Current-day anti-Semitism obsessed with concept of Jews as the chosen people
The malignant use of the expression “chosen Jews” is recurring in the latest attacks on Israel made by secular intellectuals, archbishops, mainstream journalists and European politicians.
“Modern-day Jews are not God’s chosen people,” the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, declared recently in a meeting with former US President Jimmy Carter. “Do not believe their claims that they are God’s chosen people, because it is not true.”
It is no longer only Syria that aired a movie against the “Chosen Jews” or the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mohammad Mahathir, who warned that “the Jews must never think they are the chosen people.” The obsession for this issue now widely appears in the latest indictments of Israel as an “apartheid state” and in the legal campaigns against the Law of Return.
Recently, Stephen Sizer, a leading British theologian, released a declaration to support the UN Palestinian bid: “The New Testament insists the promises God made to Abraham are fulfilled not in the Jewish people but in Jesus and those who acknowledge him.” According to Sizer, the Jewish covenant with God is “rubbish.”
Note: Stephen Sizer is not really a leading theologian in Britain, he is in fact a leading anti-Zionist vicar who uses the theological credibility of Britain’s leading theologian, N.T Wright, in order to bolster his ideological anti-Zionism and many have claimed, when it boils down to it, and despite his protests that he is not, it really is anti-Semitism.
A day later, I spoke at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in Hammersmith. The event was stressful not least because of the heckling from certain Zionists present. I have been criticised for implying in an answer given during the question time that Messianic believers are ‘an abomination’. […]
“I am sorry I made a mistake under duress and did not think through the implications of how my sentence would be interpreted especially by critics. I made a mistake and withdraw the statement.”
The clear implication here, is that Zionist Jews are responsible for Sizer’s bizarre and quite heavily anti-Jewish statement.
Here is a truly arrogant sermon preached by the popular British conservative evangelical preacher Stuart Olyott whilst he was the pastor of Belvidere Road Church in Liverpool, UK. If the Bealtes were Jewish and were singing about Olyott they’d have sung he loves me? no, no, no! Olyott is also the Pastoral Director of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.
Most anti-missionaries will be happy to know that Olyott thinks it is nonsense to believe that the Jewish people will come to faith in Jesus in the future. However Olyott is no friend of the Jewish people and less so of the State of Israel. He mocks Jewish self-identity claiming incorrectly at 4:04 that “Jews themselves have no definition of what a Jew is” and falsely claims the only definition “in the world of men” of who a Jew is, is the one from the State of Israel. Apparently he has never heard of Halacha which has been very clear for a very long time on the question of who is a Jew!
However, unconcerned with actual Jewish opinion and history, Olyott continues and seeks to misuse Romans 2 to redefine what he thinks a Jew is, however he has a very slanted run-up to create a particular impression before he reads it. He admits that the Apostle Paul was a Jew, according to Halacha, but then misinterprets what Paul states when he reflects Deuteronomy 10:16 where there is a spiritual circumcision of the heart which is the flip side of the coin of physical Jewish identity. Paul does not claim that Gentiles who have spiritual circumcision of the heart are now the real Jews, the real Israel who replace those who only have the physical but not the spiritual. Paul claims what the Torah states that there has always been a spiritual dimension to the physical fact of being born a Jew, which includes loving the Lord God with all ones heart, soul and strength.
Olyott continues in classic Crusader theology style as he characterises Jewish opinion as one of arrogant chosenness and the belief that God will not judge the Jewish people. It is telling the Olyott does not read the text, he simply gives his own simplistic twisted reinterpretation of it. 6:30 he states “Jewishness is not a matter of having the 10 Commandments… being circumcised… having Abraham as your father…”
Ignoring the fact that this sermon just sounds so racist and antisemtic, is Olyott right in his interpretation of Paul? It seems like Paul asks a similar question “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?” in Romans 3:1, but Paul’s answer is very different to Olyott’s one, Olyott’s claims that a true Jew is a non-Jewish people like Olyott who think they love, serve and praise God, and because “Jew means praise”, “those only are Jews, in God’s eyes” (7min 20sec).
Paul’s answer starts in Romans 3:2 “Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” So Paul’s definition of a Jew is someone who is circumcised and born into the people whose forefathers received the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Paul gets sidetracked for the rest of Romans and returns to his answer to the question of what is the benifit of being a Jew in chapter 9 and give definitive criteria for who a Jew is, they are his people the people of Israel and he then lists various advantages of being a Jew from the history of God’s dealings with Israel.
Romans 9:1-5 “1 I speak the truth in Christ–I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit– 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”
If you really have to, you can listen to all of Olyott’s sermon here
A group of Chabad rabbis in Israel this week signed a letter denouncing one of their own for lighting a torch in the State of Israel’s official Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration.
While Chabad has a strong presence in Israel, the movement has complicated relationship with modern political Zionism that varies among its different factions, from refusing to recognize the state to serving in the army.
This year, Israeli officials invited Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, whose daughter was the Chabad rebbitzen killed in the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, to light one of twelve torches Monday evening at the Mount Herzl military cemetery. The candle lighting is part of an annual ceremony that separates Remembrance Day from Independence Day. Rosenberg, who lives in Israel, is raising his grandson, Moishe, who survived the attack.
… Twelve Jerusalem Chabad rabbis, including six members of the Chabad Rabbinic Court in Israel, signed a letter denouncing Rosenberg’s torch lighting. The letter was printed in the Charedi newspapers Hamodia and Hamevaser Monday morning.
“I don’t think Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state”. These are thirteen words I thought I’d never hear uttered at the Shabbat dinner table of a Charedi rabbi. Yet at a recent Shabbat dinner with a buttoned-down Litvish rebbe that I attended not long ago, the conversation turned to everyone’s least/most favorite topic and I pushed the woman I was sitting next to utter the above statement, certainly a bold one for any Jew to proclaim. The conversation had gone from friendly conversation to fierce debate to silence in under three minutes. I literally did not know how to respond.
It was not long ago that such anti-Israel sentiment was unheard of amongst even the most secular of American Jewry. To utter such a statement, at a Charedi rabbi’s house of all places, would have elicited the strong disapproval of those in attendance, and rightly so. Now, I’m all for freedom of expression, but the roots of such ‘anti-Zionism’ I find quite troubling. This stance, which I believe is growing in popularity amongst the uber-assimilated (in America at least), is derived from a brash form of public anti-Zionism which is gaining a foothold in everything from academia to politics to popular culture and finance in Western democratic states. It is not connected to a form of anti-Zionism common among some sects of ultra-Orthodox Jewry, which finds its basis in a body of classical Jewish texts. The Jewish anti-Zionists say that their own tradition forbids them from supporting a modern political state of Israel until the coming of the Moshiach (the Messiah). But a secular Jew who denies Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state has been influenced some of the very anti-Semitism that we tell ourselves is gone from the world, or at least from the sheltered corner of it that we secular American Jews inhabit in such safety and security. And I’m beginning to think that this stance poses some danger to Israel’s very existence.