By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
After living in Israel for over 25 years and consulting the government on both public relations and public affairs, I may have truly found the major source of conflict against the Jews and Israel.
It took coming to the US for three years and seeing the United States as an Israeli and as an American. You see, we don't have anti-semitism in Israel. We only have war. Anti-semitism is much more covert. Much like an iceberg, only a very small part is visible to the eye. In fact, the ADL recently revealed that one of four people worldwide hold anti-semetic views. But most are silent about it and keep it to their family and friends.
It was about one year ago that I went to exchange some money at a very well known, commercial money wire company that I heard it. As I was waiting for my change, the clerk said to me: "don't worry, I won't Jew you down." I have heard of this expression being used but never had my own ears receive it. This combat solder from the IDF does not tolerate attacks on Jews. I had to ask her again what she said. "Don't worry, I won't Jew you down." With that I responded: "If you made that comment to a Jew, I think they would find it very offensive." With that her face turned white. She was visibly embarrased and explained that it was "just a saying." I believed her. But such a racist attack which has become "just a saying" is about as dangerous as it gets.
When you live in Israel, you read about anti-semetism. You don't experience it. When living in the US or Europe, you might just see it. But where does it come from?
As Pope Francis is about to arrive in Israel, the Israeli government, in particular, Prime Minister Netanyahu have a very special opportunity. Netanyahu should reguest that the Pope denounce any belief that the Jews killed Christ.
Actually, it is not a rumor, but is written in the New Testament.
In the Gospel of John, the phrase "the Jews" is used at least nine times to denote those who encouraged and assisted in Jesus' execution. In the Book of Matthew (27: 25-26) the Jews accept responsibility for the execution. When the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate hesitates over deciding Jesus' fate, the Jews assembled before Pilate demand that Jesus be crucified, proclaiming "His blood be on us, and on our children." It is these words that Catholics and Christians are taught. And our Islamic enemies attempt to divide Christian and Jew with these words.
We have no greater friends in the world than modern day Christians. Just look at the millions who belong to the Facebook group: "Christians United For Israel".
If the Pope can openly denounce this blood libel, and state that these gospels are not accurate, it would bring much more harmony between Jews and Christians and could eliminate much of the source of anti-semetism.
To have Pope Francis denounce Jews killed Christ would follow and reinforce a precedent. Several Christian denominations have denounced the claim that the Jews killed Christ. In 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued the Nostra Autate statement, which declare that "what happened in His [Jesus'] passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."
If Pope Francis can openly declare to all publishers and teachers of the bible to delete those sentences which condemn the Jewish nation, then we will see a more peaceful world.
Less hate, more understanding and support for the democratic State of Israel.
After all, there is no nation in the Middle East which is more democratic and tolerant to Christianity, and openly enforces the basic, human right of freedom of religion.
Joel Leyden is the publisher of the Israel News Agency and operates IsraelPr.com, JewishPr.co