In the Line of Fire, by Michael Brown

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Christian World, Now Is Your Time to Denounce Antisemitism

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As followers of Jesus we are often grieved over the compromise and cowardice of previous generations of American Christians. With righteous indignation, we say, “Had I lived in the days of slavery or segregation, I would have taken a stand. I would have spoken up!”

In the same way, we decry the compromise and cowardice of European Christians during the Holocaust, stating with deep conviction, “I would have been like Dietrich Bonhoeffer! I would have acted like Corie Ten Boom!” In the process, we condemn our own compromise and cowardice today.

This is reminiscent of the Lord’s words to the religious hypocrites of His day, when He said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!” (Matt. 23:29–32, NIV).

Not many days later, some of these same men were complicit in the death of the Son of God, the preeminent prophet sent to Israel.

Today, when university protesters celebrate the death of Jews, shouting, “We are Hamas,” it is time for Christians across the nation to speak up on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.

Today, as these same protesters chant, “Hamas make us proud, kill another soldier now,” Christians must shout even louder, “This must stop on our campuses, and it must stop now.

The New York Post noted that:

One Jewish Columbia University student was repeatedly kicked in the stomach during the protests, and an agitator reportedly told her to “kill yourself.”

Billionaire Bill Ackman posted about the protests on X, asking, “How would @Columbia respond if the students took over campus in support of the KKK and called for the genocide of other ethnic minorities? Would @Columbia continue to support the demonstrations on the basis of a commitment to free speech or would the University’s code of Conduct suddenly have operative impact?’”

According to the Post, another Jewish student at Columbia said that “anti-Israel protesters snatched and burned his Israeli flag, then struck him in the face with rocks during campus unrest over the weekend.”

Other Jewish students, and at least one Jewish professor, Israeli-born professor Shai Davidai, were actually blocked from entering the campus. In fact, the moment Davidai discovered his entry card had been deactivated was captured on video. He later posted on X:

Things got to the point that on Sunday, the campus’s Orthodox rabbi issued a call for all Jewish students to leave campus for their own safety—and this, just one day before the eve of Passover. And all this, on just one of a growing number of campuses marred by ugly, anti-Jewish protests.

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Christian friends, this is happening today, in our country, on our campuses, on our watch. How can we be silent?

Earlier this month, I was visiting some Indian Christians who live in Texas, showing them footage of the protests outside the Israeli Embassy that I encountered last month.

Their son, a college student said, “That’s how my university looks.” This was in Texas!

His parents added, “This is what’s happening in our younger children’s schools too.”

I ask again: How can we be silent?

I ask the same question of my Christian friends in Europe, where your Jewish neighbors are increasingly fearing for their lives.

Remember that these protests are not a simple matter of fair-minded people raising concerns about the suffering of non-combatant Palestinians as Israel wages war against Hamas.

No. These are frontal assaults on Israel as a nation and ugly attacks on the Jewish people as a whole. These are calls for the death of the evil occupiers and for the elimination of the wicked colonizers. These are rallies celebrating the demonic actions of Hamas.

After the Holocaust, Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, one of the few Lithuanian rabbis who survived, wrote:

“Another shocking surprise for us was the position taken by the Lithuanian populace-our ‘good’ Christian neighbors. There was literally not one Gentile among the Christians of Slobodka who openly defended Jew at a time when Slobodka’s ten thousand Jews, with whom they had lived together all their lives, were threatened with the most horrible pogrom imaginable.”

Where are these “good Christian neighbors” today?

More forcefully still, Jewish philosopher Eliezer Berkovits wrote:

After nineteen centuries of Christianity, the extermination of six million Jews, among them one-and-a-half million children, carried out in cold blood in the very heart of Christian Europe, encouraged by the criminal silence of virtually all Christendom, including that of an infallible Holy Father in Rome, was the natural culmination of this bankruptcy. A straight line leads from the first act of oppression against the Jews and Judaism in the fourth century to the holocaust in the twentieth.

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These words may sting, but they are true, at least in terms of professing Christians. Why is it only the tiniest minority who, historically, have said to their Jewish neighbors and colleagues, “If they come after you, they will have come after us as well?”

With good reason Basilea Schlink, the courageous Lutheran woman who stood up to the Nazis, penned these words after the Holocaust:

We are personally to blame. We all have to admit that if we, the entire Christian community, had stood up as one man and if, after the burning of the synagogues [on Kristallnacht, Nov. 9, 1938], we had gone out on the streets and voiced our disapproval, rung the church bells, and somehow boycotted the actions of the S.S., the Devil’s vassals would probably not have been at such liberty to pursue their evil schemes. But we lacked the ardor of love—love that is never passive, love that cannot bear it when its fellowmen are in misery, particularly when they are subjected to such appalling treatment and tortured to death. Indeed, if we had loved God, we would not have endured seeing those houses of God set ablaze; and holy, divine wrath would have filled our souls. …Oh, that we as Germans and as Christians would stand aghast and cry out ever anew, “What have we done!” At every further evidence of our guilt may we repeat the cry.

It is my fervent prayer that Christians across America and around the world would not be silent today, would not lack that “ardor of love,” would not have to say in retrospect, “Why we were so indifferent in the face of such evil?”

Today, when your life is not at risk for standing with the Jewish people and when concentration camps, torture and starvation are not awaiting you for sheltering Jews, today is the time to stand up in every way you know how, from social media to the streets and from your place of business to the campuses, raising your voices to say to the Jewish people, “You are not alone! We are standing with you! Never again!”

Can I count you in today?

Then do whatever you can, whenever you can, wherever you can, however you can. And by all means, regardless of cost or consequence, do not be silent!

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Dr. Michael Brown (www.thelineoffire.org/) is the host of the nationally syndicated The Line of Fire radio show. He is the author of over 40 books, including “Can You be Gay and Christian?”; “Our Hands are Stained with Blood”; and “Seizing the Moment: How to Fuel the Fires of Revival.” You can connect with him on FacebookX or YouTube.

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