(October 5, 2016 / JNS) By Carla Brewington/JNS.org
Women of the Jewish Resistance during World War II helped save fellow Jews from being massacred by the Nazis. They enabled some to find a way out of Europe and find safety in their ancestral homeland, Israel. They did what they could to save a few. At times, there was success but often they failed, and sometimes they were only able to save just one. In many ways, that is how we must look at it. Even if one life is saved, it’s still up to us to try.
You may be wondering what this has to do with. The question is valid. The answer is that being educated about the past will help defuse the possibility of wicked things happening again. If we’re able to help just a few comprehend that there is creeping anti-Semitism escalating around the world, then we must do it. I believe that’s why speaking out and educating people is so important. We must resist the spread of propaganda by those who want to see Israel erased from the map. We must tell the truth by letting the facts take the place of fiction. Peace can be negotiated but truth cannot.
The history of Israel begins with God’s promises to Abraham. Yes, I do believe that is where it all started, with a promise. And I do believe that God keeps promises. We may break covenants, but God never does. In the last few months, there have been an increasing number of Christians, churches and organizations who have been sucked into the anti-Israel cesspool. Far too many churches are choosing to divest from Israel, and more believers are embracing replacement theology, also known as supersessionism or fulfillment theology. These people adhere to the doctrine that the church has replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people, and they are the sole inheritors of God’s purposes, including the promise to Abraham. This includes the Episcopalian Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Lutherans, the Quakers and, sadly, there are more.
Some may think that anti-Semitism ended decades ago, when the horror of the Holocaust was exposed. That’s not true. The new anti-Semitism is expressed by those who are anti-Israel. Today’s anti-Semitism masquerades behind humanitarian relief, nongovernmental organizations and so-called “reconciliation” ministries. Recently, the charity group World Vision was outed when Mohammad El Halabi, the Palestinian director of the Gaza branch, was found to be directing millions of U.S. dollars to the terror group Hamas.
There will undoubtedly be more ministries outed for their hypocrisy in the future. I’ve read books on the Holocaust. I’ve learned about the stories of those who managed to survive the ghettos, labor camps, death camps and the ovens. I’ve also learned about some of the people who did not survive. Six million Jews, 1 million of whom were children.
I’ve been studying the horror of what evil can lead to. I keep saying there are no words, there are only tears. But if that’s all we can offer, then we fail those who have perished, and we fail those who survived the atrocities. I have friends that are children of Holocaust survivors, and I cannot look them in the face with only my tears. We must put effort to our grief. For some of us, it means writing articles and blogs and books. Writing to those who will listen and also to those who may never understand, but we must write anyway.
For some of us, it means standing up to speak. We speak to those who may never comprehend, but we speak anyway. We teach and educate because we know that is the road to peace. To communicate, in whatever form, is to help dismantle the lies.
As women of the Jewish Resistance stood together to rescue those who could not fight back against their oppressors, so we must resist the propaganda thrown at us by the boycott movement against Israel, more commonly known as “BDS” which stands for boycott, divestment and sanctions and other such anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda campaigns. Instead of boycott, divest and sanction, let us do our own form of BDS: Buy, Develop and Stand with Israel and the Jewish people.
Resistance does not always mean being armed with guns; it means being armed with knowledge and truth, not misinformation and lies. “Collective resistance” through education is a battle worth fighting.
We must shake off all complicity and compromise and not make the same mistake that neighbors and “friends” of the Jews made during and after the Holocaust. Europeans stood idly by and said they didn’t know what was going on, and they never saw or heard anything about the mass torture and murder of Jews. But the bystanders were actually colluding with the enemy by being silent. Silence is never an option. Even decades later, mindless capitulation is dangerous. “Never again” must not be an empty phrase for those who care about justice.
Carla Brewington, who earned her doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, is a Christian volunteer speaker for the pro-Israel education organization StandWithUs.