Is it ever ok to be a racist? In the process of protesting racism against Blacks, some people are openly venting their antiSemitism.
During the Black Lives Matters protests in the Los Angeles Jewish neighborhood of Fairfax, synagogues and Jewish schools were vandalized. There were chants of “Kill the Jews” as well as other vulgarities about Israel. In other places, people blamed the State of Israel for the murder of George Floyd because they falsely attributed training of the Minneapolis police to Israel. DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles approvingly tweeted a blatantly Antisemitic quote about the Jewish people, wrongly attributing it to Adolf Hitler. Later, NBA player Steven Jackson tweeted his support and approval of Jackson. Nick Cannon, host of the Fox TV show The Masked Singer released a program on his YouTube channel, interviewing the rapper known as Professor Griff, in which they asserted all sorts of vile antiSemitic stereotypes. Although Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS, the Fox network retained him as host of The Masked Singer. I could go on and on.
Of course what I’m describing all took place after recent events which targeted Jewish people. I speak of the shootings in the Jersey City NJ Jewish market and the attacks on Synagogues in Poway CA and Pittsburgh PA. These are all reflections of the radical increase in Antisemitism in the United States and around the world. Most people would be surprised to learn that for years now, the number one target of hate crimes in the United States are Jewish people. The Anti-Defamation League released a report last year showing that Antisemitic incidents increased in 2017 by 60% and recently, they announced that Antisemitic incidents in 2018 remained at these historic levels.
One encouraging note about all this is that NBA Hall of Famer, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, an African American convert to Islam, is one person who has publicly slammed the lack of outrage over antiSemitism in Sports and Hollywood. He said, “It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.”
Most surprising to me, since I teach and serve in the evangelical Christian sub-culture, is that most Christians don’t recognize that this should have any effect on them. It’s certainly not that they endorse hatred of the Jewish people but the silence of so many makes me wonder why followers of Jesus act as if this doesn’t matter. Why should Gentile Jesus followers care deeply and act boldly to protect the Jewish people in our midst?
One reason we need to care about Antisemitism is that all followers of Jesus have Jewish roots. In Romans 11, Paul uses an illustration of an Olive Tree, a picture of the New Covenant, that Gentile believers are grafted into. He writes that if the root of this tree “is holy, so are the branches” (Rom 11:16). The root refers to the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The point is that Gentile Christians are branches grafted into a tree with Jewish roots. We need to care about Antisemitism because we stand on Jewish promises made to Jewish patriarchs.
But that’s not the only reason. We also need to care about the hatred of the Jewish people because we have a Jewish Redeemer, the Lord Jesus the Messiah. In Romans 9:4-5 Paul lists many of the blessings God has given the Jewish people and a special one is that “from them, by physical descent came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever.” The Messiah who died for our sins and was raised again and who forgave us, is Jewish. Despite the New York Times and a US Congresswoman declaring that Jesus was a Palestinian, nothing could be further from the truth. Our Lord Jesus, whom we love and serve, is Jewish. We not only stand on Jewish promises but we have a Jewish savior.
Yet another reason to care about Antisemitism is that we serve a Jewish king. It’s not just that Jesus is Jewish, the Bible identifies Him as “the Son of David.” Paul calls the Lord Jesus a “descendant of David” in both Romans1:3 and 2 Timothy 2:8. His point is that Jesus is the royal heir to the Davidic Covenant. The Messiah Jesus isn’t just our redeemer—He’s our King. If the Lord Jesus were not the true King of Israel, then He would not be the King of the World. Therefore, we must care for the physical family of our King.
A final motivation to stand with the Jewish community against Antisemitism is that one day we will stand before a Jewish judge, the Lord Jesus Himself. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 Paul reminds us that we will all stand before the Bema seat of Messiah, when He will judge our works. Not only that, the Lord Jesus Himself said that He would judge the Gentile nations at the end of the Tribulation (Matt 25:31-46). The basis of His judgment would be how the nations treated the Jewish people during that terrific time of Antisemitism called the Tribulation. The Lord receives some into the Kingdom because their actions reflected their genuine faith. He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me” (Matt 25:41). Although this verse is applied in many different contexts, its primary meaning is that “these brothers” refer to the Jewish people.
Too often Gentile followers of Jesus think Antisemitism is bad but it’s not really any of our business. But the Scriptures remind us that we need to resist Antisemitism because it is required of us. It is not just someone else’s problem—it should be one of our core concerns.