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The war that Hamas launched against Israel has unleashed other outbreaks of antisemitism around the world. We’ve observed large-scale celebrations of the murder of Israeli citizens, with crowds chanting “gas the Jews,” and even governments, such as Iran, celebrating this slaughter in the name of Islam.
One place where these outbreaks are particularly conspicuous is on American university campuses. There are demonstrations and statements saying these attacks were justified, that the Hamas terrorist invasion was an “act of liberation,” and that Israel is entirely responsible for what has happened.
This war is revealing the depth of antisemitism in American higher education.
Thirty-one student organizations at Harvard made a joint statement condemning Israel and denouncing its “colonial retaliation.” Students at Columbia asserted that the weight of responsibility for the war lies with Israel. Similar sentiments have come from Northwestern University, Yale, Portland State, City College and Hunter College in New York, Boston University and Stanford. No doubt others will follow. Such groups say the attacks were justified because of the Israeli occupation and so they blame the Israelis themselves for being raped, murdered, and taken hostage. These protests are often not just anti-Israel, but anti-Jew.
This reminds me of a conversation I had in Israel this past April. I was traveling with a group of Jewish friends, most of whom were politically progressive. We were having lunch together along the shore of the Sea of Galilee when one of them said, “I don’t understand why our children, after going to American colleges, turn out to be so hostile toward Israel. Why are our universities like this?”
At this point in the conversation I spoke up. I was one of the few Christians (an evangelical!) in the group. I said, “Not all universities are like that. The school where I serve does not have that effect on its students. Our students are largely pro-Israel!” My friends looked confused by what I said. They did not know how to process it!
They themselves acknowledged the fact that so many of our universities have become a breeding ground for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias. Why is that?
It’s because for decades now, many of these schools have been advocating leftist theories that lead to a hatred for Israel and a contempt for Jews. Using left-wing anti-colonial language, they teach students that the Israelis are the extremists, and that retaliation against the “colonial oppressors” is entirely justified. They use the language of neo-Marxism which divides the world into two categories — the oppressed and the oppressor. “Putting resistance into practice,” targeting and overthrowing the oppressor class is completely legitimate. The BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement has been promoting this for some time. They have also imbibed an anti-Western bias and view Judeo-Christian values as part of their oppression.
At many schools, educators have been teaching this stuff for years, and now some of us are surprised to see it being lived out by students this week as they actually celebrate the slaughter!
Again, not all universities promote this insanity. We at Colorado Christian University deplore Hamas’s campaign of terror against Israel. We stand with Israel, against the jihadists, we affirm its right to exist in that land, to defend itself, and to pursue those who have attacked it. We also deplore the antisemitism erupting around the world, including that in our own universities. As a Christian university we acknowledge God’s unique covenant with Israel in the past, the special place of the Jews in salvation-history, and our own debt to them. And our hearts go out to our many friends, Jewish and Palestinian, whose lives have been horrifically disrupted and are now sucked into this war because of Hamas’ outrageous action.
We urge other Christian universities not to minimize what has taken place. This act of terrorism, this massacre of over a thousand people, is the single largest attack on Jews since the Holocaust. This is a time of national catastrophe for Israel and for Jews around the world. Do not be naïve as to the intent behind it. Hamas — whose full name is The Islamic Resistance Movement — is an extremist Islamic organization. It is a terrorist group, even though the UN and others have refused to name it that. It has lived up to the claims of its original charter from 1988 where it stated that its basic goal is to destroy the state of Israel through jihad until the banner of Allah is raised over every inch of Palestine. It condemns the peace treaties that Israel has made and calls on Muslims everywhere to liberate Palestine.
We urge other Christian universities to acknowledge that this was intentionally timed and meticulously planned. It took place on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War (October 6, 1973, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel). We urge you not to embrace the false moral equivalency that is being asserted between the Hamas terrorists and the democratic state of Israel. Hamas has gone on an ISIS-like rampage, brutally murdering, raping, and kidnapping men, women, children, and the elderly to use them as human shields.
Above all, do not get sucked into the world’s oldest hatred, “the hatred that won’t go away.” Rather, speak out. Condemn this barbaric assault and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Palestine, Gaza and the entire Middle East.