The Demands of Our Time – Statement from the International Council of Christians and Jews

Dear Members and Friends

Below is an important statement from the International Council of Christians and Jews.  Follow this link to the ICCJ website:  http://www.iccj.org/Media.6348.0.html

THE DEMANDS OF OUR TIME: A STATEMENT ON ANTISEMITISM

Antisemitism is on the rise in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere.

In many places, Jews have expressed fear and insecurity.

Frequent shameless and blatant vandalism against property and attacks on Jewish people – even murder – have taken place in several countries.

The International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) looks upon the current resurgence of antisemitism with alarm and revulsion.

History shows that the scourge of antisemitism has a pernicious ability to transform itself into a seemingly endless variety of manifestations.

In the pre-Christian Mediterranean world, Jews were sometimes assaulted for rejecting pagan social and religious norms. Jews were marginalized in European Christendom because they did not accept the Christian Gospel and became easy scapegoats in times of crisis.

In the Enlightenment, a supposedly secular society was offended by Jewish religious and cultural resistance to assimilation, but later suspected Jews who attempted to assimilate of plotting various schemes.

These conspiracy theories were often contradictory: for example, Jews were accused of masterminding capitalism while simultaneously attacked as championing communism.

Pseudo-science branded Jews as a genetic menace to allegedly superior races.

More recently, Jewish longing for the security of political self-determination, which other peoples saw as a human right, has been tarred as racist.

The International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) was founded in 1947, following a pivotal “Emergency Conference on Antisemitism” at Seelisberg, Switzerland. That conference was a Christian and Jewish response to the antisemitism that led to the Shoah (Holocaust) and still persisted after the war.

In the wake of Seelisberg, numerous Christian churches repudiated past teachings of contempt and labelled antisemitism as a sin against God and humanity.

They embarked on an unprecedented effort to dismantle the religious antagonism that had fuelled hostility to Jews for so long and to replace it with theologies promoting interreligious friendship and collaboration.

Frustratingly, this revolutionary religious reform has taken place at a time when religious communities have increasingly limited power to reverse the antipathy towards Jews they helped embed in Western culture.

It has been said that renewed antisemitism is a warning sign of societal breakdown. Indeed, today we see the widespread growth of intolerance, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.

There is an absence of basic human respect for people who are in some way “different.”

Humanity can and must be better than this.

Although our voices may sometimes seem feeble and ineffectual, the times call upon us all – as individuals, organizations, and societies – to redouble our opposition to all forms of bigotry and prejudice, to insist that leaders promote the common good of everyone, and to
recommit ourselves to practising dialogue on all levels.

Follow this link to the ICCJ website:  http://www.iccj.org/Media.6348.0.html