Mennonite and Jewish History

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:3

The irony . . .

The similarities between Mennonite and Jewish history are readily apparent, prompting one well-known Mennonite author to write:

My own linkage to the Jewish people has a very special history. The Mennonite people have often been likened to the Jews, both by themselves and by outsiders. Mennonites, like Jews, have been a wandering minority, often persecuted by both church and state, though the Mennonite story is much briefer, dating back only to 1525. And its tales of martyrdom, however horrible in Stalinist Russia in the twentieth century and the Holy Roman Empire in the sixteenth, are surpassed in magnitude by the Nazi holocaust. Yet there are strong parallels and every time Fiddler on the Roof visits our community I see not only Jewish exiles escaping tsarist pogroms, but also thousands of my own people, including father and mother, driven from their homes by the Communist revolution, by the ensuing civil war, and by the collectivization in the Soviet Era.[1]

Given their experience of being a wandering, murdered, and oppressed minority, one might imagine that Mennonite-supported institutions would have words of comfort for Israeli Jews and words of condemnation for those who call for their destruction. To the contrary, Mennonite activists provide aid and comfort to those who foment anti-Semitism and seek Israel’s destruction.

Key Mennonite Institutions against Israel, Dexter Van Zile

As Menno Simons prophetically penned…

“Since then, we have been saved out of the mouths of the lions and bears of the pit, and out of the snares of concealed thieves and robbers, through the great Shepherd of the sheep, the High Priest of our souls, Christ Jesus, and are now upon the chosen and fruitful mountain of Israel, and the green luxuriant pastures of the holy word (the Lord be eternally thanked), our hungering consciences have been fed with the food of eternal life, it must ever be a condemnable folly to forsake such a true shepherd, and such precious pastures, and again enter upon the barren and waste deserts, under the false shepherd who does nothing else but rob and deprive God of his glory, and rain and murder our poor miserable souls, John 10:8.”[2]

[1] Frank Epp, The Palestinians: Portrait of a People in Conflict (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1976), 13.


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