May 21, 2024

The “Death to Israel, Death to America” Crowd

We’ve all witnessed the recent drama of the pro-Palestinian, anti-Jewish protests on college campuses. A recent discovery at one of the protests speaks volumes about the whole movement.

In the tents of the anti-Israel, pro-Hamas protesters at NYU, the police who cleared out their den of dissent uncovered signs which said, “Death to Israel! Death to America!”

Surprise. Surprise.

People who care about America’s godly roots as a nation—yes, our Judeo-Christian roots—know how principles revealed in the Bible are linked to the American experiment in self-liberty under God.

In contrast to our nation’s founding are sentiments held by many young Americans today: “Death to Israel and Death to America.”

There is a sense in which Jews and Christians are tied together for freedom’s sake both in America and in the country of Israel.

I’ve interviewed Rabbi Daniel Lapin a few times for Christian television. He is the founder and head of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.

He once told me, “No country in the last two thousand years has provided the same haven of tranquility and prosperity for Jews as had the United States of America. And, this is not in spite of Americans being Christian; it is because of it. You might say that America’s Bible belt is the Jewish community’s safety belt.”

And he added: “Jews need to understand that our safety and security in the United States is dependent upon the health and vitality of American Christianity.”

Therefore, says the rabbi, the very safety of Jews (and others) is put at risk when the Christian faith is undermined in America. That is certainly borne out more and more in the protests and the rise of anti-Semitic violence we see today.

Recently, as the executive director of Providence Forum, I had the privilege to participate in our ministry’s Faith and Freedom Tour in Philadelphia. Dr. Peter Lillback, the founder of Providence Forum, was our tour guide. Providence Forum is now a part of Coral Ridge Ministries, headed up by Dr. Robert J. Pacienza, our host for this memorable weekend.

At one of our stops, Dr. Lillback highlighted the old synagogue there. Because of the Christian attitude of that city’s founder, the Quaker minister and lawyer William Penn, people (including Jews) would be free to practice their religion in his settlement without harassment. A rarity in that day.

As Dr. Lillback noted in one of our videos how Penn cared deeply about conscience rights, and it showed in the colony and the city he created in America: “Philadelphia, named from the Bible, brotherly love, established on the Golden Rule, freedom of conscience to each other. That becomes, then, the model of America. When Thomas Jefferson and George Washington look at Philadelphia, they say that place has succeeded far better than Virginia that imposes religion on others. Their view of conscience, their view of freedom is extraordinary.”

One of the Jews who came to Philadelphia almost a century after Penn helped the American cause in pivotal ways, for which he should be remembered. Haym Salomon was a very successful Jewish investor, who fled Europe because of anti-Semitic persecution.

In his 2022 book, Rediscovering America: How the National Holidays Tell an Amazing Story About Who We Are, Scott Powell, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute, writes: “Washington and the Continental Army were in fact perpetually short of financial resources. Fortunately, even before the Revolutionary War started there was a young Jewish lover of liberty being raised up, Haym Salomon.”

Thankfully, Scott Powell was able to attend our tour and to provide some information about Salomon, a man to whom America owes a debt of gratitude. Powell notes that Salomon was not only savvy and successful as a financier, but he had an “impeccable reputation of integrity.”  That was probably a key element of his success.

Powell notes in his book: “After the war, financial records sum up that Haym Salomon’s fundraising and personal lending provided over $650,000 [which would translate to a staggering amount of money in today’s dollars]…for Washington and the war effort.”

One interesting footnote about Haym Salomon is that the terrific actor Claude Rains played him in a short dramatic film made in 1939—entitled, “Sons of Liberty”—by the eminent Casablanca director Michael Curtiz.

The film may not hold up well today, but the man—Haym Salomon—deserves to be remembered by whole new generations of Americans.

America was built by the sacrifices of many Christians and some of their Jewish friends, like Haym Salomon, a man that modern Americans have almost completely forgotten.

So, we fast forward to today, and we see modern nihilist protesters with mottos like “Death to Israel! Death to America!” Truly, our nation is overripe in the need for a genuine spiritual revival.

###

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of Coral Ridge  Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written/co-written 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.