Antisemitism is much more than "A Certain Perception of Jews!"

When attempting to tackle the age old problem of antisemitism, the very first thing to do is to understand the meaning of the word. The one aspect of the word that is understood across the board, is that even though the word contains "Semitism", it only refers to the Jewish people. Semites include both Jews and Arabs, yet antisemitism has never applied to Arabs.

While the actions that can be labeled as antisemitic go back thousands of years and are documented in the Jewish Bible as early as the book of Exodus, the word itself is much younger. Many theologians, philosophers, pseudo-scholars and historians published numerous works against the Jewish people throughout history, but it is not until the late nineteenth century that the word anti-Semitism was coined. The first usage of such a word was by German journalist Wilhelm Marr who in 1873 published a pamphlet titled: "The Victory of the Jewish Spirit over the Germanic Spirit. Observed from a non-religious perspective." In the pamphlet, he used the words Semitismus and Judentum interchangeably to describe Jewry and/or Jewishness. The usage of the word Semitismus led to the coining of the word Anti-Semitismus used in another pamphlet titled The Way to Victory of the Germanic Spirit over the Jewish Spirit", in which Marr clearly sated his feelings about the Jewish people. In 1881, to remove all doubts, Marr founded the first German organization dedicated to fighting the “Jewish threat” to Germany, thus The League of Anti-Semites was born. The usage of the word continued to spread and was widely accepted by 1885.

Since that time, many reputable scholars have documented antisemitism through the ages, and have introduced their own definitions of the word, some better than others. Organizations helping to define and fight antisemitism, could be divided into Jewish and non-Jewish. Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are often more in tune with Jewish history, customs and/or the scarred jewish psyche of the post-holocaust era.

This is not to say that non-Jewish organizatons and/or scholars are insensitive or unaware of the trauma of antisemitism, but simply that there is a Jewish component to it making it much more personal to the global Jewish community than the rest of the world. A perfect example would be the 2008 US State Department definition: "Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." It is not from a Jewish institution and as a result, lacks some clarity and factual boldness. Yet there are scholarly works done by non-Jews that excel at defining antisemitism. Edward Flannery "the Anguish of the Jews"  or "Toward a Definition of Antisemitism" by Gavin Langmuir are two of several that I would recommend. So , definition vary in clarity and weight.

This brings me to a recent adoption of a definition of antisemitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. It is pretty much verbatim the US State Department definition, “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.” The alliance adds that the definition is a " non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism."

I am saddened and concerned about this nebulous description of "the longest hatred." While the second part of the definition is helpful in qualifying that antisemitism can be both in words and deeds, the first part of the sentence uses words that are watering down the whole definition. Words like "a certain" or "perception" or "may be expressed" are a very weak way to describe the on-going irrational hatred against the Jews. I find it hard to believe, but it is almost as if these words were selected with political correctness in mind. It is interesting to note that the Alliance also based its working definition on a document known as the "Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust.While that document is a great work aimed at describing and denouncing the Holocaust, it must be understood that antisemitism precedes the Holocaust by more than twenty centuries and continues beyond the 1940's with a revived and repackaged version of contempt against the Jewish people. So defining antisemitism using mainly a foundation of Holocaust is too narrow.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center reported the adoption of the [not so]new definition and praised it. In their mind, it "will force European countries to confront the growing crisis head-on." I think that the definition would be clearer and much more powerful if it didn't try to package antisemitism and Holocaust denial under the same umbrella. Holocaust denial exist because of antisemitism and must be fought as such, but it does not exist alongside antisemitism.

A simpler definition of antisemitism would work even better. It deserves to be more succinct, direct, and bolder in terminology. I propose this one “Anti-Semitism is the irrational hatred of the Jewish people characterized by destructive thoughts, words and/or actions against them ”. Under such a definition, we can include Holocaust denial, BDS, Christian Palestinianism, Replacement Theology and many other erroneous claims demonizing the Jews and/or Israel.

When it came to define antisemitism, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance was faced with the challenge of getting 31 countries to adopt the same working definition, and I am certain that it wasn't an easy task. By their own definition, they are "an intergovernmental body whose purpose is to place political and social leaders’ support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally." I still feel that their agreed upon final draft was too vague and thus less than satisfactory if their goal is to fight those who want all the Jews dead and Israel off the map!

Could Radical Islam be the Curse of Genesis 12:3 ?

In the book of Genesis, G-d made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants (the Jewish people) in which He unconditionally promised Abraham several things including many descendants, a specific area of land in the Middle East known as Israel and in verse 3, He also promised to reward those dealing with Israel and the Jewish people according to their behavior, as we read: "And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse."

This promise from G-d isn't an empty one as we can track through biblical history how He caught up with those who mistreated Israel. It didn't take long for G-d to punish Egypt with the death of all their firstborns as the tenth plague inflicted on the Egyptians whose Pharaoh–who didn't know Joseph– had ordered the death of all male children of the Jewish slaves he controlled (Exodus 1:8-22; 11:1-7). A curse for a curse!

We can also look at the story that unfolds in the Book of Esther. Haman, the arch-enemy of the Jewish people wants to get rid of Mordecai and all his people, so he fabricates a story and builds gallows to hang Mordecai. By the end of the book, it is Haman who is hanging dead on the gallows (Esther 3:5-15; 7:7-10), again...A curse for a curse!

But the Genesis 12:3 principle doesn't stop with the biblical narrative. It continues through time as we can see with the Spanish empire that had been leading Western Europe for close to 600 years until the late 1400's. That era was known as the "Golden Age" of Spain and it lasted until 1492, a date that according to most historians and scholars isn't only the time when Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue", but also the year when Queen Isabella chose to drive out all the Jews of Spain. Subsequently, 1492 became known as the start of the decline of the Spanish empire.

Genesis 12:3 could be labelled "G-d's foreign policy as it pertains to Israel." And if indeed G-d keeps his word, He will catch up with all the enemies of Israel sooner or later. Sometimes sooner, sometimes not, sometimes with a similar curse, but not necessarily always with matching curses.

Looking at the situation in Europe today, it is hard not to connect the impact of radical Islam to the behavior of certain countries towards Israel. All or most of the countries of the current European Union have had a history of antisemitism that, one way or another, can be traced back to the second Century BCE. Consider just a few of the European countries who expelled their Jewish communities over the last 600 years (several more could be listed):

England: Expelled the Jews in 1290
France: Expelled the Jews in 1306, 1321-22, 1394
Spain: Expelled the Jews in 1492
Sicily: Expelled the Jews in 1492-93
Lithuania: Expelled the Jews in 1495
Portugal: Expelled the Jews in 1496-97
Germany: Expelled the Jews in 1510, 1610, 1885
Bavaria: Expelled the Jews in 1551
Italy: Expelled the Jews 1567, 69, 1593
Austria: Expelled the Jews in 1670
Czechoslovakia: Expelled the Jews in 1745
Russia: Expelled the Jews in 1891

This doesn't include a record of other major events in the annals of Jewish history that have punctuated the Jewish people's story with horrific acts of antisemitism such as the Crusades, the Blood Libels, The Host Desecration accusations, Talmud burnings, the Inquisition, the Pogroms and of course the Holocaust. Without performing an in-depth socio-demographic study of all these countries, we can still speculate that there might be a connection between the treatment of their respective Jewish communities and how G-d might be responding in the twenty-first century.

Radical Islam had already almost impregnated all European countries until very recently. People like Bat Ye'or saw the hand-writing on the wall of European civilization as early as the mid 1970s in her seminal work Eurabia. Mark Steyn understood the demographics "point of no return" in 2006 in his book America AloneI wrote about it as early as 2000 in my first book They Have Conspired Against You.

With the advent of the migrant crisis in the last two years, Europe has now been placed on a collision course. Germany and Sweden are leading the way in what could become to the first country wide cultural suicides. They are plagued by a brand of political correctness that has crippled them. They have lost their ability and in some cases their willingness to fight for their native sovereignty and established law of the land. Belgium, England and France are not far behind.

While we cannot dogmatically ascertain the connection between Jewish expulsions and God's curse, there is a strong possibility that the steady, exponential and irreversible decline of Europe might be a result of these nations disdain for the chosen people of G-d. This certainly doesn't place all Muslim as a curse to Europe, just like not all Germans were Nazis, but one cannot ignore the on-going cultural and demographic jihad happening in Europe. "G-d's foreign policy as it pertains to Israel," doesn't allow for any grey areas. You bless or you curse and the results, while not always immediate and similar, have always been in kind– a curse for a curse and a blessing for a blessing– The wake-up call is imminent and many will be surprised!

Jews Don't Need to Convert to Jesus...The Pope Knows Best!

When it comes to Judeo/Christian relations, the Catholic Church carries centuries of baggage from anti-Judaism to anti-Semitism to anti-Zionism. At the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, the Catholic Church was officially propelled onto the world scene and continued to widen a theological gap between Christians and Jews. A gap that would also become political, sociological and geographical until it came to its apex in the 1930s and 40s when it was given a pseudo-racial twist. Let's face it, in the Jewish psyche, the Catholic Church is responsible for a lot of anti-Semitism, but be that as it may, not all Catholics are anti-Semites.

This is not a witch hunt against Catholics, yet it must be said that most of the Jewish persecution by the early Church and through the Middle Ages was performed by Catholic leaders who were also the representative of Christianity and technically of Christ on earth. The Crusades, the Blood Libel, the Host desecrations, the Black Plague, the Inquisition, the Pogroms and the Holocaust are all intertwined in a web of deceit that eventually leads back to the Catholic Church on way or another. Much of this was initiated by the Church and progressively picked-up throughout history to become lethal to the Jews as best explained by Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg in The Destruction of the European Jews. He saw the fate of the Jewish people as a three-step process over time: "From the 4th century the Christian missionaries told the Jews 'you may not live among us as Jews'. The secular governments who followed them from the late middle-aged decided 'you may not live among us' and de Nazis finely decreed 'you may not live'. Hillberg spoke of ostracism followed by expulsion and annihilation. In a nutshell, this is the history of my people.

From the early Church Fathers (200 CE) until 1965, the Catholic Church held all Jewish people corporately responsible for the Crucifixion of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus.) It wasn't until 1965, during Vatican II under Pope Paul VI, that the accusation was rescinded. In a declaration known as Nostra Aetate (In our times), Pope Paul VI promulgated that Jews were no longer to be held guilty of deicide (the killing of God.) The hope was that this "Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions" would exonerate the Jewish people. Of course it never occurred to the Catholic Church that nowhere in the Bible are the Jews declared guilty of killing Yeshua because in His own words, He gave His own life for all mankind as it is recorded in the Gospel of John 10:17-18, 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Additionally, the Catholic Church has long felt that they had replaced ethnic Israel in the plan of God. All the blessings that God had promised to bestow upon Israel would apparently be transferred to the Catholic Church or even to all Christians to speak more broadly. All Covenants made between God and the Jewish people would now apply to the "New Israel" or spiritual Israel. This is commonly known as Replacement Theology, and this also cannot be substantiated by Scripture as long as you apply a consistent, literal and contextual system of interpretation.

While we continue to witness both anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism within the Catholic ranks, there has been an effort from several Popes to reconcile with the Jewish community even further. So much so that the current Pope has now announced that Jewish people do not need Jesus and that the Catholic Church should not try to convert Jewish people. There has been a certain amount of collective Catholic guilt regarding their treatment of the Jewish people. This rather recent reaction or possibly over-reaction, seeing the Jewish people as covenantal people in no need of Yeshua does a lot of good for the healing of Judeo/Christian relations. In a recent statement, Rabbi David Fox Sandmel, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs reaffirms the importance of such a move by the current Pope: "This new Vatican document is a remarkable reaffirmation of the positive changes in the Church’s teaching about Jews and Judaism since the promulgation of Nostra Aetate 50 years ago. It is significant because it places a very clear emphasis on the rejection of the deicide charge, Christianity’s indebtedness to Judaism, the rejection of replacement theology, and the ongoing validity of the Jewish covenant with God."

It is true that the Jewish people could easily do away with centuries of Christian anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, Jewish history has been recorded in blood for the most part. That history is part of the Christian baggage that cannot be unloaded. It would behoove Christians to stop believing what they have heard about the Jewish people and not add to this already overwhelmingly heavy baggage. To that end, the 1965 Declaration of Nostra Aetate might have helped somewhat, and the current papacy might even contribute further, unfortunately the roots of anti-Semitism–Christian or not–go very, very deep!

It is also true that the Jewish people have not been replaced by Catholics, Christians or any other people group who might consider themselves the "New Israel." That rejection of Replacement Theology was made clear in the declaration of 1965. It might not have been adopted by Catholics the world over, but it remains an "Ex Cathedra" statement by the Pope, and as such should leave no option but obedience to it by Catholics worldwide. Human nature often gets in the way, I am afraid!

And of course, it is of the utmost importance to stop trying to "convert" Jews to Christianity. But is it possible that the reason for such a change is different that what the Pope would expect. Simply put, Jews don't convert because they have no need to convert. If indeed, Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah (Isaiah 52:13-53-12) then there is nothing more natural for a Jewish person than to follow their Jewish Messiah. It is a personal choice that nobody can force us to make. So in a sense, the Pope is right, Jews do not ever need to convert to Yeshua, yet if it turns out that He [Yeshua] is the Jewish Messiah spoken of by the Jewish Prophets (Gen. 49:10, Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7, Mic. 5:2), then maybe it would benefit the Jewish people to follow Him.

Terror in Israel: Lone Wolves are still Wolves!

In the last month, Israel has reported almost 800 acts of terror. Much speculation arose in the media around the globe as to the possibility of a third Intifada slowly taking place. Yet, as of now, if we compare the current events to those of the First Intifada of 1987-1991 and of the Second Intifada of 2000-2005, we are not seeing an out-of-control uprising of a large number of Palestinians. It is simply too early to tell. There is little doubt that it could pick-up more momentum and become a third Intifada, but for right now it appears to be a random series of acts of terror by Palestinians acting as "lone wolves".

Frankly, the recent attacks on Israeli citizens–as isolated and sporadic as they have been–are still posing a great danger to everyday life in the land. They represent individual jihad more than a third Intifada, but at the end of the day, the same people are targeted, the same people are victimized and the same agenda is promoted. Terror is terror is terror! Many unnecessary fatalities have been reported.

• Unpredictable Terror:
One of the grave dangers posed by this on-going terrorism in Israel is the fact that each act of terror is very unpredictable and very different form other murderous acts. Here are just a few:
• October 20: The stoning of a car forced an Israeli citizen to exit his vehicle and led him to be killed by a moving truck.
• October 18: A Palestinian grabbed the rifle off an IDF soldier, killed him and wounded eleven more people.
• October 16: A Palestinian disguised as a journalist stabs an IDF soldier
• October 13: A stabbing and shooting on a bus in Southern Jerusalem led to the killing of 4 people and wounding 15 more.
• October 1: Shooting to death of a young couple under the eyes of their wounded young children.

These acts are all different which makes them nearly impossible to predict or thwart. This unpredictability is possibly the greatest threat to Israel right now. Israel has become a world leader and expert on how to detect explosive devices ahead of their detonations. But how do you detect a knife made out of a school ruler? How do you predict the stoning of a car on the road? How do you avoid a car running into a group of people waiting at a bus stop? It is simple...You don't!

• Cheap Terror:
Martyrdom has long been part of the Palestinian culture. Young Palestinians are indoctrinated at a very early age against Jewish people. They are told and taught about "killing Jews." Death is part of the fabric of many Muslim countries in the Middle East, especially when it is connected to Israel. The promise of a "heavenly harem" of 72 virgins along with financial incentives to the families of homicide bombers have been common practice in Palestinian circles.

Not every Palestinian is keen on losing their life to "the cause", but just about anyone would be willing to randomly hurt Israelis as they have done recently. This demands a very small investment of willing "Palestinian Martyrs" and thus is a cheap method of terror that becomes very attractive to many. We can expect a lot more of these acts in the upcoming weeks.

• Financed Terror:
It was good to hear that the US decided to cut its financial aid to Abbas by $80 million (why they still sent the remaining $290 million defies logic). Financial help to a terrorist group is basically terrorism. Why would we look at any other terror states such as Iran funding Hamas, Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda and see them as terror partners but ignore the United States involvement in terrorism?
Not one dollar of the $290 million that the United States sent Abbas in 2015 was ever justified, unless of course we bought Abbas' lies about Palestinians being the victims of the Israeli occupation. The fact that the US retained $80 million in funding shows that something is wrong, but it is akin to trying to get somebody to stop smoking by pulling a few cigarettes out of their pack and letting them smoke the rest. It simply won't work!

This current wave of spontaneous terror attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers is not an intifada per se, at least not an "old school" intifada. Yet it might end-up being more damaging than the previous two intifadas. If creativity prevails, we will see more attacks in ways that nobody could predict. This has become a logistical nightmare for Israel. No wonder the mayor of Jerusalem recently announced to its Jewish residents that if they had a valid carry license, they should never leave home without a firearm.

The wolves attacking Israel might not come in packs and might be far from being well organized and structured, but they remain wolves with a ferocious appetite for Jewish lives. It is not about Jerusalem, it is not about the Temple Mount and it is not about the disputed territories. It is simply about the complete eradication of Israel and all Jews.

I still rest in the fact that God continues to be a Zionist and continues to protect Israel from complete destruction as we can read in Psalm 121:1-4
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.

Is A New Set of Global Nuremberg Laws on the Horizon?

The dehumanization of the Jewish people came to its apex during World War Two and the Holocaust. The German phenomenon did not take place overnight, but rather was the result of an incremental, yet constant persecution of the European Jewish community over the centuries.

Hitler and the Nazi Party gained power in 1933 and within two years started to implement policies that would lead to the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", the infamous euphemism for the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust.

The most notorious of these sets of laws was known as the "Nuremberg Race Laws" or more commonly "The Nuremberg Laws" (not to be confused with the post-war "Nuremberg Trials" of the Nazi murderers).

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were divided into two categories. One was The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour and the other was The Reich Citizenship Law. Both were based on the false science of Eugenics or racial purity. In their entirety, the The Nuremberg Laws were aimed at ostracizing the Jews from German society to the point of making work, life and socializing virtually impossible. They represented the foundation for the Nazi definition of who is a Jew, who is Aryan and as a result who deserved to live and who deserved to die.

Marriage between Jews and non-Jews became forbidden. Jewish owned stores were taken over. Jews wanting to leave Germany were taxed up to 90% of their estates. Jews were required to carry identity cards with the letter "J" stamped on, a well as being forced to insert the middle name of "Israel" for males and "Sara" for females on their papers. Jewish doctors could no longer treat non-Jewish patients.
A complicated bureaucracy of anti-Semitic statutes was enacted, transforming the Jews from humans to animals to parasites, and thus requiring their "extermination" for the betterment of the world, or of the Third Reich at the very least.

The Nuremberg Laws were incremental but key to the systematic attempt at the destruction of European Jewry.

Is it possible that only eighty years later, we are starting to see what could be called "a new set global Nuremberg Laws?" Just like most of the German populace didn't notice or even react to the racial purity laws, today's global community seems unaware or worse; uninterested about this new phenomenon.
The fact that the global Jewish community suffers from anti-Semitism can no longer be denied. But it is no longer only racial purity that is being promoted. Much is being attempted to reduce the Jews to a nuisance to society. This compilation of anti-Jewish acts, decrees, exhibits, marches and even UN resolutions is seeing an exponential growth without much resistance from anybody at all.

Recently, the Brazilian government has passed a law that all Brazilian Jews born in Jerusalem will no longer have the word "Israel" on their passport. While the number of affected people is minimal in Brazil, the politically correct statement is clear: Jerusalem can no longer simply remain the Jewish Capital! Unbeknownst to most, this is also the standard procedure for the United States, Canada and France. It has of course become highly offensive and reeking with intolerance to many who are so "invested" in the Israeli-Arab conflict!

Just a couple of weeks ago, on some Air France in-flight maps of the middle East, Israel, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were omitted and replaced with the words "Gaza" and "West Bank". It took no time for passengers to notice and start flooding the social networks with photos of the erroneous maps. Within days, Air France issued an apology and fixed what they called a "technical problem." I am at a loss trying to understand how this could possibly be a technical glitch. Words disappeared and were replaced by other words that are usually not on the map at any scale. Was it technical or political? Don't get me started?

In Spain, just a few days ago, the Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu was asked to recognize the Palestinian State to be allowed to participate in a music festival. After the artist categorically refused to flex under the political pressure, his show was cancelled by the festival.

These might appear as very little waves in an ocean of anti-Israel sentiment often hit by more devastating anti-Semitic tsunamis. They nevertheless are becoming more and more common and they are a sign of the times for the global Jew. They are little stabs in the Jewish identity that often go unnoticed but set-up the stage for more and more acceptance of the propaganda coming from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement.

It is obvious that these are not laws against the Jews like we saw in the mid-thirties out of Germany. But in many ways, these attempts at demonizing the Jews and Israel can even be as lethal as simple laws. They come from many organizations, agencies and even common people who have naively (or some even willingly) bought into  the Palestinian narrative.

There is nonetheless a greater danger looming on the Jewish horizon. As we see more and more of the world being conditioned against the Jews and the State of Israel, it is only logical to expect very little resistance when real laws are enacted against them [the Jews].

A new set of Nuremberg Laws might not be a reality yet, but I have no doubt that the tentacles of a global anti-Jewish legislation are coming. When these laws become a reality to the Jews, will they be enough of a reality to you to say/do something?

In 1942, French Pastor André Trocmé answered a Vichy official about hiding and saving Jews in his village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and said:"These people came here for help and for shelter. I am their shepherd. A shepherd does not forsake his flock... I do not know what a Jew is. I know only human beings."

Will there be any "André Trocmé" left around when my people are hunted down again?

As a Jew, I can support Palestine!

One of the major reasons why there is so much strife in the region is because of the lack of clarity in these definitions as well as the amount of historical inaccuracy supporting them. Modern day Palestinians and their supporters often speak of "historic Palestine" in an attempt at validating its existence prior to that of the Jewish people. But was there such a thing as a historic Palestine and if there was, how could it be defined?

Let us start with what we know from history and define a geographical Palestine. At this point, my use of the word Palestine will only be to describe geographical boundaries in the Middle East. It is therefore critical to differentiate between the "Land of Palestine" as a geographical area and the "State of Palestine" as a political entity. Palestine is a piece of land in Eastern Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, squeezed in a very strategic region between Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq.

The word "Palestine" has been etymologically altered over the last 50 years. Until then, it was simply the name of a region. Biblically, it was actually NEVER called Palestine but "The Land of Canaan". It was God's choice to give the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants as we read in Genesis 17:8: "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

Nevertheless, the first use of the word itself might go back to the 5th century BCE out of Greece.  It came from Herodotus who penned The Histories, considered a foundational work on history in Western literature. In Book III of The Histories, he calls it Palaestine. Many authors and historians such as Aristotle, Plutarch and Josephus followed Herodotus in the use of the name which always described a geographical area.

Fast forward to the last Jewish revolt against the Romans known as the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE) and you now have the official renaming of that area as Palaestina to further humiliate the remaining Jewish people after their defeat. Additionally, Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina by emperor HadrianThere is no archeological or historical evidence for the survival of the people known as the Canaanites–from whom many believe the Palestinians come from. On the other hand, we can trace the first Hebrews in the Land of Canaan back to 1,300 BCE.

The name Palestine continued to be used for that area of the world through the centuries, and Jewish presence was never put into question. In the early 1880s, Diaspora Jews who had been spread out all over the world since the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE, had started to return to Palestine in a series of Aliyot due to intense persecution. In 1916, the region was divided under the Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Grand Britain. Lebanon and Syria were assigned to France and Palestine was assigned or "mandated" to Great Britain. The 1917 Balfour Declaration established that because of the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine", The Jewish people were entitled to return to the area. The statement was very clear: "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object."

While there might have been some tension as to who really belonged in the land and its exact boundaries, Palestine remained a descriptive for a geographical area and not a political movement or people group. It is then accurate to say that historically we can support geographical Palestine.

The area known as Palestine under the British Mandate actually included what was then known as Trans-Jordan (East of Jewish Palestine). One is to wonder why Trans-Jordan or "Eastern Palestine" is never mentioned and never included in the modern quest for the Palestinian State? That area known today as Jordan, represented 85% of the Entire British Mandate, yet it apparently wasn't enough! Incidentally, the Palestinian flag is almost identical to the Jordanian flag.

The tide began to turn in 1929 during the Hebron Massacres and the Arab revolt of 1936-39. Around that time, it was still appropriate to speak of " Palestinian Jews" and "Palestinian Arabs". In 1948, Palestinian Jews became known as Israelis and Palestinian Arabs started to be called Palestinians as the narrative switched from geographical Palestine to "historic" Palestine. Yet many arabs from neighboring countries continued to call themselves Arabs and not Palestinians for a while longer.

Yassir Arafat (born in Egypt) came on the scene and the pressure was increased on the modern state of Israel. The terms Palestine and Palestinian continued to be deconstructed and re-defined. Today Egyptians and Jordanians of the past are calling themselves Palestinians and claiming right to the Land of Palestine in the name of "self-determination." Arab victims of the War of Independence (1948), the Six-Day War (1967) and the Kippur War (1973) have been made into political refugees, forcing Israel to become the "occupier."

Historical revisionism will work for two reasons. On one hand, the lies propagated by its supporters are constantly placated on the news, in books, interviews and the internet. On the other hand they are for the most part never challenged. A repeated lie that is never challenged eventually will become the new accepted truth.

This new truth of a displaced people [the Palestinians] and an occupier [the Israelis] is what currently punctuates the news. Unfortunately, it also dictates the world's response to the Middle East crisis. But it is based on revisionism and not on historical facts. Any serious student of history, while not blindly exonerating Israel of all guilt over the last 67 years, will recognize Israel's right to exist and be in the land. Israel's right to the land can be proven biblically, historically, geographically and archeologically.

You can choose to call that land the Holy Land, Eretz Yisrael, Jewish Palestine or even Western Palestine as we could agree that all these term are inter-changeable, as long as the name refers to a geographical area. From that angle, I support Palestine. The moment that Palestine becomes a political entity with a fictitious displaced people is the moment that I draw the line.

Geographical Palestine exists while historic Palestine never did. More than the Israelis, the real victims are the Jordanians, Egyptians and other Arab neighbors of Israel who were made into something they are not. Of course, their children and grand-children, innocently born as "refugees" only exacerbates the problem. We might not be able to come-up with a viable solution any time soon, but this shouldn't give us the liberty to ignore the problem and its root cause.

Is a France Without Jews Possible?

France is one of the oldest countries in the world, having a rich history that goes back to the sixth century BCE. It has seen the birth of many important figures such as Charlemagne, Napoleon and others. Additionally, the French language replaced Latin as the international language from the 17th century until the middle of the 20th century when it was replaced by English. There has been a Jewish presence in France for a very long time. To this day, the country has had a long love/hate relationship with its Jewish community. Even though the Jews have always had friends and will continue to do so in France, consider some of the following non-exhaustive tragic historical records:

• The First Crusade was organized by Pope Urban II in France in 1095.
• Accused of "Ritual Murder" during Holy Week, Jews were burned at the stake in France in 1187.
• The yellow badge of shame to identify Jews, known as "la rouelle" was introduced in France in 1215, later to be taken to new heights by the Nazis as the yellow star.
• 12,000 volumes of the Talmud were burned in France in 1242.
• Jews were repeatedly expelled from France in 1182, 1306, 1322, 1394 and 1453.
• The Dreyfus Affair took place in Paris in 1894, falsely accusing Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus of treason.
• 78,000 French Jews were sent to their death in the Camps by the Vichy government of France during World War Two (1939-1945)
• There was a terrorist attack at Jo Goldenberg Jewish Deli in the Paris Jewish district in 1982 (6 deaths).
• Ilan Halimi was abducted and murdered in 2006.
• A Rabbi and three Jewish students died in the Toulouse Massacres of 2012.
• The Paris terrorist attack in January of 2015 claimed 17 lives (four Jewish people form the Kosher market).

I could obviously add a lot more to this somber list but these will suffice to make my point. France has a long reputation of anti-Semitism. The whole gamut of anti-Semitism is actually represented there from theological anti-Judaism to racial anti-Semitism to the new anti-Semitism, culminating in the current wave that I call End-Times anti-Semitism. In fact, anti-Semitism runs extremely deep into the French soil. It would be erroneous to put the blame simply on the Arab/Israeli conflict and the global ramifications that it has created. To be sure, Muslim anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, but it never was and never will be the sole root of the French anti-Semitic weed.

The latest outrage out of France is an apparent act of discrimination against an Israeli art professor wanting to bring students from Tel Aviv to both the Louvre museum and the Sainte-Chapelle church. When turned down for reservations, he applied again under two fictitious organizations from Abu Dhabi and Italy, only to be immediately accepted. In light of the level of animosity against Jews and Israel in France and the heavy involvement in the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), one is to wonder the real motives behind the refusal. An inquiry is underway. The Louvre has already rebooked the group and is claiming that their computerized booking system is incapable of any discrimination. Sainte-Chapelle is all done by hand and results from the inquiry are still pending. It could turn out that there was no malice in the process. I certainly hope so.

France's prime minister Manuel Valls who delivered a poignant, gut wrenching speech against anti-Semitism and racism only days after the January terrorist attacks, has also pledged over 100 million euros towards the fight against anti-Semitism. But recognizing how bad a weed is, serves no purpose unless you actually pull the chocking weed from the ground. Additionally, if the soil isn't properly fertilized, the weed can soon return stronger and deeper. France without Jews, according to Mr. Valls isn't France at all. This might turn out to be a very hard sell for the prime minister.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of France, including the largest Muslim community in Europe couldn't care less if the Jews leave. I also happen to believe that France is making a grave mistake by its nonchalant approach to the oldest hatred. French Jews are leaving in droves (7,200 made aliyah to Israel last year). They are taking with them culture, knowledge and creativity. As a result, this will undoubtedly create a void AND an imbalance in the French economy. Israel expects up to 10,000 more French Jews in 2015. This is all based on not experiencing any more terrorism and murders, something I am certain is unrealistic!

The Jewish community ceased feeling at home in France in 2006 after the Ilan Halimi murder. Since then, anti-Semitism has been on the rise. A France without Jews is very possible and is most likely to happen within the next 20 years or less. It really doesn't matter if "France isn't France without its Jews" because France has ceased from being France a while ago already ! We would be fools if we thought that France is the only European country losing its Jewish community in the 21st century. It is the first but certainly not the last.

On the other hand, it is encouraging to be reminded that God cares about Israel and the Jews–no matter where they are from. In His word, God is crystal clear about His unconditional love for Israel and the Jewish people. Even the Messiah comes from the Jewish people and it should also be clear that He is the only hope for Israel (Isaiah 52-13-53:12).

Yom HaShoah: Retell the Story or Repeat History! | by Olivier Melnick

It was in 1953, only eight years after the close of World War Two that Yom HaShoah became an official national memorial day in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion established that day as a yearly memorial of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Since then, every year and all over the world, Jewish people remember the Shoah or "Catastrophe" as they perpetuate the memory of their lost, loved ones. In Israel, on that day, a minute of silent reflection is observed at 10:00 AM as a siren is heard all over the country. It isn't unusual to even see motorists stop in the middle of the road and get out of their cars to observe that solemn moment.

Historically speaking, the Shoah is a unique genocide for at least one reason. It is the only attempt at annihilating a people group–The Jews–by even going outside of the area where they resided to gather them and bring them back to a certain death. It was an orchestrated, organized attempt at the total destruction of European Jewry. With all other genocides, as brutal as they might have been, there was always a way for potential victims to escape and/or immigrate. This was rarely the case for the Jews during the Holocaust years.

The importance of perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust cannot be underestimated. It is not about dwelling on the past for the sake of dwelling on the darkest days of Jewish history, but rather for the sake of preventing another "Catastrophe" in the future.

General Dwight Eisenhower caught the importance of documenting and remembering the Holocaust the minute that he walked inside the camps. As he visited one of the sub-camps of Buchenwald with Generals Bradley and Patton, he started to realize the magnitude of what he was witnessing and immediately wrote a letter to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General George Marshall in which he said: ...The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick....I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”
And yet, despite the commendable efforts made by Eisenhower and others, the Holocaust currently runs the risk of being relegated into some obscure corner of history, even worse...Some will soon believe that it simply never happened.
How could we possibly go from NEVER AGAIN to NEVER HAPPENED in 70 years? Holocaust denial is gaining a lot of momentum globally. Consider this:

Unfortunately, I could keep adding to this list. The point is that in 2015, 70 years after the events of the Shoah, we run the great risk of forgetting it. The last remaining survivors are in their 80s and 90s, with some even over 100 years old. It will not be long before we will no longer be able to talk to anyone who lived through that era. That is one reason why it is crucial to repeat and repeat the story of the Holocaust. The dwindling number of survivors coupled with the sick desire of some to negate the whole tragedy is a very dangerous combination.

Of course, much of history remains recorded for us in numerous books, journals and pictures. But as it pertains to Israel and the Jewish people, once again the standards are different. I am convinced that with an evergrowing animosity for the Jewish state and the global Jewish community, many would feel no guilt if the Holocaust ceased to be remembered, commemorated or even acknowledged.

Iran is working around the clock to acquire a nuclear bomb, Hamas has the destruction of Israel as part of its charter, many liberals and academics are preaching anti-Semitic messages on university campuses and even extreme right-wingers are now resurfacing.

Some claim that the Holocaust never happened, some claim that it was greatly exaggerated, some claim that it was used as Jewish propaganda and some think that we talk too much about it. The frightening truth is that according to a recent survey by the ADL, 1/3 of the world population believes that the Holocaust was a myth... One third!

If you and I do not retell the story of the Holocaust to our peers and our children, history will repeat itself! Yom HaShoah might be one day a year, remembering the Shoah must remain an on-going daily effort.

In memory of my Grandfather Maurice Weinzveig, born 4 December 1898, Olikka, Russia
Who perished in Auschwitz. One in six million.

 NEVER AGAIN

The Six Dangers of Christian Palestinianism

There has been a shift in Christian theology as it pertains to the Church’s relationship with Israel and/or Palestinian Christians. Loyalties once rooted in biblical principles are quickly changing. For followers of Yeshua (Jesus), it should not be much of a struggle to recognize Israel’s right to exist as well as the desperate need of the Jewish people for their Messiah.

Nevertheless, there is a real crisis facing Evangelicals today. A growing number of Bible believers appear to have made it their personal duty to act as theological referees between Jews and Palestinians. One of the key words heard over and over is “reconciliation,” and it often punctuates the various programs and projects aimed at bringing both Jews and Palestinians to Yeshua. It seems to be the ultimate goal of Evangelicals involved in such programs. But is it really? For any reconciliation to work, it must be a two-way street. Reconciliation needs to include forgiveness, mutual acceptance and a desire to press on together towards a common goal. The new trend in question is known as Christian Palestinianism.

Christian Palestinianism is a new way to look at the Middle East. It is almost like a new worldview. It has ramifications politically, historically geographically, archeologically, culturally and even spiritually. In his book For Zion’s Sake, Dr. Paul Wilkinson defines Christian Palestinianism by opposing it to Christian Zionism. He writes: “Christian Palestinianism is an inverted mirror image of Christian Zionism. All the basic elements of a Christian Zionist eschatology are reversed, so that the Bible is seen to be Christian, not Jewish, the land of the Bible is Palestine not Israel, the son of God is a Palestinian not a Jew, the Holocaust is resented not remembered, 1948 is a catastrophe not a miracle, the Jewish people are illegal occupiers not rightful owners, and biblical prophecy is a moral manifesto and not a signpost to the Second Coming.”[1]

I believe that Christian Palestinianism is a distorted view of God’s Word hiding a political agenda behind a reformed theology, resulting in a presentation of Christian Zionism as heretical. The Bible is slowly getting “de-judaized,” paving the way for Islam’s influence to overtake Judeo/ Christian history. This shift from Israel to Palestine in the Christian psyche really is a slap in God’s face and a grave altering of His Word. Postmodernism’s thirst for social justice and tolerance has positioned many Evangelicals on the other side of the spectrum from Christian Zionism to Christian Palestinianism. It could be argued that Christian Palestinianism is Replacement Theology amplified. It presents six dangers as follows:

• A Distortion of God’s Word
The promise of Genesis 12:1-3, made by God to Abraham and the Jewish people, still stands. The land boundaries of Genesis 15:18-20 have never changed and have yet to be fully fulfilled:“To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”

Why is it that almost nobody questions the historical and biblical revisionism of people like Stephen Sizer, Naim Ateek, Elias Chacour and the likes? We are seeing 21st century Christians blinded by reports of occupation and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians completely turn their back on Israel. But even more than changing one’s interpretation of the Bible, we also witness rejection of the inspired Word of God.

• A Rejection of God’s Word
Christian Palestinianist Naim Ateek recently wrote in Sabeel’s newsletter Cornerstone: “The lesson is clear for me: whatever does not agree with the hermeneutic of God’s love for all people has no authority for us and must not be read even if it is written in the Bible…Jesus had a hermeneutic of God’s love for all people and Isaiah’s words did not comply with that criterion.” [2]

This desire to ignore and even reject Scripture from the Tenach simply because it appears to be in conflict with later teachings of Yeshua is strangely reminiscent of Islam’s “Law of Abrogation,” when Qur’anic verses can be annulled, when historically superseded by contradicting ones. Such an approach to God’s Word is inherently wrong, yet many Evangelicals take their lead from people like Naim Ateek on what they perceive to be a valid biblical approach to the Middle East crisis.

Biblical illiteracy is running rampant within the Evangelical Church, and it creates a very shaky foundation upon which historical revisionism can be built with very little challenge, if any. Christian Palestinianists excel at biblical revisionism. They will go as far as painting Yeshua as the first Palestinian. This far-fetched revisionist approach to Yeshua’s origins has been heavily promoted by the Palestinian Authority. [3]

In both cases of distortion and rejection of God’s Word, the authority of the Bible is put in question. The God of the Bible, who is the God of Israel, as well as the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, is made into a different god. This allows for the insertion of a revised agenda favoring the Palestinian people at the expense of Israel and the Jewish people.

The concept of Eretz Yisrael being the Palestinian homeland and that of the existence of a native Palestinian people were already looming over the horizon a couple of decades ago, but today it is no longer discussed. The land ownership is accepted without questions. The false premise of a biblical Palestine was propaganda long enough to become truth, with no longer needing to be checked for biblical accuracy.

• A One-Sided Reconciliation
Accusations of “apartheid,” “colonization,” “ethnic cleansing,” or “nazification” of Palestine are constantly brought-up without ever speaking of terrorism, rocket attacks and human rights violations ordered by Palestinian leadership of both Fatah and Hamas. Islamic terrorism is simply dismissed and, in some cases, even justified. Christian Palestinianism offers a one-sided reconciliation, and that, of course, is no reconciliation at all.

• God the Covenant Breaker
Christian Palestinianism changes God from a covenant maker and keeper to a covenant breaker. While it might not be clear to many Evangelicals yet, for Christian Palestinianism to exist, Israel has to cease to exist.
What better way to postulate that Israel has become irrelevant than to say that God’s covenants with the Jewish people have been changed? If God had reneged on His covenant or changed the original recipients of His covenantal blessings, it would become obvious that He is done with Israel and the Jews.

But God never changed His mind when He said to Abraham: “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

If God were a covenant breaker, He would also have to be a liar. 1 Samuel 15:29 tells us otherwise: “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”

• A Demonization of Israel
Once one is convinced that God is finished with Israel and the Jews, it becomes easier to extrapolate the generalization that Israel is the cause of evil against the Palestinians. The accusations against Israel come from Palestinians, Liberals and some Evangelicals. They come so strongly that at times, it becomes difficult to define one source from another. Additionally, the liberal media has absolutely no other agenda than demonizing the victims and victimizing the perpetrators. Facts no longer matter in our postmodern global village. As a matter of fact, radical anti-Zionism is now part of the fabric of society and is in the process of becoming the standard by which one measures his/her degree of tolerance and multiculturalism. French author Pierre-André Taguieff develops it further in his recent book Israel et la Question Juive when he writes: “ Intellectual and political conformism moves alongside radical anti-Zionism, having nothing to do with a critique of Israel’s politics but rather aiming at the final destruction of the Jewish State.” [4]

• A Promotion of Islam
In her book Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis, Jewish author and activist, Bat Ye’or, describes Christian Palestinianism as “Palestinian Marcionism:” “The Christian policy that would eliminate the Jewish source of Christianity by suppressing the link between the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels represents an old and lingering trend, always opposed by the Church. Today, Palestinian Marcionism (Palestinianism) paves the way for the Islamization of the Church as it prepares mentalities for an Islamic replacement theology…and encompasses the whole paraphernalia of traditional anti-Semitism.” [5]

Bat Ye’or’s assessment has tragically proven true in the last eight years. Christian Palestinianism is well on its way to de-judaize Yeshua–a job that the gentile branch of Christianity generously contributed to, out of ignorance and sometimes, pure hatred of the Jews over the centuries. Christian Palestinianism will also continue to invalidate much of the Jewish Scriptures as history gets re-written and Jewish references get replaced to accommodate the “Islamization” of the Bible.

While it would be tempting and almost accurate to describe Christian Palestinianism as anti-Semitism, we must be careful in labeling this new trend. Some Christian Palestinianists are clearly anti-Semitic, but this doesn’t allow us to paint with broad strokes and simply say that Christian Palestinianism IS anti-Semitism.

I believe that it is a fair assessment to claim that Christian Zionism and Christian Palestinianism can be found on two opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of the Church’s relationship with Israel and the Jewish people. In fact, Christian Palestinianism is Christian anti- Zionism. But rather than labeling Christian Palestinianism as anti-Semitism, I would rather place it as one of the key components of the latest trend in anti-Semitism: Eschatological anti-Semitism.

Being well aware of the fact that anti-Semitism is the “irrational hatred” of the Jewish people, I see the obvious converging of many unlikely allies against Israel. Islam, Liberals and Evangelicals have many reasons to disagree ideologically and spiritually, yet they find it acceptable to go against Israel in one accord. Campus Intifada, BDS, media bias, historical revisionism, and Holocaust denial are different arrows in Satan’s quiver of hate.

An evangelical might not be as determined to destroy Israel as a radical Muslim is, but they have become co-conspirators and co- perpetrators. As such, they become guilty of the same crime in the eyes of the God of Israel.

God was the first Zionist but He also sent Yeshua for both Jews and Arabs. I am obviously pro-God and thus I am pro-Israel, but being pro- Israel doesn’t mean that one is anti-Palestinian, sadly, and I must say irrationally, the opposite is seldom true!

[1] Wilkinson, Paul R.: For Zion’s Sake (Paternoster, Nottingham, England, 2007) p. 65

[2] Ateek, Naim: Sabeel Newsletter: Cornerstone (Winter/Spring 2014), p.3-4.

[3] http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=13536

[4] Taguieff, Pierre-André: Israel et la Question Juive (Les Provinciales, Paris, France, 2011), p. 191-192.

[5] Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 2006), p. 213.