“Stand against antisemitism,” leaders call ahead of Holy Week

March 21, 2024. At Assembly last July, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada reaffirmed and expanded upon the commitments of our churches to resolutely oppose antisemitism in all its forms. At that time, we could not foresee how quickly and brutally antisemitism would rise, beginning with the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli kibbutzim near the Gaza border. It has since reached into communities around the world, as polarization concerning the response of the state of Israel has incited fear, vandalism and hate speech against Jews.

The Jewish people have been targets of hate and violence for centuries, often aided by distorted biblical interpretations and theological positions that blame the death of Jesus Christ on the Jewish community or advocate the replacement of the Covenant with Israel with the arrival of the Church. Both our churches have strong resolutions condemning antisemitism. We also encourage biblical interpretations that reflect the continuing covenants of God with the Jewish people and reflect theologically on the roots of human frailty woven through the whole story of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The crucifixion of Jesus cannot be blamed on any one group of people. We all share in the human sin epitomized in that story. Yet for centuries some Christians have irresponsibly and wrongly chosen to scapegoat Jews, leading to terrible acts of violence and dehumanization, including the Holocaust.

As we enter Holy Week and walk with Jesus, let us remember that Jesus, a Jew, never rejected his own community. He sought to live fully into the law of Moses and the prophets through love. Words or actions of hatred, discrimination, prejudice or violence against Jews are offences against fellow children of God and siblings of Jesus. They cannot be tolerated.

We must stand against antisemitism whenever we hear or see it. We stand in solidarity with Jewish people around the world who desire to live in safety and security without fear, as do all people.

Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop & Primate,
Anglican Church of Canada

Editorial remarks

Source: In Full Communion, Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.