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Why do we hate Jews? The roots and fruits of modern antisemitism

16 December 2022

When it comes to Israel and the Jewish people, there is a strange paradox. On the one hand there is an alarming rise of antisemitic hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people – manifest both on-line and in the real world – in the UN, among certain right-wing groups and the left-wing media and intelligentsia in the West, and within Palestinian and parts of Arab and Muslim society. Most alarmingly, it was evident on the streets of Qatar during the World Cup, where Israeli journalists were consistently subject to hatred and hostility.

On the other hand, Israel is a thriving nation, with a robust democracy (as seen in the current vigorous debates following the recent elections), a strong Arab constituency, and expanding cooperation on the ground between Jews and Arabs and between Israel and many Arab countries. Jews worldwide contribute disproportionally to the public good, and most countries in the world have close economic, cultural and scientific ties with the State of Israel.

So why do we hate Jews? A leading example of anti-Jewish sentiment within Western intelligentsia is Francesca Albanese – the UN “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967”. Appointed earlier this year, Albanese succeeds previous Special Rapporteurs Professors Richard Falk and Michael Lynk, both known for their anti-Israel sentiment and policies. An excerpt from her biography, as published on the UN website, shows we can expect her to continue this tradition of Israel-criticism in the UN:

Francesca Albanese is an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, and a Senior Advisor on Migration and Forced Displacement for the think tank Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), where she co-founded the Global Network on the Question of Palestine (GNQP), a coalition of renowned professional and scholars engaged in/on Israel/Palestine. She has published widely on the legal situation in Israel/Palestine; her latest book, Palestinian Refugees in International Law (Oxford University Press, 2020), offers a comprehensive legal analysis of the situation of Palestinian refugees from its origins to modern-day reality. She regularly teaches and lectures on International Law and Forced Displacement in European and Arab universities, and speaks frequently at conferences and public events on the legal situation of Palestine. She worked for a decade as a human rights expert for the United Nations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees. In these capacities, she advised the UN, governments, and civil society across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Asia Pacific, on the enforcement of human rights norms, especially for vulnerable groups including refugees and migrants. She holds a Law Degree (with honors) from the University of Pisa and an LLM in Human Rights from the University of London, SOAS. She is currently completing her PhD in International Refugee Law at Amsterdam University Law Faculty.

This week, Times of Israel revealed social media comments made by Albanese prior to her UN appointment, which show a distinct hostility towards the Jewish people, and affection for typical antisemitic tropes. “Then, as now, she refers to Israel as a settler-colonial enterprise and to Jews in Israel and the pre-state British mandate as foreign interlopers subjugating an indigenous Palestinian population. In her first official report to the UN this year, she urged a rejection of the conflict paradigm, describing Israel solely as an oppressor and legitimizing Palestinian ‘resistance.’ She rarely acknowledges Palestinian terrorism.”

Albanese’s response to these revelations only serves to show the inherent bias within the UN human rights system that focuses only on Israeli crimes and wrongdoing. Albanese wrote:

“Our attention should not be distracted from the unlawful state practices which cause suffering for millions and denial of human rights on a daily basis in the occupied Palestinian territory. This is what I am mandated to report on and which should be our focus.”

Arguably, this UN bias is in turn stimulating radicalism and extremism within Palestinian society. Results published this week of a poll conducted in the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza) shows increasing hostility towards Israel, and decreasing confidence in a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Thus, it is clear that in certain parts of both Western and Arab society, anti-Jewish feeling runs deep.

What lies at the root of this antipathy towards Jews? In the West, one cause is that post-modern thinking is deeply rooted in Europe’s Christian past, which (especially since the Enlightenment, but also before) has – tragically – embedded within it an understanding, influenced by gnostic Greek philosophy, that the Jews have been rejected by God, and should be punished for killing Christ. Supercessionism. As Michael Brown’s famous book states: the hands of the (primarily Western) church “are stained with blood.”

As for the anti-Jewish culture within Arab society, there would seem to be two main roots. One is Islamic fundamentalism that claims the Koran demands Muslim hatred of Jews. The other is Western-inspired antisemitism within the Arab intelligentsia. To understand this better, we highly recommend watching the speech given by Egyptian-born US-based intellectual Hussein Aboubakr Mansour when receiving a UN Watch award last month. Describing his upbringing in middle-class Egypt in the 1990s:

“Conspiracy theories were part of the steady educational and media diet on which I and countless others grew up. In this world view, Palestine is not merely a political cause, but a powerful symbolic field that absorbs in itself all conceptions of meaning and ethic. ‘Liberating Palestine’ is not a concrete politic issue dealing with concrete problems, but a salvific longing that gives history its meaning and purpose and defines a total undifferentiated conception of the moral, religious and political good.”

No wonder that so many nations in the world continue to criticize and condemn Israel. The issue of Palestine is not a mere political conflict like other conflicts, but goes to the root and soul of both Western and Arab society and culture. The restoration of the Jewish people is therefore, at its core, a conflict between the will of God, and the will of the Gentile nations. It exposes the true character of individuals and nations. It is “Zion” vs “Babylon”. One is reminded of the words of Jesus: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24).

Let us pray that the “times of the Gentiles” will be fulfilled soon. “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

Maranatha.

The editorial team – Israel & Christians Today



UN Palestinian rights official’s social media history reveals antisemitic comments
Francesca Albanese tells ToI she acknowledges ‘mistakes’ in past reference to a ‘Jewish lobby’; is latest UN official probing Israel to show evidence of blatant prejudice.
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Israel, US slam UN envoy over antisemitic comments
Francesca Albanese’s “blatant antisemitic rhetoric” is “simply unacceptable,” says U.S. antisemitism envoy.
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Poll: 72% of Palestinians support forming more armed groups in West Bank
TOI reports: Backing for two-state solution falls to just 32%, with 69% no longer believing it’s possible due to settlement expansion; majority says next Israeli government will annex West Bank.
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Hussein Aboubakr Mansour Accepts UN Watch Human Rights Award
“It is my conviction that the problems of Arab political life, with which we are now all familiar – lack of human rights, democratic deficit, political instability, totalitarian political thinking, moral nihilism and endemic violence – cannot be separated from the modern issue of antisemitism.”
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SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK:

Luke 21:20-28

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”