Feb. 09, 2013
There has always been solidarity between Jews and Christians. There are numerous cases of Christians who risked their lives in order to save that of a persecuted Jew.
This solidarity is more apparent during the second half of the twentieth century and what is left of this twenty-first. A multitude of organizations, founded by Christians and Jews, are responsible for educating new generations by promoting the absence of hate. Who would have dreamed it, 100 years ago!
On February 7, 2013, I had the pleasure of attending a symposium for Rabbis and Pastors held at
Temple Kol Ami Emanu-el which was sponsored by several Jewish and Christian organizations
comprised of English and Spanish speakers.
The event was moderated by the well known pastor Mario Bramnick and president of the Jewish
Federation of Broward County- Eric B. Stillman. The disertations, of both rabbis and pastors invited to the podium, touched the heart and wet the eyes with a feeling of love and a fraternal solidarity. I was impressed by the presentation made by Carlos Ortiz, the Senior Pastor of the International Church of Christ, who is also the National Coordinator of Hispanic Christians United for Israel (CUFI); the largest Christian organization within the mission that has over 1.2 million members.
One of the guest speakers was Pastor Malcolm Hedding of the Board of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, who was persecuted in South Africa for his fight against apartheid and received political asylum in Israel.
Pastor Hedding noted that, from proceeding Nostra Aetate (Declaration of the Relationship between the Church to Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council, 1965), there has been a reaffirmation recognizing the validity of the original covenant with Abraham. He highlighted the need for the study of history and the Bible for Christians and Jews, while emphasizing that knowledge of it’s wisdom, in faith and practice, Christian love of neighbor—how anti-Semitism is unacceptable and how the Holocaust would have been impossible if not for the hatred toward Jews sown for 2000 years.
The other guest speaker was Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founder of the Center for Jewish-Christian
Understanding and Goodwill Ambassador for relations between Christians and Jews of the Prime
Minister of Israel.
Rabbi Riskin warned of the danger that threatens Western civilization in light of attack by the jihadists. He explained that, in the case of jihadists, Islam is not the religion with which for many years we have lived more or less in peace; not for those who seek to take their holy war of dominion to every corner of the planet. Riskin, rightly said that the crux of the matter is not monotheism in and of itself; but in the ethics within monotheism, shared by Jews and Christians, that is based on compassion, justice, morality and peace. Riskin also recalled the importance of dialogue between Jews and Christians, stressing the roots and the principles that unite us rather than the possible interpretations that may be used to divide us.
These and other efforts of Jews and Christians around the world are essential to counter the
delegitimization campaigns - one of the three "D"s that define an enemy of Israel and, almost always, an anti-Semite. The innimetable Nathan Sharansky once defined it as such:
Demonization: Historically represented by Shylock in The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare (who never even met a Jew), or the absurd and malicious comparison of Israelis to Nazis or the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz.
Double standards: A primary example is the repeated UN condemnation of Israel for human rights
violations, while others, with flagrant violations reported by their victims such as Korea, China, Syria and Cuba, are omitted. In a similar occurance one findes the absurdity of the International Red Cross to deny admission of Magen David Adom while the Red Crescent, used by Hamas for their misdeeds, is a full member.
Delegitimization: Once it was the attempt to delegitimize the existence of the Jewish religion, today it the right of existence of the State of Israel. Criticism of Israeli policy does not have to be anti-Semitic, the denial of the right of Israel to exist is always anti-Semitic. The Jewish people have the right to live safely in their homeland.