As Anti-Semitism Rages, Christians Stand with Israel
At a Washington conference on extremism last week, President Barack Obama claimed the world's terror threats were not rooted in Islam. He sees the issue as a law enforcement problem -- a battle with difficult rogues of all faiths, not a civilizational war.
The president told the conference hosted by the State Department, "The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie, and all of us, regardless of our faith, have a responsibility to reject it."
But his remarks come as much of the globe is engulfed in a growing flood of hatred of Jews and persecution of Christians, a large portion of it coming from the Muslim world.
That includes terror groups such as ISIS, the founders of an Islamic empire, and Iran, whose leaders have preached the extermination of Israel for decades.
In addition, French President Francois Hollande visited a cemetery where Jewish graves, some hundreds of years old, had been defaced. He warned that acts of anti-Semitism there doubled in the past two years, with the number skyrocketing in 2015.
The most tragic were the murders in a kosher deli near Paris following the mass slayings at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper.
The murder of a Jewish man in Copenhagen; the January assassination in Argentina of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was investigating Iranian connections to a bombing at a Jewish community center in 1994 that killed 85 people; and the killings of 21 Egyptian Christian Copts in Libya -- these are just a partial list of atrocities committed in 2015 against Jews and Christians by Muslim radicals.
Now, a new survey shows anti-Semitism is rampant on U.S. college campuses. Fifty-four percent of Jewish students say they saw acts of anti-Semitism at their colleges across the nation during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. That's according to a study released by Trinity College and Brandeis University.
At another conference in Colorado, Christians and Jews heard a very different message from the one outlined by the president: to stand firm in the face of the growing persecution.
Wayne Hilsden, senior pastor at King of Kings Community in Jerusalem, spoke at a "Stand Firm for Israel Summit" hosted by Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland earlier this month.
He exhorted believers in Jesus to speak up on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people and to brace for fierce opposition.
Hilsden asked participants from more than a dozen nations and nearly two dozen states, "How many of you know that the more hatred comes against the Jewish people, those who stand with them in their time of trouble will also be hated?"
"We will also be slandered. We will also be lied against and falsely accused. It goes with the package," he said.
At the summit, Hilsden announced the launching of a new group called FIRM: the Fellowship of Israel-Related Ministries. The goal is for believers to learn from the book of Daniel -- to learn from the times we're in and to take a stand, regardless of what it costs -- and to do it in love.
"This is one of the most intimidating times in history, when the attacks of the enemy can spread like wildfire around the world, never eradicated," he cautioned. "And when we are attacked, we will be tempted to attack our accusers in return. But when we stand firm, let us be like Daniel and not return evil for evil; let us love our enemies."
Messianic Jewish leader Jonathan Bernis is president of Jewish Voice and a FIRM board member. He said fundamental Islam is the "carrier of the new anti-Semitism" and that Christians won't be spared in the spirtual battle that is upon us.
"I think the answer for the Muslim world is the same as the answer for the Jewish world, and His name is Yeshua -- Jesus," he told CBN News.
The leaders at the Colorado summit believe there is a special calling for young people, who respond better to calls of support for Israel and the Jewish people when they understand that the character of God's name is at stake.
"Because God's covenant is, endures forever. Because God's covenant is everlasting; because He's a faithful God. Because the calling and the gifts of God are irrevocable, that's why we stand with Israel," explained 22-year-old Michael Mistretta, one of the summit's Jerusalem-based organizers.