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The Chosen People | FEBRUARY 2019 3
Can we equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism?
I would suggest the answer is sometimes yes, especially when
those opposed to the State of Israel support the BDS (Boycott,
Divestment, and Sanctions) movement1 and groups like
Students for Justice in Palestine, which harass and persecute
Israeli speakers on university campuses across America and
around the globe.
The answer is also sometimes no! Some Christians simply do
not interpret the Bible as teaching that the land of Israel
ultimately belongs to the Jewish people. This is unfortunate,
but should not necessarily be equated with antisemitism.
However, when criticism of Israel specifically leads to hateful
language and actions directed toward Israelis, and Jewish
people in general, then I believe the line is crossed.
This is when anti-Zionism becomes antisemitism!
Again, we ask the question, Is anti-
Zionism antisemitic (especially the
Christian version of anti-Zionism)? In
order to answer this question, we must
begin with a clear definition of biblical
Zionism, which is sometimes
misunderstood, especially by the
Christian anti-Zionists who might be
more influenced by culture than by
what they read in the Bible.
Biblical Zionism holds that God gave
the land of Israel to the Jewish people
through an unconditional, irrevocable
covenant made between Himself and our forefather, Abraham,
as found in many chapters of Genesis (12, 15, 17, 22, 35).
The belief that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish
people is still well-accepted by the majority of Christians in
the United States, as shown by a recent survey of evangelicals
(sponsored by Chosen People Ministries and Joel Rosenberg
and implemented by LifeWay Research,) entitled Evangelical
Attitudes Toward Israel and the Peace Process.
The Survey reports that over 80 percent believe the Abrahamic
Covenant continues, and over 80 percent also see the
establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948 as the
fulfillment of prophecy.2
Yet, according to Bob Smietana, who reported on the data
discovered by this survey, negativity toward Israel and the
hope of Zion seems to be influencing the younger generation
Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial Israel Solidarity Rally.
Older American evangelicals love Israel—but many younger
evangelicals simply don’t care, according to a new survey
from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Three-quarters
(77 percent) of evangelicals 65 and older say they support
the existence, security and prosperity of Israel. That drops to
58 percent among younger evangelicals, those 18 to 34.3
Our younger generation was born years after the Holocaust
and the founding of the State of Israel, and they do not have
the same theological or emotional sympathies as those who
were born closer to this time period. They did not grow up
during the days when a much larger coalition of Arab nations
tried to destroy Israel or when groups like the Palestinian
Liberation Organization murdered Israeli athletes and began
terrorist attacks within Israel. It is hard for some to
understand why Israel has been so careful to protect the
Jewish people within her borders.
This has been difficult for Israeli leaders. There is a mistaken
understanding that followers of Jesus who believe God gave
the land of Israel to the Jewish people also support every
decision that Israeli politicians make. This is false. All leaders
are human and capable of mistakes. Israel is not a perfect
country! They have made mistakes.
I am hoping that Bible believers will
carefully study the Scriptures and
conclude that at the heart of biblical
Zionism is the understanding that God
gave the land of Israel to the Jewish
people. It is a land to be shared among
all her inhabitants since Israel was
chosen to bless the nations of the
world (Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 44:8). And
it is a land and a people to be loved,
prayed for (Psalm 122:6), and reached
with the gospel message.
The negative spillover of anti-Zionism
is impacting the view of many toward
the Jewish people within and outside
of Israel. When embraced, this critical
attitude toward Israel can easily, and
unfortunately, lead to antisemitism.
If Anyone Should Oppose All Forms
of Antisemitism, It Should Be US!
Recently, Jeremy Sharon and Sara Rubenstein, writing for the
Jerusalem Post, reported on the European Jewish Congress
held in November 2018. It was sponsored by the Austrian
Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who initiated the development of
a Catalogue of Policies to Combat Antisemitism. The
32-year-old chancellor was quoted as saying,
“Antisemitism and anti-Zionism are getting blurred, but they
are two sides of the same coin.” 4
He recommended the following actions,
The recommendations, which it is hoped will be adopted by
the EU and by national governments, include adopting the
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working
Definition of Antisemitism; the appointment by EU
countries of a special commissioner for combating
antisemitism; a commitment of a percentage of GDP
annually to fighting antisemitism; barring antisemites from
political parties and public office; committing financial and