Last Saturday afternoon, about 100 anti-Israel demonstrators gathered in Teaneck, New Jersey, home to a large and thriving Orthodox Jewish community. After a week of anti-Israel protests that frequently degenerated into the harassment of Jews, and in several instances into violent attacks, Luke Moon, a Christian, decided to be present at the location of the protest in a show of solidarity with the Jewish people. The experience brought to his mind a verse from the book of Obadiah: “On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off [Israel’s] wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.”
As a Christian, my willingness to go stand alone for Israel . . . is rooted in my reading of Scripture. I find the passages like the one from Obadiah to be a warning for my fellow Christians not to be like the Edomites, [whom the prophet is addressing]. This passage is not the only warning about callous indifference towards Israel and the Jews.
My stand for Israel and the Jews is deeply personal—a combination of theology, history, experiences, and relationships that I have developed over the last several years.
As I stood with my sign opposite the 150 to 200 Palestinian activists, other Jews began showing up. Some wore kippot, and others did not. Our numbers never grew to more than a dozen. As the afternoon grew hotter, so did the anger hurled at us. The cries of “Fascists! Nazis! Baby Killers!” by the Palestinians, however, were met with “I don’t hate you” and “We want peace” by the Jews.
In those moments, I was proud of the side I had chosen. And when the next threat of pogrom happens, I will be there again. I will stand because I refuse to be counted among those who stand aloof when their brothers and sisters are in trouble.