The God we know in Jesus is the One who called Sarah and Abraham and gave the Torah to Moses.

Stained Glass with Star of David
Credit: Tünde from Pixabay

As part of The United Church of Canada’s aspiration to become an anti-racist denomination, we are called to continue to learn about how antisemitism is both implicit and explicit in our Christian faith and how antisemitism is experienced, and to act against antisemitism as part of our commitment to resist all sins of racism in Canada. The Working Group is taking up the work that was begun with Bearing Faithful Witness: United Church-Jewish Relations Today, which was authorized for study in 1997 by the 36th General Council and approved in 2003. It is time to continue a church-wide consideration of our own scripture, history, theology, and worship, which too often have defined Christianity over and against Judaism. We focus on this work as Christians so that we can better relate to our Jewish siblings and act in solidarity against antisemitism. We also do this work so that we continue to have informed conversations in the church and in wider society about justice and peace.

What Is Antisemitism?

The glossary of The United Church’s study, Bearing Faithful Witness, points to the history of the term antisemitism: “Literally meaning ‘opposed to Semites’ (i.e. Jews, Arabs and other semitic peoples); usually used to mean hatred of Jews. The term was invented in Germany in the late 19th century to give Jew-hatred a scientific ring in the context of a pseudo-scientific study of the human races,” (BFW 50).

What Is Anti-Judaism?

Appendix B of Bearing Faithful Witness notes that “a strict distinction between anti-Judaism and antisemitism is difficult to make.… ‘Anti-Judaism’…is the negative stereotyping of Jews and Jewish beliefs. It is still current in Christian thinking and teaching and found in many approaches to the New Testament. It includes the idea of supersessionism which says that the Jews were rejected by God and replaced by the church. It singles out some Jewish leaders as the killers of Jesus,” (BFW 75).