Tuesday 5 November 2013



Roger Cukierman, the president of the French Jewish community organization, CRIF, in his article “Fighting three kinds of AntiSemitism,” (Jerusalem Post, October 20, 2013) spoke of three types of Anti-Semitism - the far Right, BDS campaigns, European Muslim immigrants, but there is a fourth kind.  It is Christian anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism exemplified by a recent British Methodist Church/BDS Movement’s anti-Israel boycott survey, and by statements by church leaders in countries like South Africa.

Why is the Methodist-led boycott an act of Anti-Semitism? Anti-Semitism is anti-Jewish behavior in all its forms.  Their one-sided boycott campaign attempting to inflict damage on Israel applied exclusively and discriminatorily against the Jewish state, is a clear act of anti-Jewish behavior.

See how far the Methodist Church has strayed from its founding ethics. Based on the teachings of John and Charles Wesley, Methodism is grounded in biblical scriptures that believe in the ingathering of the Jewish people to the Holy Land. Read one of Charles Wesley’s hymns;

“O that the chosen band might now their brethren bring
And gathered out of every land present to Zion’s King.

Of all the ancient race not one be left behind
But each impelled by secret grace his way to Canaan find!

We know it must be done for God hath spoke the word
All Israel shall their Saviour own to their first state restored.

Rebuilt by His command, Jerusalem shall rise
Her Temple on Moriah stand again, and touch the skies.”

The Methodist Church today, and other churches, have turned away from Zion’s King and adopted the Kairos Palestine Document.
The United Methodist Kairos Response, adopted at the UMC General Conference of 2012, is a long screed of sympathy and support for the Palestinian cause. It fails to give one word of understanding or support to Jewish and Israeli suffering at the hands of Palestinian violence, terror, and rejectionism. The Methodists boycott Zionism and replace it with Palestinian land. They have sold their birthright for no gain and no glory. It says less about Israel and more about the fatal drift of the Methodist Church from their founding faith into the arms of those calling for Israel’s destruction. 

Other European Christian bodies isolating Israel for their wrath including the Swedish Lutheran Church, the Catholic Sacred Heart College in Belgium, the Irish Catholic Troicaire, the Church of Scotland, the Dutch Interchurch Organization, Christian Aid, the Quakers, and increasingly the Church of Sweden. In South Africa, the Council of Churches has been dogmatically anti-Israel.

In “Demonizing Israel and the Jews,” Manfred Gerstenfeld wrote “Christian anti-Semitism is far from dead. The current external appearance of that anti-Semitism is mainly that of anti-Israelism. You can call it recycled and redirected Christian anti-Semitism.”

The Kairos Document,authored by Anglican cleric Naim Ateek through his Sabeel Centre in Jerusalem, demonizes Israel using ancient anti-Semitic imagery.
Ateek wrote, “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him.” He envisioned “hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified”.
The Kairos Palestine Document calls for boycotts against Israel, and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel. As such it is inconsistent with efforts to reach a two-state solution.  It was adopted by the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church of the United States, and the United Methodist Church, and the South African Council of Churches.
Replacement theologists found salvation in the Kairos Palestine Document which removes biblical references to Jewish rights in the Holy Land, including Old Testament references to the Jewish people and the land, replacing Jewish Israel with Arab Palestine.

As Reverend Malcolm Hedding of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem wrote Replacement theology rests chiefly on the idea that the whole or part of the Abrahamic Covenant has been abolished, for it is this Covenant that promises to Israel eternal ownership of the land of Canaan.” For some Christians, “Replacement theology removes from Israel a national destiny in the land of Canaan because of her rejection of Jesus’ Messianic credentials. “

“Kairos” is a Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. It enables Anti-Semitic Christians to find their way out of the shame and guilt of the Holocaust to, once again, openly espouse their anti-Jewish dogma in anti-Zionist terms.

In his book “Our Hands are Stained With Blood,” Dr. Michael Brown states that replacement theology was among the primary theological and ideological foundations of the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the crusades and, ultimately, the Holocaust.  Brown pivots the Spanish Inquisition as the Catholic replacement theology Holocaust of the Jews in the Middle Ages with the Nazi Holocaust which granted replacement theologists further ‘proof’ that G-d had abandoned the Jews as His Chosen People.

Theologian researcher, Kendall Soulen, commenting on the events of the Holocaust and the establishment of the Jewish state, writes, “Under the new conditions created by these events, Christian churches have begun to consider anew their relation to the God of Israel and the Israel of God in the light of the Scriptures and the gospel about Jesus.” Some saw the resurrection of Israel out of the ashes of the Holocaust as a vision of biblical promise, while others sought an opposite interpretation which was given to them in the Kairos Document.

The Simon Weisenthal Center called the document a revisionist document of hatred for Israel and contempt of Jews.”
Reverend Todd Baker argues against the Christian anti-Semitic interpretation of Matthew 27:25 that view the Jewish People as permanently guilty and condemned in the eyes of G-d. “His blood shall be upon us and on our children.” Misinterpretation, he claims, has helped spawn Christian anti-Semitism via the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and recent Replacement Theology.
The World Council of Churches, the Lutheran Church in America call the Kairos Palestine Document as “the word of truth.” Had they studied this “truth” they would see that it calls for the return of Palestinian refugees to all of Palestine, including Israel.

They support the Palestinian BDS National Committee which continues to reject the UN Partition Plan of 1948, calls for the return of Palestinian Arabs “to their original home, does not forget the Nakba,” and states “this land is our land and it is incumbent upon us to defend it and reclaim it.”

People like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the South African Council of Churches have a black liberation theology in which they falsely position Palestinian Arabs as ‘black’ and Israeli Jews as ‘white.’ Nothing can be further from the truth. Anyone who visits Israel, or knows anything about Israel, appreciates it as the Rainbow Nation of the Middle East, but grievous South African policy decisions and damaging official statements are based on this form of replacement theology.

The Palestinian Authority calls for a future state that will be “Judenrein” and refuse to acknowledge Israel as the national home of the Jewish People. In parallel, Hamas refuses to recognize Israel in any form, and its Charter calls to kill Jews. The Kairos supporters apparently have no problem with this, certainly not to the point of publicly objecting to it, or calling for sanctions against Palestinians until they adopt a language of compromise.  Replacement theologists need to believe Palestinian lies and tales of victimhood. It locks into their dogmatic belief system.

Simply put, they deny the Jews their biblical heritage yet champion Palestinian rights to the land. 

When concern for Palestinian rights comes with denial of Israel’s rights by any religious body, this is the fourth kind of Anti-Semitism.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, allying with Hitler for the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in the Middle East, or Christian groups allying with the BDS Movement or Israel Apartheid Week desiring the elimination of Israel by non-violent delegitimization, they add up to the same thing – Anti-Semitism.

Anti-Zionism and secondary anti-Semitism often overlap when comparisons are made between Nazis and Israeli politics or between Holocaust victims and the Palestinians.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, in his new book, “Demonizing Israel and the Jews,” refers to “humanitarian racists” describing people or groups who criticize Israel “but remain silent about the Islamofacist character of Hamas who call for killing Jews, and the glorification of murderers of Israelis by the Palestinian Authority. Christian anti-Semitism is far from dead. The current external appearance of that anti-Semitism is mainly that of anti-Israelism. You can call it recycled."

Unquestionably the Spanish Inquisition was one of the greatest acts of Christian anti-Semitism. It began with the Catholic Church expelling the Jews of Spain and Portugal. It quickly led to two centuries of persecution and slaughter. The Spanish Inquisition was greater in its global reach, and much longer in its timeframe, than the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany.

Replacement theology reflects a Christian thinking that includes malignant anti-Jewish hatred. This has been the case throughout the history of the church.

In “An Analysis of Neo-Replacement Theology,” Michael J. Vlach writes, “ Replacement Theology have been seriously affected by two twentieth-century developments—the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern state of Israel. According to Irvin J. Borowsky, ‘Within Christendom since the time of Hitler, there has existed a widespread reaction of shock and soul-searching concerning the Holocaust.’”

Vlach asks what Christian replacement theologists make of the persistence of the Jewish people? What of Israel’s land and state?  The existence of Israel becomes a bone of contention in a theological sense. Do the misery and suffering of Israel in the past and present prove that God’s doom has rested and will rest upon her, as has been alleged time and again in so-called Christian theology? Or is Israel’s resurrection and existence God’s finger in history, that Israel is the object of His special providence and the proof Israel’s future that was foretold by Israel’s ancient prophets and the Bible?

A seismic rift has taken place within Christianity between those that acknowledge biblical teachings and those who dogmatically hold firm to replacement theology.

Whether by murder, expulsion, or conversion, the Christian denial of Jewish rights and Jewish existence, has been the constant threat to the Jewish people. It continues today in the name of anti-Zionism.

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.
He is the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.” www.israelnarrative.com

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