I want to take a moment and express my sincere gratitude to everybody here (and online) who has taken some type of stand in the past month against the rise of antisemitism. You know, growing up, I always heard about how my grandmother had to leave Poland because of antisemitism; how my father had to flee Morocco for the same reason. I remember learning about the Holocaust in school, and even walking through Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2010, the largest concentration camp led by the Nazis, where over 1 million Jews were systematically killed. And while I would experience antisemitic comments here and there, I often had two main thoughts: How could the world have let this happen, and am I ever glad that it is in the past.
But this is now no longer the case. In real time, we are witnessing the bold face of antisemitism. This comes follwoing the terrorist attacks on October 7th, when Hamas used GoPro cameras to murder over 1400 innocent victims in Israel — from babies to the elderly —torturing them in front of one another, burning some alive, kidnapping others . And then we see people marching on the streets, not in protest, but in celebration.
Once again, we hear the calls for the genocide of the Jewish people. While you will be told it is “antizionism” —that they are only protesting “the nation of Israel (the land issue) —Yeshua tells us, “You will know them by their fruits.” And what have we witnessed? People marching in North America with swastikas; Jewish kids being barricaded in libraries while people outside yell genocidal slogans; shootings and arson against synagogues and Jewish schools right here in Montreal; the stabbings of Jewish people in France and the death of a pro-Israel supporter in California. All the while people are ripping down posters of the children kidnapped by Hamas — children! Why? Just like in Nazi Germany, we see the dehumanization of the Jewish people, followed by an attempt for their destruction.
And during this time, there is a temptation to remain silent; to hope it goes away. We may want to be “neutral” but as always, silence empowers the oppressor. If you’re like me, you may have wondered, “What would I have done to fight the rhetoric and lies against the Jewish people that resulted in the Holocaust?” Well, precisely what we are doing now. But I do want to share how deeply touched I am by friends, pastors, and communities who have reached out and have taken a stand. A pastor in Chicoutimi has written a letter on behalf of his church to synagogues, expressing their stand against antisemitism. I have non-Jewish friends who have been vocal on social media against antisemitism, even losing business because of it. So, to everyone praying for the peace of Jerusalem, speaking against antisemitism, and standing with the community, I want to say thank you.
I have brought this up before, but Albert Einstein made the comment: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” And so, this is a good reminder of our need to be grounded in our facts, and not be swept up by lies. We need to be proactive in our conduct and speak truth in love.