David Hoffbrand explains why he attended a recent Pro-Israel rally outside Downing Street, and why he believes all Christians should be standing against antisemitism


Source: Christian Action Against Antisemitism 

Thousands gathered outside Downing Street, for the Christian-organised event to remember over 200 Israeli hostages taken by Hamas

I am not generally someone who joins marches and demonstrations, but on Sunday I joined with some 10,000 people at an event outside Downing Street. It was co-ordinated by Christian Action Against Antisemitism (CAAA), and the aim was to show Christian solidarity with the Jewish community and Israel, in the face of rising antisemitism in both the UK and globally.

All the speakers brought a sobering message of both the need for Christians to support and stand with the Jewish people, and the commitment of their different organisations and initiatives to do exactly this. The feeling of unity was palpable.

The crowds that gathered waved Israel flags, held up posters of the hostages, and signs with the slogan ‘Never Again is Now!’ The phrase "never again" emerged as a rallying cry for Jewish people, specifically in relation to the Holocaust - never again will we allow the slaughter of Jews, never again will we stand by while this happens. We will defend and protect our people. And many non-Jews have also adopted this as a matter of principle.

As the organisers struggled with the generator we sang both Jewish and Christian songs, even as the crowd continued to swell.

Some parts were hard to listen to, such as when Ron Cantor, a fellow Messianic Jew from Israel, outlined some of the atrocities that were committed by Hamas on 7 October. Anyone denying the extreme depravity of what happened is simply denying the truth, outlined in gory detail in the footage shown to a raft of journalists such as Ron.

Whatever God loves will be attacked

Most moving of all, almost unbearable to listen to, was the parents and siblings of hostages, who recounted their horror at what happened and the intense grief of the current situation. Despite the size of the crowd, you could hear a pin drop as they spoke through tears about their missing children.

In all this, there was a deep understanding of how desperate, how fearful, and how attacked the Jewish community feels right now. And of our responsibility as followers of Jesus.

And yet the truth is that the organisers were friends of mine, and more than half the speakers also. A frighteningly small collection, albeit of key individuals. What has been striking for Jewish people has been the almost total silence from the Church in the UK. Church leaders who have been vocal on almost every subject imaginable over recent years, have seemed absent in the space they normally occupy.

What is going on?

As a Jewish follower of Jesus (Yeshua), a Messianic Jew, I straddle both camps, and therefore hopefully have some insight into the mindset of both.

It has been extremely eye-opening talking to pastors and leaders, and others too, and realising how paralysed, how confused, and how powerless many seem to feel in the current situation.

So, I want to outline some thoughts about how I think we need to respond.

Firstly, we have to learn about the history. While the media narrative goes back to October 7, and occasionally a little further, we need to understand much more of the context. The idea of Israel as a powerful nation out to conquer and subdue those around it doesn’t hold up to historical analysis. We need to be aware of the 1948 war, the 1967 (Six Day) war, and the 1973 (Yom Kippur) War – all defensive wars fought by Israel when the surrounding nations sought to destroy Israel (and openly stated their aims).

Looking at Hamas’ current charter, and what they actually say, they make plain that peace with Israel is not an option, only jihad. Compromise is not their goal, nor a peaceful neighbour state, just the total destruction of the Jewish nation and its people. When they talk about the occupation they don’t mean one part or another, they mean all of it. Hence the phrase "from the river to the sea". They are radical Islamists, like Isis or Al-Qaeda.

This alone, however, is not enough. We follow a God who is not subject to the political agendas of the day, and we read a book that defines our culture, rather than being defined by it.

The second thing we need to do is view the situation through a spiritual lens.

The Bible is very clear that God still has a plan for the Jewish people. As Paul says in Romans, "to them pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises…" He says even those who don’t yet recognise Yeshua as their Saviour, are nonetheless "beloved because of the patriarchs". He describes the Gentile followers of Jesus as grafted into this Jewish olive tree (see Romans 9-11).

Unfortunately, many of his followers, even if they acknowledge that Jesus was a Jew, think he now has nothing to do with his people. And yet we see clearly in the book of Revelation and other New Testament verses that the resurrected Jesus still identifies by his Jewish heritage.

God's land is the most fought over, problematic piece of territory on the planet. There is a spiritual dynamic at play

This God who we worship, says repeatedly throughout the Bible that he loves the Jewish people, and has a plan for them. The God we like to say is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), also says he made an "everlasting covenant" with the Jewish people (Genesis 17:7-8), one that he will not break as long as day is day and night is night (Jeremiah 33:20-22).

God calls the Jewish people "the apple of my eye" (Zechariah 2:8) and repeatedly promises to bring the Jewish people (whom he calls "my people") back to the land, where he will begin to reveal himself to them (see Ezekiel 36). 

As we know, whatever God loves will be attacked. Whatever God plans will be opposed. How is it that this one people, whom God affirms are his people, have become the most hated and attacked people in history, repeatedly expelled, massacred, and vilified?

How is it that this land of Israel, which God actually calls "his land", is the most fought over, problematic piece of territory on the planet? Is it just politics, or is there a spiritual dynamic at play that we need to be aware of?

God commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), and to make those of his people who don’t yet accept Yeshua, jealous to know him through our love (Romans 11:14). 

This doesn’t mean supporting all the policies of an Israeli government (plenty of Israelis don't, after all). Israel is a vibrant liberal democracy, not a dictatorship or theocracy, unlike most of the nations that surround it. But we will criticise with a heart of love, as concerned family, not adversaries aligning with an antisemitic agenda that distorts the truth.

The Bible tells us that when the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard (Isaiah 59:19). That should be the Church, yet too many are quiet or actively opposing. The tide of antisemitism rising should stir our spirits, stir us to action, and cause us to pray. But are we willing?

I went to the event in London because I believe this is part of my responsibility, as a Jew but also a follower of the Jewish Messiah. Each person has to choose for themselves.

It was not a surprise for Jewish people to see the rise of antisemitism and the violence, persecution, and distortion coming from so many sides. What has been eye opening is the lack of support coming from the church. I believe that this has to change. Because Never Again is Now.