A live, online conversation with Dr. Susan Michael, USA director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), and EJ Kimball, director of Christian outreach and engagement at Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), explored the escalation of contemporary antisemitism and the crucial role that Christians play in opposing this form of hatred.
At the 2022 NRB Christian media convention in Nashville, Tennessee, NRB’s board of directors approved a resolution renewing NRB’s commitment to fighting antisemitism and emphasizing the opportunity for Christian media professionals to engage on this issue.
In follow-up to the news-making Israel breakfast and resolution on combatting antisemitism, NRB director of public policy and communications Noelle Garnier held a live conversation with Michael and Kimball to discuss topics including accurately defining antisemitism, the history and present reality of the “oldest hatred,” and how Christian communicators can stand together against antisemitism.
Kimball discussed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which captures contemporary elements beyond what the public may already recognize as antisemitism, including “a certain perception of Jews which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews.” The IHRA definition adds, “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Michael gave an overview of the various forms of antisemitism seen throughout history and today. On the issue of religious antisemitism, Michael shared that the history of the treatment of the Jewish people is not well-covered in churches, Bible studies, seminaries, or schools. She recommended more comprehensive education on the history of antisemitism, plus a realistic understanding that “Christian antisemitism is not only a problem of the past, but it exists today.”
Kimball urged viewers to take a local and inter-generational approach to fighting antisemitism, by engaging in dialogue with younger generations and forging relationships “with your Jewish colleagues in your community and making antisemitism a local issue.” Michael called reports of rising antisemitism “a warning sign that must be dealt with.”
The conversation wrapped with a brief discussion of visiting Israel and seeing the region firsthand. Both panelists emphasized the captivating beauty and inspiration of the Holy Land, calling it “awe-inspiring” and “lifechanging” to experience Biblical sites and view such landmarks as the City of David, the Dead Sea, the Judean Wilderness, and even archeological digs where new discoveries are being made.
Michael encouraged Christian communicators to invest in tourism to Israel because “that is something very practical that we can do to begin relationships between Jews and Christians.”