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"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."
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By Norman Manzon
When criticisms or hurtful actions arise because of a bias against Jews or Israel, they are anti-Semitic. (The nature of anti-Semitism is discussed at length in Part 1: The Divine Aspect.) But whether or not anti-Semitism is a factor in any given case, many accusations against Jews and Israel are simply not true, and need to be refuted. This study, then, is an apologetic against a few key accusations against Jews. Scripture and evidence of a nature more common to human argumentation will be provided as appropriate.
On what basis does a Bible study series engage in apologetics that are not lifted from Scripture? In the context of Israel, the answer is that God requires us to bless Israel (Genesis 12:3) - not just by introducing them to Messiah, but by blessing them in the daily affairs of life. Note how Messiah will bless the sheep Gentiles who, at the risk of their lives, will offer succor to the persecuted Jews of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-40). Note also how Paul, on two occasions, declared his Roman citizenship to force his persecutors to walk in civic truth (In Acts 16:37-39; 22:5).
Only a few bare comments can be offered in this brief study. It is hoped that the reader will do his own research, which may include some of the sources recommended below as well as resources offered on our Resources page.
No individual is blameless; but in matters in which it is adjudged that some Jews do engage in offensive practices, it is hoped that the one who so judges will realize that that fact is no justification for wholesale exile, confinement in ghettos, mass slaughter, or the like, but of reasonable and fair treatment of the individuals so adjudged. The same applies for the country of Israel.
I will first address accusations against Jews in general, and then accusations against the country of Israel.
Well, the Bible says they are.
In Deuteronomy 7:6, Moses said, For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
In Isaiah 41:8-9, God said, 8. But you, Israel . . . . are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.
Also Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Chronicles 16:13; Psalm 33:12; 105:6,43; 106:5; 135:4; Isaiah 43:10,20; 44:1-2,21; 45:4; 65:9,15; Jeremiah 30:10; 46:27,28; Amos 3:2 and 1 Peter 2:9-10.
God chose Israel primarily to bring the Scriptures and Messiah into the world. The chosenness of Israel may be studied in detail in The Chosenness of Israel.
It is a fact that some Jews are prideful of their Jewishness and of their nation's chosenness, whether they understand what that means or not. Such pride is found in perhaps all people groups. Shouldn't prideful Jews be dealt with fairly and reasonably as individuals, just as one should deal with prideful individuals of any nationality, including one's own?
This accusation lays the responsibility for the death of Christ on the doorstep of the Jews, and has been responsible for the
shedding of rivers of Jewish blood - primarily by those who call
The Jews bore the brunt of the accusation, and Pilate, who ordered the execution, was attributed no "particular blame."
The accusation is still alive and well in circles great and small. The Holy Thursday liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches speaks of "the murderers of God, the lawless nation of the Jews," and includes the prayer, "But give them, Lord, their reward, because they devised vain things against Thee."2
This writer recalls an online cartoon of a year or two ago of baby Jesus about to be run over by an Israeli tank.
On the basis of this accusation, people and nations
have taken the punishment of the Jews into their own hands. A balanced
refutation of this accusation is a delicate issue, and the following
points are proffered with Jews and Gentiles of every persuasion in
mind. I therefore respectfully ask that all readers hear me out. First the facts, then proper responses to the facts.
b. Jews who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah will understandably deny the charge of deicide (invalid as it is, anyway) or of killing the Messiah because they do not believe that Jesus is divine or the Messiah. This is not a matter to be debated here, but appreciated.
2. Determining the Key Fact:
Who Was Guilty of the Death of Jesus?
a. Examining Jewish Culpability
From the Babylonian Talmud:
The Talmud agrees with the New Testament in that both record that the Jews initiated Yeshua's execution:
2) Not all Jews delivered Jesus to be crucified. Those who did not call for His execution included His great number of disciples (Luke 6:17), the great number of people who looked on Him favorably without having committed themselves to Him (Luke 2:52) (at least not openly by that time, such as Joseph of Arimathea [John 19:38] and Nicodemus [John 7:50-52]), and the great number of women, and perhaps men, who were not in Jerusalem at that time. Matthew does report that crowds of adult males were persuaded by the chief priests and elders to request Barabbas and put Jesus to death (Matthew 27:20 with Deuteronomy 16:16-17); yet, all things considered, it is impossible to know what percentage of adult Jews, or even just male Jews, actually called for His execution. Perhaps a significant percentage, even a majority, did not.
3) Matthew 27:25 records that a mob of Israelites cried out, His blood shall be on us and on our children! The fact that this has been recorded has been the rallying cry of many an anti-Semitic mob. Yet, it is a mere recording of fact, and constitutes absolutely no biblical ground for humanly initiated punitive action, as will be shown.
4) God does judge and bless nations on a national basis. He judged the northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. by the hand of Assyria for idolatry (2 Kings 15:29; 17:3-12; 18:11-12; 1 Chronicles 5:26; Isaiah 10:5-6), and the southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C. by the hand of Babylon for idolatry and not giving the land its required Sabbath year rests (Leviticus 26:34-35,43; 2 Kings 25; II Chronicles 36:20-21; Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10). It should not seem unusual, then, that if Yeshua was the Messiah, and Israel's spiritual leaders and judicial authorities delivered Him to be crucified, that they should be judged nationally by God for that, as well. Even so, as has been mentioned, that constitutes no biblical ground for humanly initiated punitive action, as will be shown.
b. Examining the
Culpability of All Mankind
Pilate condemned a man to death in order to prevent a riot, a man who, in his judgment, was innocent: "Why, what evil has He done?" Also, Luke 23:4: Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no guilt in this man;" and John 19:4: Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him; and 19:6: I find no guilt in Him.
Pilate was guilty, and he was an arm of Rome. Therefore, Rome was guilty.
According to the Talmud quote, Jewish officials initiated the charges against Jesus and carried them forward until he was "hanged." The Talmud assumes Jewish responsibility - but were the Jewish leaders and, by extension, the Jewish nation, guilty of any conscious miscarriage of justice?
Caiaphas, who was high priest and the chief priests and the Pharisees agreed that it was expedient that Yeshua die because all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation (John 11:46-50. Also 18:14-15). In other words, they agreed to scapegoat Him. They arrested Him, judged Him in their courts, and finally delivered Him to Pilate (Mark 15:1). They were guilty.5
Thus far, we've seen that both Israel and Rome were
guilty, which is also stated plainly in the prayer of Peter, John and their companions in Acts 4:27-28:
Let us not miss the point that God was involved, too, though by no means can He be held "guilty"! So, if we're not going to persecute God, then the least we can do is persecute Romans as well as Jews, right? As Word of Messiah Ministries' Sam Nadler says, "Why not anti-Italianism?" Well, let's see what Scripture says in the broader view.
John 1:29: Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Romans 3:9b: we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin.
Galatians 3:22: But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Messiah Yeshua might be given to those who believe.
We all are responsible and guilty of the death of Messiah because we all put Him on that cross by our sinfulness and our sins. It is as if we, ourselves, hammered in the nails. So - who shall accuse and persecute whom? Shall we persecute ourselves and shed our own blood? No, as a matter of fact, blood has already been shed on our behalf whether we be Jew or Gentile, and need be shed no more. He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30). To punitively shed any more blood for the death of Messiah, be it Jewish or Gentile, is to declare that God's punitive justice was not fulfilled at the cross - which would mean that none of us can be forgiven!
Responses to the Facts
We'll look at this accusation from financial and political perspectives.
1. The Financial Perspective
Jews control Wall Street? No. It is accurate to say that there are many Jews in key positions on Wall Street. But where's the conspiracy? There are many Jews in New York City. Guess what? There are many Japanese in the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Chinese in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Where's the conspiracy there? If there's no proof of conspiracy, individuals should be judged on an individual basis irregardless of their nationality, and on an even-handed basis. But why start with the Jews or any other nationality? Why not start with the Forbes list? They're the big boys - but even here one must be careful. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a "big boy"! Many "big boys," Jewish and Gentile, have risen to levels of success by honest, hard work! Careful how you judge!
2. The Political Perspective
In an article entitled "The Protocols of the Learned Elders
of Zion: Plagiarism at its Best," Prof. Jose Delacruz of The University of
California at Santa Barbara, declares,
Prof. Delacruz demonstrates that the Protocols are a forgery of portions of an imagined conversation between Montesquieu and Napoleon III - who were neither contemporary nor Jewish! Prof. Delacruz concludes, as did the original researchers, that which has been commonly accepted since the forgery was revealed publicly in 1921:
Nonetheless, untroubled by facts, the Protocols is still employed as a handy tool by anti-Semites.
To be fair to the Palestinian Authority, a web search for the Protocols shows that not only they, but other endarkened people like them, claim that the document is genuine. But for those who care about the truth, be they Palestinian or otherwise, let them consider the evidence summarized in Prof. Delacruz' article.
3. Summing Up
Are Jews trying to influence the politics of the countries in which they reside where they have that liberty? Yes, just as countless other groups are trying to do, whether they be of a particular ethnicity or political persuasion or banking network or corporate conglomerate or labor union or other entity. For better and for worse, lobbying is an established practice. It makes no sense to single out a lobby for particular scrutiny and opprobrium simply because they represent Jewish interests, such as the safety of Israel, as is done by some.
"When approached by a student who attacked Zionism, Dr. [Martin Luther] King responded: 'When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism.'"10
Zionism is the belief that Jews ought to have their own homeland; also that movement which initiated and promotes the return to the Land and seeks the Land's well being. Of course, no political movement is flawless, nor is any nation; but Dr. King apparently sensed the spirit that motivated that student.
Consider these claims, and the refutations, and judge for yourself.
There are two major prongs to this claim: 1. They never resided in the land until recently, and 2. They are Europeans.
1. "They Never
Resided in the Land Until Recently"
The bracketed clarifications are present in the passage on the web page.11 An accompanying quote by Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi reads as follows: "God wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael's descendents should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac's in Canaan."
King Nebuchadnezzar's Chronicle proves that Judah, whose capitol was Jerusalem, was a kingdom in the land as far back as 589 B.C. ("He captured the city" in 587, but his siege began thirty months earlier.13)
2) Solomon's City Wall
The writer of the article states,
The discovery of this massive wall and complex demonstrates that the Jews had a very stable and strong presence in Jerusalem three hundred years prior to Nebuchadnezzar's siege, in total agreement with 1 Kings 3:1.
3) The Arch of Titus
c. The Bible
Two thousand years ago, the Levitical priesthood was intact and functioning, and multitudes of Jews worshipped in the Temple in Jerusalem.
2. "They Are Europeans"
Israelis Are Recent Immigrants from Europe"
b. "They Are Not Bloodline Jews"
"The men and their wives migrated to Europe together" - from the Middle East.
The ancestors of most Jews in Israel today never left the Middle East, and "the main ethnic element" of those who migrated from Europe "and most other modern Jewish populations of the world is Israelite."
To sum up, the genetic connection of
modern Jews in Israel to the ancient Israelites is very strong.
b. "The Jews Took the Land from the ArabS"
This claim is based on the migrations
of Jews to the Land since the last two decades of the
nineteenth century. We will examine this claim from the divine,
demographic and political perspectives.
In Genesis 17:8, God said to Abram, I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. This was four thousand years ago.
As God was preparing to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage, He declared, I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD (Exodus 6:8). This was 3,400 years ago.
Ezekiel 39:28 and many other passages show that the Land will still be their own land, even in the future Millennial kingdom, and Genesis 17:8 says that the land is an everlasting possession - which includes right now.
A few other passages to the same effect are: Genesis 12:1; 15:18; Leviticus 25:38; Numbers 34:1-15; Deuteronomy 1:8; 29:10 - 30:10; Ezekiel 36-37.
Jews literally have a God-given right to live and govern in the land of Israel in peace.
Other such reports are reported in Professor Dershowitz's book, The Case for Israel, the source of the quote, and in From Time Immemorial20 by Joan Peters.
Consider this assessment by Malcolm MacDonald, British Secretary of State, in 1938:
And by Winston Churchill in 1939:
What was the reason for the Arab influx? Jewish development of the land.
Mr. Barakat's assessment was made in 1914, and is still applicable today:
Don't miss that. 40,000 Jordanians immigrated to Israel in just one recent year to avail themselves of economic activity provided by Israel. That's from just one Arab country in just one year!
3. The Political
One day after Israel declared its independence, they were attacked by Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq in an attempt to crush it and annihilate its Jewish inhabitants. "Very few [Arabs] were kicked out or driven out by the Zionists,"26 and many fled of their own accord in anticipation of, and during, the invasion; but the overwhelming majority were enticed to leave by the leaders of the invading Arab nations, and forced to leave by their armies, to keep them from being caught in the crossfire.
"To this day ,28 Jordan was the only Arab country to welcome the Palestinians and grant them citizenship (to this day Jordan is the only Arab country where Palestinians as a group can become citizens)." Contrast this to the fate of the "800,000 - 1,000,000 Jews [who] left, fled or were expelled from their homes in Arab countries" between 1948 and 1970.29 All such Jews who desired to come to Israel were thoroughly absorbed, while not even vast Saudi Arabia or other oil-rich Arab countries have opened their doors to their brethren to this day.
Sir Alexander Galloway, UNRWA official from 1951-1952, said this in August, 1958:
As of this writing, it is still true.
Proof has already been presented that the Jews have a well established connection with the Land, that the great influx of Arabs followed on the heels of Jewish development and, for those who believe the Bible, that God gave the Jews the Land. All this is germane to the accusation that the Jews are illegal occupiers of the West Bank. The focus of the accusation, however, has to do with Jewish occupation of the West Bank since 1967.
What's the story?
In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan attacked Israel in a third attempt in Israel's nineteen year history to annihilate her. In the course of this Six Day War, which Israel won, Israel drove the Jordanians back across the Jordan River, and occupied the West Bank. Subsequent to the war, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 242, which called for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied . . . and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries."
The Israelis have proven their willingness to withdraw from the West Bank on several occasions - but the Palestinian Authority has been adamant in its refusal to grant Israel "the right . . . to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." They do not recognize her existence as legitimate. Their maps do not show a country called Israel, but include all of Israel's territory in what their maps call Palestine; and they relentlessly seek to annihilate Israel so on-the-ground reality will conform to their maps. Should the Israelis make a one-sided withdrawal under such circumstances? To do so would be to withdraw to what has been called "Auschwitz borders": It would be just eleven miles across the entire width of the country from the West Bank to Tel Aviv, and twenty-five to Gaza - which the Israelis withdrew from in 2005 only to be blessed by over ten thousand rockets launched at their towns and cities from Gaza since then, right up to the present.
Let the reader stand up for truth
For a much fuller picture with much documentation,
Antisemitism, Part 1: The Divine Aspect
Antisemitism, Part 2: The Satanic and Human Aspects
Antisemitism, Part 3: Refutations of Accusation Against the Jews and Israel
Antisemitism, Part 4: The Futility of Antisemitism
Links to all ten Concerning Israel studies and other relevant
studies may be found on our Home Page or Site Map.
1. "Jewish Deicide." Wikipedia. n.d.
Though already cited above, I would highly recommend:
The True Roots of Anti-Semitism,