July 11, 2020

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Jew hatred in Jerusalem, 1834


From Three Weeks in Palestine and Lebanon, book published in 1834 in England by a Christian society, that reveals not only the antisemitism of Jerusalem’s non-Jewish inhabitants but also that of the author:

Lower down is the Jewish quarter, presenting nothing but filth and wretchedness. Wanting to purchase some wine, we heard that we might get it there ; so we went in search, making it an excuse for prying into the Israelitish dwellings. They seemed evidently afraid of letting us know that they had any in their possession: at length, after several denials, we entered a miserable house, in which were two or three dirty unveiled women, and one old blear-eyed man, who, after talking among themselves, apparently about us, whether we might be trusted, brought out a small quantity with great caution. Poor wretches!—everything about them exhibited signs of depression and misery: outcasts from the common rights and sympathies of men—oppressed and despised alike by Mahometans and Christians—living as aliens in the inheritance of their fathers—what an awful lesson of unbelief do they hold out! 

The author sees Jewish deprivation as vindication for the truth of Christianity:

It was, I think, the Prince of Condé who said that while a Jew existed, he was a sufficient refutation of all the arguments of infidelity; and most truly did he speak. I never behold a Jew, carrying with him as he does the evidence of eighteen centuries to the truth of Christianity, without a feeling of gratitude towards him, and a forcible impression of St. Paul’s exclamation—“ Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be out olf.” They form a proof the rejection of which by any candid mind I cannot comprehend: here it came with tenfold force. 

This is one of the consequences of the rebirth of Israel that is often forgotten now. Before 1948, especially during the Holocaust, there was a lot of Christian opinion that the Jews’ suffering is a fulfillment of their destiny for rejecting Jesus. That was the opinion of mainstream Christianity for centuries in Europe. The founding of the modern State of Israel was an actual crisis for Protestants in America because it simply didn’t fit in with their absolute knowledge that Jews deserved to be suffering.

However, in 1834, it was axiomatic that Muslims mistreated and despised Jews.

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