It is basic within the Roman Catholic Organization to teach that the Jews killed Jesus, their Lord and Savior. This is important since it teaches one a great lesson to hate, in this case to hate the Jews. Hating Jews means that you must get revenge on the Jews and therefore it is permissible to kill the Jews and of course the best part is to take all their property for oneself and the Roman Catholic Organization.

Secondly, from that starting point of teaching hate of Jews it is simply a matter to expand this concept to do the same to others. The Roman Catholic Spanish Inquisition killed not only Jews but 35 million others. Today, the Spanish say, 'There are no Protestants in Spain because we killed them all' 

Utilizing the teaching of hate, 'Hate Jews' is the best weapon the Roman Catholics have and they will never give it up. 

As for Jesus, if he ever existed (there are no documents) he probably was a Jewish 'Rabbi' whose parents, Mary and Joseph were Jewish. (Or, as some believe, he was created by God utilizing Mary,) 

Jesus was one of the many leaders opposing, revolting against the Roman occupation of Israel. His attack against the money exchangers was basically an assault against the Romans for the the Romans controlled the 'business'. When you attack their source of income you get killed, no excuses. 


The anti-Jewish comments by a prominent American athlete, Charlie Ward of the Knicks, received wide media attention. His intemperate remarks and specifically his repeating the odious accusation that Jews killed Jesus reminded us all of a phenomenon that never dies: the hatred of the Jew. Maurice Samuel called it "the great hatred" because anti-Semitic libels do not die even in the face of the most rational arguments. Anti-Semitism is not rational; if it were, it would have long, ago been demolished by the weight of logical argument and historical analysis. 

In his seminal book, "The Christian Roots of Anti-Semitism," the great historian Isaacs charges that Christian preachers continue to encourage hatred of Jews. This is evident in Charlie Ward's latest reincarnation of anti-Semitic feeling. Ward, a born-again Christian, does not see anything wrong in speaking "the truth" about Jews killing Jesus. Even in his purported "apology" - which did not sound to me at all like a real apology - he says that his words were taken "out of context" (how does the context change the accusation?). Ward said that "Jews had blood on their hands." What context would make such a statement less offensive? Ward is only sorry that his remarks may cost him money, but he is not dishonest enough to state that he was wrong. 

What Ward does not know or care to know is that it is precisely that kind of distortion of history that precipitated untold misery and centuries of persecution and suffering for millions of innocent people. In his great encyclical that opened a new chapter in Christian theology, Pope John XXIII retracted the odious and incorrect statement that Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus. 

Throughout centuries of persecution, Jews wrote several books about this hatred and gave us some guidelines as to how to counter these arguments. In the medieval work "Nizzahon Vetus" (edited by David Berger, JPS, 1979) we are instructed to "be diligent in the study of Torah in order to be able to answer". What then should we answer? 

First, nowhere in the Gospels does it say that Jews executed Jesus. All the Gospels agree that it was Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator who governed Judea at the time, who executed Jesus. His administration "was marked by acts of ruthlessness and utter disregard of Jewish susceptibilities " (Margolis and Marx). The Jews were oppressed by Rome and did not have the legal authority in criminal matters to put anyone to death. 

The execution was carried out in the typical manner of a Roman execution of the time. The condemned was flogged before,being led to his death; he had to carry his own cross to the place of execution, and was nailed to the cross. All these were Roman customs and there is no Jewish element in these acts whatsoever. 

Second, an analysis of the Gospels' description of the "crimes" committed by Jesus does not include any offense that would have been punishable by death by any Jewish court, even if the Jewish courts had the right to administer criminal cases at the time. 

Moreover, the Rabbis were very sparing of the death penalty, even at times when they had the power to implement it. They created numerous protections for the accused, and demanded such stringent conditions for the witnesses that they almost precluded the implementation of the death penalty in most circumstances. 

The Talmud says "A Jewish court that put one man to death in seven years was called a `bloody court' and some say, even if a court put one man to death every 70 years!" 

Jesus did not represent any threat to the Jews. He was, however, a threat to the power of Rome. 

When you read the history of the period, you realize that there were many claimants to be the Messiah in that turbulent period of Jewish history. The victims of suffering always long for salvation, especially Jews, who created the very notion of salvation and deliverance from oppression. 

The historian Josephus Flavius, in describing the period, tells of the phenomenon of many "messiahs' and does not even mention the name Jesus. From his omission we can deduce that, at least by the year 70 CE, the name Jesus had not yet become dominant and that he had not been any different than the list of other Jewish patriots who had yearned to be the one selected by G-d to bring redemption to their suffering nation. 

The claim that Jesus was persecuted by the Jews is preposterous and stems from ignorance. As he was marching through the streets of Jerusalem, it may be that some may have justified his fate as a heretic, but there were others who followed him and helped him. They too were Jews. 

Most Jews were sick at the sight of "another Jewish patriot being led to a cruel death at the hands of the Roman oppressor" (Grayzel) 

Judas Iscariote was a Jew, but so was Peter and for that matter, Jesus and all his followers. In fact, Jesus loved the Jews so much that he refused to teach a stranger claiming, "Why should the word of G-d be thrown to the dogs?" The sad part of the story is that the suffering of the people he loved so much would be perpetrated in his name. 

.In our long history, we have been subject to many lies and Charlie Ward's latest version will soon fade away. But the hatred will continue. 

After all the explanations, we can only hope that our loyalty to G-d will soon bring the Messiah who will bring peace to the world and there will be no more enmity, conflict or hatred. We wish no ill to any nation and have long suffered all these insults while clinging to the hope that one day they will understand. 

We must take courage in the prophecy of Isaiah. When the ultimate truth will be revealed, all peoples will realize that their hatred of Israel was wrong and will declare, "He (Israel) had to bear our illness... and we thought he was defective. But we like sheep erred ...and he did not utter a word and was taken like sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb that was mute in front of her shearers" (Isaiah 53:4-7) 

By Rabbi Algaze Cong. HaauratYisrael, Forest Hills JP May 4, 2001 

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