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Unification Church and anti-Semitism

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The Unification Church officially condemns anti-Semitism, yet many Jewish people consider certain Unificationist teachings to be anti-Semitic.

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Unificationist views

Church leaders have repeatedly denied the accusation that its teachings are anti-Semitic, even taking out full-page newspaper ads to call attention to the church's pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli stance.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon said:

  1. The Unification Movement categorically condemns anti-Semitism, the most hideous, abject and cruel form of hatred. We regard the murder of six million Jews in Europe the result of political short-sightedness and lack of moral responsibility on the part of Germany's political and religious leaders, and [others who] acted too late to block Hitler's ascent to power, postponed the action for his downfall, and did nothing to rescue the victims who were the captives of his satanic plans and designs.
  2. The Unification Movement recognizes the divine and natural right of the Jewish people to physical survival and preservation of its specific religious traditions.
  3. The Unification Movement regards the Land of Israel as a haven for the Holocaust survivors and sanctuary for all those individual Jews who are trying to escape physical persecution and religious, racial or national oppression.
  4. The Unification Movement [will work] for an acceptable accommodation between the Arabs and Jews, and to achieve a genuine and lasting peace in the Middle East, one of the most important corners of the world.
  5. The Unification Movement is grateful to God, to His true and righteous prophets and saints of our common spiritual tradition who prepared the foundations on which we stand and organize our struggle. We consider ourselves to be the younger brother of our Jewish... brethren, all of whom are children of our Heavenly Father. We regard it as our duty to respect and serve the elder sons of our Father, and it is our mission to serve Judaism ...
  6. The Unification Movement [is] guided by the concepts of Unity and Brotherhood expressed in the Divine Commandments, the foundations of our common spiritual heritage i.e., the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses according to the Bible. [1] (http://www.tparents.org/Moon-Talks/sunmyungmoon76/SM761200.htm)

Jewish views

The Unification Church is accused of traditional Christian forms of theological anti-Semitism.

Blame for the crucifixion

Many Jews feel that the church's views on Jewish responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus are anti-Semitic. The head of the church, Sun Myung Moon, has called on Jews to repent for the crucifixion. Blaming Jews for the death of Jesus is a classic anti-Semitic idea.

Blame for the Holocaust

Several authoratative statements by Rev. Moon about the Holocaust appear in Jewish eyes to place the blame for it mostly on entirely on the Jews themselves, as divine retribution for the crucifixion, which is another classic anti-Semitic idea.

The Rudin report

According to Jews and Judaism in Rev. Moon's Divine Principle[?], a report issued by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in 1976, "every time Rev. Moon mentions Jews or Israelites he portrays them collectively as reprobate, with evil intentions."

The controversy raised by the AJC centers around passages found in Divine Principle (http://www.euro-tongil.org/dp73/), the church's theology textbook. Rabbi A. James Rudin, Assistant Director of the Interreligious Affairs Department of the American Jewish Committee, wrote:

  • An analysis of this document reveals an orientation of almost unrelieved hostility toward the Jewish people, exemplified in pejorative language, stereotyped imagery, and accusations of collective sin and guilt.
  • Whether he is discussing the "Israelites" of the Hebrew Bible or the "Jews" as referred to in writings of the New Testament period, Rev. Moon portrays their behavior as reprobate, their intentions as evil (often diabolical), and their religious mission as eclipsed.
  • There are over 36 specific references in Divine Principle to the Israelites of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament); each one is pejorative. For example, the "faithlessness" of the Israelites is mentioned four times on a single page (p. 330). (source (http://www.freedomofmind.com/groups/moonies/jews_div_principle.htm))

Passages in Rev. Moon's talks

In a sermon delivered on March 2, 2003, Moon said:

  • "To recreate Israel, the church and the state must become one as Cain and Abel. Instead they became one with Rome and captured and killed Jesus. They united with Rome. Who are the Jewish members here, raise your hands! Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through the principle of indemnity Hitler killed 6 million Jews. That is why. God could not prevent Satan from doing that because Israel killed the True Parents. Even now, you have to determine that you will repent and follow and become one with Christianity through Rev. Moon."

In this passage, Moon clearly calls on Jews to repent and join his movement, if not his church per se.

He also seems to assert that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, and that this was the cause of the Holocaust. Blaming Jews for the death of Jesus, and asserting that the Holocaust was in some sense divine retribution, are classic anti-Semitic ideas.

Unificationists, however, maintain that it's not that simple: it was Roman soldiers who actually crucified Jesus, and the church condemns the Holocaust. This leaves a puzzle for theologians, having to do with the church's little-understood teaching of "indemnity".


Jewish people and Unificationists and their critics, including many Jews, disagree on two major points:

  1. whether it is "anti-Semitic" to regard Jews, ancient or modern, as bearing any degree of responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus
  2. whether the church is "blaming" the Holocaust on Jews (i.e., whether the church considers it to be divine retribution)

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