Every year since 2005, on January 27, the international community remembers the Holocaust in various ways, from synagogue services to vigils to educational events that include Holocaust survivors or scholars, even though survivors are dwindling to a few thousand globally, by virtue of their age (90 and older). Soon, they will all be in our memories, or will they? How tragic would it be if, after all the survivors of the Holocaust were gone, the second-hand witnesses were silenced or simply stop speaking up against the horrors of the Holocaust and the evil of antisemitism?
This year, there is a great sense of urgency since the tragic events that took place in Israel on October 7, 2023. As much as the new antisemitism has been a reality for decades now, the events of October 7 have propelled Jew-hatred to the forefront of current events, not only in Israel but all around the globe. There is no question that the weed of antisemitism has grown exponentially since October 7, to the point of choking the truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Can this weed be killed? Can the truth be restored? I believe that three steps are involved in that process.
Learn the Truth
This is a very important step in the age of fast information and fake information. The more sophisticated we are with technology, the more risk we are taking with the veracity of the information we are fed. With the advent of chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence, truth is being challenged from many vantage points. Add to that the fact that we live at a time when people are not as interested in historical facts as much as they were two or three decades ago, and you get a narrative that can easily become very destructive. It is becoming very important to rely on resources that were published prior to 2020 just to be safe regarding data that could have been altered by chat GPT and/or Artificial Intelligence. When it comes to comprehensive works on Israel’s history and antisemitism, here are a few recommendations:
A Lethal Obsession: Anti-semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert Wistrich
The History of Anti-Semitism, Volumes 1-4 by Léon Poliakov
The Anguish of the Jews by Edward Flannery
A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time by Howard M. Sachar
The Case Against BDS: Why Singling Out Israel for Boycott Is Anti-Semitic and Anti-Peace by Alan Dershowitz
Teach the Truth
As critical as it is to learn the truth, people often acquire a lot of knowledge and do very little to share that knowledge. Advocacy isn’t only demonstrated in the actions we take, but it is also shown in the words we speak. Every voice matters, especially the voices of those who care about the truth. The younger generation doesn’t really know how to think anymore. They rely on soundbites and videos, most of them only a few seconds in length, to learn about anything. Gone are the days when people watched a documentary; now, they view a short on YouTube. Gone are the days when people read books; now, they read a one-sentence meme. These quick informational snippets are also shared by the millions almost instantaneously on multiple platforms. People are losing interest in gathering pertinent information on just about any topic, and as a result, they will also soon lose the ability to do so. We are going from the information age to the disinformation age rapidly and with little resistance. It is on us to take the time to share what we learn with our children, grandchildren, co-workers, schoolmates, neighbors and anybody else willing to listen and learn. Knowledge of the truth and how to share it will lead to wisdom. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
Defend the Truth
So, you’ve learned the truth, and you have committed to teaching it to others the best you can. That is a good start, but now we must put our knowledge into action and that will include decisions to support or boycott certain organizations, people or programs. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS), reborn in 2005, is promoting the boycott of anything Jewish to cripple the Israeli economy and hopefully force Israel to stop the occupation of “Palestine” and the killing of “innocent Palestinian victims.” It is time to double our efforts and do exactly the opposite. Go to their site at bdsmovement.net and support as much as you can from their list of what to boycott academically, culturally, and economically. The lists are on their site, and they have done all the homework for us. Additionally, there are several apps on Apple and Google platforms that will give you the ability to scan a barcode and tell you if you should boycott or support a brand based on their support of Israel. Such an app from BDS proponents is Belzamesh (free on Apple, Google). If you use Belzamesh, remember that we who love Israel and want to support the economy need to do the opposite of what the app recommends.
Beyond learning, teaching and defending the truth, we must understand that October 7 has brought an existential crisis to the Jewish world. We have reached the point of no return as it pertains to the momentum antisemitism is gaining every day. ANTISEMITISM WILL NOT CEASE; it will only increase (at least until Messiah Yeshua returns and reigns in Jerusalem from the throw of David)! Yet, we must continue to advocate against it AND commit to rescue and protect those affected by it. It is time for Christians across denominations to unite and redeem the past. Our Jewish friends are once again at risk. The danger is global and exponential. Doing nothing will increase the risk of another Holocaust, and even though God promised never to forsake Israel or allow for its total destruction (Jeremiah 31:35-37), the 1930s and 40s saw the decimation of 6,000.000 Jews in Europe (my maternal grandfather included) and that risk is back.
This January 27, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, why don’t you take the time to call your Jewish friends, neighbors, coworkers, or even family members and tell them that you have their backs? Tell them that as you remember the Holocaust, you will do everything in your power to make sure another one doesn’t happen on your watch. I understand that the Bible speaks of great turmoil coming to the Jewish people in the future, during the Great Tribulation, but let’s seize the day and redeem the past NOW, lest we become the new bystanders of today! I am convinced that we can make a difference before the Tribulation starts, which means that we can reach out to our Jewish friends before the Rapture that will occur before the Tribulation. We do it because of the Gospel and with the Gospel…One Jewish soul at a time, praying that we can lead them to their Messiah!