view those who persecuted our ancestors as true representatives
of the Christian faith. A recent podcast by Orthodox Rabbi
Yaakov Wolbe represented this sentiment: “Jew-hatred is a
fundamental, theological principle of the Christian faith.”1
That historic Christianity should be blamed for antisemitism is
of course oftentimes true! There is no denying many or most of
the attacks on Jewish people by Christians in Europe, Russia, and
Ukraine were perpetrated by those who claimed to be part of a
Christian culture. The list is long; the general medieval persecution
of Jewish people, the Inquisition, Russian and Ukrainian pogroms,
and the Holocaust were all initiated and implemented by those
heavily influenced by various forms of historic Christianity.
Rabbi Wolbe is right about the dark past of Judeo-Christian
relations, yet mistaken about the true nature of the gospel and
the person of Jesus. Jesus was Jewish, as were His disciples!
So, immediately we understand that there must be a difference
between those who claimed to follow Jesus and yet persecuted
Jewish people and the true message of Jesus. Since antisemitism
is on the rise, it is crucial to understand the real roots of hatred
of the Jewish people. Today, most in the Jewish community
understand that there are a large number of Christians who are
pro-Israel, support Jewish causes, and oppose antisemitism. What
marks this group today as different from those who seemed to
believe the same way and yet did such damage to the Jewish
community? To understand this dichotomy, it is important to look
at the original sources.
Why is this critical? It is important so that the Jewish community
can better understand who their real friends are in the midst of
this rising sea of antisemitism.
1 The Jewish History Podcast by Rabbi Yaakov Wolbe, Episode 25: A History of
Christian Anti-Semitism Part 1. Starting circa 11:20. https://rabbiwolbe.com/history