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Amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe, are Jews now safer in the East than the West?

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Amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe are Jews now safer in the East than the West

A comprehensive survey conducted by CNN found alarming levels of anti-Semitic attitudes among Europeans, with statistics on anti-Semitic acts across Europe “mind-boggling.”

 The October attack on the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh has put a renewed spotlight on anti-Semitism in the United States, which has seen an uptick in recent years. However, deadly attacks on Jewish people and institutions are far from a new occurrence in Europe, where Jewish communities across the continent have faced threats from radical Islam and other homegrown extremist groups for years.

Recently, a comprehensive survey conducted by CNN found alarminglevels of anti-Semitic attitudes among Europeans. Polling 7,000 respondents in seven European countries, the survey revealed that one in 10 Europeans has an “unfavorable” attitude towards Jews, while nearly 30 percent believe that “Jewish people have too much influence in finance and business across the world, compared with other people.”

“The CNN survey does not surprise me,” Benjamin Weinthal, a German resident and a fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “In fact, the results underplay the widespread hatred of Jews and Israel across Europe.”

Simon Rodan, the European director of the American Jewish Committee, expressed similar concern over the survey’s results.

“Those results are indeed very alarming, and I am unfortunately not surprised. Anti-Semitism has been a contemporary problem for a while in Europe. It re-emerged quite virulently in the early 2000s, particularly in France, where the largest Jewish community in Europe lives, but also in other European countries,” she said.

According to Rodan, the statistics on anti-Semitic acts across Europe are “mind-boggling.”

She quoted some of them, noting that “in the first nine months of 2018 alone, more than 500 anti-Semitic acts have been registered in France. Fifty percent of all racist hate crimes are of an anti-Semitic nature, despite the fact that Jews represent less than 1 percent of the entire population.

“And let’s not forget that over the past decade, Jews have been killed on this continent for the simple reason that they were Jewish: 12 in France, one in Denmark, four in Belgium, and five in Bulgaria. Other planned attacks were thankfully thwarted,” she added.

Marchers honor the memory of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll

Marchers honor the memory of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll, 85, who was murdered in March 2018 in a brutal anti-Semitic attack. Credit: European Jewish Press.

While the scale of anti-Semitism in Europe has many experts troubled, certain key factors and differences paint a complicated picture for those looking to address the issue head-on. This is especially true in Europe, where Jewish communities in the Western Europe face different threats than their brethren in Eastern Europe.

“Contemporary anti-Semitism has several sources, and not only in Europe,” said Rodan. “The situations are, of course, different from one country’s culture and history to another, but the sources are often the same.”

‘Two sides of the same coin’

While the root causes of anti-Semitism are complex and deeply entwined with European history dating back centuries—and specific to each country or region—the modern manifestation of anti-Semitism can be broadly categorized into three main subgroups across the continent, according to Rodan.

“The first sector can be found on the far-right. Half of the supporters of the French National Front Party, for example, believe that Jews have too much economic power, and 51 percent say Jews have too much power in the media,” Rodan said, citing a 2015 survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee and Fondapol, a French think tank. “This is more than double the rest of society.”

Anti-Semitism on the far-right is hardly a new phenomenon; it was one of the primary drivers of fascism and Nazism. Some groups on the far-right today continue to draw inspiration from these trains of thought—the roots of which go back before World War II and the Holocaust.

Nevertheless, the issue of anti-Semitism and right-wing leaders in Europe has emerged as a source of great debate in recent years. While some far-right groups may have latent sympathy with Nazism, such as the Austrian Freedom Party, other more moderate right-wing leaders in Europe who may have ties with far-right groups or even govern with them see Israel as an important ally both in terms of fighting radical Islam and for economic development.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has a governing coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, has been an outspoken supporter of Israel and has strongly condemned anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are getting blurred, but they are two sides of the same coin,” Kurz said recently at a dinner hosted by the European Jewish Congress, where he was presented with an award. “We can’t undo history, but we can do justice to our history.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz addressing the EJC executive dinner in Vienna on Nov. 20, 2018. Credit: EJC.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz addressing the EJC executive dinner in Vienna on Nov. 20, 2018. Credit: EJC.

“I think Kurz is a promising political leader because he wants to shift Austria’s foreign policy in direction that is more sympathetic to Israel,” said Weinthal.

However, he noted that Kurz has so far not matched his rhetoric with actions, like other European leaders such as Angela Merkel, with his country still supporting anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations and forging ties with Iran, a notorious fomenter of hatred against Israel and the Jews.

“Kurz also, like Merkel, has refused to join U.S. sanctions against Iran—the leading international state-sponsor of terrorism, Holocaust denial and lethal anti-Semitism,” said Weinthal.

Nonetheless, Kurz did recently sponsor a European Union resolutionapproved by all 28-member countries that calls for combating anti-Semitism across the continent.

Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warm ties with Hungarian right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has also drawn scrutiny over Orbán’s domestic political agenda, where he has been accused of eroding the country’s democratic institutions, strong nationalist agenda, as well as his attacks on Hungarian-American Jewish billionaire and left-cause philanthropist George Soros, which many see as having anti-Semitic undertones.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu has praised both Orbán and Kurz for their stance against anti-Semitism and friendly posture towards Israel.

“I noticed that Viktor Orbán opened a center to battle anti-Semitism, which I think is important. I noticed a similar event in Austria by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who convened a conference against anti-Semitism which included right-wing and anti-Zionism because anti-Zionism is the modern form of anti-Semitism. I think that these two leaders are doing a very important job in understanding what is anti-Semitism.”

The Israeli prime minister added: “When I was in Hungary, Prime Minister Orbán openly condemned the practices of the fascist leaders in Hungary, saying that this was a terrible mistake in the country’s history. I look at what they do, at what they say also on the European level.”

Indeed, many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, such as Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece and Romania have become strong alliesof Israel, defending the country against anti-Israel resolutions in the European Union, such as the labeling of goods from Israeli settlements or condemning the U.S. decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference with Czech President Miloš Zeman (left) at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference with Czech President Miloš Zeman (left) at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90.

While there has been an ongoing focus and debate on anti-Semitism on the far-right in Europe, the threat posed by the far-left has also been a source of contention, especially within Western Europe.

“The old reasoning behind this is the hatred of capitalism and globalization,” said Rodan. “Israel and Zionism, which in many of the far-left’s minds is associated with imperialism, neo-liberalism and capitalism, has become the ‘Feindbild’ [the image of the enemy] No. 1, and the major backbone of many far-left groups’ ideology.”

One of the most prominent examples of anti-Semitism on the far-left in recent years has been within the United Kingdom’s Labour Party under leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn has been accused of anti-Semitism, in addition to support for Palestinian terror groups like Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As such, if Corbyn were to become the United Kingdom’s next leader, a good number of British Jews are considering leaving the country. At the same time, anti-Semitic incidents have risen to record levels in Britain.

“The United Kingdom is a danger, and the next British prime minister might very well be the Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn,” said Weinthal. “As has been well-documented, Corbyn is a highly dangerous mixture of radical Islamic anti-Semitism combined with the ‘Socialism of Fools’—left-wing hatred of Jews and Israel.”

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) before the grave of Atef Bseiso, the mastermind behind the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, as published in the British press.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) before the grave of Atef Bseiso, the mastermind behind the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, as published in the British press.

At the same time, far-left groups across Europe are also fueling the BDS movement that targets Israel. This movement is particularly forceful in Ireland, which is one of Europe’s fiercest critics of Israel and has become the first E.U. country to vote to boycott goods from Israeli settlements. Similarly, many towns and cities across Spain have moved to boycottIsrael and Israelis.

Muslim communities and ‘the new form of anti-Semitism’

In addition to the anti-Semitic threat posed by the far-left and right in Europe, the continent’s growing Muslim community is also taking its own deep-seated brand of anti-Semitism and hate for Israel to the region.

“What many observers are calling ‘the new form of anti-Semitism’ is the hatred against Jews, coming from parts of the Muslim community, often going hand in hand with Islamism. This is particularly true in countries like France, Belgium and Sweden, but also in the U.K.,” said Rodan.

Over the last decade, there have been several high-profile Islamic terror attacks in Western Europe against Jewish targets, including the 2012 Toulouse attack on a Jewish school, 2014 attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels, the 2015 attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris and other targeted murders, such as Sarah Halimi in 2017 and the death of Holocaust survivor Mareille Knoll in 2018, both carried out by Muslims.

The wreath left outside the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris by U.S. Credit: U.S. Department of State.

The wreath left outside the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris by U.S. Credit: U.S. Department of State.

While the threat of Islamic terrorism is very real for Jews in Western Europe, the opposite is the case for Jews in Eastern Europe.

Unlike countries in Western Europe—the United Kingdom, France and Germany, which have growing Muslim communities—Eastern European countries have largely closed their borders to outsiders, and have refused to take in the waves of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Right-wing governments in Poland and Hungary have refused E.U.-mandate deals for the allocation of refugees, and opinion polls show the vast majority oppose accepting refugees. As a result, Eastern Europe remains largely homogenous as compared to Western Europe.

Weinthal said that Jews are safer in Eastern Europe primarily due to the absence of Muslim communities in the region.

“In contrast to Western Europe, many Eastern Europeans are afflicted with Christian-based anti-Semitism and classic Nazi depictions of Jews,” said Weinthal.

At the same time, Weinthal also noted that European anti-Semitism is goes even deeper than the threat posed by the far-left, far-right and radical Islam.

“Most European anti-Semites will not tell an interviewer that they are anti-Semites,” said Weinthal, alluding to the CNN survey. “And the survey did not focus in any systematic way on the ubiquitous expressions of anti-Semitism in response to the Holocaust—namely, guilt-defensiveness anti-Semitism, where mainly Western European blame Jews and the State of Israel for their feelings of pathological guilt associated with the crimes of National Socialism.

“In short, to purge their guilt, they turn Israel into a human punching bag,” stated Weinthal.

According to Rodan, the issue of anti-Semitism—whether it’s emanating from the far-right, far-left or Islam—is that “the issue needs to be depoliticized, and all forms need to be fought in order for it to be addressed properly.”

She said “we should also address the root causes of each one of the sources of anti-Semitism—be it on the far-right by combating conspiracy theories, for example, on the far-left by addressing the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, notably by getting the working definition of anti-Semitism adopted [a definition of anti-Semitism that defines amongst other things when legitimate criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism] or amongst Muslim communities by addressing the issue of Islamism and radicalization.”

Nevertheless, Rodan admitted that the issue of anti-Semitism remains a bigger concern in Western Europe as a result of the rise of radical Islam, which is more violent than the threat posed by the far-left or right at this time.

“Today, there is no doubt that manifestations of anti-Semitism are far more violent in Western Europe than they are in Central Europe,” said Rodan. “There is a direct link between the physical insecurity of Jews with the rise of radical Islam in countries like France, Sweden and Belgium. All of the Jews killed on this continent since 2006 were indeed killed by Islamists.”

Regardless of the source, Weinthal believes that Europe remains a hostile environment, and he encourages Jews to emigrate as soon as possible.

“The situation for Jews in Europe is dire. The only real escape hatch is aliyah or to immigrate to the United States,” she said. “Europe attempts to manage its anti-Semitism. That is recipe for political and societal disintegration.”

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Culture and Religion

2 Thessalonians 3:5 – ‘patient waiting for Christ’

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2 Thessalonians 3:5 patient waiting for Christ

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (KJV)

This is a very straightforward verse, but with a subtle undertone that must be understood. We are flawed creatures who cannot do well nor even have faith in God without God’s intervention. In verse 2 and 3, it is clear that men have no faith but the Lord is faithful. That is why He directs our hearts to love Him and gives us patience to carry on until Christ’s return. Even faith requires what God has put in our hearts.

This should be comforting, especially to those who are unsure whether or not they truly have faith. The faith we have is not our own but given to us by God. If it is given to us by Him, we can be certain it will be true.

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The biggest threat to Christians is the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture

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The biggest threat to Christians is the teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture

In many scriptures of the Bible, there is a “falling away” or discussion of great deceptions that are coming to the world. It has been hard for believers in Christ to comprehend the possibility of the masses falling away from Christianity because faith has been a powerful part of society for nearly two millenniums, but we are seeing it today. Moreover, we are seeing the spreading of a seed that will cause further apostasy among believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior: the myth of a pre-tribulation rapture.

Most who have gone to church in the last hundred years have likely considered the possibility at the very least that the rapture of the church will occur before the tribulation that is spoken of in many books of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation. Some estimates put it at 90% of the Christian church believes in a pre-tribulation rapture. The vast majority of popular churches teach that believers will be called up to Heaven before the tribulation. Simply stated, the Bible does not support this claim.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Jesus will come in the clouds and call up those who are believers. This will not happen prior to the tribulation. The sun and moon will be darkened, and then He shall return. The majority of churches that teach Imminency, the concept that Jesus will return at any moment and His people will be raptured at that time, point to one verse to counter the argument of signs that will precede His second coming:

Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

This is obviously a true statement. It is also one that is completely misunderstood. The fact that we nor anyone else can know the day or the hour does not mean that He can come at any time. Throughout the Gospels and the writings of Paul, we hear of things that must happen before His return. It is not for us to know the day or the hour, but the season will make itself very evident. We will see certain events occur. One of those series of events are known as the Great Tribulation.

Why it is believed

The simply answer when asking why so many people, even “educated” church leaders, is that we want to believe it. It’s human nature to want to avoid persecution, war, sickness, and beheadings, all of which are spoken of as parts of the tribulation. If someone of authority tells us that we will not have to go through these things as long as we believe, it’s a message that can resonate. Those who hear the truth, that we may be living in the end times and that as a result many of us will go through great suffering due to our faith – it’s just not as positive of a message.

The not-so-simple answer is that Satan is pushing this as part of his agenda. It is Satan that rules the earth. His goal is to pull as many people away from the faith as possible, which is why he and his minions began deceiving Christians at their core starting in the early 19th century with the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture. He has brought about and continues to bring about waves of deceptions to pull people away from even considering the Word of the Bible, but this particular deception is to attack those who are wanting to be strong in their faith. It’s designed to shake the spirits of the believers to the point of non-belief.

Think about it. If you make people believe that they are not going to face suffering, that they are “special” and will avoid all of the troubles that will engulf the world, then they are weakened as a result. They will not be ready. When the tribulation does begin and they’re still on this planet going through it, they will begin to question their own faith. They will not be prepared to fight against persecution. They will be more willing to be deceived in order to save their lives. They will be more open to deceptions of the Anti-Christ. They will be more likely to worship the false messiah to take his mark in order to buy and sell. They will see the formation of the one world government, the one world economy, and the single world leader and they will do so more willingly than those who have their eyes open.

This is arguably the greatest deception that Satan has pulled off thus far.

Why churches teach it

Building a church is not as black and white for most as it is for others. It’s much easier to build one with a happy message than to try to build one through promises of fire and brimstone, persecution and suffering. There are those sitting in the seats of church leadership who realize that a pre-tribulation rapture is not correct but they continue to preach it in fear that their congregation will shrink or disappear altogether if they go against the grain.

As with any man-made organization, the Christian church world has a “club” among the leaders. There are those who are in the club and those who are not in the club. Those who are in the club are able to speak at events, sell books, build up an online following, and prosper as a church. Those who are not in the club have a much harder time finding relevance in this world. Today, the club is made up of pre-tribulation rapture teachers. If you’re not preaching a pre-tribulation rapture, you can’t be in the club.

It’s a catch-22 for many. Not all do it because of ignorance or greed. There are those who teach it because they feel that a message that can resonate with more people is better than a message that alienates many. In other words, they realize that they are not teaching this particular issue properly but if they can misinterpret this one little point, they’ll be able to get the other important messages out to more people. It’s a misguided attempt at an honorable sentiment that is actually more dangerous than not reaching the people at all. We believe there is a likelihood that many people will fall away in the last days, but others will open their eyes as well. If they open their eyes and start reading the Bible, they will see what they had missed their whole lives and will have an opportunity to head down the right path before it’s too late. If, however, they are weakened by expectations of a pre-tribulation rapture, it will be more difficult to bring them back to the truth.

Debating the Issue

It is sad when I read some of the assertions of those who continue to fight the truth of post-tribulation rapture. They are often excellent writers or orators fighting from a misguided perspective. For example, in the book Triumphant Return by Grant Jeffrey, he states:

Several incorrect premises have caused some to reject the pretribulation Rapture and accept the position called the “postribulation Rapture.” The first premise is an emotional contention that it would be unfair for the modern Church to escape to heaven scot free to escape the martyrdom that other believers have experienced.

In all of our studies of those promoting a post-tribulation rapture, I have never heard this premise before. It’s appalling that Jeffrey would lead with such a poor premise, as if trying to mislead the readers into believing that the post-tribulation doctrine is so weak that those who believe in it are emotional and ignorant simpletons.  Below, you will see videos of people who have formed their doctrine based solely on the Word of the Bible, who make it crystal clear that a post-tribulation rapture is without a doubt the reality, and that the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture is damaging to those to which it is taught.

The Words of Jesus Christ should be the resounding end of any debate that He will return before the tribulation:

Matthew 24:29-31

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

There are other verses that also make it clear, but this is obviously the most specific. There are those who will say this is referring only to the Jews. There are those who will use charts and graphs to convince you of a pre-tribulation rapture. They will point to interpretations by Darby, Ephraem the Syrian, and Scofield as proof. Do not be misled.

Rather than point to the evidence or attempt to debate the concept, I will defer to a few people who have done more research on the subject than me. Please take the time to watch these videos and share this article. It’s important that believers are prepared for what’s to come. Whether it’s today or in a thousand years, we cannot allow people to be guided down a path that can lead them to be part of the falling away the Jesus spoke of in His ministry. We must open our eyes, see the truth, and spread it to all that we can.

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls: ‘Stop pretending you’re a victim because you broke the rules and rolled up your skirt’

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls Stop pretending youre a victim because you broke the rules and rolled

Students at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego are protesting their dress code. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence; there have been plenty of protests over the years, especially by feminists, in opposition to school dress codes that require girls to wear skirts. But this protest is different. The students are protesting because girls are no longer allowed to wear skirts.

Principal Kevin Calkin, the principal at Cathedral Catholic High School, changed the dress code in the most recent iteration of policy. Now, it states: “The most significant change is that skirts will no longer be an option for girls. Dress code is a perennial challenge. The dress code exists for at least three good reasons: to foster unity, to encourage modesty, and to minimize pressure to conform to particular styles or clothing brands. Basically we hope to foster a faith-based environment where students are focused on learning and not on outward appearances.”

But students brought signs and demanded the old policy be put back in place. Signs had various messages from “My body, my choice” to “Even Jesus wore one.”

The policy was put into place after the principal and others on staff had handed out “hundreds of hours of detention” to girls who would break the knee-length minimum for skirts, especially by rolling up their skirts to reveal more of their lower bodies.

One America News host Liz Wheeler lambasted the students, who apparently can’t tell the difference between rights and privileges. Only in America can students feel so victimized because they can’t wear skirts to school.

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