In the darkest periods of so-called “Christian” anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages, a weird and vicious lie concerning the Jewish people was made popular: that Jews would kill Christian children to use their blood to make Matsah (unleavened bread) for Passover. This was known as the “Blood Libel.”
Israeli newspapers (Maariv and Yediot) report tension this week between Israel and Sweden over an article that has raised echoes of this absurd claim. In 2001, Donald Bostrom wrote a book called “Inshallah” (by the will of Allah). In this book Bostrom claimed that Israeli soldiers kill innocent Palestinians in order to steal their body parts and sell them for profit in transplant operations in Israel. One of the sponsors of the book listed in the acknowledgements was the Foreign Ministry of Sweden.
Last week this bizarre and evil claim of stealing and selling body parts was printed in an article in “Aftonbladet”, reputedly the largest selling newspaper in Sweden. What is so hideous about these kinds of lies and libels is that no matter how untrue they are, if they are repeated enough, people will start to believe them.
Israeli government officials asked for the Swedish government to condemn the article. Sweden refused on the grounds that they don’t want to interfere with “freedom of expression” in their country. Israeli Foreign minister Liberman criticized them sharply. Yesterday “Aftonbladet”s front page article said that Israel is attacking “freedom of expression” in Sweden.
A rival Swedish paper “Svenska Dag Bladet” published an editorial calling the government’s and “Aftonbladet”‘s response hypocritical. They reminded that when the anti Muslim cartoons were published in 2006, both the government and the newspaper printed official apologies for having offended Muslims’ sensitivities.
What is troubling here is not just the content of this modern “blood libel”, nor the hypocritical response of European press and diplomats, but the inability of Western society to deal with Islamic extremism. Swedish people are “nice”, perhaps some of the nicest people in the world. They are liberal, open minded and caring.
They are so nice that they have received tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants into their country over the past decade. Those immigrants set up communities that promote Jihad and Shaariya values, as well as inciting the public to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations. Since the Swedes don’t want to offend them, they are being influenced by them, just like most other Western nations. The West is swallowing and believing extremist Islamic propaganda against Israel.
How can seemingly reasonable, open minded people believe such lies? Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if such things were said about Muslims? The stage is being set for widespread surrender of Western society to the demands of Islamic Jihad, for a massive sweep of violent anti-Semitism, for a turning away of nominal Christians from the “God of Israel,” and finally for an apocalyptic war in which the nations of the world will attack Israel.
Yet, at the same time, there is a growing remnant of true believers in every nation. They believe in the Bible, in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in Judeo-Christian moral values and in Yeshua (Jesus), head of the Church and king of Israel. This is the true Body of Messiah, the pure Bride of the end times.
There will be a divinely-ordained cooperation between Israel and that international community of true believers, including Arab Christians and Muslim Background Believers. This cooperation between Israel and the Church will be a pillar of truth in the world. The remnant of Messianic Jews in Israel will be the covenantal link between Israel and the Church. In that covenant, God will establish His kingdom.
Murder, Suicide, and Decadence in Israel
In contrast to the above conflict, Israel itself has been plagued with internal domestic violence and decadence this year. In the past three weeks alone, there have been 13 murders, some connected to sexual deviance, some within nuclear families, and some alcohol related. Even in our normally cynical Israeli society, our people have been shocked by our own depravity.
Dudu Topaz was perhaps the most popular entertainer in modern Israel. For decades he was number one in the television ratings. Over the past few years, his ratings declined drastically. Overcome by jealousy, he fantasized about “doing away” with those entertainers who had topped him. Ultimately Dudu contacted underworld agents who attacked 5 or 6 leaders in the entertainment industry. The police arrested him. He was brought to trial. Unable to stand the public humiliation, he hanged himself in his jail cell yesterday.
Addiction to fame and glory is as deadly as addiction to drugs.
Let us pray for salvation. Without the grace of God, Israel is just as lost and sinful as every other nation. The encouraging news is that the gospel is growing in this small, stressed-out country as never before. Every day the witness of Yeshua is touching people from the lowest to the highest levels of society, secular and religious alike.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.