Was Jesus An Anti Semite?

The following is a Letter to the Editor I submitted to the Quad City Times today in response to a  vitriolic Op Ed piece in support of the Iowa legislature’s recent decision not to support the BDS movement:

Was Jesus An Anti-Semite?

While I too oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against companies doing business in Israel, I completely reject Denise Bubeck’s April 29 op ed piece which describes BDS as “virulently anti-Semitic and call(ing) for the destruction of Israel.” The BDS movement is, rather, a means of peaceful, non-violent resistance to an Israeli government which consistently violates the human rights of Palestinians, ignoring their biblical mandate to care for the stranger and sojourner in the land.

This movement, analogous to the successful protest actions against South Africa which eventually helped to bring down apartheid, is backed by many whom I know personally to love Israel (as Jesus did) but who are willing to criticize her when she falls short of her own noble aspirations as a people (which Jesus also did). Brubeck’s charge of anti-Semitism is typical of those who define any disagreement or opposition to the Israeli government as anti-Semitic. Was Jesus an anti-Semite?

Having said all that, I reiterate that I oppose BDS and do not believe it is a successful strategy, even while having some sympathy with those who, out of frustration and compassion for the Palestinian people, support it. If you too are concerned about the Israel/Palestine issue and want to do something constructive, why not join me as a member of “J Street,” a Washington based pro-Israel, pro peace lobby seeking justice as well as peace in the land of the Holy One. Go to jstreet.org to see more.



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