I have to admit I squinted at least two or three times to clearly see the date this Reuters (click link to read) article was published.
I squinted at the tiny print because its words resembled too closely quotes from books I’ve read concerning the mistreatment of our Jewish friends that came from the Nazis in the late 1930’s.
My eyes didn’t deceive me, the date that article was published was December 16, 2012, just a little more than a month ago. The first line of the piece reads… “A week after a leader of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party called for lists of prominent Jews to be drawn up to protect national security, Janos Fonagy stepped forward.”
Still in shock after what I read I did some further research. I was desperate to understand how a Hungarian politician could be so disconnected from the history of his own country that he could be so thoughtless toward the Hungarian Jewish community and more than 500,000 Hungarian Jews who were systematically exterminated when Hungary sided with the Nazis in the 1940s.
Sadly, this is not the only case of anti-semitism in Europe. Recently, Israel’s chief rabbis have called on prominent leaders of the European Union to investigate the frightful rise of anti-semitism occurring all around its countries.
Data coming out of France alone has revealed that anti-semitic attacks are up more than 45%! Shockingly, this number comes after the Toulouse tragedy when Mohammed Merah attacked Otzar Hatorah Jewish school killing a rabbi and three children in March 2012.
Recent polling data coming out of Germany reveals that “…15.8% of German residents in the former East German part of the country identify themselves with the fascistic far right, and subscribe to its beliefs, including hatred of Jews.” These numbers are astonishing!
Whenever I speak at a church I often get asked the question, “Why are the Jewish people specifically targeted?” Or “Why is there still anti-semitism today?” These are great questions and ones worth asking.
I believe anti-semitism is an atrocious crime that has unfortunately been around for millennia from as early as Egyptians who enslaved the Israelites in the book of Exodus to modern anti-semitic slurs.
Folks, anti-semitism is an act of evil that is rooted in Satan himself. The Jewish people are God’s chosen people. God has made an eternal covenant with them (Jer. 31:35-36) and He still has a plan to use them for God’s overall plan of redemption (Rom. 11:15). Anti-semitism is Satan’s way of attempting to thwart God’s divine plan.
So what can we do???
A few years ago I was listening to our local news station here in Dallas that reported that a local Israeli restaurant was the target of anti-semitism. Perpetrators spray-painted a swastika on the door of the Jewish restaurant. I wanted to encourage my Jewish friends somehow, so during lunch I traveled to the Israeli restaurant in Dallas to show support. I met the owner and told him I was saddened by the actions of those who spray-painted that disgusting symbol of hate and I’ve come to show support. After I spoke with him and others who had arrived to show solidarity, I enjoyed a falafel and hummus with some new friends.
There are many ways to attack anti-semitism and take a stance against it.
First, I would encourage you to attend a synagogue service. This is a great way to get connected in the Jewish community of your hometown. It will also introduce you to the exciting and vibrant Jewish culture. Your presence at a synagogue would be a visible sign of solidarity.
Second, visit a Holocaust Museum or Memorial with family or friends. My first trip to the Washington DC Holocaust Museum was an eye-opening experience that I will never forget. The testimonies of Holocaust survivors and images made me realize this abomination can never happen again… to anyone.
Third, if you haven’t already, visit a local Jewish deli or restaurant and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes that make up these unique delicatessens.
Finally, I know that for some reading this post it’s not feasible to do any of these suggestions. We understand that for many people out there it’s difficult to get to a synagogue, Holocaust museum, or Jewish delicatessen. So the Friends of Israel is here to help in your endeavor to show support. Simply go to our Stand with Israel webpage (www.foi.org/stand-with-israel) and you will find easy ways to show support to our Jewish friends, like planting a tree in Israel right from the comfort of your home.
Folks, anti-semitism is not gone and from the data we analyzed above it’s getting worse. We have to stand up against this evil act and let our voices be heard. Never Again!