I found your piece to be very timely based on the thoughts coming from my Christian friends regarding the growing persecution of the Christian church abroad and at home. One comment I received regarding a recent Tatler post acknowledges what many of my friends have already expressed:
I have heard the expression “Sunday comes after Saturday,” which as I understand is the answer in the Muslim Middle East to why they persecute Jews so much and persecute Christians less. This is confirmed by your article. Once all the Jews have left, they will come after the Christians.
When we Jews hear your shock we respond with all-too familiar nods, as you are beginning to understand what we have experienced for thousands of years. I would like to reach out to you to highlight an essential concept you and my Christian friends have missed in the important discussion of how to fight back against persecution, so that you may be better equipped to handle what is already coming your way.
You cite Peter (Hebrew name Kefa) who was a Jew who wrote to a primarily Jewish audience (1:1 “exiles of the Dispersion” – i.e. the Diaspora of 70 A.D. that followed the destruction of the second Temple, or even the descendants of the first diaspora – Jews lived everywhere in that area in ancient times) who, joined with gentile counterparts, believed in a Jewish Messiah. These were outcasts because they were adherents to Jewish culture in a Roman (pagan) world. From that perspective I’d encourage all Christians to think along the lines of understanding the Biblical persecution which they reference as a contemporary form of antisemitism.
I agree with David Goldman (Spengler) that Christians aer an off-shoot of the Jewish faith, “gentiles to be inducted into Israel.” This is a historical, cultural identification at its most basic level. Without Torah you wouldn’t have the concept of Messiah; without the Jewish people you wouldn’t have a Messiah in which to believe. Therefore, if you choose to follow your Jewish faith you will be subjected to Jewish problems, the antisemitism of which Kefa writes being one of them.
Welcome to the tribe!
This Jewish fact, as detailed fully in your scriptures, explains why Christians have wrestled with meshing their gentile identity and their Jewish faith for thousands of years. Biblical-era antisemitic persecution morphed into Church-era theological discussions about the “replacement” of Israel and the “death” of the law, that is, Torah. This in turn, justified further antisemitic persecution as theologically motivated as the radical Islamic persecution of which you write. As a result, gentiles find themselves wrestling between the safety of a gentile, secular identity and a Biblical, Jewish faith. Identify with the former and you risk denying your God. Identify with the latter and you will be persecuted on this earth in one way or another.
I am truly sorry for my Christian friends who are only waking up to the reality of what antisemitism means on a personal level.
Paula, while you are hopeful, I have witnessed and experienced far too much to believe that the threat of beheading is left to foreign shores. We say every Passover that in each generation, a Pharaoh rises up to annihilate us. As the letter you cite indicates, the Devil is everywhere on the prowl.
Do not be willing to submit yourselves to “bullying” knowing that your brothers and sisters an ocean away are suffering far worse. Rather, take this bit of advice from a former Co-Director of a Holocaust-Genocide resource center: Use your spiritual beliefs to motivate practical action in addressing all forms of evil so that none of them can take root.