Europe: Views of Israel and the Jewish People

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France and the Jewish people: A “love story” gone wrong?

Written by Guy Athia, Director of Chosen People Ministries in France

Since the revolution of 1789 and the emancipation of the Jews proclaimed by Napoleon a few years later, there were several attempts to return to the previous status for the Jews living in France. The most recent one was during World War II, with France’s Vichy government of collaboration with the Nazis.

Until the Six-Day War in 1967, France provided Israel with military supplies and had a vey close relationship with the state of Israel. However, the situation changed with the adoption of what is known today as the “Arabic politic” of France led by General De Gaulle. It’s interesting to see that in the same period of the 1960s the Jewish population of the country grew a lot with the Sephardic Jews who came from North Africa.

Antisemitism – The Sickness of the Western World

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“Anti-Semitism is on the increase…and enlightened people are not immune to it.” These words, written in 1945 by the renowned British author George Orwell in an essay titled “Anti-Semitism in Britain,” might just as easily have been written in 2005.

Richard Jinman, reporting on February 11, 2005, in the English newspaper “The Guardian,” wrote:

The number of abusive or violent attacks on Jewish people in Britain reached record levels last year, according to figures released yesterday. A total of 532 “anti-Semitic incidents”-defined as malicious acts on Jewish people or property-were recorded in 2004…. The figure was a 42% increase on the 375 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2003 and considerably more than the previous record of 405 in 2000. Among the 532 incidents were 83 physical attacks (up 54% on the previous year), four of which were life-threatening.1

A Brief and Incomplete History of Jewish Suffering

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325 – The Council of Nicea rejected the Jewish roots of Christian faith

It separated the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover, stating, “For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people…”

415 – St. Augustine’s writings fostered anti-Semitism

St. Augustine wrote, “The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus.”

613 – Persecution in Spain

Jews were given the choice of leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over six years of age were taken from their parents and given a non-Jewish upbringing.

Hamas: Israel’s Unapologetic Enemy

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From 1968 until 1994, the Palestinians residing in the Land of Israel were largely governed by one man, Yasser Arafat. Arafat rose to power as the head of a political party, Fatah, which was founded on the premise that the Palestinians should engage in self-liberation, by force if necessary. During that time, Arafat and Fatah encouraged hundreds of terrorist attacks, many of them through affiliate groups that were officially separate from Fatah, though in name only.

After Arafat’s death in 2004, Fatah lost its revered leader and has struggled to recover. Last January, the world-including many Palestinians-was shocked when the opposing Hamas party won the majority of seats in the Palestinian elections. Political leaders and Israelis were unsettled by the victory of the more militant group, as it signifies a disturbing shift away from peace in the region. Though much remains to be seen about how Hamas will approach its new role, its historic opposition to negotiations and treaties makes it doubtful that this will be a time of renewed peace for Israel.

Heeding the Warning of a Worldwide Threat

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Those who are old enough to remember the Cold War may recall the civil defense sirens that used to go off at noon each day to test the alarm system. The good news was that it worked wonderfully. The bad news was that, after a while, no one paid the slightest attention to it.

This just goes to show that an alarm can only be as effective as the human response that accompanies it. Today, there is an alarm emanating from Iran that is threatening Israel and the world in a way that must not be underrated or wished away. What should be the response of God’s people to this ticking time bomb?

Top Ten Lies about Israel

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Written by Dr. Daniel Goldberg

LIE #1

Israel was created by European guilt over the Nazi Holocaust. Why should Palestinians pay the price?

Three thousand years before the Holocaust, before there was a Roman Empire, Israel’s kings and prophets walked the streets of Jerusalem. The whole world knows that Isaiah did not speak his prophesies from Portugal, nor Jeremiah his lamentations from France. Revered by its people, Jerusalem is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures 600 times – but not once in the Koran. Throughout its 2,000-year exile there was continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land, with the modern rebirth of Israel beginning in the 1800s. Reclamation of the largely vacant land by pioneering Zionists blossomed into a Jewish majority long before the onset of Nazism.

Iran and the Jewish People

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Written by Daniel Goldberg, Th.D., D.D.

Modern-day Iran, which is situated east of Iraq beyond the Tigris River, boasts a long and colorful history. Biblically, it is the same Persian Empire that Cyrus the Great established in 550 bc, after Babylonia surrendered to Cyrus (Ezra 1:3-5) in the time of the exile of the Jewish people in that region. The reign of Darius the Mede (522-468 bc) marked the zenith of the Persian Empire (Daniel 5:31).

How ironic it is that the Persians lent their support to a Jewish return to their homeland in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, given the present animosity between these two ancient peoples.

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

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Written by Dr. Robert Vasholz

From the time the Church triumphed over the paganism of the Roman Empire and assumed the mantle of worldly political power, the dark shadow of anti-Semitism has been its lasting shame. This deadly shadow has hovered above the terrible deeds of the Crusaders, the Inquisition, the pogroms and the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. What is the basis of this horrifying hatred? Does anti-Semitism spring from the New Testament itself?

In a quest for the roots of anti-Semitism, many authors have asserted that texts of the New Testament are “tainted with anti-Jewish allegations.” The Gospel of John has often been singled out as particularly guilty. The foremost reason is John’s frequent use of the term “the Jews”-many times in hostile or confrontational settings.

Review of the Oberammergau Passion Play

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The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ arrest, trial, torture, execution and resurrection have gripped the souls of countless millions throughout the centuries. It is understandable that they have been remembered and dramatized by the Church. One of the most famous of these “reenactments” has been the Passion Play at the Bavarian village of Oberammergau.

Just as every drama must have its hero, so too every drama must have its villain. The obvious hero of the Gospels is Jesus. Who are the foremost villains of the Passion Play? For centuries, the villains have been the Jewish people.

How to Pray in Light of Anti-Semitism

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The Scripture cannot state it more unambiguously than God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12:3 – “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

In the final analysis, anti-Semitism is more destructive to those who practice it than to those who bear the brunt of it. Hard as it may be to contemplate the anguish of Jewish people who have suffered such cruelty at the hands of their enemies throughout the centuries, it is even more frightening to consider the eternal judgment courted by those who are determined to hate what God Himself loves. As the character Yakov Bok in Bernard Malamud’s award-winning novel The Fixer observes as he reads the New Testament his guards have given him, “If you want to be an anti-Semite, you must first hate Jesus Christ.”