When we look at the relations between Jews and Christians in the last 2,000 years it is not very difficult to see that the bridge between the two has been progressively burned. Whenever a yard of it was rebuilt, two yards were further destroyed. When Jewish people are approached by Christians, the Christians are almost always unaware of the baggage they bring into the conversation. My people’s history has been punctuated by acts of hatred, xenophobia and demonization, too often by people who claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The Christian baggage is filled with events such as the Crusades, the Blood Libel, the Inquisition, the Pogroms, Martin Luther and the Holocaust. It should not surprise believers in Yeshua (Jesus), that Jewish people are very reluctant to consider Him as the Messiah. Why would we want to believe in, follow the teaching of and serve the one whom Christians claim as Christ (Messiah) when so much harm was done to us in His name?
I am encouraged when I see Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people. It warms my heart to see how they are trying so hard to rebuild the bridge. I personally know quite a few pastors and Christian leaders who have tremendous love and burden for the Jewish people, and yet, today, they constitute a minority. The bridge is in dire need of solid rebuilding, so anything that weakens it weakens our chances to reach the Jewish people with the saving message of the Gospel of Yeshua.
Several denominations within Christendom have shown their true colors regarding Israel in the last few decades, but none as abrasively and as boldly as the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA.) My intentions are never to commit character assassination out of frustration or anger, but I still feel the need to expose their anti-Semitism for the benefit of other Christians and Jews. Keep in mind that the corporate decision of an entire denomination never includes all its members, so let us refrain from painting with broad strokes.
During their 225th General Assembly, the PC-USA passed Resolution INT-02 (28-3) stating that PC-USA must “Recognize that Israel’s laws, policies, and practices regarding the Palestinian people fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid. Apartheid is legally defined as inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them This occurs in Israel/Palestine through:
• Establishing two sets of laws, one for Israelis and one for Palestinians, which give preferential treatment to Israeli Jews and oppressive treatment to Palestinians.
• Expropriating Palestinian land and water for Jewish-only settlements.
• Denying the right to freedom of residence to Palestinians.
• Dividing the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the Palestinians.
• Denying Palestinians the right to a nationality.
• Urge members, congregations, presbyteries, and national staff units, including the Office of Interfaith Relations, to seek appropriate ways to bring an end to Israeli apartheid.
• Direct the Stated Clerk to communicate this action to all other PC(USA) councils.”
So, here we go again with the accusation of apartheid as a foundation for acting against Israel and boycotting the Jewish State. The Committee declared that they were hoping that recognition of the problem would lead to peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. No mention of terrorism was made. Only mentions of “occupation”, “apartheid” and ” the punishment of innocent Palestinians.”
PC-USA also recognized May 15 as the official date of the Nakba (catastrophe) for the Palestinians. It was picked as the day after Israel’s Independence date of May 14, 1948. This makes the strong statement that PC-USA recognizes that May 14, 1948, as the start of the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, without recognizing the biblical right of Israel to her ancestral homeland and ignoring the international weight of the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1920 San Remo Conference and without mentioning the November 1947 United Nations vote to partition British mandate Palestine.
Many Christians have left the PC-USA denomination over the last few decades and many of their churches have closed. The denomination seems like it is struggling to survive, but it still hangs on to its anti-Semitic approach to Israel, all the while claiming that they have nothing against Jewish people.
Unfortunately, even if their moves are political and not theological–something I sincerely doubt–the damage is done and the encouragement for anti-Semites becomes stronger.
We live at a time when anti-Semitism is rising exponentially all over the world. There is no doubt in my mind that Jewish people are in great need of a friendly and loving Christian Church. Paul’s statement in Romans 11:11, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.” becomes a sober reminder of the Church’s failure in making the Jewish people jealous of their personal relationship with the Jewish Messiah. The last 2,000 years have made my people angry and eager to distance themselves from anything “Christian”. When PC-USA digs in its heels as a denomination and continues to delegitimize and demonize Israel, it is Christian anti-Semitism.
If PC-USA wants to throw Israel under the bus, let them; but somebody, please tell the denomination that their choice is not just anti-Semitic, it is also anti-biblical. As a result, the mistakes of a few who are under the banner of Christendom are affecting the many Christians who think otherwise. I would beg my Jewish people to consider the fact that the Christians who read the Bible and understand it properly absolutely cannot reject, ignore or replace Israel. Anything of the sort is a slap in the face of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is this thing called “accountability”, and when it comes to taking God seriously, PC-USA is not exempt.
For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”
And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.