Russell Hall rises from the Baxter Street hill in Athens. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

This past week, swastikas were found drawn on a Jewish student’s door. I won’t be discussing the details of this case, but rather the implications. Grady Newsource covers the issues here.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated occurrence. This is something that occurs with regularity across Georgia and the country. It is something that our Jewish peers are accustomed to.

The Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit organization founded in 1913 to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice for all”, reported 1,879 reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including assault, harassment and vandalism in 2018. This is the third-highest number of incidents the ADL has recorded in a year since it began recording data on these incidents in the 1970’s. In 2017, 1,986 incidents were reported.

It is no secret that hatred is behind the symbol of the swastika since the Nazis adopted it and its link to the worst human atrocity in history. But the fact that these ideas have permeated into 2019, to our college campuses and places of worship, is nothing short of horrific. It is also no secret that hatred and bigotry has been bred across America, with the South serving as the historical hub of racism and anti-Semitism. Ironically, this is an area of America that is often categorized as “Christian.” Christians now have the duty to reverse this stereotype. It is no longer possible to ignore it because it doesn’t affect us. Hate against the Jewish people is our problem too.

Christianity stands for love to all people; it is always, in its truest form, against hate of all kinds. It is time, not just to dislike the “idea” of hate, but to actively stand against hate towards the Jewish people by educating ourselves and others.

While I will make no attempt to charge the entirety of anti-Semitic beliefs on Christians, I, as a Christian myself, will implore my fellow Christians to no longer remain ignorant of the role Judaism plays in the foundations of our faith and why anti-Semitism should be utterly unacceptable to every one of us. Nearly all of the New Testament writers were Jewish. There is no Christianity without Judaism. This is something that many Christians – at least the ones I’ve come into contact with – seem to be painfully unaware of. It should be impossible for Christians to be complacent towards anti-Semitism knowing the relationship our faith has to Judaism.

For too long, Christians have been, if not part of the problem, not part of the solution. Where we should be allies to our Jewish brothers and sisters, we have failed them.

I’m not saying that anti-Semitism is “worse” than other forms of hate but merely giving a timely call to Christians and everyone to ask ourselves not necessarily if we’re anti-Semitic, but if we are actively against anti-Semitism?

I found myself driving home for Thanksgiving break wondering what I could do to help my Jewish friends, tears welling up in my eyes thinking of the hate they’ve felt in their lifetimes for their identity. So, I resolved to write this, not because it will solve the problem, and not because I am the person to educate the population on Jewish faith and identity, but to start a conversation. And also to say to my Jewish friends, the Jewish community, I will try to the best of my ability to be a safe place for you, to fight for you and to be a person who wants to learn from you, to deepen my own understanding and to work toward eradicating the hate against you that has survived far too long.

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(1) comment

Man with the Axe

Good on you for writing this.

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