By Arlene Bridges Samuels, Times of Israel—
While fifty heads of state are gathered in Jerusalem, Israel on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, it’s also an opportune time for Christian citizens of the world to make decisions about the evil encore of antisemitism. The time for Christian apathy, inaction, fear, and denial has passed. Like the death trains rumbling across the countryside in World War II rolling past the homes of church-going Polish and German people, Christians of today cannot imitate their inaction. As the Shoah unfolded, an insufficient number of Christians followed in the footsteps of “Righteous Gentiles” like prominent German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dutch citizen Corrie ten Boom. Although Yad Vashem recognizes almost 27,000 “Righteous Among the Nations” Yad Vashem describes them as “Drops of Love in an Ocean of Poison.” Christians have a mandate to change those numbers.
Vice President Mike Pence, a devoted Christian, spoke at Yad Vashem on Thursday along with other world leaders. Pence took the opportunity to speak out against Iran whose government has perversely enshrined the mass murder of Jews: “…we must also stand strong against the leading state purveyor of anti-Semitism, against the one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” While the role of governments to oppose Iran’s apocalyptic Imams is important, individual Christians and churches must play a role locally.
I’m a pro-Israel Christian advocate who’s been active for twenty years in the pro-Israel movement in positions with Israel Always, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA. During the last two decades, I’m grateful to see that the warmth quotient between the Jewish and evangelical Christian communities has increased exponentially. Multi-millions of Christians are standing by Israel’s side in tourism, social media, buying portable bomb shelters, caring for Holocaust survivors, investing in Israel Bonds, reaching out to Congress, and speaking out against anti-Semitism in many ways.
Now, antisemitism is mainstream. And not confined to World War II Europe. The diagnosis is clear. It is not benign. It is a malignant melanoma. Left untreated, it’s deadly. The malignancy, already clear for decades in terrorist organizations is like a dark, fringed sore blighting college campuses, politics, economic warfare via Boycott, Divest and Sanction, murder in synagogues, and slander in social media. Christians, we must not fool ourselves into thinking that we can’t make a difference in helping cure this cancer. The apathy of World War II cannot be repeated. We are living in the 1930s again.
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”
Robert F. Kennedy
What can Christians do then to “change a small portion of events.” Truly, God has given us Christians a second chance in our generation to befriend the Jewish state and the Jewish people in tangible ways. On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau I’ve taken the liberty of curating an action list. Continue Reading….