Apologetics Faith Personal Theology
R. L. Solberg  

A non-Jew experiences anti-Semitism

Ever since the video about my book Divergence came out, I have been on the receiving end of straight-up anti-Jewish racism. And here’s the kicker: I’m not even Jewish. So I put out a video in response in which I talk about what anti-Semitism really is, and why racism is un-Christlike. This is an important enough issue that I wanted to offer the transcript of the video here on my blog.

Transcript

I wanted to make this video to discuss two things. First, is the anti-Semitism that I am personally experiencing. I’m going to read you some of my hate mail and clear up a couple misconceptions I keep seeing. Second, we need to have a talk about what antisemitism really is. This term can get tossed around so loosely that it loses all meaning. So we’ll look at that, too.

Let’s jump in…

Rob Reads His Hate Mail

A few days ago, a short promo video was released for my new book and I want you to see some of the nasty comments I’ve been getting on it. And mind you, this is just a 90-second teaser video about the book. These aren’t comments from people who have actually read the book and understand where I’m coming from. They’re merely reacting to the headline “Christian author pledges 100% of book profits to fight anti-Semitism.” That’s it. Here are some of the comments:

  • “You have betrayed your own for money. You are a person of no moral fibre.”
  • “3rd rate academic getting paid to write propaganda then pretending its charity by donating the profit which is a fraction of what you got paid”
  • “Kvetch harder schlomoberg”
  • “Let’s see if we can’t unlike this userer unto oblivion”
  • “RL Solberg, author, theologian, liar, son of his father the devil.”
  • “Nice try, Schlomo”
  • Chris Topher simply posted an icon of a big nose. Classy.
  • “This guy is what they call a Crypto Jew.” (I had to look this one up)
  • “Quit trying to taint European belief with your poison. You can fool most of the goyim, but ya’ll ain’t fooling us all. “Solberg” says he’s not a Jew…

I get that a lot actually. Many people assume I am Jewish and that my last name, Solberg is Jewish. So let me set the record straight. I am not Jewish. God made me a Gentile. And, “Solberg” is not a Jewish name, it’s Norwegian. It means something like “sun hill” or “sun mountain.”

Solberg is the surname name I proudly accepted at the age of ten when my step-father officially adopted me. For the first ten years of my life my name was Dorian Robert Boyle II. I was born into a Black Irish family, the Boyles. And when my step-dad adopted me, I chose to change my name to Robert Luke Solberg.

So I’m not Jewish. If you want to get technical, I’m an English-French-German-Norwegian-Swedish-Irish-Scottish-Slavic-Russian American. And I’d appreciate it if you’d address me as such!

I typically delete these kinds of comments of mindless hatred and name-calling. They don’t move the conversation forward. However, in this case, I’m leaving them up because they prove the need for my new book. They validate:

  1. The existence of anti-Semitism and hatred against the Jewish people. The hatred is so great that it even sometimes spills over into non-Jewish people, like me.
  2. The comments also sadly show how some of that hatred comes from Christians. And that has to stop.

These nasty comments make me doubly glad I am donating the profits from the book to fight anti-Semitism. Because, for the life of me, I do not see any possible way to reconcile the teachings of Jesus and the NT with a hatred for the Jewish people. It just doesn’t add up.

What is anti-Semitism…Really?

Racism is real and it’s a terrible thing. But here’s the problem: the world has begun to throw around terms like racism and anti-Semitism so often and so loosely that they lose their meaning. So I want to take a minute to address that. Anti-Semitism is defined as, “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.”

So if we’re hating, or discriminating against, or oppressing someone because they are Jewish, this is anti-Semitism. It’s racism against the Jewish people. And just like racism against any other people group, anti-Semitism is small-minded, ugly, and wrong. Its also un-Christlike. But we also need to admit that sometimes things are labeled racist or anti-Semitic when they are not actually racist or anti-Semitic.

We have to remember what racism really is, otherwise, we water down how wrong it is. It’s easy to know what real racism is. It’s in the name itself: RACE-ism. If the motivation for the hatred, or discrimination, or oppression of someone is based on their RACE, it’s racism. On the other hand, if you have a disagreement or dislike someone for reasons other than their race, it is NOT racism.

If you argue with the cashier at the store because you think they gave you the wrong amount of change, and they happen to be a different race than you, that’s not racism. Likewise, with the Jewish people. If we happen to disagree with a political position taken by the Israeli government because we think it’s bad policy, that’s not anti-Semitism. Or if we disagree with a person about who Jesus is, and that person happens to be Jewish, that’s not racism, it’s theology.

However, if we oppose the government of Israel because we want to discriminate against the Jewish people, or if we hate people because they are Jewish, that’s anti-Semitism. It’s anti-Jewish racism. And it’s wrong.

It’s negatively judging someone based on something God gave them: their ethnicity. No one gets to choose what color their skin will be. God is the one who decided that some of us would be Jewish, some would be Gentiles, some would be Arabs, black, white, middle eastern, Asian. Whatever ethnicity we are, God chose that for us. And He doesn’t make mistakes. God so loved the multi-colored, multi-ethic world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever—of any color or ethnicity, Jew or Gentile—whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Wrap it up, Solberg

In my opinion, it’s not even so much about race. What we’re really dealing with here is other-ism. Racism is just the ethnic branch of otherism.

Humanity is a fallen race, the Bible tells us this. We fallen humans have the inherent tendency to look negatively on any kind of other. We dislike people who belong to the other political party, the other gender, the other religion, the other social class, the other sexual orientation. Even the other football team.

This is why the message of Jesus is so earth-shattering. It’s no accident that the New Testament repeatedly teaches us to “love one another.” Look at all these verses.

We have to separate out people from ideas. It’s okay to hate and discriminate against ideas. It’s not okay to hate and discriminate against people. Even people who are mean to us, or don’t like us.

Ideas are not made in the image of God, people are. So it’s okay to hate the idea of racism, or oppression. It’s not okay to hate our neighbor. That is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Jesus us calls us to a higher kind of love.

I’m going to wrap up by reading this short excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6, and think about the posture of humility and love that Jesus is calling us to regarding our neighbor, our fellow human beings, regardless of their race or ethnicity:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:27-36

How can we read that, and then turn around and unmercifully castigate a human being because God happened to make him or her Jewish? Or Palestinian? Or black? Or a white? Or whatever other they might be.

In John 13 Jesus says that the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another. So, let’s love one another. Shalom!

2 thoughts on “A non-Jew experiences anti-Semitism

  1. Sean

    First, “Jewish” is not a race. Today, “Jews” are practitioners of “Judaism”, the religion in which Saul of Tarsus profited greatly in that he persecuted the church of God (Galatians 1:13-14) which Jesus equated to persecuting him directly (Acts 9:4, 22:7, 26:14). This religion is not found in the Bible but in the Babylonian Talmud.

    Biblically, a “Jew” is a national of the nation (not the tribe) of “Judah” as the first mention of a “Jew” appears in 2 Kings 16:6 after the kingdom divides due to the sins of the monarchy. In this passage, the northern kingdom of Israel has allied with Syria to go to war with Judah and “drave the Jews from Elath.” This distinguishes them from the northerners who are now referred to as “the children of Israel” or simply “Israel”, “Jacob”, or even “Ephraim” throughout the rest of the Old Testament.

    Throughout the Old Testament, provision was made for people to become Jews (nationals of Judah) and followers of the LORD. Circumcision and observance of the feasts were the means of national and religious integration. Many Levites, Benjamites, and a smattering of the other tribes were included in Judah (made up primarily of the tribe) as they did not wish to participate in the idolatrous separation provided in the northern kingdom of Israel ruled by Jeroboam the son of Nebat (former servant of Solomon). In the book of Esther, it is written that “many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them”.

    When we come to the New Testament, we see a different kind of “Jew”. We see Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and lawyers. There is no more a nation of Judah as its been subjugated as far back as the Babylonian captivity as a province (Ezra 5:8) now known as Judea or Judæa. It’s been taken by the Romans and the religion of Judaism (the Jews’ religion in Galatians 1:13-14) is prominent. While it appears to be similar to Old Testament Christianity, much of it is perverted with the “traditions of the elders”. It is a religion that Jesus condemned (Matthew 23). He cites Isaiah to say that the draw nigh with their lips but with their heart they are far from him. He said to not be called “rabbi” nor “master” nor “father” and said that he is the only Rabbi, Master, and Father. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 That the “Jews” both killed the Lord Jesus and that they “oppose all men” and that “the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” Romans 2 says that such are “called a Jew” but that “he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, who is praise is not of men, but of God.” Jesus Christ even called the practitioners of rabbinical Judaism, (the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, the lawyers) children of the devil (John 8) and children of hell (Matthew 23). In revelation chapters 2, Jesus speaks of “them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. He repeats himself in Revelation chapter 3 to say that he “will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet and to know that I have loved thee.”

    Clearly according to Jesus Christ himself, there is a group of people that call themselves “Jews” but are counterfeits. 1 John 2 states “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father:” not only does this tell us that those that deny that Jesus is the Messiah are liars but also that they are antichrist and that they do not have God the father. When cross-referenced with what Jesus speak of rabbinical Judaism, this would make their God Satan, even though they may refer to him as Yahweh or Jehovah.

    Another issue would be that God did not command that we should love everybody. He said very clearly that we were to love ONE ANOTHER. If we are to ask the question, “one what?” And “an other what?” In context wherever it appears, he refers to one disciple and another disciple. The Bible also defines a neighbor as “the children of thy people” in Leviticus chapter 19 “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.” Elsewhere, the man after gods own heart, King David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes of his perfect hatred for those that hate the Lord (Psalm 139:19-22). Jesus himself in Psalm 69 was Revealed to have spoken by the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David, praying an impreccatory prayer against Judas Iscariot and the Sanhedrin (those that delivered him to death) asking for them to “be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” revelation 20 records that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Essentially, we see our savior praying for workers of iniquity to die and go to hell at the same time that he is praying and making intercession for those who are acting ignorantly, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”. The apostle Paul states that he “obtained mercy because [he] did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 2 Chronicles 19 asks this important question, “Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.”

    I can go on and on with evidence from scripture demonstrating the error of this article but I am almost certain that I will be labeled an anti-Semite and disregarded.

    By the way, Arabic is a Semitic language as the Arabs are also descended from Shem. Syriac is also a Semitic language as is the Assyrian tongue. If you are to look up Semitic languages and Semitic peoples, you would find that they are not limited to what we would call today “Jews”. To be “anti-semitic” would be to be against all Semitic peoples.

    This is how mis-information is propagated, by simply believing and repeating things that have been heard without independent investigation.

    Many people do not read the Bible cover to cover and many people do not study the Bible to see what it actually says.

    While I do not hate “Jews” I do firmly believe that the wrath of God is upon them because they do not believe in the name of the only begotten son of God. They need to get saved or they will die and go to hell just like anyone else that does not believe on the name of Jesus “ Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” —Acts 4:12. “To him give all the profits witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”—Acts 10:43

    1. R. L. Solberg

      Thanks for that in-depth comment, Sean! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

      Yeah, it’s odd that the term “anti-Semitic” was coined to refer to only the Jewish people, not all peoples descended from Shem. I don’t understand why that is, but that’s the meaning of the term. In the Bible, the term “Jew” is used ethnically to refer to the descendants of Abraham to whom the promise was given. The term “Jews” (יְהוּדָיֵ֔א (ye·hu·da·ye) is used in 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel. So, in the Bible, “Jews” are members of the nation of Israel, not just Judah. This is contrasted with the Goyim or Gentiles, which refers to everyone else. In other words, according to biblical categories, every person is either a Jew or a Gentile. And, BTW, I agree with you that anyone, Jewish or otherwise, who does not place their faith in Jesus in the end, will not be saved.

      However, I don’t believe the Jews are as cut off and accursed as you suggest. Jesus’ words were not aimed at all Jews and everything they believe. His woes were reserved for the Jewish religious leaders who were corrupting God’s word because God holds teachers to a higher standard (James 3:1). He did not come to abolish the law or the prophets (the Jewish Scriptures), but to fulfill them (Matt 5:17). God has not rejected the Jewish people, but rather has set aside a remnant of them (Rom 11:1-16) who will be saved (Rom 11:25-36).

      As far as loving one another, you said, “God did not command that we should love everybody. He said very clearly that we were to love ONE ANOTHER… The Bible also defines a neighbor as “the children of thy people” in Leviticus chapter 19.” However, Jesus gave us a much broader definition of our “neighbor” in the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). And He also taught in Luke 6:

      27 But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…32 If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same… 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

      The love shown by Christians is certainly not to be restricted to other believers. It is to extend to everyone…including non-believing Jews. Shalom!

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