ISSUES

Fighting Antisemitism

Pathways will always stand up for Jewish communities at home and around the world.

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While anti-Jewish sentiment existed before the Church, the Church’s witness over the last two thousand years has created an environment conducive to anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic beliefs.

Antisemitism is belief or behavior hostile to Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.

Antisemitism is found on the Right and the Left of the political spectrum and has been throughout history. It is based upon irrational fears and has the ability to take the form of whatever a society fears most.

Classical forms of antisemitism include::

  • Jews to be Christ-killers.
  • Blood libels: the idea that Jews kill children/people in their sacrifices.
  • The Jews were punished by God who removed them from the land of Israel because of their denial of Jesus as the Christ.
  • Jews are a powerful force with their own evil agenda for the world.

Modern examples of antisemitism include:

  • Denying the right of the Jewish people to self-determination
  • Questioning the motives of Jewish people as it relates to money or the State of Israel.
  • Believing all Jews think the same thing, as such if one is guilty, all are guilty.

Antisemitism hurts efforts towards peace.. When the world’s only Jewish state is singled out for demonization, it makes it more difficult for people to come together to achieve lasting peace for everyone.

A newer form of antisemitism labels all forms of Zionism as evil and racist. This antisemitism hides behind the facade of claiming the view is only “anti-Zionist.” Yet if Zionism is the belief that Jews have the right of self-determination, then to be anti-Zionist is to deny that right.

Antisemitism can be very difficult of recognize in the modern world, as frequently opponents on the Left and Right accuse of each other of anti-Semitism while ignoring the anti-Semitism in their own ranks. In order to help members of communities of faith to better recognize anti-Semitism, Pathways has produced: Reconciliation, What Could Have Been: The Church’s Struggle with Antisemitism.

The conflict

The conflict is complicated. We educate.

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We must recognize the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: it is a struggle between two competing national narratives, both of which are equally valid. We must also acknowledge the present status quo is the result of both parties failing to recognize each other’s national narrative.

There are some basic things that are true: Israel has a right to exist. Israel has a right to secure and defensible borders. And Palestinians have a right to self-determination & a national identity.

To only hold one party or the other as responsible for the unacceptable status quo ignores history and the reality of human frailty.

At Pathways we believe that:

  • Two-states is the answer
  • Ending the conflict comes first
  • Both peoples must embrace peace
  • Pluralism and tolerance benefit everyone
  • Progress towards peace should be recognized and supported
  • Barriers to peace cannot be ignored

A resource for individual study on this complicated issue is Peace and Faith.

Spotting the Truth

The truth can be hard to find. Pathways cuts through the clutter.

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As Christians, we proclaim the Truth: the reality of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. In our present news and media environment, the truth can be hard to find, yet our faith demands that we remain vigilant for the truth.

As such we must shy away from sound bites and talking points that ignore the human reality. The desire for peace is not something that can be resolved in battles of slogans but can only be found in the hard work of peacemaking.

Peacemaking is hard because we must deal with facts and realities, not as we want to see them, but as they are. Only then can we take positive steps to build a foundation for peace.

From every issue from the Holocaust to the Jewish people’s connection to Israel- from lost opportunities for peace to the facts about the history of Palestinian rejectionism- if we can’t agree on a set of facts, we won’t be able to make progress.

Pathways aims to play a pivotal role to make sure the public knows the facts- and just the facts.