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Antisemitic Easter Traditions Are Alive and Well in Europe

PHOTO CREDIT: In Ootmarsum on April 9, 2013, courtesy of (Municipality of Dinkelland

Antisemitic traditions cast a dark shadow over the Easter celebrations in Poland and the Netherlands last week. During what should be a time of remembering the resurrection of Yeshua, small towns in Europe were burning a kippa-wearing effigy of Judas and singing songs about how “the Jews” killed Jesus, committing deicide.

In Pruchnik, Poland, there was a parade featuring a large effigy of Judas (marked as a Jew by his kippa) that culminated in a mock trial of the disciple who betrayed Yeshua, with children poking him with sticks and the men of the town then setting the effigy on fire for a ceremonial burning.

In Ootmarsum in the Netherlands, in celebration of Easter, some men in the town wear raincoats and hats and smoke cigars as they parade through town, caroling about “the Jews who with their false council sacrificed Jesus on the cross.” The men who smoke are known as “Judas.”

Keep in mind…this isn’t a story from 100 years ago…it is from last week. Maybe the worst part of that is the hatred these “Christians” display for Judas. Jesus loved Judas. Jesus chose Judas. Yes, he was destined to turn on the Messiah, but you never see Yeshua treat him with anything but love—even when He knew he had betrayed Him with a kiss.

Israel’s minister charged with combatting antisemitism, Amichai Chikli, protested to the Polish ambassador to Israel that these types of community events “have led throughout history to blood libels, discrimination and pogroms against innocent Jewish people and other bystanders.”

Dutch Rabbi Lody van der Kamp called the antisemitic displays “unfathomable.” He added, “It is beyond me how the residents of Ootmarsum (where four Jews were gunned down in the Holocaust) can sing along to this knowing the history of their city.”

But some of the participants and onlookers do not share the rabbi’s view:

“[We] take issue with how this beautiful tradition is coming under external pressure.”

“Let the incessant complainers find some other target than this beautiful tradition. No one here came to offend anyone.”

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