This letter is our apology to you - for our rejection and mistreatment of you, the persecutions done at the hands of our forefathers, and the anti-Semitic effects you have been through for the last two thousand years. We know, with great regret, that there is nothing we can do to change the past. We are simply here to acknowledge our guilt and the fact that we have deeply wounded your heart. Our only hope is that you would find it in your hearts to forgive us, that you would gracefully accept our desire to be reconciled with you, and that we could form a new friendship.
While there have been many efforts in recent years towards reconciliation between the Christian and Jewish communities, most of them have been conducted by religious leaders and representatives. But this letter is from us - individual Christians -and it is to you, the Jewish people, in Israel and every other country on the earth. This is simply from our hearts to yours.
We are individual Christians from all walks of life and all over the earth who have a love for you and want to support you. We want to convey our own hearts and feelings for you, and we want to make a new friendship with you. However, we realize before that can happen we first owe you an apology for the last two thousand years of Christian rejection and its effects on society which produced countless forms of racism and discrimination against you.
With deep regret and remorse we look at our history of rejecting and persecuting you and know that we have no excuse for our actions, and we offer none. We as the Church stand guilty before you, and we realize that our only hope for reconciliation with you lies in your willingness to forgive us. So we place ourselves at your mercy. We come humbly before God, the Holy One of Israel, and before you as we acknowledge and confess our guilt and the guilt of our forefathers.
Early Christian Anti-Semitism: 0 – 400’s of the Common Era
We believe that God established a New Covenant with Israel and through that covenant He allowed the non-Jewish nations to come into relationship with God through Israel. But our forefathers misunderstood that. They considered you rejected by God. Our forefathers rejected the Torah and considered it as a "burden of law" when we should have rightly regarded it as the Instruction of the Sovereign God, given to you, His chosen people, to follow so you would be a light in the earth. We called you “Christ killers” and accused you of deicide (killing God). We rejected and persecuted you for your obedience to the holy commandments and your love of God and His ways. In ignorance we sought to change the times and seasons by rejecting your ordained feasts and commanding people not to honor them. We wrongfully considered that the promises and blessings which God gave you in the holy covenants had been taken from you and given to the Church. Finally, in pride and contempt we considered ourselves, the Church, as replacing you when we should have stood by your side as an ally - as Jonathan stood by David.
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Christian Anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages: 500’s – 1600’s
As Christianity became the state religion in the ancient Roman Empire we discriminated against you in every way. We treated you as second class citizens when we restricted your civil and religious rights. We established codes which "justified" burning your holy writings and your synagogues. We forced you to convert to Christianity at the penalty of expulsion or death. When we went to fight our "holy wars" in the Crusades we massacred you along the way as we destroyed your communities, massacred your people and forced you to convert to our religion. We accused you of ritual murders when you were innocent. We forced you into usury and money-lending and then condemned you for it. Our Inquisitions turned into horrendous torture and unspeakable atrocities against you in Spain. We slandered you publicly in literature and art as we condemned you as evil. We drove you from virtually every country where you sought refuge.
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The Effects of Historical Christian Anti-Semitism in the Modern Era: 1700’s – 1900’s
As the centuries progressed, our Christian anti-Semitism laid the foundation for society to consider you as aliens. By our acquiescence and passivity we condoned society’s discrimination against you and allowed anti-Jewish racism to go unchecked. That grievous error opened the door for radical anti-Semitism to enter every arena of life as you suffered continuous massacres and pogroms in Russia and eastern Europe, you were maligned in international media by conspiracy theories and you were resented for any emancipation and prosperity you achieved. Our silence also paved the way for perhaps the most tragic event in Jewish history - the Holocaust - where we, as the Church, failed to come to your rescue.
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Hope for a New Friendship
With shame we know that our apology is painfully inadequate to make restitution for our guilt and the guilt of our forefathers. But we hope that somehow in your hearts you would find mercy and grace to forgive us. Not simply on the basis of our apology, but that you would forgive us and receive our deepest desire to support you now and come to your aid as the world’s anti-Semitism rises in this hour of history.
It is our deepest desire to not only see you prosper, but to be your greatest ally and your greatest friend. We will do everything in our power to see your honor restored to you as a sovereign people and Israel as a sovereign state. Let us together write a new chapter in history. One where Christians and Jewish people are not regarded as separate peoples with unspoken animosity between us. But one where we, together, heal the wounds of our past and come to regard each other as "one" in friendship - echad. May we embrace each other in our hearts and together write this new chapter as your Glorious Restoration.
Most faithfully and sincerely,
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