lies on earth. His final abode is the Lake of Fire and Brimstone for eternity, not as its boss like Hollywood would like you to believe but as one of the first ones thrown in for eternal torment with no hope of relief.

Satan has been instrumental in rewriting history and promoting irrational antisemitism for as long as Jewish people have existed. He also knows that he cannot rewrite the future. His destiny is set in stone, but he will do anything he can to postpone it. If he could prevent the Jewish people from recognizing Yeshua of Nazareth as their Messiah, which he thinks would buy him some time; and that is exactly why he invented antisemitism.  For centuries, antisemitism has been infiltrating the Christian Church on many levels.

To be sure, antisemitism is not only coming from the Church. It is coming from the extreme Left, the extreme Right, radical Islam, atheists, Hollywood, academia, the media, politics and more, which all reinforce the irrationality of antisemitism. Who else but the Jews has ever been accuse of both Communism and Capitalism?

Finally, when one sees the spiritual component of antisemitism, it should make it clear we need to pray for it to cease.   We might never be able to completely erase the irrational hatred of my Jewish people, but once we recognize its source, it is critical for us to pray against it – while educating people about it.  Scripture also tells me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me (Matthew 5:46), and I believe in the power of prayer.  Somehow, this has been the focus of my past 22 years.  I have a feeling that it will continue to be the focus for the next 22, if the Lord tarries.

Incidentally, on April 8, 2021, Israel commemorated Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) with a country-wide coming to a stop at 10:00 AM for two minutes of silence. Because my grandfather didn't die in vain, I remember and speak up. May his memory and that of the six-million be a blessing!

A new Bible without "Israel" makes perfect sense!

Recently, the Danish Bible Society published a new Bible known as "The Bible 2020." It should be called the RTV (Replacement Theology Version.) It is currently only available in Danish but has already been reviewed by a few people. I do not claim to read that language, so I have not been able to read it myself. I am always very reluctant to write a commentary on anything that I cannot source beyond the shadow of a doubt. The reason why I am making an exception is that a myriad of news outlets and ministries have already expressed their concern about the new Bible. It inaccurately replaces or even ignores the word "Israel" (73 times in the New Testament) referring to either the land or the people. This Bible is nothing but a biased treatment of the Word of God, and frankly, it is no Bible at all, and it is a very dangerous document. Here are a few reasons why:

• The original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts all contain the word "Israel": While we do not have the original manuscripts penned by the original authors such as Moses, Isaiah, Matthew, Paul, James, etc, we have access to a plethora of early copies including the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Church documents that all include the word "Israel" without exception. So, this Bible cannot qualify as a new Danish translation because it omits an important word like "Israel." It also cannot qualify as a new version, because it doesn't just take a word to paraphrase it, in some cases, it just erases it altogether. I call it "Playing God", and that is a very dangerous game!

• Its publishers are guilty of double-standards: One of the main reasons given for the new alteration is that biblical Israel is very different from Modern Israel and modern Jews are different from ancient Israelites. There is no doubt that several millennia separate the biblical days from today, and that many things have changed. This being said, modern Israel exists because of its undeniable foundation on biblical Israel. Evidently, the Jews of today are in many ways, not the Jews of yesteryear, but, by God's grace, they still exist! Is Greece today what it was in the days of Paul? Is Egypt today the same Egypt we read about in the Bible? Of course not! Why are the words "Egypt" or "Greek" remaining in this new Bible? An obvious double-standard is being applied. This makes me think that they had an ulterior motive.

• Such a "Bible" widens the divide between Christians and Jews: At a time when antisemitism is thriving around the globe, Jewish people need to be reassured that they have Christian friends. Publishing a Bible that erases Israel is sending a clear message to the Jewish people, "We the Christians do not think that Israel is important enough to remain in the Bible." It is a short road between a Bible without Israel and a world without Jews. This is not to say that all Christians are antisemitic, but such a document renders the relationship between genuine Christians and Jews ever so more complicated. There is apparently a Lutheran connection to this project, and that just adds oil to the fire that was started by Martin Luther at the end of His life when he wrote Of the Jews and their Lies. This doesn't mean either that all Lutherans are antisemitic.

• Such a "Bible" emboldens the enemies of Israel: This becomes one more arrow in the quiver of Jew-hatred used by people like those in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who aim at ostracizing, demonizing and eventually eliminating the Jewish people. If the Bible excludes Israel or at the very least redefines it, it simplifies the job of those who want to rewrite history. This "Bible" could very well become a favorite for historical revisionists.

So, a Bible like this isn't really a big surprise since the whole world is increasingly squeezing the vise on Israel. It is just one more proof showing us how close we are from the final chapter in the "Real Bible." That's the one where Messiah Yeshua returns to establish his kingdom after fighting all those who went against Jerusalem (Zech 12:9.) Upon His return, He will establish His messianic kingdom with His people among which the Jews will be the head and not the tail. Additionally, according to Zechariah 8:23, we know this: "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'"

That is the biblical truth that includes Israel and excludes the enemies of Israel, whoever they may be!

Could it be "Open Season" on the Jewish People?

The treatment of Jewish people around the world is now making the news almost daily. It is obvious that antisemitism is running rampant. The question has changed over the last two decades. First, it was, "What will we do IF it happens again?", then it became, "What will we do WHEN it happens again?" Now we have to ask the question "What are we doing NOW that it is here?" Yet, the majority of the world is still in denial or willful ignorance about the crisis of antisemitism that is plaguing us all.

We can have a propensity to measure the danger of a conflict taking place in the world by its proximity to where we live. If a war raging across the planet is far enough, then we don't have to worry about it and chances are, it won't disturb our lives too much. This sounds very selfish, but deep down, most people don't really feel affected. To some degree, antisemitism can be viewed through a similar set of filters. People who live in areas where there a very few Jewish people or in some cases none, do not feel that concerned. "Sure, it looks bad in Brooklyn, Paris or Israel...But that's not my problem, I don't live there..." some will think.

Antisemitism IS a war, but a non-conventional one. If it was somewhat geographically contained during the Second World War, it no longer is today. In December 2019, a series of attacks against orthodox Jews took place in Brooklyn. We still remember the terrorist attacks at the synagogues in San Diego and Pittsburgh. This is real, this is global and this happening almost on a daily basis. But the recent tragedy that we should pay attention to took place in Paris, and it could create a terrifying precedent.

On April 4, 2017, in Paris, Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish woman, was thrown from her third-floor window. Her body landed on the pavement. It remains uncertain if she was thrown alive or already dead from being tortured. What the police found out was that the perpetrator was Kobili Traoré, her Muslim neighbor, who screamed "Allahu Akbar" and "I have killed Satan" as he recited verses from the Qur'an that according to him ordered him to kill Jews. That is such a tragedy, and yet it is only part of the story. How can it possibly get worse?

Kobili Traoré was found under the influence of marijuana and was placed in a mental institution. The whole incident took place during a presidential election year in France–not a good time to make public the murder of a Jew by a Muslim. It took months for the family of Mrs. Halimi to get the French authorities to admit that it was indeed a murder AND that it was an antisemitic hate crime. That is another tragedy because if it had been a person from any other ethnic group thrown out of a window after being tortured, nobody would have questioned the nature of the crime.

The court eventually declared that Traoré had indeed murdered Sarah Halimi willingly, but because he was under the influence of marijuana, he was irresponsible and couldn't be prosecuted. The whole thing was thrown out of court and Mr. Traoré was ordered to go into rehab.

One of the lawyers for the Halimi family, Francis Szpiner, declared: "Sarah Halimi jurisprudence" has been created: "anyone who suffers from a delusional puff because of the use of illicit and dangerous substances will be exempt from criminal responsibility", and that is the real danger. I am terrified at the idea that someone can smoke a joint or get drunk, go on a killing rampage to get a few Jews, and then plead intoxication, walk free, go to rehab for 30 days, and plan their next murder. In essence, this is exactly what precedent this case is making.

No punishment for killing Jews is truly making it open season on the Jewish people wherever they are not wanted–which is just about anywhere but Israel. Journalist Céline Pina of French paper Le Figaro wrote: "When one kills in the name of Allah, the excuse of mental imbalance does not hold. If there is one thing in common in all of this blood that keeps flowing, it is the implantation of Islamists on our soil, their network of mosques, their propaganda through books, satellite dishes, their speeches which permeate many districts and territories, their shows of strength.... the situation is not under control."

She is right, and I believe that the situation is spinning further out of control. We are approaching–if we are not already there–the time when "Righteous Gentiles" will have to step up to the plate and help their Jewish friends. It is very serious. Christians are coming to an important crossroads. This is eerily reminiscent of what Yeshua said in Matthew 25:40: "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’" While this is an event that is contextually taking place during the Great Tribulation and after the Rapture, the principle remains. The world is desperately in need of a new generation of "Righteous Among the Nations."

Do we really need to talk so much about the Holocaust?

The further we move away from an event, the harder it is to remember it, its details and even its outcome. Any event enters the annals of history the minute they take place, and there is nothing man can do to erase that event from our collective memories. Nothing can take it away unless it is an event that the vast majority of people wish to forget or even tell the rest of the world it never happened. There are four types of people in any event of history: the victims, the helpers, the perpetrators and the bystanders. As it pertains to the Holocaust, they all need to be remembered.

Not only do we run the risk of forgetting an event, but we also run the risk of allowing history to repeat itself. When it comes to the Holocaust, it would be tragic on both levels. In January 2020, we remember the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (1/25), and we also commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day (1/27). As Forty heads of states and key representatives gather to pay tribute to the victims and the helpers (Righteous Among the Nations), the rest of the world is invited to post a photo of themselves with the hashtag #WeRemember.

The beauty of a hashtag is that it inserts itself into the worldwide web to never disappear or be changed, and that has power in and of itself. Once composed and posted, a hashtag serves as a beacon bringing people to a particular topic, where all similar hashtags congregate. It can be very helpful. The downside of a hashtag is that too many people use them as gimmicks to satisfy their own conscience. Can someone post #WeRemember or #FightAntisemitism and feel satisfied that they have done their good deed to speak up against the Holocaust and antisemitism? Sure they can, but does it really help?

Hashtags alone only serve to point to the gravity of the Holocaust and the danger of the new antisemitism, as much as a repeated word can. Hashtags will not defeat Holocaust deniers, historical revisionists and antisemites. Hashtags are the bumper stickers of the twenty-first century, they make a statement in passing as they move to their eternal abode in cyberspace.

They don’t speak up, they don’t sign petitions, they don’t march on the street in protest, they can’t teach history, ethics or morality. We need people for all that. Create all the hashtags you want, they might tug on the strings of our hearts, but until we move into action, nothing will change.

We can do so much more:
• Visit one of the numerous US-based (30 states) Holocaust memorial/museums like the one in Washington DC or even Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. If you cannot visit a museum, get online to their sites and learn from their extensive databases and research tools.
• Read on the topic. Start with the autobiographical short book "Night" by Elie Wiesel. Move on to "The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 by Lucy Dawidowicz. Then in an effort to understand how the Holocaust further affected Jewish/Christian relations, read "The Jewish People and Jesus Christ After Auschwitz" by Jakob Jocz.
• Please, share your knowledge with the next generation. Two-thirds of millennials do not know what Auschwitz was. Additionally, 22% of Americans have never heard of the Holocaust.
• Attend marches and/or protests in your city or near you if they take place to show your support to the Jewish community and your disagreement with the enemies of Israel.
• Be ready to even go further by helping Jewish people in dire need. We can be proactive in 2020 instead of reactive in the 1930s and 40s. Things might get worse before they get better.

The African American communities should not stop telling their people about slavery and segregation, just like the Native American communities should not stop educating their young ones about the poor treatment and fate of their forefathers. So, why should we stop speaking of the Holocaust and why should we let those who deny it, get away with it?

Remembering a happy and positive moment requires no action but simply bring pleasure as we reminisce. When we are called to remember a somber moment on mankind's timeline, remembering the event is just the tip of the iceberg. Sharing our memories, past experiences and teaching others about those events is key. Very soon, all the survivors of the Holocaust will be gone and the task of continuing to honor their memory will fall on those of us who still believe that the Holocaust happened and it could happen again.  So, YES, we need to continue talking about the Holocaust, today more than ever!

Anti-Semitism in 2019: A Year in Review – Part 2

When my first book on the topic came out in 2007, I received a lot of feedback from skeptics telling me that things couldn’t possibly get “that bad” for the Jewish people. I will resist the temptation to say “I told you so”, simply because I would much rather stand corrected and be wrong, but as most of the world has now seen, it is not the case. In fact, it could be argued that things are even worse than I predicted when I started my research in 1999. Part of me is irate, part of me is concerned and part of me is not surprised. I am irate because, after 2,000 years of antisemitism culminating in the Holocaust, I didn’t think that men could be so cruel and evil to other men. I am concerned by the lack of interest and reaction from people who know better, including evangelicals, but I am not really surprised because biblically speaking, I know that at some point in the history of mankind, the whole world will go against the Jews. We are getting there faster than I thought possible and 2019 was a sad example of that. Part 1 can be found here, this is part 2.

July 2019: Anti-Semitism Clearly Acknowledged at DOJ Summit, Now What?
A Summit on combating anti-Semitism was held at the Justice Department in Washington, DC on July 15, 2019. The one-day summit was filled with presentations and panel discussions on various topics such as anti-Zionism, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS), anti-Semitism and the First Amendment, Campus anti-Semitism and others. A myriad of experts was present to provide the audience with exposés on the various contemporary iterations of anti-Semitism. The Summit was good at identifying the problem, as others have partially done in the recent past. Now we must move into action to rectify, stop and prevent anti-Semitism from growing bigger. Mr. Barr described it as cancer and rightfully so. But nobody would ever think of leaving cancer unchecked. Unfortunately, the cancer of anti-Semitism is no longer localized. It is almost fully metastasized. Is it too late to eradicate? Probably not, but like with all cancer that has become aggressive, treatment must also be aggressive. Step one, America has identified that anti-Semitism is a real problem, now we have to show that we truly want to stop it by making some changes on campuses, within organizations and even possibly within Congress, otherwise, it will keep poisoning the Jewish community to death. Oh, and America… Your accountability partner is the Jewish community. Let’s get busy!

August 2019: Omar, Tlaib and Israel: A lose/Lose Situation No Matter What!
Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar recently prepared for a trip to Israel. Technically, no member of the US Congress should be banned from visiting Israel. As a matter of fact, the best way to get a balanced understanding of the Middle East crisis is to visit Israel and look at both sides of the conflict. If such a visit could be accomplished without any preconceived notions of who is at fault, much progress could be made towards peace. When Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar announced their decision to visit Israel, it was first agreed that they could go, but there is a law in Israel that prevents people from entering the country if they support the boycott of Israel. It is known as “Amendment No. 28 to the Entry Into Israel Law (No. 5712-1952).” It is an amendment to a 1952 Law giving Israel’s government the right to refuse entry to any foreigner with or without a visa. The 2017 amendment was passed (46-28) specifically to bar BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) supporters and promoters from entering Israel. I am having a hard time understanding why Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar were surprised when they were stopped from entering Israel. Considering their positions on Israel’s right to exist and their promoting of the BDS movement, they should have not been surprised.

September 2019: Is Antisemitism becoming Mainstream in America?
Only days after the UN special rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, released a report to denounce antisemitism titled “Combating Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief“, one would tend to be a bit hopeful for the Jewish people. The report was described by many as “unprecedented.” Considering the United Nation’s apparent obsession with faulting Israel over any other country in the world, it was indeed unprecedented. The rapporteur understands that antisemitism is often unreported or under-reported. The report delineates the global distribution of almost 15 million Jews and then continues to identify the age-old diatribes against the Jews such as the murder of Jesus (deicide), the blood libel, ritual murder and control of the world. My reason for not being so hopeful is simply because I have noticed the lack of interest from the main public. People are often apathetic when it comes to antisemitism sometimes they might even be favorable. A very good test to determine if we are indeed going in the tragic direction of mainstreaming antisemitism is the 3D test created years ago by Natan Sharansky. The three Ds are Demonization, Delegitimization and Double-standards. Sharansky explains, “There is always a place for criticism of Israel, as there is for criticism of any other free society. But it must not cross the line of anti-Semitism. When people talk about Israel, we have to identify whether these three elements of delegitimization, demonization and double standards apply to judge whether that criticism is tainted with anti-Semitism.

October 2019: New Training Grounds for the Next Generation of Anti-Semites!
One place where antisemitism runs rampant and almost always completely unchecked is the Ameican university campus. This is the place where young people fresh out of high school come to learn and hopefully become equipped for life and career. These young minds are very malleable and usually very open to change their philosophical, social, political and/ or spiritual position. Many enter the campus with a belief in God and by the time they graduate, they have become atheists or agnostics at best. A university campus is a place of indoctrination like no other. The new antisemites have known that fact for quite a while now, and the educational platform has been used and abused to demonize, ostracize and even verbally and physically abuse the Jewish people. The American university campus has become the new training ground for the next generation of antisemites!  These statistics are for the last year.
• Classical antisemitic incidents have decreased by 42%, but Israel-related incidents significantly increased by 70% in both number and intensity.
• Demonizing and delegitimizing Israel have increased by 32%.
• Expressions used to demonize Israel have increased from 22% to 147%.
• Promoting or condoning terrorism against Israel has increased by 67%.
• Promoting academic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) has more than doubled.
• Academic BDS-compliant behavior was linked to 86% of Israel-related acts of antisemitic harassment.
• The promotion of BDS-related activity has more than quadrupled.
• The number of events sponsored by school faculty and encouraging the demonization or delegitimization of Israel increased by 85%.

November 2019: Kristallnacht: Yesterday and Today!
During the night of November 9-10, 1938, a critical event took place in Germany that would seal the fate of six million European Jews. That was 81 years ago. The event is known as Kristallnacht or “The Night of Broken Glass.” The reason given by the Nazis was the assassination of German official Ernst vom Rath, shot two days prior by Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish teenager reacting to his parents’ deportation. In reality, the boycott/pogrom of Jewish synagogues, schools, businesses and homes resulting in the death of almost 100 Jewish people and the destruction of 7,500 properties were well planned, and anything but a reaction to the death of a German official.  Additionally, 30,000 Jewish people were sent to concentration camps. Historians agree that Kristallnacht was the onset of the Holocaust, shifting nazi antisemitism from mere rhetoric to pure violence.
So, it is very important to remember Kristallnacht and tell our children about it, especially in light of current world events. We have seen an increase in acts of antisemitism worldwide, in several cases leading to the death of people in Europe and the United-States. Antisemitism is now becoming a reality almost on a daily basis. It can no longer be ignored, and yet in the eyes of many, it is not really that important of an issue. Too many people seem to suffer from the “I am not Jewish” syndrome! It should become very clear to us that in 2019 all the elements are in place again for a new Kristallnacht to take place:
1. Antisemitism is at its worse since the end of World War Two with Jewish people being killed again.
2. Radical Islam is plaguing Western civilization and is now clearly starting to infiltrate various governments and hold key positions in Europe and the United States
3. Many people, especially on the left are relying on big government taking over and controlling more and more.
4. The internet and social media have rendered communication global and instantaneous.
5. Various economic hardships, demographics migrations and other crises are looming over the planet.
6. The Jewish people continue to hold first place as the “Scapegoats of humanity.”

December 2019: Who Can Fight Antisemitism With Words?

France, which is the third-largest Jewish community after Israel and the United States, has been the focus of much antisemitism lately. Just a few days ago, 107 Jewish tombstones were desecrated with painted swastikas in Westhoffen, in the Alsace region of France. This was not an isolated incident, but more of a recurring crisis in a country that has seen a 69% increase in antisemitic acts in 2018. As a result of the cemetery defacing, President Macron was heard saying that “Anti-Semitism is a crime and we will fight it in Westhoffen as everywhere until our dead can sleep in peace.”  or “Those who attack them, even their graves, are not worthy of the idea we have of France.” or even “Jews are and make France.” These words sound great if you isolate them. Unfortunately, you cannot do that because antisemitism never happens in a vacuum and has been plaguing the Jewish people since biblical days, and in many instances, much worse in France and other parts of Europe. Words are cheap, but even when Mr. Macron says that France will fight until her dead can sleep in peace, what is he really saying? Don’t quote me wrong, the departed need our utmost respect and need to be in our memories. But, instead of worrying about graves, we need to implement some real reforms so that the LIVING Jews can sleep in peace and wake -up the next morning. The French track record for fighting antisemitism is pathetic at best. Another committee to discuss how to fight antisemitism is akin to fighting a deadly virus by quarantining the infected until they die. It never solves the problem. Only eradicating the virus does. The virus is antisemitism and it is killing the Jews. Laws must be passed AND enforced in every case until those targeting Jews fear the repercussions. Until then, the only ones fearing…and fleeing France and other parts of the world, are the Jews!

We are way beyond using words only. 2020 is the year to take serious action against the New Antisemitism!

Mourning for Brussels or Bashing Israel?

On March 22, 2016 the world witnessed the deadliest terrorist attack on Belgian soil. The concerted bombings at the Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek Metro station claimed the lives of over 30 people and injured over 300. Belgium has been in the news lately because of its connection to some of the 2015 terror attacks in France. I thought that the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack of January 2015 was going to be a wake-up call for France in particular, and Europe in general. It certainly looked like French authorities had finally committed to defending their citizens and even more so, their own Jewish community. Then November 13, 2015 came around and France was hit again, this time 130 people died and 368 were injured. Was France caught off-guard? What about Belgium in March 2016? I think that we are way passed the wake-up call stage for Europe.

For reasons that defy all logic, the Islamic State's appeal to a young generation of Europeans is growing fast, and we are starting to see the fruit of IS propaganda and recruitment. Terrorism "à la ISIS" has gone global. While all politically correct people continue to dislike profiling and segregating, Islamic terror is simply becoming a redundant phrase. Terror is Islamic and Islamism is terror. Please prove me otherwise!

In the midst of a tragedy like this recent terror attack, people seem to cling together. Religious or not, Belgians or not, people are coming together one more time in a sobering demonstration of solidarity. The human spirit still can prevail. Photos of victims, candle vigils and a sea of international symbols and flags can be spotted in Belgium. People are organizing peaceful gatherings akin to the historic Paris March of January 2015. So, we might be passed the wake-up call stage, but people are still people and tragedy–as devastating as it might be–can be bonding. Today is the time for putting our differences aside and holding hands against terrorism of any kind.

Well, apparently, this is true for all people except those who are pro-Palestinian. In a despicable display of hatred that is more politically targeted than anything else, we have seen several people come to vigils and either tear or remove Israeli flags to only cover them with a Palestinian flag. What in the world does this have to do with the Islamic State attacking Belgium? Absolutely nothing! At a time when the world mourns the innocent victims of yet another terrorist attack, some people have the chutzpah to barge in and inject their antisemitic venom with no apparent shame whatsoever. The hatred of Israel is so deep that pro-Palestinian people cannot even stomach the mere sight of and Israeli flag at a peace vigil for the Brussels victims. In some cases, they will even go as far as burning the flag and chanting anti-Israel slogans. Are they insinuating that the terrorist attacks were Israel's fault? seriously!

What is even more disturbing is the fact that these acts don't seem to phase anyone in the media. A woman in a Hijab and wearing a Palestinian scarf is seen tearing an Israeli flag apart and then covering the remains with the Palestinian flag as people all around her watch in silence. Are they clueless or careless? How about the commentators on that French speaking TV who are talking about an upcoming gathering for a memorial as they show the woman live and not one of them seem to notice or care?

Even though the whole world knows that Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu are far from being friends, when came the time to march in Paris in 2015, they both showed up, and even if there was a hint of hypocrisy from Abbas who clearly supports terrorism, he was still in the midst of an international historic moment.

It should now be clear that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is much more than a land issue. It is not and never was about Israel occupying Palestine. Rather, it is about the simple goal of completely erasing the Jews and Israel from the face of the earth. How would you explain the fact that the simple display of a flag amidst a myriad of other flags would provoke pro-Palestinians to rip and/or cover the Israeli symbol?

Frankly, in a normal world, these displays of hatred would be singled out and rebuked immediately, and even more so in the context of the aftermath of a terror attack like the Brussels airport and subway attacks. But we do not live in a normal world. We live in a world where the victims are made into perpetrators and where more and more people worship death more than they value life.

Apparently, Israel bashing now supersedes any international display of unity in honor of terror victims. Hiding or destroying the Israeli flag as if Israel was somehow guilty or involved in the recent terror is beyond despicable. Please do not go on telling me that the Palestinian narrative is one of justice, human rights and tolerance. Where was human decency, and more tragically where was human outrage for such acts of pure hatred?

"Israeli Apartheid Week" is not about Social Justice!

For the twelfth year in a row, campuses around the United States and now even around the world are promoting an event known as Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The decade old movement has picked up quite a bit of momentum in the last few years as we can see on their interactive map of events around the world. The vast majority of anti-Israel events will take place in the United States and Western Europe, with more in South Africa and South America. The claim is made that Israel is guilty of apartheid just like South Africa was. In a short video, a spokesperson for the AJ+ news website explains apartheid and leads the viewers to connect South African protest against it to Palestinian protest against Israeli apartheid. While her description of South African apartheid is somewhat accurate, her linking it to Israel is a giant stretch based on many false presuppositions. Yet, that well produced video and many more of the sort are fueling organizations such as Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).

In their mission statement, which they call their "Basis of Unity", IAW claims that:" The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement." furthermore, they also state that they are "against the racist ideology of Zionism, which is the impetus for Israeli colonialism, because it inherently discriminates against those who are not Jewish. We are against all forms of discrimination, and believe that there can never be justice without the restoration of full rights for everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or nationality."

Their promotional video has a message of unity and social justice accompanied by a catchy reggae-style tune. It starts with a bold statement saying:" One has to keep telling the story in as many ways as possible, as it insistently as possible, and in as compelling a way as possible, to keep attention to it, because there is always a fear it might just disappear." In and of itself the message is true, but what they apply it to isn't. Over the years, the IAW organizers have invited Israel haters, antisemites, historical revisionists and Holocaust deniers alike. People such as Noam Chomsky, Illan Pappé, who while not blatantly denying the Holocaust, accuses the original victims [the Jews] of perpetrating a new Holocaust on the new victims [the Palestinians] and Rabbi Yisrael David Weiss from anti-Jewish (you read it right!) group Neturei Karta, to name just a few. Or even Omar Barghouti from Qatar who along with his anti-Israel BDS stance has also pursued a PhD at Tel Aviv University. So much for apartheid Mr. Barghouti!

So, if I understand IAW promoters, it is appropriate to further tell the story–as unfounded as it might be–of Israeli occupation and crimes against Palestinians, and it is equally appropriate, if not expected, to perpetuate the notion that the Holocaust never happened or was grossly exaggerated.

Over the years, what started as a series of meeting over a few campuses in America and even fewer across the globe, has grown to over 150 locations globally. IAW sympathizers go out of their way to encourage others to boycott Israel and  divest any funding they could from the only democracy in the Middle East, all in the name of social justice. Recently they have used what is known as intersectionality. This approach to social justice connects all types of oppressions and abuses under the same banner. Writer and lecturer Ziva Dahl explains "Proponents of intersectionality see a world of all-encompassing oppression, where racism, classism, sexism, homophobia and ableism constitute an intersecting system. All injustices are interconnected, even if occurring in unconnected geographic, cultural and political environments. This is the rationalization for building alliances among unrelated causes like LGBTQ rights, fossil fuel divestment, prison reform, racial discrimination and immigration."

Anti-Israel organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, are quick to add the Palestinian struggle to all other minorities' fights against injustice. So, now we can save the whales, promote transgender people and divest from Israel all in one fell swoop! After all, it is all about minorities being abused! This also leads to having groups who share no common ground ideologically, hold hands against Israel and the Jewish people. This builds a stronger case for what I call End-Times antisemitism as it illustrates incredible irrationality.

But where is the outrage for all the other countries of the world that commit or have committed crimes against humanity? According to the International Criminal Court in La Hague, Netherlands, a crime against humanity, as defined in their "Rome Statute" is any of the following:

• Murder
• Extermination
• Enslavement
• Deportation or forcible transfer of population
• Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law
• Torture
•  Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity
• Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious and/or gender
• Enforced disappearance of persons
• The crime of apartheid
• Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

Where is the call to boycott China, Sudan, North Korea, Rwanda, Congo or Syria among others? Where is the public cry to denounce the multiple genocides and ethnic cleansing around the globe? It is a stretch, but even if these people were to continue pointing the finger at Israel for crimes that they haven't committed, why are they not also pointing the finger at Hamas for crimes that they are committing? Sure, it can be argued that not all Palestinians are terrorists, but regarding those who are, why are they still being given "carte blanche" to commit more crimes? Israel Apartheid Week is more than blindness or ignorance, it is a willful vilification of Israel and it has absolutely nothing to do with global social justice.

Christ at the Checkpoint or Crisis at the Checkpoint?

I recently reviewed the current Christ at the Checkpoint (CatC) Manifesto point by point from a biblical perspective. As a result, I found myself either agreeing, disagreeing or a bit of both. The whole breakdown was part of a pre-conference review I did. One apparent core value of the CatC Manifesto–rightfully so– is reconciliation:
1. The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.
2. Reconciliation recognizes God’s image in one another.

On one hand, I do not agree on the point that the Kingdom of God has come (Kingdom Now Theology claims among other things, that Yeshua’s Kingdom was inaugurated at His first coming while Scripture states that He will reign as Messianic King on the throne of David from Jerusalem in a yet to come Millennial Messianic Kingdom as validated by Psalm 72:8, 11, 17; Isaiah 9:7, 11:6-11; Jeremiah 23:6, and Zechariah 3:10 among other Scriptures). But on the other hand, as a believer in Yeshua, I see the great need for peace, justice and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Furthermore, as proposed in Article 2 of their Manifesto, I agree that we are created in God's image and should look at each other from that perspective only (God created man and woman in His image, regardless of ethnicity as seen in Genesis 1:27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; and Ephesians 4:24.)

Reconciliation is indeed critical, as long as real reconciliation is sought.Biblical or not, proper reconciliation requires:
1. Identify the issue
2. Identify the protagonists
3. Recognize the need to reconcile
4. Recognize shortcomings
5. Seek forgiveness and unity

These five steps can be used in any context, but when it involves believers, it must be on the firm foundation of God's word, based on a consistent and literal approach to the Bible. Anything less brings man's opinion into the equation and reveals our inability to be unbiased and just. In the context of CatC 2016, it was hardly the case. the scale was tipped in favor of the Palestinian and Palestine from the word go!

It is obvious to Israelis and Arabs, as well as the rest of the world that there is a crisis/conflict in the Middle East. The issue has been identified as a disputed piece of land the size of the state of New Jersey. Some will claim that this sliver of real estate belongs to the Jewish people based on a covenant that God made with them through Abraham, going back to Genesis 12 and further ratified through Isaac and Jacob in Genesis 12:1-3, 7; 13:15;17:7-8, 19; 25:5-6; 26:3; 28:3-4 and 35:9-15. Others will argue that the land belonged to the Palestinians and was stolen, colonized and now suffers from an apartheid policy by Israel. Identifying the issue could be done by saying that opinions differ on whom the land belongs to.

The protagonists–for lack of a better word– are the Arabs and the Jews. The fact that Arabs in the region are now called Palestinians only exacerbates the issue. Before 1967, the word "Palestinian" simply described inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael also known back then as Palestine. It was then inhabited by Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews. So technically, anytime Israelis and Palestinians are described as the two main protagonists, it is a misnomer and it results in setting-up a false premise. It would then be proper to describe the protagonists in the context of an "Arab/Israeli" conflict.

All sides speak of the obvious need to reconcile and bring peace to the region. CatC claims that the model for that reconciliation is Yeshua and His Gospels, yet the vast majority of the conference is spent describing Israel as the occupier and the enemy. There were so many instances where Israel was called the enemy during CatC, yet no mention was made of Palestinian terrorism, stabbings or any other feats of Islamic terror. They actually even invited a Muslim scholar who is linked to Hamas. CatC's definition of reconciliation doesn't seem to include the recognitions of both sides' shortcomings and really seems to emphasize Israel need to apologize and stop the invasion of "Palestine."

On a lighter note, I found it very telling that in the name of reconciliation, the only symbol hanging next to the speakers podium was a Palestinian Kaffiyeh (head covering made popular by Yassir Arafat). It would have gone a long way to hang it next to a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) as a symbolic picture of reconciliation. Additionally, the worship sessions included songs in English and Arabic. It would have also shown good intentions if they had included some of the lyrics in Hebrew. Even the CatC website only exists in English and Arabic.

To an extent, I can understand that people living in the Middle East and having been brought up in a culture that is vastly antisemitic could have a hard time accepting Israel right to exist and right to the land. I don't share their views but I understand that they can have them. What baffles me is the involvement of evangelical Christians–once supporters of Israel– such as Fuller Seminary Mark Labberton or "Bible Answer Man" Hank Haneggraff. Mr Haneggraff's presentation was a disgrace. His unbiblical approach to the issue at hand and his vitriolic description of Zionism and Christian Zionism was borderline antisemitic and certainly in line with the conference's philosophy. I have yet to find anything in Mr. Haneggraff's message that would encourage anybody towards proper reconciliation. He was joined by a plethora of speakers from all theological perspectives with only one common goal: the demonization of Israel. It was Christian Palestinianism at its scariest best!

For the honest viewer who respects the Word of God, the veneer of reconciliation and fight against extremism wasn't very hard to peel. Once that done, it was easy to see that Christ at the Checkpoint is indeed interested in reconciliation, as long as by it they mean Israel's unilateral apology for its "crimes" against Palestinians, Israel relinquishing the "occupied" land of Palestine and further submitting to the regional demands by its Arabs neighbors. As a one way street, this has nothing of a true reconciliation. So at the end of the day, Christ at the Checkpoint was really more of a "Crisis at the Checkpoint." Evangelicals should have nothing to do with such a farce!

How did Zionism become a cuss word?

Growing up in France in the 60s, I often heard conversations about Zionism and Israel at family gatherings. I didn't really understand what they were all about except that there were always a few family members who spoke passionately about Eretz Yisrael. Some even occasionally spoke of the possibility of returning to the Land. Zionism was some sort of magical, mystical word that made people both dream and argue in the same breath. It never got bad press, except maybe from the few Jewish family members who were comfortably assimilated in France and wouldn't fathom making Aliyah. Fast forward to 2016 and Zionism has now become a cuss word in many circles around the world.

The term “Zionism” and “Zionist” were coined in 1890 by Jewish activist Nathan Birnbaum (1864-1937) who also played an important part in the first Zionist Congress in 1897. The word “Zion” comes from the Hebrew tzion, a reference to Jerusalem and often, by extension, to the land of Israel itself (first mentioned in II Samuel 5:7.)

According to scholar Mitchell Bard, Zionism is: “ The national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.  Additionally, Israeli diplomat, politician and historian Abba Eban defines it as follows: “Zionism is nothing more — but also nothing less — than the Jewish people's sense of origin and destination in the land linked eternally with its name.

Over the years, we have heard about historical, political, practical, cultural and even Christian Zionism. Today we hear more about anti-Zionism because the word has been given a new meaning that is so politically charged and so negative. How did we go from "The national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel" to a movement labelled as "occupation", "colonization" or even "racism?"

After the early Zionist pioneers of the late 1800s, the Jewish people started to move back to the land of Israel in the late 40s from all over the Diaspora. They were drawn to Israel for reasons as various as political, familial, economic or even religious. Nothing was frowned upon by anyone. Then came Yassir Arafat, the PLO and the Palestinian quest for self-determination. Unfortunately, the Palestinian cause was one without a land...something had to happen!

"Wait a minute! What if the Palestinians were a people displaced by Jewish colonialists who stole their land, kicked them out and even killed them? This is a long shot but if we keep at it, the masses will eventually buy it!" This might be what went through the minds of Yassir Arafat and his cronies. Zionism slowly started to acquire a bad reputation. It would take several decades to get as bad as it is now, but eventually, it started to spread beyond the Middle East to the rest of the western world

For a while, the damage inflicted on Zionism was counteracted by a strong support from Evangelical Christians who became known as "Christian Zionists." They based their support of Israel on a belief that the Bible spoke of that land given to Jewish people by God Himself. They also made a strong connection to End-Times prophecies including and involving Israel in a very strong way all the way to the end.

In Genesis 12:1-3, which I like to call “God’s foreign policy as it pertains to Israel” we see that God made a covenant with Abraham, further confirmed through Isaac (not Ishmael) and Jacob. In that Covenant, He gives the Jewish people the deed to the Land of Canaan (Exodus 13:11). This is further developed in Genesis 12:1-3, 7; 13:15;17:7-8, 19; 25:5-6; 26:3; 28:3-4; 35:9-15. Anti-Zionism is simply a human attempt at rewriting a Divine Covenant between God and the Jewish people and because of that, it can be deemed as anti-biblical and is bound to failure. If God changed His mind, this would also make Him a Covenant breaker and a liar.

Israel and Zionism suffer from many foes, not just the Palestinians. The United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 3379  in 1975, in which it stated that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." It took sixteen years for the UN to revoke that statement in 1991. But the damage was done and would continue to be inflicted on Israel and the Jewish people to this day. Today, many countries in the Middle East continue to see Israel as the enemy. They describe Zionism in no uncertain terms:

• Ahmadinejad used to call for the complete destruction of the Zionist Regime.
• Khameini believes that the Zionist Network dictates US policies which a lie taken straight from the early twentieth century hoax known as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
Hamas claims that, "The lie of the Zionist Holocaust crumbles with countless holocausts committed by the Zionists."

Should a Zionist agree with every single decision made by the Israeli government? Of course not!  Should a Zionist systematically reject any prospect of shared land space between Jews and Palestinians if peace is truly the goal? Probably not! Yet, these and many more libelous statements by Israel's enemy have poured over into the Evangelical Church. The Palestinian narrative has become stronger than the biblical narrative. The Christian Zionists of yesterday has morphed into a politically correct Christian "Palestinianist." As a result, very few within the Evangelical ranks continue to support Israel. Zionism has truly become a cuss word and yet, the Bible never changed. Anti-Zionism is almost always antisemitism in a cloak of social justice.

Many followers of Yeshua (Jesus) look at the Bible and clearly see that God is NOT done with Israel. They see a glorious future for the people and the Land. While their numbers are dwindling down, these people are still called Christian Zionists as they recognize Israel’s biblical right to the Land and the Jewish people right to return to that Land. Christian Zionism is a noble cause and is part of what every Bible believing Christian should promote because God Himself declared it to be true in His Word.

The foundation for Zionism was established by God in the book of Genesis. It continues to run through like an uninterrupted thread through the tapestry of Jewish history. If Zionism has existed for a long time, we also cannot deny that God used people like Theodore Herzl, Achad Ha’am, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gourion, Golda Meir and many others to further promote the Jewish people right to the Land of Israel. What God established, no man can destroy (Jeremiah 31:35-37).