Commentary: How should we respond to the antisemitism that seems to be gripping our society?


Having been to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, I could never think about anything but having compassion for the Jewish people. Yad Vashem is the World Holocaust Remembrance Center where the devastation of the Third Reich upon the Jewish people is documented in ways that are indescribable. The torturous and inhumane treatment of the Jewish people, the impoverishment, the brutality, the destruction, the concentration camps, the massive graves are graphically depicted in so many ways that it moves the casual observer to tears.

I remember former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talking about going to Yad Vashem when his daughter, Sarah, was just a small child. As they were exiting the facility she said to her father, “Daddy, why didn’t somebody do something about all that?”

Apart from Christ, it is practically impossible to eradicate or even control hatred.

I am opposed to racism of any kind and stand in vehement disagreement with those who want to denigrate anyone because of their background or color. However, I have never quite understood antisemitism - why people are prejudiced against or have a hatred of Jews. Throughout history, no other people have been so villainized and victimized as the Jewish people. In the Old Testament, many people were very likely envious of the Jews because they were God’s chosen people. Did the antinomian Canaanites hate the Jews because they were the recipients and advocates of a strict moral code (the Ten Commandments)?

The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Canaanites, and other empires had multiple gods in the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations. Did these kingdoms with a god for every occasion find the Jews with their one God to be a troublesome people? Other religions like Christianity and Islam were privileged to seek out new adherents to their faith, but one would have to be born a Jew or otherwise be reluctantly received into their religious tradition. Perhaps that kind of exclusivism made others envious of the Jews or even rebellious toward them.

The Jews have also been accused of “deicide” or being responsible for killing deity - Jesus. We know better. While the Jews may have been judicially responsible for Christ’s death, the Roman soldiers were personally and physically responsible for His death. They carried out the execution.  However, we dare not overlook our culpability in the crucifixion. “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53: 5). But ultimately, He was “smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). So, to isolate the Jews and accuse them of the death of Christ is unfair and dishonest.

In the Middle Ages, the Jews were accused of spreading disease, a charge known as “poisoning the well.” Hitler hated the Jews because he considered them at the bottom of his eugenics theory for developing an Aryan race. He also blamed the Jews for Germany losing WWI. Hitler’s Nazi regime slaughtered six million Jews, because of his hatred of the seeds of Abraham.  

Basically, the Jewish people have become the scapegoat for every problem that has emerged and every debacle that some other person or culture created.

Others have expressed a hatred of the Jews because of the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948. They do not want the Jews to have their own nation and determine their own destiny.

Finally, Satan hates what God loves; and God loves and chose the Jews as His very own people. The Bible is very clear about how special Israel, the nation, is to God. In Deuteronomy 7:6-8 we read these words: "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath, he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt."

In Genesis 12:1-3 the Lord said to Abraham, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

It is God’s purpose to bless the world through Israel. Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know, we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).

All that we have worth having has come to us through the Jews. Our Bible is a Jewish book. Our greatest examples of faith (Abraham), prayer (Elijah), and devotion (Daniel) are Jews. Our Savior is a Jewish Savior.

Admittedly, Israel is currently in rebellion against God because of their rejection of Christ and their nation is a secular nation. But we must not abandon our love for Israel, and we must rejoice that some Jews are being saved and becoming a part of the body of Christ through their faith in the Messiah.

Joel, the prophet, wrote, “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land” (Joel 3:1-2).

I am grateful that the United States has historically supported Israel. God has restored the Jewish people to Judah. The nations have already divided up the land. The only thing left is judgment. Two parts of Joel’s prophecy have already come true. Therefore, we must bless those who bless Israel, and have faith that the rest will be fulfilled in due time. Those who are the enemies of Israel should take note.


J. Gerald Harris is a retired pastor and journalist who served as editor of The Christian Index for nearly two decades. You can reach him at