Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Christian Opposition to Israel Requires a Christian Response - by Dexter Van Zile

...Given their dependent status, Jewish leaders in the United States are not in any position to complain about the ineffective response offered by their friends and allies in the Christian world, but they can no longer kid themselves about what has happened in the American mainline. And neither can Christians themselves.

Dexter Van Zile..
19 November '18..

“Is our alternative truly only between malevolent enemies and condescending friends?”

That tortured query was issued by Hannah Arendt in 1941, after Jules Romains — a prominent French writer and longtime PEN president — complained that Jews were not sufficiently grateful for his efforts to save them from the Nazi menace. After fighting for the passage of a resolution condemning antisemitism at a meeting of PEN (over the objections of H.G. Wells) and helping Jewish intellectuals escape France after the Nazis took over, Romains was angry at the apparent ingratitude from Jews for his work on their behalf. And he said so publicly.

“You complain in fact very loudly and articulately about the ingratitude of Jews for whom you have done so much,” Arendt wrote in response to Romains’ complaints.

But at the risk of alienating a protector of Jewish lives, Arendt declared that the last thing Romains should worry about was whether Jews were grateful for his good works. By protecting the lives of Jews and helping them escape their fate under Nazi rule, Romains was defending the “freedom and honor” of the people of France who were also under the boot of the Nazi regime, she said. Arendt went on to ask if Romains understood that the “arrogant demand for gratitude from a protector cuts deeper than the open hostility of antisemites?”

The underlying message that Arendt had for Romains was that by standing in solidarity with Jews during their time of trial, he was protecting the better parts of himself and the country he called home. In other words, Romains’ work on behalf of Jews in France wasn’t just about Jews, but France as well.

If Arendt were alive and watching the efforts to staunch the flow of anti-Zionism that has taken root in mainline Protestant churches in the US today, she might utter a tortured query similar to the one she offered in 1941. It would go something like, “Is our alternative truly only between malevolent enemies and ineffective friends?”

(Continue to Full Column)

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