With last month’s tragic events in Charlottesville spotlighting anti-Semitism in America, one Christian organization is determined not to be silent as Jews once again find themselves the target of hate.
On Thursday evening, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest pro-Israel organization in the country, is hosting “My Brother’s Keeper” at Charlottesville’s Connect Church, featuring Holocaust survivor and author Irving Roth.
In April 1945, Roth walked out of the Buchenwald concentration camp, having watched in horror as members of his family were marched into the gas chamber upon their arrival the previous year. At the time, the teenager was grateful he would see his next birthday.
Now 88, Roth sees too many similarities between what he experienced leading up to the Holocaust and what is happening today, not just in America, but throughout the world.
“People need to know what happened before and during the Holocaust,” Roth told the Haym Salomon Center. “Just like Charlottesville, they had rallies against Jews in 1930s Europe. This is how it starts. And today, we are seeing it again.”
What Roth finds particularly alarming today is that extreme elements on both the political right and left agree on one thing: disdain for Jews.
David Brog, founding executive director of CUFI, explained why the Christian Zionist organization believes it’s important to bring Roth to Charlottesville:
At this dangerous hour, we don’t need politics — we need truth. Irving Roth has no agenda other than bearing witness to the danger of hate. When Irving says that he’s seeing a resurgence of the same anti-Semitism he witnessed as a child, he’s sounding an alarm we’d better heed. And when Irving tells us that this new anti-Semitism is coming from both the far right and the far left, he’s pointing out a painful truth we need to recognize.
With Charlottesville receiving national attention, the media is portraying the events as a recent development. But Roth will tell you that anti-Semitism and contempt for Israel have been a rapidly growing epidemic for years. For decades, Roth has been speaking about his own experience during the Holocaust and the “new anti-Semitism,” especially to young and diverse audiences.
In a 2015 speech to 500 college students in Washington D.C., Roth said:
“Year after year, decade after decade, the people whose mantra is the destruction of the Jewish State and the Jewish people, have not managed to do it through war,” referring to the current campaign portraying Israel as an “apartheid state” and the surge in anti-Semitic activity on college campuses as “Stage 3” of their efforts to destroy the Jewish State and the Jewish people.
“The people organizing BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] against Israel are out of their minds. In fact, what they’ve done is straight out of the playbook of a fellow by the name of Joseph Goebbels. Remember him? The Minister of Propaganda for Nazi Germany. They are using the same identical materials. This is what BDS is all about. They want the destruction of the Jewish people; they want the destruction of the Jewish State.”
With over 3.6 million members, Roth welcomes the support of Christians United for Israel and their efforts combating anti-Semitism.
In a July interview with CUFI founder and National Chairman, Pastor John Hagee, the Evangelical leader did not hide his feelings and concerns about growing anti-Semitism, telling the Haym Salomon Center:
I would not call them Christians. You are a Christian when you obey the word of God. When you get away from the word of God, you are a ship without a rudder, you believe anything and assume any position. When you abandoned truth, all that is left is a lie. Anyone participating in BDS, anyone intentionally doing things to hurt Israel and the Jewish people are engaged in anti-Semitism.
There is no such thing as Christian anti-Semitism. Christianity is built on the love of God. Anti-Semitism is built on pure hatred. Love and hate do not come out of the same mouth or same body. If you are anti-Semitic you are not a Christian.
Paul Miller is president and executive director of the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on twitter @pauliespoint.