Antisemitism and support for terrorists demands a response

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I was in junior high when I asked my dad a question. The Vietnam War was on, there were protests in the streets, and some young men were fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. My father was a World War II veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy.

Having watched the news about the Vietnam situation, I asked Dad, “What would you do if one of your sons went to Canada to avoid the draft?”

He looked at me for a moment and said, “Well, I guess that young man would no longer be my son.”

I would not avoid the draft, and, in fact, I would enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps just a few years later. But it was clear to me that such actions would have consequences should I choose to follow that path.

Fast forward to the present day: Students from colleges, “elite” and otherwise, are, once again demonstrating on campuses and in the streets. I for one have no issues with peacefully advocating for the Palestinian people. Free speech is an American right.

What is not a right is the destruction of property, the threatening of Jewish people (or anybody else), vandalism of private and public buildings, the accumulation of  tons of trash following these demonstrations, trespassing, ignoring lawful orders, and obstructing other people who wish to go to class or elsewhere. That is just being a thug and a nasty person.

What I also object to are those college students who, demonstrating either their ignorance or rank stupidity, align themselves with and show sympathy toward the terrorists, murderers, rapists, mutilators, child killers, and kidnappers of Hamas. These students are cut from the same bolt of cloth as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party.

My wife and I agree that if one of our children were still in the university and were among those doing these dastardly and despicable deeds, all funds would be immediately cut off until their brains began working again and their actions and attitudes changed.

The university leadership bears a great deal of the responsibility for this mess. Antisemitic professors should be fired. Inept and feckless college presidents should be given their pink slip. The students who commit the crimes stated above should be arrested and permanently expelled from the university.  Corporations and donors should cease supporting those universities who permit this kind of bigotry and lawlessness.

Those students, professors, and others who openly support Hamas and their genocidal agenda should be put on the government terrorist watch list. Universities who continue to openly allow antisemitic activities on campus should lose their federal and state funding. All of it. Employers should refuse to hire college graduates who have been openly supporting Hamas.

Imagine if such vile rhetoric were aimed at black or Native American, or Muslim students. Imagine if gay students were subjected to such threats and intimidation and crowds called for their extermination “from the Atlantic to the Pacific.” Imagine if conservative students put liberal students in fear of their lives.

Actions have consequences. Too many of our so-called modern “elites” have never learned that lesson. Some students have realized that just maybe there could be a problem with their actions and are demanding, not requesting, that the university grant them “amnesty” for their unconscionable words and behavior.

Too harsh? Too “un-Christian?” Too “un-pastoral?” If enough German citizens, priests, and pastors had stood up early enough, if enough of them had voted differently, if enough had said, “These Brown Shirts and this hate-filled man shall not have their way,” then maybe, just maybe, tens of millions world-wide would not have died.

Mike Tyson is reported to have said, “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it.” In the real world, if not in the ivory towers of the universities, there are consequences for both words and actions. Those who spew antisemitic and genocidal ideas need a few rounds with Mike Tyson.

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). Worship services are on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and on livestream at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life). He may be contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.He has been an opinion columnist for The Citizen for over 27 years.]

23 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if some of you ever READ the article. One of the things I said was, “I for one have no issues with peacefully advocating for the Palestinian people. Free speech is an American right.” I have made a clear distinction between supporters of the people of Palestine and Hamas and its ignorant supporters. The violence in Gaza is a tragedy in Palestine brought on by the Jihadist terrorists who murdered 1,200 civilians. And by the way that allegation of 36,000 dead killed by Israel comes from the Hamas controlled media. Here’s a thought—how about the true supporters of the people of Palestine call upon, yea, demand, that Hamas surrender unconditionally and free those they kidnapped–if any are still alive and not murdered. They do that and the war is over. –David Epps–

    • Fr. Epps–I can speak only for myself, of course–but yes, I did indeed read your article. I have been reading your column for many years. Perhaps that is why your credibility can wear thin.

      You state (sincerely, I’m sure) that you have no issues with peacefully advocating…”. But I recall your vitriol aimed at Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes back in 2016.

      Kaepernick kneeled during our National Anthem in protest of police brutality toward black citizens and lack of accountability. He repeatedly (and peacefully) explained his intent and purpose.

      In your article of Sept. 16, you insisted his “disrespect” was patently aimed at our country, it’s flag, and all veterans. Again, your own narrative; not the protesters voice.

      My point is–Kaepernick tried it your way–kneeling peacefully–and it outraged you. When law officers kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, murdering him, violent protests broke out. That further angered you. There is apparently just no way that will suit you, when it comes to change.

      Not then. Not now.

      • “Kaepernick tried it your way–kneeling peacefully–and it outraged you. When law officers kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, murdering him, violent protests broke out. That further angered you. There is apparently just no way that will suit you, when it comes to change.”

        Again, well said Suzanne!

        As a side note, just glancing over mainstream media articles about the college protests for a ceasefire, what I see is: the violence began when the police were called.

  2. How to address the college protests in support of Palestinian Liberation.

    First, there is a difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. “From the river to the sea” rhetoric is a call for Palestinian liberation which may be seen as anti-Israel but not necessarily antisemitic.

    Consider the not-too-distantly-passed days of global anti-apartheid sentiment toward South Africa. Almost 90% of white South Africans are Christians.

    When international pressure fell on South Africa to end apartheid and called for truth and reconciliation regarding the heinous crimes of white South Africans against Black South Africans, did we see that as anti-Christian?

    No, because we understand a person can be a white Christian and NOT be a supporter of a diabolical system that enslaves people based on their ethnicity.

    It’s the same with the anti-Israel rhetoric on the campuses of the USA. It is not ipso facto antisemitic just because it is anti-Israel. There are even Jewish student groups that have joined in the protests in support of Palestine.

    Does Israel deserve anti-Israel sentiment in light of its actions since October 7 and probably for many decades before? Of course, yes. It has created an essentially apartheid system for Palestinians and ought to have been called out for it internationally long ago. Yes, Israel has been an ally of the USA, but in order to truly uphold the ideals of the USA, we cannot turn a blind eye to the transgressions of our allies.

    And the death toll of 36K Palestinians in response to a Hamas attack — Hamas which agitates on behalf of and is funded by Iran and NOT supported by the vast majority of Palestinians who just want to live their lives in peace? — is truly an abomination and a war crime (as is being pursued in the ICC).

    Yes, it’s what we in the USA did in response to 9/11, blindly attacking and destroying the lives and families of people who did not do the terror attack, and the ICC should be calling on George W too IMHO, but can we at least learn from our mistake, admit we were wrong, and STOP Israel from continuing down this path to perdition?

    To condemn the students for their righteous indignation toward Israel for these horrors is to condemn young people who see injustice and call it out. Some may support Hamas, but it seems that the majority support innocent Palestinians who are being slaughtered in an unjust war, and I salute them for calling this out.

    I was a child of the 60’s, and I am not going to turn into OK Boomer now. Shame on those of you who have.

  3. Hello Rev. Epps—Politics aside, this column was difficult to read. What a sad commentary on fathers; and what an alarming message to their children.

    Your father’s response to you (“…that young man would no longer be my son”) is not commendable. For any reason. (In this case, you brought up the actions of conscientious objectors to military service). I would argue that your father didn’t want a son to begin with. He wanted a possession; an owner with every right to discard it should it fail to live up to his expectations.

    By the way, this tactic is tragically familiar to LGBTQ+ kids. “That child would no longer be mine”.

    You seem to be of the same mind-set, Father. “…all funds would be immediately cut off until their brains began working again and their actions and attitude change.”

    No discussion. No exchange. No attempt to understand. No mutual respect. No admiration for yourself and them for growing into courageous, self-possessed young adults, following their convictions. Not YOUR convictions, Fr.. Not even your morals. Have a little faith in them, Fr.. Dis-owning them is indeed “harsh”, “un-Christian” and “un-pastoral” (since you asked).

    May I suggest you set aside the narrative that suits you…and listen to them? The very title of your column says it all–“Antisemitism and Support For Terrorists…”. Really? Many of the student protestors are calling for their schools to divest their endowments from companies that profit from the Israel/Hamas war. They are calling for immediate peace. Humanitarian aid for civilians suffering. And a lasting, just solution to the conflict.

    Naive? Of course. Passionate? Definitely. Mis-guided? Yes…and no. But ALWAYS our kids. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    One final response, with all due respect—I am trying to imagine the opinion pieces you might have written during Hitler’s rule, as you ponder. I can imagine tales of your athletic prowess in the Aryan youth camps.
    Perhaps even a column, angry that Jesse Owens was allowed to compete in the Olympics in Berlin (think transgender athletes today–it’s a “biological advantage”). Would you defend the Roma people (gypsies) or refer to them as illegals and demonize them? Would you just sigh and say, “I am no Hitler fan. He does a lot of things I don’t agree with. He is juvenile and crude and divisive…certainly not my first choice…BUT—“.

    Now is OUR chance to get it right. And now is our chance to let our kids try.

    • Oh well said Suz! You are spot on in your response to this column!

      That anything would cause you to disown your child … let alone disowning them for taking a principled stand against an unjust war … it’s unthinkable, let alone unChristian.

      And your very astute summation of what Fr Epps might have written in his pre WWII columns in Germany! The rhetoric of fascists is always somehow the same …

      You are fighting the good fight, sister.

    • So, Suz, now you imagine me as a Nazi because I support murdered and tortured Jews and oppose those who are vile murderers and their supporters? What absolute drivel. Character assassination by those who hide behind screen names and are unaccountable for their words have no effect on me. There’s probably nothing I haven’t been called over the last 27+ years of writing this column. Such is the price for having an opinion that is not in lock step with Leftists and not being afraid to sign my name. I would say I expect better from you but, so far, I don’t.

  4. Confession: I grandly enjoy sparring with the regulars on The Citizen website, and I hold absolutely no animosity for any posters. I wouldn’t dream of posting in an echo chamber with people who always agree with me; this is the definition of boring.

    I assume that none of us is thrilled with our presidential choices and would gladly accept alternative candidates to head the two major tickets who were younger and carry much less baggage. That said, we seem to be stuck with our flawed candidates, and I’m guessing that most of us are not voting so much for one candidate, but against the other one.

    A lot of our differences come down to what we fear the most. Many of you are very wary of communism and the redistribution of wealth, and that influences all considerations. Others of us are more wary of authoritarianism and fascism, and we tend to see it in many places that you don’t. Of course, others are single issue voters, be it guns, abortion, immigration, etc.

    I believe that our country can withstand whichever candidate is elected, and some positives will result in either administration. So, let’s keep slugging it out on these pages, but let’s not take ourselves too seriously. If we were all drinking beer together while offering our opinions, I think there would be a lot of laughs between eye-rolls.

  5. Reverend – The situation has gone from bad to worse since you wrote this. Not only have some university leaders failed to restore peace on their campuses, even bargaining with the “students”, the criminal misbehavior of progressives has moved to city streets, Manhattan Bridge and even an interstate near Disney World.

    As bad as this is, our weak president Biden is going wobbly from our ironclad support of Israel in an attempt to appease the Democrats’ pro-Hamas wing in an election year. Biden’s incoherent foreign policy is again damaging relations with key allies and abandoning American citizens.

    This weekend, we learned that Biden is withholding ammunition Israel needs to defend itself and eliminate the existential threat of Hamas terrorism, unless Israel unilaterally ends its mission. Worse, he’s refusing to share valuable intelligence with Israel about where Hamas is holding the American and Israeli hostages if Israel doesn’t follow his dictates.

    Rather than demanding Hamas terrorists lay down their weapons and release the hostages, he’s negotiating on behalf of Hamas. Unbelievable.

    It’s notable that outside of Stranger Than Fiction’s babbling about Trump and inability to respond with facts and logic, none of the usual progressives on these pages have voiced any opposition to the violence and hate. Anyone with a sense of moral clarity about right and wrong, good and evil, must come together and counter the criminal behavior and antisemitic / pro-terrorist aims of rioters that is being carried forward by our elderly president.

    • Hi Kitty – We are in the unusual circumstance of being in agreement. These foolish little children protesting against Israel on college campuses must have slept through History of Western Civilization class. Their antisemitism is abhorrent, and you couldn’t find a less appealing champion to support that Hamas. I also agree that our president is lately fumbling the response even though he started out quite strong. He must be watching his poll numbers rather than his place in history.

    • Excellent commentary. And I’m hopeful American voters reject the dangerously incompetent Biden in November. And I think this race is still close mainly because of Trump Derangement Syndrome which places emotion (hatred for the man) above policies that strengthen America.

    • To many around here, I am a “progressive.” It’s a fair assumption, but I consider myself more of a RINO. I share some of STF’s thoughts. It’s difficult to directly quote Trump on issues, I think his involvement in the thousands of court cases has taught him a little about maintaining legal ambiguity.

      Israel has established a self-imposed “scorched earth” mission killing thousands of civilians, supposedly as collateral damage. On the world stage, Israel has committed suspected war crimes. Rather than allow an indictment of war crimes against the U.S., the Biden administration requires Israel disclose a plan to reduce civilian casualties and a plan for the Palestinians after the “war” in Gaza ends. The Israeli Government cannot expect the U.S. to be a party committing suspected war crimes, it’s not only wrong, it hurts our other national security interests. Israel’s war in Gaza does not need to become Armageddon. The Israeli people need to seriously look at their government of Traditionalist Jewish coalitions; do something about the scorched earth policy in Gaza; and learn how to either recognize a separate Palestinian state or assimilate the Palestinians into their society and provide them equal protections under Israeli law. So much for the war in Gaza.

      As to student protests. As always there are the instigators of violence and obstruction of others’ rights. Students don’t know what they don’t know. They are easy to influence. Some actually have been taught that Jews are bad. My father was Jewish; he tried to teach me Catholics were bad. Many don’t know how their seemingly well-placed emotions can get them into trouble. Many haven’t learned how to keep their passions in due bounds. Professors are another thing. They should know better. Some maybe should be indicted for sedition, other’s indicted for inciting a riot or hate crimes. Even with our Supreme Court, there are limitations to free speech.

      I don’t blame the Biden administration for holding the Israeli Government’s feet to the fire and trying to support international law. I also agree colleges and universities should maintain security, protecting their students and call on the Government when necessary to maintain that security.

      • Doug, I agree with much of what you’ve written but differ with you about the war against Hamas. The death of innocent civilians in this war against Hamas is tragic. Hamas is responsible for this war and the Israelis are determined to destroy them militarily and, if possible politically. Hamas makes its own people victims by placing them in harms way. It also appears that many Palestinians support Hamas due to their hatred for Israel. Hamas could surrender and release the remaining hostages. But they won’t. The pressure should be on Hamas not Israel. Hamas and Hezbollah are both supported by Iran who have been emboldened by Biden’s appeasement policies to them which they snubbed. I do not agree with your assessment that Israel is pursuing a scorched earth policy. I do not believe that they are intentionally targeting civilians and children. Why would they do that? Hamas is using them as fodder. I can’t imagine how brutal it is for all parties in this war and I hope for peace. But so far negotiations have failed. All of the wars and conflicts we’re currently experiencing have occurred under the current President. I don’t think that’s coincidence. He’s been a failed world leader in my opinion and the world is paying a heavy price. Maybe another Administration can do better towards resolving these conflicts. I know we all hope for that.

  6. “Actions do have consequences,” though many never see them or their “ripple effect.” Many have limited knowledge of history beyond what they catch in the media, which normally doesn’t include anything other than what happened the day before. Most in-depth articles cover only a few recent weeks while ignoring years of building trends manifesting into violence. There is no excuse for students to protest anything when the protests obstruct the rights of others. There is also no excuse for schools not teaching history. Ignorance, especially ignorantly ugliness, rabidly runs throughout American society.

  7. Pastor Epps – It is a wonder that these misguided students are not sporting swastikas on their arms.

    I hope the American Christians will read history and not follow the example of the feckless German parishioners that you mentioned from last century. When an authoritarian who never won the majority of the votes in an election bullies all opponents, has the Capitol burned, vilifies foreigners and nonwhites, and calls his enemies “vermin,” etc., it’s not difficult to read these tea leaves.

    The oft repeated quote attributed to George Santayana is so appropriate today: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    • Fiction – once again, your one-note-piano hatred of one man has blinded you to what is really happening today. Your rant consists of vague accusations, untruths and exaggerations about Trump in an attempt to distract from the situation unfolding before our eyes.

      Trump won the Electoral College. You do know that’s all that matters, don’t you? The popular vote is irrelevant, as I’m sure you would say if Biden is elected in November with less than a majority.

      He didn’t ‘have the Capitol burned’, which never happened. Trump clearly asked demonstrators to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard”, and never requested anything other than lawful protest.

      And Trump didn’t “call his enemies ‘vermin’”. Here’s the full quote: ““We will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical-left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country. The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within,” he said.

      Trump was referring to the Antifa and BLM riots. The current anti-Israel / anti-Jewish / anti-American campus uprisings that are paid-for and organized by progressives and anarchists prove Trump was right yet again.

      Stop gas-lighting your neighbors. Stand up against the leftists breaking anti-discrimination laws to harass Jews, shouting “Death to America!”, indoctrinating young people, defacing buildings, burning our flag etc.

      • The parallels with 1930s Germany to today’s orange wannabe Fuhrer are unmistakable. A right wing authoritarian who runs on a law and order platform that promises to restore his country to a previous grandeur by opposing nonwhites and communists. He never won a majority of votes in any election by his countrymen, and he attempted a failed putsch, but was only slapped on the wrist for trying to overthrow the government. He was unapologetically ethnocentric and shameless in calling other races and his enemies vile names. He often repeated that only he could rescue his country, and he promised revenge on anyone who opposed him and his party.

        Ignore history at your own peril.

        • STF – you’re just a total and complete fool. 1. Name one way Trump has opposed nonwhites. 2. If you know the definition of authoritarian, you’ll notice the last part “at the expense of personal freedom”……name one way Trump cut down on personal freedoms. 3. He attempted a failed putsch – no he didn’t, you fool. He never ordered anyone to enter the Capitol. He was asking for more than 10,000 troops to protect the Capital – which the Democrat DC Mayor rejected. 4. Name one time he promised revenge on anyone who opposed him. In reality – it’s the Democrats seeking vengeance via all these madeup trials – none of which would be happening if Trump wasn’t running (and winning).

          You know what’s strange – that you don’t know the truth and that you believe fiction.

  8. Excellent commentary Reverend Epps. I have a good friend who is Jewish and alarmed at the level of antisemitism he’s witnessing today in America. He moved here from California years ago and said he’s glad he’s living in the Bible Belt where he and family feel safer.

  9. Spot on, Reverend Epps. Parents (and our government leaders) need to show the moral clarity of your father and stand for what is right, in this case standing with our ally Israel and our Jewish brothers and sisters here in the US. Students are being played as useful idiots by radical professors and outside leftist agitators to the benefit of Iran and its terrorist arm, Hamas.

    It is maddening to see another violent progressive movement like Antifa and BLM that most leftists, including Joe Biden, refuse to clearly call out. And then there are the hypocrites who see “hate” around every corner declining to take a stand against the very real antisemitism that is oozing across our college campuses.

    Thank goodness there are a few university and community leaders willing to end some of the lawlessness before it got out of hand. It’s time for us to fund our police, enforce our laws, stand for American values and break up violent leftist groups.