Today, Who Will be Counted as “Righteous Among the Nations”?

Today, Who Will be Counted as
“Righteous Among the Nations”?

© David Burton 2017

Righteous Among the Nations

     As we approach the third decade of the twenty first century, terror, despotism, inhumanity, genocide and intolerance seem to be infecting our world to an extent never before seen. The horror in Syria continues to take more lives and continues to create an ever-increasing flood of refugees.

     Eighty years ago, the extermination of European Jewry was underway. Today, it was reported that 60% of European Jews are afraid to attend synagogue services. The reason: the recent increase of anti-Semitic incidents by Moslems. In the 1930s and 1940s there were a number of “Righteous Among the Nations” who put their lives at risk to save Jews from the Nazi terror. Are there any “Righteous Among the Nations” in today's Europe who are willing to step up to the line to combat this 21st century anti-Semitism?

     When the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopts resolutions that call for Jewish holy sites like the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb to be part of a non-existent State of Palestine, where are the “Righteous Among the Nations” to protest this gross act of anti-Semitism? When UNESCO declares the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest place outside of the Temple Mount, as a Muslim site, who is standing up to decry this act of historical revisionism and racism? Who is there to protest when the United Nations allows the passage of a resolution prepared by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the Western Wall, or Kotel HaMa’aravi, to be designated as part of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the tomb of Rachel to be renamed as the burial place of Bilal Ibn Rabah, a companion of Islam's prophet, Mohammed; and, who is there to protest when the Cave of the Patriarchs is to be defined as a Muslim shrine and part of "Palestine"? Who among the “Righteous Among the Nations” is raising his hand in protest when the U.N. is deciding that the Temple Mount is to be henceforth identified as al-Aksa Mosque/al-Haram al Sharif, implying that Christians and Jews have no religious or historical ties to this site?

     Today, the news is filled with ongoing reports of crimes against humanity. Where are the “Righteous Among the Nations” who are willing to do more than wring their hands in pious indignation and are actually willing to step up and take concrete steps to end the atrocities and punish those who are committing the crimes against humanity?

     “Today, there is no shortage of egregious violations of human dignity and disregard for human life.”
     “In Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise . . . Meanwhile, officials in Tehran call for the annihilation of Israel, the world's only Jewish-majority state. In some Arab countries, minority communities like the Yazidis, Baha'i, and Christians are targeted for forced conversion, persecution, death, or exile. In parts of Africa, young girls have been kidnapped and enslaved because of their religious affiliation or gender. In Syria over the past five years, hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions rendered homeless . . . And, painfully, the list goes on.
     “Who will be the righteous in the 21st century? Who will give voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless, and hope to the forlorn? Who will demonstrate the indomitability of the human spirit? Who will say ‘I am a Jew’ or ‘I am a Yazidi,’ even if they are not, in order to help save those who are? Who will take inspiration from the ancient Jewish teaching that we are all created in the image of God, and therefore must stand up for one another if we are truly to stand up for God?” (Ref. 1)

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

     Today, when faced with the question, “Are you your bothers’ keepers?”, there should be a loud and unanimous response from all civilized peoples “We are our brothers’ keepers! And we should follow up that pronouncement with concrete action. That should be the response to the Assad atrocities in Syria. That should be the response to Putin’s aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine. That should be the world’s response to the threat by the Ayatollah’s Iran to obliterate Israel. That should be the world’s response to Vladimir Putin stirring up trouble with Russian minorities in Estonia and Latvia, and with Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania. That should be the world’s response to Boko Haram Islamist group attacks in northeastern Nigeria and their efforts at establishing a fundamentalist caliphate there. That must be the response to Islamic extremist attempts in the mountainous Pashtun-dominated regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan to establish an Islamic State. That should be the unanimous response to Kim Jong-un’s threats to attack the U.S., South Korea, and other Asian countries with nuclear armed ballistic missiles. We are our brother’s keeper when it comes to responding to the ISIS bombings of Christian Coptic churches in Egypt and when 3 suicide bombers massacre over forty innocents at the airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

     Like-minded people and nations need to take on the role of righteous among nations when it comes to situations like that in Somalia. There, Somali National Army troops and other African allies, as well as U.S. special operation forces, are fighting al-Qaida linked militants operating under the name al-Shabab. “Somalia has been without a truly functioning government for two-and-a-half decades, its vast ungoverned spaces allowing extremist groups to gather and train. Al-Shabab has carried out deadly attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.” (Ref. 2)

     Where is the righteous indignation when Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. Are there no more righteous among the nations of the world that will come to their aid? As for the United Nations, that organization has become a joke because of its powerlessness and bias. The U.N. is only what the General Assembly, which is dominated by the Islamic nations, and the Security Council, which is morally paralyzed by Chinese and Russian vetoes, want it to be. None of those nations that render the General Assembly and the Security Council so ineffective could ever be considered to be “righteous among the nations of the world.” Indeed, they have proven to be the sources and defenders of much of what is wrong in today’s world.

     One lesson that recent history and common decency should have taught us is that we all need to be our brother’s keeper. We all need to work to be counted as righteous among the nations of the world. We cannot turn our back on those in need – the world is too small these days. The world needs to have a collective conscience and it needs to stand up for that which is right and just. Sticking one’s head in the sand is not an option. There may be painful costs for standing up to evil, but there is almost always a much greater cost to ignoring it. The piper must eventually be paid. Unchallenged evil only feeds on its successes and grows stronger. Better to destroy it in its initial stages than to allow it to fester and grow stronger if unopposed.

     My views in this matter are sometimes challenged with the question, “do you want your son or daughter to go and fight in some foreign land?” My answer has to be, “No, but better that my son or daughter goes and defeats evil in some foreign land today, then for my grandson or granddaughter to have to go and fight a more powerful threat in the future while the present danger perpetrates its atrocities on the innocents and defenseless today.”


  1. AJC and the Greek Righteous among the Nations, David Harris, AJC/David Harris Blog, 31 October 2016.
  2. Pentagon Gets OK for More Aggressive Airstrikes in Somalia, Lolita C. Baldor,, 30 March 2017.


  20 April 2017 {Article 286; Undecided_54}    
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