An LDS View On Growing Anti-Semitism

In 1879, a German publicist and political agitator by the name of Wilhelm Marr was credited with coining the term “Anti-Semitism”. That is not the first time the term was used, but it soon became popular. Adolf Hitler used the term extensively in a 1919 letter to Herr Adolf Gemlich where he explained that the Jews must be removed from Germany. Some historians see this letter as a pre-cursor to the Holocaust.

Before the words “Anti Semite” were used to refer to just the Jews, it had other origins. Originally, a Semite was a descendant of Shem, one of three sons of Noah. This is significant, because technically, both Ishmael (father of the 12 Arab nations), and Jacob (also called Israel, father of the 12 Tribes of Israel), are Semites. All of Shem’s descendants are Semite, including Abraham. Both the Jews and the Arabs call Abraham their father.

I find that to be very ironic. Semites that hate Semites.

Moses, 7:33 –  “And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;”

At the time of Enoch, the Lord said that the children of men hated their own blood . . . or their own families. This was before the flood. This is one of the reasons for that cleansing of the earth by water. The next time will be by fire.

Consider this latter-day prophecy: “And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.” – Doctrine and Covenants, 45:27

Is there any doubt that we live in a day when love is dying, and becoming cold?

Who are these whom we should love? The 12 Tribes of Israel have been scattered across the earth. Many of the nations of Europe and Asia and Africa have had the blood of these tribes intermingled with their own. So, in a very real sense, this means that most of us share some common ancestry with Shem. We are family. If you are not Mormon, this may not make a lot of sense to you . . . but I know from what tribe most of my ancestry comes from. I am of the House of Ephraim, the tribe of Joseph. Perhaps it seems a bit strange for me to make such a claim. I understand. Maybe we can talk about genealogy and Patriarchal Blessings at another time.

So . . . what does this all mean to me?

I have a deep sense of kinship with my Jewish brothers and sisters. It disgusts me that there seems to be a growing feeling of Anti-Semitism in the world. Didn’t we say, soon after World War II, that we would never let such an abominable desolation of a people happen again? Have we forgotten so soon? I wasn’t born until 20 years after the war. And yet, I feel like I am a part of the outcome of that great conflict because the memories of images and stories from that time period horrify me. I feel like I was there. Perhaps I was . . . perhaps I watched over my grandparents during those difficult years, helping them to be safe so that I might get my turn on earth.

Why do I feel such a strong bond with the Jews? I can’t even explain it. It’s as strong as anything I feel for my own flesh and blood. I have an almost overpowering desire to join with them in their fight for peace and freedom from oppression. When I hear Benjamin Netanyahu speak, it thrills my soul to hear him defend his people and his country. Maybe it’s because the Mormons, as a people, were treated almost as poorly as the Jews. Harassed, driven from state to state, even murdered. Not to the extent of the Holocaust, but very disturbing, nonetheless.

Semites . . . yes, even the Arab peoples are my brothers. I wish no harm for them. But when you are part of a family, you have got to act like part of the family. And if you decide that you don’t want to be family anymore . . .

Like an older brother on the playground, I am seeing my little brother take some pretty serious abuse by the bullies who hate him. And that gets my blood boiling. It makes me want to fight. You mess with my family, you mess with me.

We have got to STOP this growing feeling of Anti-Semitism in the world. Stand up for Israel. Stand up for the Jews. They are our brothers.

Won’t you join me?

* * *

If this post makes sense to you, share it with a friend. Perhaps they would like to understand why they feel a kinship with Israel.



An LDS View On Growing Anti-Semitism — 5 Comments

  1. This is an excellent post, Daron, and I applaud you for your honesty and love. Due to two of my siblings living in the middle east for a long time, I have grown to truly love the arabic people. The hatred on both sides of the fence–jews for arabs and arabs for jews–really upsets me. I have known people of both backgrounds, of both religions, and it seems to me that they’re all so caught up in the “learnings of their fathers” that they forget to see each other as people, as individuals. My hopes lie with yours. I hope that someday all people can view each other with love because in the end, we’re all brothers and sisters of our Heavenly Father.

  2. I guess I’m not sold on the idea that anti-Semitism is on the rise (within the United States, at least). I think there’s definitely dissatisfaction with the state of Israel, but I think that’s a very different ball of wax.

    While I share all the same sentiments you do about the LDS perspective on Jews (and even on the creation of Israel as a Jewish state) that doesn’t mean that Israel’s government is infallible. They’re in a really crappy situation, undoubtedly, but I don’t think that makes them beyond reproach.

    All of this is the long way to say: I don’t think you’ve given me enough details for me to know what you’re saying. Are you talking about racial anti-Semitism (ie, hatred of Jews because they’re Jews)? Or are you talking about complaints about the state/government of Israel? Because I think those are two very different things.

    (I fully admit I might be missing some news stories. It racial anti-Semitism really on the rise in America? Can you point me to some articles?)

  3. Rob, I understand that the rise of sentiment here in the states is a little harder to see. Unless you tie some things together . . .

    There is a definite, visible rise in anti-Semitism outside the United States. Many middle eastern countries are becoming far more vocal, and much of what they say falls along the lines of “kill the Jews”, “push them into the ocean”, “death to Israel”, etc. They don’t hesitate to add “death to America” right along side that.

    I can’t recall a time in my life when hateful rhetoric like this has been so strong. And the call to war or Jihad is coming from so many countries and so many groups at the same time that it’s hard to tell who is going to strike first. My point is that with all of this escalation of words outside the country, I would expect more outcry here in the States, yet I am not hearing much about it except from a few conservative sources. If there is no outrage here in the States, and mainstream media doesn’t seem to act like they care, are we going down the same path which was taken right before World War II? When so MANY people in Germany, Europe, the United States, and everywhere else in the world just turned a blind eye to Hitler while he spewed hatred like water out of a fire hose? If neither the government of the United States, nor the media which is supposed to be our watchdogs, speak out against the garbage flowing on Al-Jazeera and other places . . . then by saying nothing are we now complicit?

    I say that we are. If we don’t speak out against the hate speech against the Jews, if we continue to coddle and support terrorist nations, or nations who harbor terrorist organizations, all of whom want to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, then we, by default are becoming more anti-Semitic. THEY don’t make a distinction between Israel as a state and the Jews as a people. They want the Jews dead and they want Israel to disappear. We can’t continue to allow them to spew such hatred without taking a very hard stance with them.

    That is how I see it.

  4. See, I can’t agree with that, for many reasons.

    (First, let me say that I’m not saying I’m 100% right, just that I’m not 100% convinced of your point. I definitely don’t claim to have all the answers.)

    Addressing your points in order:

    First, from all I’ve read (and I’ve read a ton–my undergrad was international relations, with a Middle East emphasis. I’m not saying I’m an expert, by any means, just that I’ve read a lot.) this kind of violent anti-Israel rhetoric has been common since long before Israel was even made a state. That doesn’t make it justified–I’m just saying that I don’t see any significant escalation. (Admittedly, you seeing escalation and me not seeing escalation is completely subjective on both sides. But it is definitely true that this rhetoric has been violent and abundant for decades.)

    As for your second point, I don’t disagree that we (as a society/country/spiritual family) need to protect the Jews, but I still think you’re oversimplifying the situation with the state of Israel. I guess what I’m saying is that I think there are a lot of very legitimate reasons for various groups to be upset with the policies (past and present) of the state of Israel, and that ignoring those legitimate complaints will only make the problems grow. I think blanket support of Israel (as a state, not a race) is just as flawed as blanket hatred of Israel.

    I just don’t think the problem can ever be solved if we refuse to separate support for the race from support for the secular state. (I mean, in all of your blog post about LDS perspectives on the Jewish people, there’s nothing in LDS theology about the infallibility of the secular state. When the scriptures talk about Israel, they’re not talking about a country and government that started in 1948.)

    I hope this doesn’t make it sound like I’m anti-Israel, because I’m absolutely not. I’m just leery of using religious arguments to give blanket support to a secular institution.

    I hope that makes sense…

  5. Rob, I agree with all of that. 100%. I agree that WE need to separate support for the race from support from the secular state, and then encourage the secular state to play nice as much as possible. Perhaps I led you to believe that I am giving blanket support of the institution. I am not.

    But my point is this: THEY (the enemies of Israel in the examples cited) do NOT separate the two. They should, but they don’t. And that is why I sometimes interchange the words . . . because it doesn’t much matter anymore if they don’t use the same definition that I do. 🙂

    So . . . where does that leave us? With not a lot of hope. The enemies of the Jews, or the enemies of Israel, have no desire to change their stance. That has got to come from the heart, and their hearts are not in it.

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