The extremist Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which is widely known for its extreme homophobia, and in particular for staging “God Hates Fags” protests at the funerals of US soldiers, has staged an antisemitic protest outside Yeshiva University in New York. Yeshiva University is a Private University that is aligned with Modern Orthodox Judaism.
Half a dozen protesters held signs that had messages including “The Jews Killed Jesus”, “God hates Christ-Rejecting Apostate Jews”, “144k Jews Will Repent” and “Believe On Lord Jesus”.
The claim that Jews killed Jesus is one of the oldest antisemitic quips, and it is one that has been used to incite violence against Jews throughout the history of Christian Europe. Describing religious Jews as inherently sinners because they are not Christians is extremely belittling, denies Jews their distinctness, traditional religious practices and beliefs, and can only be regarded as antisemitic. This is further illustrated by the protesters singing “he will call his people home, the rest of you Jews will die with hearts of stone” – saying that “you Jews” will die if they do not become Christians is so blatantly antisemitic a statement that it scarcely needs elaborating upon.
The protesters also sang “wrath will soon pour on you, for your harmful sins, your great affliction, it will soon begin” to the tune of Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem. They also sang that Jews should repent for “killing Jesus” to the tune of hava nagila.
25 Yeshiva University students, alumni and friends held a counter-protests, holding signs with positive messages, including those embracing Israel’s inclusivity towards the LGBT community.
The “Church” is considered a hate group by the ADL and the SPLC. They have made several antisemitic comments in the past. Their founder has belittled the Holocaust and accused contemporary Jews of orchestrating a “Holocaust” against their Church, saying “The First Holocaust was a Jewish Holocaust against Christians. The latest Holocaust is by Topeka Jews against Westboro Baptist Church”, and “they whine about the Nazi Holocaust, while they perpetrate the Topeka Holocaust”.
They also believe that the Holocaust is a punishment for Jews not “accepting” Jesus.
A group of @YUNews students, alumni and friends held a counter-protest against the Westboro Baptist Church this morning. #lgbtq #jewish #wbc pic.twitter.com/7me8A83fRh
— Simone Somekh (@simonesomekh) March 27, 2017
At a time in which relations between Christians and Jews are generally quite positive, it is extremely disheartening to be reminded that such blatant Christian antisemitism still exists. It also serves to remind us that a hatred that most prominently directs itself at one minority group will always end up spilling over onto others. In this sense, it is heart warming to see Modern Orthodox Yeshiva University students defiantly holding signs supportive of LGBT people in the face of such hatred.