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Can Non-Jews Face Antisemitism?

If I had a shekel for every time I was asked, “why do you care so much?!” or “are you Jewish or something?” I would be a wealthy woman indeed. I’d take all this money, buy an island, and live out my remaining days sipping coconuts in peace. I’m often asked why I don’t just “butt-out” and concern myself with American worries; of which there are many. I’ve been called unpatriotic by the far right, unchristian by the left, and my personal favorite—a “culture vulture”—by a few in between. Some colleagues have argued my commitment to this cause is confusing. I’ve even been warned my outspoken opinions will eventually harm me professionally. Perhaps there are those in Israel or within the Jewish community who are equally baffled by my heart for Israel and the Jews; or worse, offended by it.

As a life-long student of theology and history, I am profoundly moved by the dramatic evolution of this tiny plot of earth nestled in the most hostile region of the globe. One cannot truly delve into the story of Jerusalem and not fall in love with the surrounding land and her inhabitants; past and present. While it may seem to the Jewish community that Israel’s fight is a lonely effort, there are several mighty voices standing in the gap of public opinion. Some are famous like Douglas Murray. For Murray it’s about morality and politics; the protection of democratic freedoms against the global Islamic caliphate. For powerhouse activist and founder of Act for America, Brigitte Gabriel, her harrowing childhood in Lebanon continues to stoke an intense fire for truth in a culture of deceit. Another fact-warrior popping up on nearly every news outlet these days is Mosab Hassan Yousef. He is the author of the bestselling book “The Son of Hamas” and his speeches on behalf of Israel and the Jews have silenced rooms. The vast majority of those who stand with Israel though are actually obscure plebians like little ol’ me. Personally, Israel’s preservation as a Jewish country, governed by Jews, and protected by Jews, is firmly rooted in my Messianic-Protestant faith and unflagging respect for the Jewish people.

Of course it goes without saying, having outspoken loyalties doesn’t come easy these days.

 Prior to October 7th my views might have made a few conversations somewhat uncomfortable but I’ve grown fairly accustomed to inevitable awkward silences and sudden subject changing. Before the events of October, I would even argue most people grew numb to the conflict and struggle of the Jews due to the media saturation and UN condemnation coverage on repeat. Most people who I spoke with about Israel were bored of the topic and preferred to talk about something else, anything else, that would be lighter and more relevant to American life. Post October 7th however, antisemitic anger has reconstituted itself into an age-old monster. Now anyone who isn’t pro-Palestinian is opening themselves up to societal wrath or at the very least an impassioned lecture.

My most recent experience of irrational antisemitism happened just a week ago.

… and all because of a sticker.

A little preface may be needed here. Despite my abhorrence for bumper sticker politics­, when I began noticing “from the river to the sea…” taglines popping up, I felt obligated to respond. Naturally, like any other red-blooded suburban mom, my first thought was to slap a Magen David “I stand with Israel” on my mom-mobile. I know, it’s a ridiculously insignificant move in the grand scheme of things, and I felt pretty silly putting a sticker on my car, but like a modern-day Casper ten Boom I figured it was important to be more public regarding my stance. I wanted to show Jews my support and let them know they are not alone and reversely make it clear to Jew-haters that they are not winning.

Fast forward to last Monday morning. While making our usual commute to my kid’s school, a car behind us started frantically flashing their lights and aggressively tail-gating us. Confused and annoyed, I concluded he must have wanted me out of the left lane so he could pass. I attempted to slide into the middle lane and make room for him. Once he realized he had our undivided attention, he shot over to the center lane nearly clipping my side panel. He then matched our speed before proceeding to roll down his window and “Heil Hitler” so hard, over and over, I thought his arm might just pop right off. My girls sat in the back, like stunned little statues with their mouths agape, watching this middle-aged man behave like an absolute fool. He even looked the Neo-Nazi part complete with a bald head, long beard, and a white Volkswagen Passat sporting custom plates: “CORPSE-13.” A cute touch which paired nicely with his Hitleresque motif. After about a mile or two he finally grew bored, flipped us off, and sped ahead into the tangle of morning traffic. It was brazened utter ridiculousness at 6 AM. I wasn’t having it. I immediately called State Troopers just to be told there was nothing to be done. My state doesn’t have road rage laws and his little tantrum is protected under his freedom of speech. Had he actually clipped us, causing an accident, then we could make a report and pursue litigation.

 Of course, in today’s day and age, these shenanigans are always disappointing but never shocking. We can laugh about it now, but then again if I am being honest as a mother, it is pretty unnerving wondering what could have happened in front of my kids had we not been confined within our individual cars. The amount of hate in his eyes I’ve seen many times but each time it always hits anew. Then there are those pesky “what ifs?” What if he had hit my car or caused a collision with others? What if it was fatal? Even at lower speeds car accidents can and frequently do result in death. My own father was killed in an accident, at no fault of his own, and he was only driving 45mph—the Nazi and I were going 80 mph on a congested three laned interstate! I try not to perseverate about this particular detail too much but it is concerning how someone’s anger can manifest so recklessly forgetting the cost and how little we are really protected from the consequences.

After this particular incident, I was implored by well-meaning friends to “think of my children,” and of course I am. However, the reactions I’ve received (even from something as silly as a little bumper sticker) proves why I must remain so staunchly vocal. As long as hate remains for the Jews, so then must my five-dollar sticker. The way campuses are so blatantly anti-Jew/anti-Israel, and violently so, is why I implore all my friends, Protestants and otherwise, to make their resistance more visible. We must not back down from letting the world know that enough is enough. The buck must stop with us. There is no place in a civilized world for antisemitism. Yes, my kids witnessing such things is unfortunate, but also very important for the future generation. Having seen the vitriol first hand, they will never be able to claim ignorance and are therefore responsible for carrying the torch. I pray G-d will always grant them the courage to do what is right and stand up to injustice without hesitation; even in the face of great persecution. Growing up in a Protestant home means my girls will understand “greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends.”[1]

I deeply care because I do not want to live in a world without Jews. Echoing John Adams, the second U.S. president, who once said, “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation…they have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced affairs of mankind, more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.” The health of any society is measured by how it treats its’ citizens; especially its Jews. Therefore, I consider it an honor to stand in defiance against those who seek to irradicate the very essence of a people group from whom the world has benefited so richly from. Around my neck hangs a gold charm with an engraved passage from Ruth 1:16, “עמך עמי ואלהוך אלהו,” reminding me daily of my commitment to my Jewish brothers and sisters. (Just as the ichthys I wear reminds me of all my Christian brothers and sisters who are also greatly suffering globally right now.)

Being a Protestant and Pro-Israel advocate has seemingly painted two targets on my back. The level of animosity I receive on any given day is all encompassing and inescapable. The darker society gets, the less acceptable I seem to be. If I am not being criticized for being Protestant, then I am ridiculed for being a “Jew-loving-baby-killer.” Happily for me, G-d has blessed me with two feet which enable me to remain steadily planted in defending both causes with equal vigor and conviction. I believe we are one family, our similarities outweighing our differences, and the time to stick together has never been more pressing.

At times it can feel hopelessly grim. Hate-crime in general has increased to insane levels around the globe and false narratives proliferate like wildfire making it challenging to sift through. Colleges are literally on fire. Pro-Jew advocates are being cancelled left and right. Though it doesn’t make the news many who are choosing to take a stand are being threatened, beaten, fired, and ostracized in some cities. Is it safe to say they are experiencing antisemitism? I’m really not sure what to call this.

Regardless of how we classify this type of aggression, the time for unreserved boldness is now. Unfortunately, and much to my frustration, there are many around the world who are choosing to be bystanders. In the face of great and endless injustice, dishonesty, and the multitude of fabricated modern blood libels being perpetuated, many are simply too afraid to support the cause due to the opposition they may face. They have allowed themselves to be silenced and appease their conscience by telling themselves “someone else will do it.” Considering the intense scrutiny and sheer numbers against Israel and the Jews (as well as Protestant values) I understand the fear. It’s never been easy to be a lion among sheep. Taking on Western media, governing bodies, and universities who have allowed themselves to be hammered into propaganda tools is a daunting task. No longer are these spaces for free-thinking, historical integrity, or honest debate. Instead, they have morphed into cesspools of irrationality and emotional zealotry based on individual relativity and deception. Revisionism and ideological radicalism reign supreme and it’s difficult to argue with fools who are loud, proud, and willing to inflict bodily harm on their enemies for notoriety. It’s difficult to know what anyone is capable of anymore and morality is ebbing on the brink of extinction. Still, as the saying goes, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] do nothing.” In light of our increasingly intolerant culture, which is also swiftly divorcing from reality, the biggest mistake Protestant-Believers, Jews, and Pro-Israel advocates can do is twiddle our thumbs and hide. Judeo-Protestant values are worthy of our defense.

The Jewish spirit is as beautiful as it is indominable and a world without it would be an unbearably dark place indeed. Resilience and ability to find joy in the face of great evil is admirable and I recognize this quality in both my Jewish heritage and Protestant faith. Both faiths are the very epitome of the Chinese proverb “fall seven times; get up eight.” Both faiths do so with a supernatural joyfulness…even with tears in their eyes and deep sorrow in their hearts. Both are natural allies even if our country’s leadership sometimes isn’t. We simply keep moving forward, rebuilding, loving, giving, imparting virtues and goodwill on our fellow man. The more we are crushed the stronger we become. Though we may disagree on a few things politically and theologically (as all healthy societies should be able to do!) Jews are still my brothers and sisters in faith and humanity. The Jewish people are my friends, neighbors, and family, no matter what part of this planet they call home. I will always feel great unwavering loyalty to this relationship and together, not apart, we can face this Goliath and find victory. Call me a romantic, but serving and protecting one another is the only future I see. Imagine how light the burden would be if we all stood together; shoulder-to-shoulder. Not clothed in violence and hidden under masks and riot gear, but cloaked in peace, justice, and truth.

So then, to anyone reading this and feeling a prick of conviction, I hope to see your stickers on the road, your signs in the streets, and your votes in the polls.

[1] John 15:13

About the Author
Jordan Hekowczyk is a Protestant mother of two, US Air Force wife, with a Bachelors of Science in Global Studies and Religion.
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