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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Church urged not to perpetuate 'old prejudices' after UK anti-Semitism surge

By Alex Williams

The Church is being urged not to perpetuate old "prejudices" and "myths", after new figures reveal the number of cases of anti-Semitism in the UK have surged.

The Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ) spoke on Premier's News Hour after the Community Security Trust (CST) found incidents of hate crime towards the Jewish community rose by 36 per cent between 2015 and last year, to more than 1,300.

Rob Thompson, a Christian from the CCJ, said: "Churches should learn and be more aware of historic anti-Judaism in Christian-Jewish relations, to learn about that history, to be honest in our learning and to reflect on the way Christians have misused the New Testament to engage in prejudice against Jews."

Mr Thompson said examples of believers misusing the scriptures included blaming Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ.

The CST said allegations of the issue within the Labour Party, a perceived rise in xenophobia and racism after the EU referendum and regular high-profile dialogue about hate were among attributing factors behind the rise in anti-Semitism.

Chief executive David Delew said: "Whilst Jewish life in this country remains overwhelmingly positive, this heightened level of anti-Semitism is deeply worrying and it appears to be getting worse.

"Worst of all is that, for various reasons, some people clearly feel more confident to express their anti-Semitism publicly than they did in the past."

Rob Thompson from the CCJ went on to say: "Churches and Christians should ensure that, through our own preaching and our teaching and our engagement with community, that we don't perpetuate those old myths, those old prejudices today and we continue to stand up for justice, and righteousness and truth."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the Government is spending £13.4 million to protect Jewish sites from anti-Semitism, which she described as a "deplorable form of hatred".

Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson said: "We must root out anti-Semitism whenever it takes place and wherever it exists, as a party and as a country."

Rob Thompson added: "We need to be there alongside Jewish neighbours as well as Muslim neighbours and those of all faiths, in a cooperative relationship, reflecting that common good that we see Jesus talking about in the Gospels."

Click here to listen to Rob Thompson from the Council of Christians and Jews speaking with Premier's Antony Bushfield:

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