There has been abundant discussion of Christian anti-Semitism on this blog, its causes and its destructive impact not only on Jews, whether Christian or not, but also on the Church itself. But recently I was perhaps not so much surprised as given food for thought while reading the well-known book by Dr. Jacob Jocz, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ, in which Dr. Jocz sets out to analyze the origins of Jewish distaste for Christianity – which he finds to run deeper in both history and emotion than could be explained solely by the anti-Semitism of the Church.
I’ll write more about Dr. Jocz’s book later (I’ve said that about several things recently, I know; I just can’t seem to catch up with myself), but the treatment of an Israeli Jewish Christian reported in this recent article is a distressing illustration of the point. For context, this 2009 item in the LA Times offers an illuminating summary of results from a survey on Israelis’ attitude toward Christianity:
42% believe Christianity is closer to Judaism than Islam. A total of 32% believe Islam is closer. The breakdown of religious observance is interesting here, with 49% of Orthodox Jews believing Islam is closer and only 17% believing that Christianity is. But 54% of secular Jews believe Christianity is closer and 22% that Islam is.[…]
41% agreed very much or largely with the claim that “Christianity is an idolatrous religion,” including 24% of secular and 78% of Orthodox Jews… 23% are greatly or significantly bothered when meeting in the street a Christian wearing a cross, including 8% of secular respondents and 60% of Orthodox Jews.
And here’s one that says a lot: 46% do not agree that Jerusalem is a central city for the Christian world, including 31% of secular and 67% of Orthodox Jews.