Writing in the Australian newspaper on October 24, Greg Sheridan examines anti-Semitism and, as a convicted Christian, says this: “the biggest source of anti-Semitism throughout history is Christianity.” I’m insufficiently versed in the history of anti-Semitism to know whether this assertion is strictly true or not. At the same time, it is surely true that much anti-Semitism can be sourced to Christianity and the fanciful notion that the Jews killed Christ. I say fanciful not because the Roman authorities were directly responsible but because only small coterie of Jewish religious leaders were complicit not the population of Jews; and, of course, certainly not their descendants. Let’s not think all Persians and their offspring are as evil and mad as the current mullahs and their acolytes.
A good article I thought (if not quite deserving of the adoration evident in readers’ comments next day); that is, until coming across this comment:
“There’s religious anti-Semitism in Islam as well. The Koran, like the Christian New Testament, contains disparaging passages about Jews.”
Oh dear, false equivalence. Inadvertent? Hope so. Let me explain my reaction to Sheridan’s comment.
An article by Gareth Lloyd Jones on the website of Yad Vashem – the world holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem – is instructive. The article considers the extent to which antisemitism arises out of the New Testament. Too much stuff to cover so I’ll take what Jones describes as “one of the most belligerent references to Jews in all Christian Scripture, found in 1 Thessalonians 2:16, where the author states that they are the deserved recipients of God’s wrath…”
This is the passage (NIV):
“In their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”
A first thing to say is that the principal writer of the letter Paul was of course a Jew. His co-writers, Silas and Timothy, were also Jews, though Timothy had a Greek father. Ergo, Paul had nothing against Jews per se; his opposition was only to those Jews “who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone.”(The preceding verse 2:15).
A second thing to say is that Paul is a commentor. He refers to God’s wrath coming upon them as an historical observation (maybe the famine of AD46?), he doesn’t call for it, even if he appears thankful for it. And nothing that I know of in the New Testament calls for the persecution of any race or group by Christians on this earth. Nor is any race the subject of personal insult or regarded as sub-human.
Let’s not dispute that passages in the New Testament can be used by evil or misguided men for evil ends. They have been. But it’s not scripturally based. That’s why Christianity rid the civilised world of slavery. In contrast, take a few, non-exhaustive, extracts from the Koran in no particular order, Marmaduke Pickthall translation:
As often as they [the Jews] light a fire for war, Allah extinguish it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loveth not corrupters (Surah 5:64). Fight against those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah (9:29). The only reward of those who made war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom (5:33). So, choose not friends from them [disbelievers]…if they turn back to enmity [apostates] then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend or helper from among them (Verse 4:89). Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive (9.5). Mohammed is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (48:29). I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite their necks and smite of them each finger (8:12). Those who disbelieve…are a folk without intelligence (8:65). Fight against those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah…until they pay the tribute [jizya] readily, being brought low [read dhimmitude] (9:29). And look at 2:63-66, 5:59-60, 7:166 to see disobedient Jews turned into pigs and apes. And lots and lots more ugly stuff to be found and that’s before you get into the hadiths (the sayings and doings of M).
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44).
I think the biblical passage above speaks volumes about the difference between Islam and Christianity. One is a false baleful creed; the other, the truth, the way and the life. “Watch out for false prophets. They come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them” (Matthew 7:15-16). Want some fruits? Since 9/11 the religion of peace website has documented over forty-four thousand deadly Islamic attacks.
Some useful idiots like to distinguish between Islamism aka political Islam (bad) and Islam (good). There is no distinction between mosque and state in Islam. It’s all the same, as I explained here in Quadrant in December 2017. Distinguish between Muslims for sure, but Islam is Islam. Don’t be fooled for a second. They’ll want to fool you.