I initially ordered this book with the understanding that it was essentially a study on the aspects of both passive and active anti-Semitism within some elements of the Church in relation to the Nazi Holocaust. Attitudes which, together with an alarming apathy, bore a considerable level of responsibility in relation to the persecution of the Jewish people at that time. Although the book provides a commendable investigation of these actual subjects, this work is far, far more extensive than what I had imagined. This scholarly, moving book seriously impressed me in both it's depth and scope.
It is extremely well researched and presents a wealth of evidence. The book is passionately written with a sincere yearning for a genuine repentance amongst the Christian Church towards the Jewish people who are described as being the root of their faith. A deep yearning for a healing of nineteen hundred years of Jewish-Christian relations which includes a recognition by the Church of the concrete realities pertaining to the Holocaust, the State of Israel, the role of Israel among the nations and its true place relating to Scripture. Indeed, this study extends very much into Church history to discover the disturbing roots of anti-Jewish hatred and expands to even cover modern day anti-Semitism and the present situation in the Middle East. The subject of Holocaust denial is also discussed. We are additionally presented with a section dealing with the history of the British Mandate in Palestine and yet another which deals with the Jews under Islam. The latter addressing the Dhimmi status of non-Moslems and Sharia law.
The ancient blood libels and many other issues underlying the virulent, vehement and fervid hatred of the Jewish people which culminated in so much persecution and slaughter, are provided with appropriate attention. Also addressed here is the arraignment against the Jews of Deicide. A concept frequently found in the writings of the Early Church Fathers and which was passed down through the ages. Something described as the ultimate manifestation and exercise of wickedness where the Jews are depicted as the murderers of the vehicle of their own Salvation, Jesus Christ. Yet another parallel indictment against the Jews, which originated from the very same sources as that of Deicide is that of the Jews being in league with the devil. These principles of shameless, racial hatred are discussed at length.
In relation to the Holocaust, the book points out that it may indeed come as a shock to many to discover that the Holocaust, (carried out in the middle of Christian Europe), was largely carried out by baptised Christians. (Adolf Hitler himself being described as a member of the Catholic Church.) Elements of the Nazi killing machine even being cited as being welcomed in many areas and being supplemented and supported by a number of local church leaders and their congregants. Whilst this may shock some readers, this subject deserves our attention irrespective of the individuals opinions pertaining to these revelations.
The book goes to great pains to illustrate that the Jewish people have been the focus of universal animosity throughout history and their Diaspora, even when they have been a minority race, largely dis-empowered, without political or national aspirations and until recently without a homeland. The book describing how the Jewish people have even adopted the societal norms, language, dress, culture and even religion of those amongst whom they have been scattered. Yet, despite this, the hatred of their race still could not be quelled.
This study also reveals how a particularly subtle form of anti-Semitism has insinuated its way into recent, modern thought. A hatred, which includes all of its ancient loathing, but is now to be found under the new labels of anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism. The study elaborating on this with due reference to context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the declared goals in the Arab world to eradicate the Jewish presence. Yasser Arafats own determined stance on the phased plan to destroy Israel receiving mention on page 103. The work of the new historians and their revisionist history are also cited. A timely reminder being quoted here that those who forget the past are condemned to relive it.
The book describes three phases within the operation of anti-Semitism. The first being cited as covert and which is exemplified by social exclusion together with the use of derogatory terminology. The second being overt which is exemplified by public announcement giving rise to sanctions and violence. The third being exterminatory and exemplified by genocide and ethnocide. These issues are themselves examined at length with due reference and example. The relevance of these principles in relation to the present day Middle East conflict emanates through the text.
The text also declares that the term anti-Semitism in the modern era is something of an anachronism as clearly some of the leading practitioners of active anti-Semitism are the Arab nations, who are of course Semites themselves. The book further elaborating that a more appropriate description of the hatred of the Jews would be the German term JUDENHASS, which essentially means the hatred of the Jews and all that they represent.
This is a most welcome book relating to a number of issues which both Christian and Jew need to grapple with. Issues which should not and cannot be ignored. Highly recommended.