Two of the litmus tests used to determine whether or not someone is a good conservative Christian is whether one supports the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Christian and conservative gatekeepers claim these tests are necessary to ensure that antisemites do not join their ranks. But as I have drifted further and further away from the culture that I grew up, in I have begun to doubt this claim and, more importantly, my doubt that Christians and conservatives genuinely care about the Jewish people in general has grown as well over this same five year span.
The same people that say they care about the Jews are the ones who accept and support the bigoted tropes employed by Donald Trump to discredit the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council, who testified in the Impeachment Inquiry, as sneaky and vindictive. These same people also cheered as Donald Trump told the world that American Jews could not be trusted because they have dual loyalty to both the United States and to the Jewish state, with their loyalty to Israel taking priority over everything else. Quite simply, you cannot support these stereotypes and genuinely say you care about the Jewish people.
So, the question then becomes, what do conservatives and Christians truly care about and why do the Jews matter in their sociopolitical world-view? The answer is quite simple: Christians believe that their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ cannot come back until the State of Israel is unified. At the point of unification, according to the Christian Bible, the world will rise up and try to eliminate the Jews from the face of the Earth, and in the heat of this battle, Jesus will return and destroy the enemies of the Jewish people and take “his place on the throne in Israel.” The odd thing is, in the eyes of Christians, it isn’t the Jews that are glorified in the “Great Return,” it is the Christians. In other words, the Christians do not support a unified Israeli state because they want the Jews to return to their homeland and take their rightful place in this world, they want the Israel unified so that they the world will end and Jesus will place them in an elevated status among those who survive Armageddon.
Given the actions of Donald Trump, and conservative Christians’ continued support for him, I have a hard time believing that Republican and conservative politicians care about the Jewish people either. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem was done simply as a way of creating the chaos that Christians expect and want and therefore as a tool of building and maintaining their political base, a base that is going to be needed if Republicans have any hopes in 2020 and beyond.
This isn’t to say that there is no antisemitism on the left, either. There is. For example, the recent incident at the University of Toronto, where the Student Union refused to support efforts by the university’s Hillel organization to make kosher food available on campus on the grounds that it was “pro-Israel” was both hamfisted and deeply-troubling. Most importantly, it demonstrated both the difficulty that many of the BDS activists in UofT’s student government had understanding the distinction between Judaism and Zionism, and their willingness to deploy the same antisemitic tropes favored by the president. Indeed, We should work diligently to call-out, reject, and publicly humiliate those on the left who spread the same lies about Jews as Donald J. Trump.
Antisemites are fewer in number on the left; at the moment right-wing Christian antisemites are the clearest and largest danger. They are the ones who are working to start a world war in hopes that Armageddon will kill us all and pave the way for the Second Coming. Those of us who are allies to the LGBTQ+ and non-Christian communities must support the Jewish community and protest their persecution. Most of all we must not allow support for a community that has suffered through thousands of years of persecution and genocide to be hijacked by a religious group that wants to kill us all just so that they can be seated at the right-hand of their God.