Christianity’s New Racism. By Avigail Abarbanel

Via: Avigail Abarbanel.

Over the years I have received many messages from pro-Zionist fundamentalist Christians and have found their views puzzling. This piece sets out my thoughts and feelings in response.

I recently wrote an article that compared Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Among the responses was the usual collection of Christian fundamentalist messages. I will not comment on the literal belief in the Book of Revelations, and ideas about the impending Armageddon and the end of days. This I leave to Sociologists and Social Psychologists who study religious sects and their fascination with doomsday scenarios and the end of the world.

But I do feel disturbed by these messages because more than anything, they show how little progress these widening factions of the fundamentalist Christian world have made since the Middle Ages. I am from a Jewish family, I was born in Israel and spent the first 27 years of my life there. I have never suffered from antisemitism myself but have been taught about it and what it led to namely, the deliberate and systematic attempt to annihilate all Jews everywhere. From the Middle Ages European Jews have suffered anything from discrimination and segregation through to pogroms and expulsions. And this systemic hatred reached a historic apex in the Second World War. My maternal grandparents were survivors of the Shoah and despite all their efforts to re-build their lives in the years following the war, I don’t think they had ever recovered from what they had been through.

European hatred and fear of the Jewish people, discussed, preached, studied, written about and promoted for generations, finally reached a crescendo in the 1930s and 1940s. It was inevitable. You can’t build and fan a fire like this without it eventually consuming everything. After being fed a consistent diet of antisemitism for so long, the Nazis concluded that the world would be better off without Jews. They believed Jews were so despicable, so inferior, so not like them that they took it upon themselves to ‘cleanse’ the world of Jews, to exterminate them as you would a vermin. They believed that the world would be a more peaceful and safer place without Jews. I know that Nazi ideology rejected Christianity but antisemitism was a Christian creation, and it was hundreds of years of Christian antisemitism that finally led to this hideous outcome.

Now I am receiving messages from people who consider themselves Christian, and who tell me that when I criticise Israel I don’t know what I am talking about. They argue that Muslims and Arabs are all really bad people and that I should know better than to object to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. They say that Israel is all good, noble, democratic and even sacred, compared with all the bad Muslim and Arab countries out there. The generalisations are staggering. Cultures that are vastly different are lumped together into one group; the new group of ‘baddies’ that so many now demonise, the new group of people who are not like us. This kind of indiscriminate and ignorant generalisation is one of the hallmarks of true racism.

I agree that any country that does not protect the human rights of its citizens should be criticised. But what I am told repeatedly is that Israel must not be criticised because the Arab countries are so much worse. I respond to this with an analogy: ‘Suppose your child did something wrong, and then when busted he says to you that what he did wasn’t so bad because his friend Johnny did something worse, would you just let it go? Would you let your child escape punishment because his friend did something worse?

This argument is so absurd that I believe it is in fact a cover-up for racism. It’s not about Arab countries being worse than Israel. There are no innocent countries in the world and if we really want to criticise countries for human rights violations, the list would be long. It would include Western countries who routinely violate the human rights of people and groups even beyond their own borders.

But what those people who write to me are really trying to say is that Muslim and Arab countries and societies are somehow less civilised than Western people and societies. They tell me that I should stand shoulder to shoulder with them and support their hatred of Muslims, Palestinians and Arabs in general. They often accuse me of lying about my Jewish background. Some of those who write to me cannot conceive the idea that I can be from a Jewish Israeli family and support the Palestinians. They even call me a Palestinian. They either seriously believe that I would be offended by this, or think that I am really a Palestinian and only pretending to be who I say I am…

I guess these strange religious fanatics think that Israel is doing the world a favour by ridding it of people who are a part of the group that it’s now fashionable and increasingly legitimate to hate. Sounds familiar? I find it incredible that the same people who not that long ago preached such venomous hatred of Jews, now turn the same hatred, the same venom against another group, and it doesn’t matter to me who this group is. These religious fundamentalists are promoting hatred of a group of people whom they believe are less human, or less worthy, less civilised than they are.

Have they learned nothing about what group hatred and racism can lead to? A Christianity that can think like this is no different to the Christianity that not that long ago accused the Jews of killing Christian babies and drinking their blood; a Christianity that tortured and burned people; that routinely led massacres against those it didn’t like. It is a false Christianity that just like its false predecessors has forgotten all about ‘Love thy neighbour’. It is a Christianity without compassion and with no ability to reflect on its own beliefs or see their logical extension. What is it that they really want? Do they really mean for Muslims to be annihilated? Because if they do not, they do need to consider what it is that they are promoting and what it could lead to.

This is a version of Christianity that is based on fear and hatred instead of love and inclusion. It contributes nothing to world peace and to what humanity needs the most, camaraderie, respect, and cooperation, the sort of things that I believe Jesus stood for. The way some people write makes me worry that they actually get a kick out of the hatred and fear they express. They do seem to enjoy it.

I know that many Jews in Israel find it quite amusing and perplexing that all of a sudden they are the flavour of the week with some branches of fundamentalist Christianity, when only yesterday they were the ‘killers of Christ’. Israeli Jews don’t really understand why they are suddenly loved but they count their blessings for the moment and breathe a sigh of relief. They finally have allies who support them in their occupation and gradual destruction of the Palestinian people. And it is convenient because they can cast the colonisation of Palestine and the occupation in the light of a fight between ‘good and evil’, between the ‘civilised West’ (which they believe they are a part of), and the ‘backward Muslims’. Thus they manage to obscure the true reality of the conflict with the Palestinians, which has nothing to do with a fight between Judaism and Islam and everything to do with colonisation and ethnic cleansing. (An almost amusing point I have to make here is that Jewish identity is based so much on fear of antisemitism that when Christians suddenly love Jews, it really confuses things for Jewish-Israel…)

It has been called anti-Islamism, anti-Arabism, but I don’t really care what name people choose to give it. It is the same as the hatred of Jews used to be. It has the same symptoms. It is racism, it is filled with ‘us and them’, with demonisation, and venom and it can lead to genocide.

I am so pleased that so many Jews around the world and in Israel are increasingly taking a stand against this, and are not afraid to criticise Israel. They see it as their duty to stand up not despite of, but because of what the Jewish people have been through.

I just wish every person out there who sees himself or herself as Jewish could find the courage to do the right thing. All Jews must stand together in protest when a new group of victims is being created right in front of us, and when hatred and racism are once again being preached and hyped up. Sighing in relief, ‘Thank God it’s not us any more’ is immoral and irresponsible. Siding with hate-mongering Christian fundamentalism — even if it’s ‘good for Israel’ — is siding with the wrong people.

Never again is not just never again to us, it should be never again, full stop.


6 thoughts on “Christianity’s New Racism. By Avigail Abarbanel

  1. THannnnk youuuu

    I m french!
    Je suis français et mon anglais et tres mauvais mais merci beaucoup pour cette pertinente analyse et de se rapelle historique =)

    Thank you my sister


  2. As a follower of Jesus, I applaud your thoughts. I personally don’t believe Jesus belongs only to Christians (though that is my birth-heritage). And Jesus went out of his way (literally) to teach his first followers that there was no racism in in his thoughts about life. It is always wrong. It was wrong in his century, and it is wrong in ours. And racism and group hatred and fear knows no borders, culture, or religion. It was wrong in 1938 in Germany and it is wrong today wherever it is found. It is not only wrong- it is small. Truncated. Not true to the spirit of truth. Thank you for your contribution against anything that “is not of love’s kind” (Thomas Merton).

  3. What is the last book of the Bible?
    I don’t think so.

    Secondly, it is NOT Christianity that lead to the hatred in Germany and witches being burned.
    Look at the rates of true, biblical Christianity in the US and in Europe. The superstitious anti-biblical minded were the ones burning witches, in the tens of thousands in Europe and only in the teens or twenties in the US.

    Furthermore, I have NEVER heard a Christian advocate the murdering of Palestinians or all Arabs, etc.
    I have heard them say that rockets being fired upon innocent people requires those guilty of such murders being either criminally tried or executed in a wartime situation. VERY different.

    Please show me where I’m missing something.

  4. Allow me to say that based on the logic of your comment you are missing the whole story. And my favourite respond to brainwashed defenders of apartheid Israel would be the from the Zionist leadership. The criminals themselves explained the real issue about Palestine and their ethnic cleansing crimes, which its tipping point took place in 47-1948 (See Plan Dalet).

    The Russian racist Ze’ev Jabotinsky advocated the colonization of Palestine under the protection of arms regardless of the Palestinian people’s objections. He stated in 1925:
    “Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop under the protection of a force independent of the local population –an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in to, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 28)
    The same racist wrote in an essay, titled “The Iron Law”, explaining how Zionist colonization of Palestine should be done. He wrote: “If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. … Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 45)
    He also wrote: “There is no choice: the Arabs must make room for the Jews of Eretz Israel. If it was possible to transfer the Baltic peoples, it’s also possible to move the Palestinian Arabs.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 29)
    As you see the Zionists didn’t have problem talking openly about their racist colonial settler project.

    Here is another criminal explains the Zionist story, Ben Gurion: “Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it’s simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipes us out”.
    “But how can you sleep with that prospect in mind,” I broke in, “and be Prime Minister of Israel too?”. “Who says I sleep?” he answered simply. (The Jewish Paradox by Nahum Goldman, p. 99).

    If you didn’t know, Gurion was an atheist, and based on a book he published in 1920 in New York, he believed that the story of 2000 years was a plain legend, but later he didn’t mind to accept “god promised land”, like any other typical Zionist hypocrite. Also you need to check the agreement between the Nazis and the Zionists to transfer European Jews into Palestine, and later the Zionist’s plan to transfer the Arab natives out of their land, Again see Plan Dalet.

    Moshe Dayan as quoted in Haaretz, 4 April 1969: “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

    Moshe Dayan said in 1956, just 8 years after Al Nakba, and before PLO or Hamas even existed: “Let us not today fling accusation at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.” -Iron Wall.

    It is the occupation, so don’t try again to twist the issue and make the occupier and thieve as a victim and and occupied and refugee as a terrorist.

    Remember that these Zionists, and from their names, like Herzl, Gurion, Weismann, Jabotinsky, Weitz, Ruppin, Ussishkin, Smilansky, Zuchovitzky, Zangwill, Epstein…. don’t belong to Palestine and the same with the new ones like the Moldavian ex bouncer , the racist Lieberman, the “foreign minster” of apartheid Israel and his boss Bibi Netanyahu, who used to have the name of Milikovsky, before his racist Zionist daddy Ben Zion, who was one of assistants of the racist Jabotinsky, immigrated to Palestine from Lithuania.
    These Zionists are racist colonial settlers, and they are mostly Europeans and East Europeans, meanwhile the Arab natives of Palestine, including Arab Jews, Christians, Muslims, and non religious, they are the ones who belong to Palestine and who have the right to decide for their home country. Anyway without the support and aid from many European states, the same states who had a long history of discrimination against their own Jewish citizens, and states like US and Canada, who closed their doors to the Jewish refugees while the European Holocaust was taking place, this apartheid can not exist. These stats unleash the Zionist gangs on the Arab natives of Palestine.
    For some real history read about Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916 between the France and Britain to divide Syria after defeating the Ottomans, and in the following year, in 1917, the Balfour Declaration. Both Britain and France were colonial criminal powers who had no legitimacy to install an apartheid among the Arabs and divide the Arabs’ homeland. It was simply the divide and conquer policy which the European colonialists did everywhere, Africa is another example. See This clip:
    Colonialism in 10 Minutes: The Scramble For Africa:

    Learn from history, apartheid south Africa had its racist supporters, used “holy” books to steal the natives land, while calling them “terrorists” and “savages”, and it had nukes as apartheid Israel, but it is history now, and when Mandela, who knows apartheid very well, calls the Israeli occupation state in Palestine as an apartheid, you need to stop and think about it, instead of repeating the same Holocaust to a new group of people as Avigail explained. It is known now that apartheid Israel aided the oppressors of Mandela and the African natives, even the criminal Peres offered them nukes to defend themselves from the surrounding African “terrorist states”!!!

    Try to educate yourself about Palestine before coming out in public to defend apartheid Israel by repeating its lies. There are many complicit propagandists who defend the crimes of the Israeli state against the Palestinian people, don’t add your voice to their propaganda.

  5. Just thought I’d mention the cause of the Christian fundamentalist attitude – the so-called, ‘Scofield Bible’ that has been infiltrated into most Christian sects since the early part of the 20th century. Here is a link to an article about it:

    However, for anyone who truly wishes to make sense of the world situation of today, the best source is the excellent book by the late, English writer Douglas Reed, entitled ‘The Controversy of Zion’:

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