Crusades resurrected

July 8, 2022 by Michael Kuttner
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Between 1095 and 1291 the Catholic Church sponsored and blessed crusades to the Holy Land that were intended to recover Jerusalem and its surrounding area from Islamic rule.

Michael Kuttner

It is important to remember this period of history because of its devastating impact on Jews and their communities at the time and the tendency these days to sweep unfortunate events under the politically correct carpet.

In the normal course of things, we could consign these manifestations of Christian “love” to the dusty archives of historical memories especially as the Roman Catholic Church no longer embarks on such military adventures. It “only” took until 2000 for a Pope to actually apologize for the Crusades and Inquisition. One could wonder why it took so long to admit culpability for the torture and murder of countless Jews over the millennia.

It was only in 1993 that the Vatican reluctantly acknowledged reality and formally recognized Israel as an established fact.

I am resurrecting this topic precisely because in our own time there is a resurgence of political and religious delegitimization by sections of various Christian denominations which we ignore again at our peril.

Some of these examples need elucidating and further exposure because their activities far too often are shrugged off as inconsequential and harmless.

They are, in no particular order of enmity:

  • perpetrators’ remorse
  • friends with an agenda
  • Biblical revisionists
  • Latter-day crusaders

Although the Vatican long ago abandoned its overt attempts to cleanse the Holy Land of its heretical inhabitants and somewhat belatedly confessed its historical sins, one senses that some sections of the Church still hanker for restoration of past glory in what is now Israel. It is telling that despite Israel being the only country in the region where Christians are free to exercise their faith, the representatives of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches lose no opportunity to pillory it for all sorts of sins.

Ignoring and overlooking the targeting of Christians elsewhere and pretending that the PA President for life and his ilk are actually champions of democratic religious freedom leaves most thinking Jewish Israelis wondering what exactly is their real agenda.

Apart from the minority who see our restored sovereignty as a fulfilment of prophecy, it seems that there is still some sort of remorse that the Children of Israel have reclaimed their heritage.

In recent times there has been a resurgence of Christians who indeed see the return to Zion as a positive sign and who work actively to support Israel in a variety of ways. Spanning many denominations and particularly active among evangelical groups these friends of Israel help to counter the rising tide of anti-Israel activity now so evident in an increasing number of Churches.

Unfortunately and regrettably, however, there are those who cloak their ulterior motives behind a veil of fake friendship.

Although forced conversions may be a thing of the past, trying to “save” Jews is still on the agenda of countless Christians and particularly among many who support Israel. These days the campaign is far more subtle and targets the most vulnerable. Thus, Jews from former Communist countries where religion was suppressed are prime candidates for missionary efforts as well as the elderly and individuals with little knowledge of Judaism.

The worst aspect of this modern-day crusade is twofold. Their aim of supporting a Jewish return to Zion is part of their theological belief that until all Jews are back in Israel the “second coming can’t occur” and that once this event happens only those “saved” will benefit. The other deceitful aspect is the falsehood that one can still be Jewish by accepting a different saviour.

We should welcome all genuine supporters of Israel as long as they do not have a hidden agenda that in effect negates the very essence of our heritage and destiny.

Over the last few years, some major Christian denominations have abandoned any pretence that they still believe in Biblical prophesies and events that clearly indicate the Jewish connection to the Promised Land.

Back in the 1980s, the NZ Anglican Church purged its book of psalms of any reference to Zion and Jerusalem thus cleansing itself of any “Zionist” sympathies. Since then various other Churches in several countries have also trampled down the same politically incorrect path.

The latest to jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon are the US Presbyterians who passed the following resolutions at their recent General Assembly:

“Christian Zionist doctrine is heretical and idolatrous; Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is a holocaust and is an apartheid state; a Nakba Day to be established to commemorate the catastrophe of Israel’s establishment; Palestinians are living in reserves and ghettoes; non-Jewish Arabs living in Israel (and the territories) have an inferior status; demand that Israel ends all military activity in Gaza where Israel is inflicting disproportionate and collective punishment; the face of Jerusalem has been changing rapidly in the direction of a heightened Zionist and Jewish identity.”

 These declarations which now form part of the US Presbyterian gospel and no doubt are inculcated into the minds of parishioners and youth groups are perfect examples of how the insidious delegitimization of the Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem is spreading. The lies and plain falsehoods contained in these modern-day blood libels have entered mainstream Churches and threaten to undo much of the work of reconciliation which has taken place over the past decades.

The crusades of ancient times intended to either convert or eliminate all those considered heretics. The crusaders tried and failed to sever the Biblical connection of Jews to their homeland. When brute force failed, theological lies and accusations of deicide, poisoning wells, spreading the Black Death and Passover plots ensued resulting in the decimation of countless Jewish communities.

Today, we are witnessing another crusade launched by those who debase and twist Biblical truths for their own devious purposes.

Their intentions however are identical to their medieval predecessors. The end result of writing Jews out of a legitimate place in their homeland is to covertly turn a blind eye to those who use terror to murder Jews.

During the Shoah, there was a deafening silence by most Christian spiritual leaders. The few who protested were shunned and ignored.

Today, we wait with low expectations for an outpouring of condemnation at what is being sanctified as Christian dogma against Jews, genuine Christian Zionists and Israel.

Turning the other cheek is no longer an option.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

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