In 2014, Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, releasing the results of an annual study, has reported a global surge in anti-Semitic acts, both in volume, nearly 800, and in violence, a number involving weaponry and deathly assault, especially in North America and Western Europe. This marks a 38% increase over 2013. Quoting the report, “The overall feeling among many Jewish people is one of living in an intensifying anti-Jewish environment that has become not only insulting and threatening, but outright dangerous.”
Why this fearsome rise in aggression against Judaism and Jewish people?
A key cause is traced to anger, particularly among Western Europeans, in response to this past summer’s Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The social media, in our cyber-connected world, often rife with anti-Jewish caricatures and satire, has played an undeniable role.
As a citizen of the world, I believe in peace and the essentiality of negotiation rooted in mutual respect, especially a sine qua non in encounters, however historic, between competing, conflicting interests. Therefore, I do not condone the destruction of communities of the Gaza Strip, and the inevitable displacement and death of innocent people, even in the name of state security and border integrity.
As a Christian, I, with heartfelt love and soul-deep respect, am beholden to Judaism, the culture and faith of Jesus of Nazareth, the One I follow, whose life of incarnate love and justice I pledge to live. Therefore, I consider any anti-Semitism to be an expression of a dangerous pathologic self-denial, verily a delusory and deadly schizophrenic loss of connection with reality. Anti-Semitism, to paraphrase Martin Luther (I realize, an ironic, though, I pray, a redemptive choice, as he is justly accused and condemned for his anti-Jewish beliefs and sentiments, writing and preaching), is a mortal ill that must not prevail.