Weak and Contemptible Men in High Places – Cain & Abel and the Battle against Antisemitism

By: David R. Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman 

In the wake of the brutal Hamas massacre of 1,200 Israelis on October 7, it is startling and very, very chilling to see major world leaders spouting the most brazen antisemitic tropes even at weighty international forums.

At a hearing this week before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, representatives of South Africa insisted that Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians are “a more extreme form of apartheid” than what blacks suffered under the real apartheid regime. This comes on the heels of their earlier false accusation before the same Court that Israel is committing “genocide” in its war of self-defense in Gaza.

United Nations official Francesca Albanese insisted just last week that “the victims of 7/10 were not killed because of their Judaism but in response to Israel’s oppression.” Another senior UN official, Martin Griffiths, later decreed that “Hamas is not a terrorist group for us… It’s a political movement.”

To top it all off, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told a press conference at a summit of the African Union this week that “what’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide… It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children. What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Despite facing criticism over his outrageous antisemitic remarks, Lula da Silva received backing from fellow leftist presidents in Bolivia and Colombia, who both agreed that Lula was “only telling the truth.”

So, here are professional UN bureaucrats and holders of high office, who could only have achieved such positions of responsibility and power by maintaining a considerable measure of self-discipline, and yet suddenly they cannot seem to hold back from spewing hateful and odious statements against the Jewish nation and people.

How can we account for these outbursts of antisemitic and anti-Israel vitriol? Indeed, it is mystifying how antisemitism – the world’s oldest hatred – has persisted for so long, and how it is drawing together radical Islamists and radical Marxists today.

Ever since the Hamas terror militia carried out its savage pogrom last October, we have been focusing our attention and prayers on combatting the Spirit of Amalek, which we have identified as the root cause of much antisemitism down through history, and also as lurking behind the incessant Palestinian hatred and violence against the Jewish state of Israel today. So what is the Spirit of Amalek?

Amalek was a grandson of Esau, who lost both his birthright and blessing as the first-born to his younger twin brother Jacob. And even though Esau eventually reconciled with Jacob (Genesis 33:4), his grandson Amalek never accepted the loss of his family’s inheritance. This burning envy later drove his Amalekite descendants to attack the Israelites at Rephidim (Exodus 17), and again under Saul (1 Samuel 15), and David’s camp at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30), and finally the exiled Jews of Persia through Haman in the book of Esther.

This Spirit of Amalek arose out of a classic case of sibling rivalry, which some philosophers have identified as the root cause of all violence. Indeed, sibling rivalries and the frictions they cause are a major theme running throughout the Book of Genesis. The Hebrew Patriarch Abraham had two rival sons, Isaac and Ishmael; their mothers Sarah and Hagar clashed as well. There were tensions between Jacob and Esau, and between Joseph and his eleven brothers, along with the dueling sisters Rachel and Leah. Yet, the biblical narrative indicates that in most cases the brothers eventually reconciled, leaving us with a hopeful message that even sharp family divisions can be overcome.

But Amalek was an exception, which we see in the way all his later generations harbored a festering jealousy and hatred of their Israelite cousins. Alas, the Bible even says: “the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:16)

Now the very first sibling rivalry found in the Book of Genesis also ended in tragedy, when Cain slew his brother Abel. This is a story short in the telling but rich in meaning, and ultimately it is a lesson in why Hamas so viciously attacked Israelis on October 7.

In Gensis chapter four, we find that Adam and Eve birthed two sons. The older son Cain became a tiller of the ground, while the younger Abel was a shepherd. In due time, they both offered sacrifices to God. Cain presented an “offering of the fruit of the ground” to the Lord, while Abel sacrificed “the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.” And “the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:3-5)

Noticing Cain’s agitated state, the Lord approached him and warned that he not let the burning envy towards his brother Abel get the best of him. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

The message here is good advice for any of us about pleasing God and eschewing sin. There was no need for Cain to stay angry. He could have bartered some of his crops for a sheep and offered an acceptable blood sacrifice to the Lord, which is the only way to truly atone for sin (Hebrews 9:22). Cain should have already learned that lesson from his parents, who tried to cover their nakedness and shame with fig leaves before the Lord shed the blood of an animal Himself to make loin cloths of animal skins for them (Genesis 3:7, 21).

The Lord added that if Cain continued to stew in his anger, then sin (offense) was crouching around the corner ready to pounce on him. When He warned that sin “desires” you, the original Hebrew word actually means it lusts or craves for us, to trip us up and get us in trouble with God. So, best to get control of yourself and resist temptation.

The story of Cain and Abel is actually the first religious war in human history. Cain struck his brother dead because Abel had worshipped God in the right way and gained His attention and favor. Different religions all believe they offer the right path to God. But the Lord revealed to the Jewish people His chosen path to right standing before Him. The birthright and blessing to steward this incredible revelation went from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and down to his twelve sons. This created jealousies along the way among other family members, who felt the inheritance should have been theirs, eventually giving rise to the cruel legacy of the Spirit of Amalek.

This burning religious jealousy later attached itself to Christianity, producing generations of Gentile believers who were convinced they had replaced Israel as God’s favored sons. The tragic legacy of Christian antisemitism haunts the Church to this day. Yet thankfully, many Christians today have been freed from that spirit of envy and are confident in God’s election over us while also accepting His enduring, irrevocable election over Israel as well (Romans 11:29).

Sadly, the Spirit of Amalek also attached itself to Islam from its inception, and today it is producing radical Muslim terrorists around the world who are rising up in jealous anger to eradicate the Jews instead of finding a better way to worship the one true God. To accomplish that end, they are willing to join hands with radical socialists and Marxists even though most are avowed atheists.

Truthfully, Marxism has become its own religion and it has sought to eradicate those with faith in God. The Communist revolutions and purges in Russia, China and elsewhere tried to wipe out religious beliefs and forcefully impose atheism, murdering tens of millions along the way.

Somehow, radical Islam and radical Marxists are now uniting around their antisemitic hatred and envy of the Jewish people. Rather than do the right thing, they would rather eliminate Abel.

As Christians, we have a moral duty to confront this unholy alliance and defend the Jewish nation and people from its destructive agenda. This is a spiritual battle, and yet also one that must be waged against weak and contemptible men in high places.

For more on this topic:

Watch “Cain & Abel and the Root of Antisemitism” by David Parsons.