Yes, Jews Killed Jesus, Too—The Bible Told Me So by Jeremy R. Hammond

by Jeremy R. Hammond
Featured Writer
Foreign Policy Journal
21 July, 2010

Jesus, on the cross, is mocked in Calvary as t...

Jesus, on the cross, is mocked in Calvary as the King of the Jews, Luke 23:36-37 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a considerable manufactured controversy regarding the assertion that Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Yeshua the Messiah (a.k.a. Jesus the Christ). According to this narrative, anyone who suggests Jews had a role is implicitly an anti-Semite, and comparisons to the Nazis and invocation of the Holocaust are seemingly obligatory in such arguments.

In a recent example, Stephen C. Webster writes in Raw Story that Glenn Beck, in saying that “the Jews murdered the biblical messiah Jesus Christ” was siding “with Nazi propaganda”. Webster argues that, “as the story goes, Jews did not kill Jesus. The Roman empire had him executed after Jewish religious leaders became worked into a frenzy over his ideas—or so the New Testament claims. Armed Roman guards allegedly beat and lashed him, then hung him on a cross until death.” He asserts that “claiming as fact that Jews killed Jesus” indicates one’s adoption of “a meme otherwise endemic to anti-Semitic thought and literature. The implication that Romans were stalwarts of law and reason who merely appeased the bloodthirsty Jewish mob was a vital component of Nazi propaganda.”

Arguments such as this, which deny that Jews had any responsibility for Yeshua’s death (beyond becoming “worked into a frenzy over his ideas”, that is), are common, and even appear from time to time in commentary in the mainstream media from time to time. Neocon pundit Charles Krauthammer, to cite another example, wrote, after the release of the film “The Passion of the Christ”, that it was necessary “to unteach the lesson” of 2000 years “that the Jews were Christ killers.”

Krauthammer similarly invoked Nazi persecution of the Jews in his argument, writing that “The blood libel that this story affixed upon the Jewish people had led to countless Christian massacres of Jews and prepared Europe for the ultimate massacre—6 million Jews systematically murdered in six years—in the heart, alas, of a Christian continent.” Krauthammer didn’t go as far as Webster in denying that, according to the Bible, “Jews did not kill Jesus”; he contented himself with suggesting that the Biblical account “lends itself to interpretation.”

But does it? It might perhaps be useful to examine for a moment what the New Testament actually has to say about it. For that, I’ll turn to David Stern’s Jewish New Testament translation, so that the charge of “anti-Semitism” is less likely to also be levied against the translator, or “anti-Semitic” against the translation.

See, the book of Matthew (Mattityahu) tells how “the head cohanim [priests] and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of Kayafa [Caiaphas] the cohen hagadol [high priest]. They made plans to arrest Yeshua surreptitiously and have him put to death” (26:3-4; emphasis added).

The book of Mark similarly also relates how “the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers were trying to find some way to arrest Yeshua surreptitiously and have him put to death” (14:1; emphasis added).

The book of Luke further explains how “the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers began trying to find some way to get rid of Yeshua, because they were afraid of the people”, and how Judas (Y’hudah) “approached the head cohanim and the Temple guard and discussed with them how he might turn Yeshua over to them. They were pleased and offered to pay him money. He agreed and began looking for a good opportunity to betray Yeshua without the people’s knowledge” (22:2, 4-5).

The book of John (Yochanan) additionally states that “the head cohanim and the P’rushim [Pharisees] called a meeting of the Sanhedrin [religious court; council] and said, ‘What are we going to do?—for this man is performing many miracles. If we let him keep going on this way, everyone will trust in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both the Temple and the nation.’ But one of them, Kayafa, who was cohen gadol that year, said to them, ‘You people don’t know anything! You don’t see that it’s better for you if one man dies on behalf of the people, so that the whole nation won’t be destroyed’” (11:47-50; emphasis added).

It is not clear which the Jewish religious leaders feared more: Yeshua’s rapidly growing following becoming a threat their own authority, or the risk of provoking the Romans into increasing their tyrannical grip on Judea. But what is perfectly clear from the Bible is that they wished Yeshua dead. And they didn’t just wish it—they acted upon their desires and actively saw to it that he was killed.

The Bible story continues, explaining how Y’hudah betrayed Yeshua with a kiss in Gethsamane (Luke 22:52-53), and how Yeshua was then taken before Kayafa and an illegal Sanhedrin, for the purpose of seeking false testimony against him in order to sentence him to death (on the illegality of this Sanhedrin, see Stern’s Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 100).

Then the Sanhedrin brought Yeshua before Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, who initially answered their request for judgment by saying, “You take him and judge him according to your own law”. But not just any punishment would do. The Jews were out for blood, as demonstrated by their response that, “We don’t have the legal power to put anyone to death” (John 18:31).

As Stern explains, “although the Romans permitted the Judeans a measure of self-government, they did not allow the execution of a death sentence; capital punishment was reserved for Rome” (Commentary, p. 207). The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also recorded how the Jewish leaders were obligated under Roman law to bring accused individuals to the Romans for the execution of a death sentence (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XX, Chapter 9).

When Yeshua would not answer the charges the Sanhedrin laid against him, Pilate pulled him aside and asked him “‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Yeshua answered, ‘Are you asking this on your own, or have other people told you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and head cohanim have handed you over to me; what have you done?’” (John 18:33-35; emphasis added).

When Pilate returned with Yeshua before the Sanhedrin, he declared, “‘I find no fault in this Man.’ But they were the more fierce, saying, ‘He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.’” When Pilate heard that Yeshua was from Galilee, he sought to relieve himself of responsibility by saying Yeshua should be sent to Herod Antipas, who had jurisdiction there. But Herod, after he and his men had mocked and mistreated Yeshua, sent him back once more to Pilate.

Then Pilate again said to the Sanhedrin, “You brought this man before me on a charge of subverting the people. I examined him in your presence and did not find the man guilty of the crime you are accusing him of. And neither did Herod, because he sent him back to us. Clearly, he has not done anything that merits the death penalty” (Luke 23:13-16; emphasis added).

The book of Matthew explains further that “It was the governor’s custom during a festival to set free one prisoner, whomever the crowd asked for.” So “the head cohanim persuaded the crowd to ask for Bar-Abba’s release and to have Yeshua executed at the stake” (27:15, 21; emphasis added).

When Pilate once more appealed to the Jews, “because he wanted to release Yeshua”, the Jews “yelled, ‘Put him to death on the stake! Put him to death on the stake!’” So Pilate said he would agree “to have him flogged and set free”. But insisting on blood, the Jews “went on yelling insistently, demanding that he be executed on the stake; and their shouting prevailed” (Luke 23:20-23; emphasis added).

Pilate relented and agreed to the Jews’ demand. “When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, ‘My hands are clean of this man’s blood it’s your responsibility.’ All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!‘” (Matthew 27:23-24; emphasis added).

So the Romans took Yeshua and flogged him, and put a crown of thorns on his head. And Pilate again said, “You take him out yourselves and put him to death on the stake, because I don’t find any case against him.” It was not for violating Roman law that Yeshua was crucified, for “the Judeans answered him, ‘We have a law; according to that law, he ought to be put to death, because he made himself out to be the Son of God’” (John 19:6-7; emphasis added).

Now, one could argue that the New Testament account is not historically accurate, and the whole business about Jews having responsibility for the death of Yeshua was entirely an invention of the gospel writers. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, apparently, if we hold to Webster’s logic, were Nazi propagandists ahead of their time, and also perhaps—Luke excepted—”self-hating Jews” (as a Gentile, Luke would have been just a regular old “anti-Semite”).

But there’s no sense at all in denying that the Bible says what it says, as Webster does—something which forces us to the conclusion either that he’s either never actually ever read the gospel accounts before, or simply chooses to be dishonest in the hopes his readers have never actually read them. Or perhaps he thinks he has Jedi mind powers, like Obi-Wan Kenobi when he waves his hand and tells the stormtroopers, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

Besides the gospels, there is also the account offered by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who alludes to the role of the Jewish religious leaders in Yeshua’s death by noting that “Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chapter 3; emphasis added).

Now, none of this is to say the Gentiles did not kill Yeshua. The Romans were—needless to say—guilty of the crime of executing an innocent man. As Stern notes, Pilate “did not escape his share of the responsibility for Yeshua’s death by merely washing his hands” (Commentary, p. 82).

But if we reject that Josephus and the gospel writers were their era’s equivalent of Nazi propagandists, then neither can Stephen C. Webster and Charles Krauthammer (and whomever else) wash the Jews’ hands of the whole affair—who were equally guilty in the crime as Pilate and the Roman soldiers who actually nailed Yeshua to the cross.

Nor is any of this to say that there hasn’t been persecution of Jews by anti-Semitic Christians through the centuries.

Rather, observation being made here is that both Christians who invoke the Jews’ role for the killing of Yeshua in the Bible in an attempt to justify their anti-Semitism and Jews who invoke anti-Semitism in an attempt to whitewash their role are missing the whole point of the story. As Stern explains, “Everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, is a sinner. By sinning, everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, killed him. Therefore everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, is guilty of Yeshua’s death.”

One needn’t subscribe to the Christian religion or believe the Bible is the Word of God in order to benefit from the moral of this story. It’s a story played out all around the world every day. You can see it told on the evening news. You can read it in the papers. As the gospel of Bob Marley puts the question to us, “How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?”

Every human being makes choices, both individually and as a society, and those choices have consequences—often bloody, with the deaths of innocents.

The Jews of Israel, for instance, cannot simply wash their hands of the consequences of their choices—such as the deaths and suffering of the people of Gaza—any more than could Pontius Pilate cleanse himself of guilt in the crucifixion.

Similarly, the U.S. government cannot simply wash its hands of the bloody consequences of its choice to support Israel and to defend its policies and its actions.

Nor can the American people wash off the blood that is on their hands as a result of their choice to ignore what their government does around the world, to pretend they have no power or control over what choices their leaders make, to look the other way, to say, “It’s not my problem.”

Many are quick to deny and point the finger and pin responsibility elsewhere. Many are the hypocrites, who, like the religious leaders of Yeshua’s time, present themselves as righteous and innocent of wrongdoing, while refusing to apply to themselves the same standard by which they judge others; who refuse to heed Yeshua’s warning: “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For the way you judge others is how you will be judged—the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you.… You hypocrite! First, take the log out of your own eye; then you will see clearly, so that you can remove the splinter from your brother’s eye!” (Matthew 7:1-2, 5)

Jew and Gentile alike, Israeli and American alike, we have all been warned. We all have a choice. The New Testament teaches that choosing contrary to the moral choice leads down a path towards self-destruction. Regardless of whether one is religious or not, it would be wise to heed this sensible warning.

The United States of America, like Israel, is slowly destroying itself. This fact is evident in the violent actions of its government; in the state of its economy; in the destruction of the environment; in its unsustainable drive to control and consume natural resources; in the attribution to institutional corporate behavior consequences that are the result of individual and collective human choices; in the intellectual culture of its political commentators; in the hypocrisy of its religious leaders; in the ignorance and apathy of its citizens.

How long will we continue down the path of self-destruction? How long will we wash our hands of the consequences of our own actions? How long will we, Jews and Gentiles alike, continue to nail Yeshua to the cross?

Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent political analyst whose articles have been featured in numerous print and online publications around the world. He is the founder and executive editor of Foreign Policy Journal (, an online source for news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy. He was a recipient of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for Outstanding Investigative Journalism and can also be found on the web at

from the archives:

Woe to you, Christian Zionists, hypocrites! by Jeremy R. Hammond

The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?

Jesus: Man, Messiah, or More?

And They Crucified Him by Art Katz

Israel: The Politics of Faith and a Land of Conflict

Dr. Michael Rydelnik: My Search for Messiah

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

36 thoughts on “Yes, Jews Killed Jesus, Too—The Bible Told Me So by Jeremy R. Hammond

  1. Oy veigh.
    Poor guy.

    But if Jesus hadn’t been persecuted, tortured and killed by the romans, there would have been no myth of the resurrection and the ENTIRE myth of the christ would have fallen apart/never existed.

    Jesus would have been better off left to live and preach his delusions, and the world would have been better off without theirs about him and his demonic, vengeful god & hideous ‘hell’.

    Jesus wasn’t the only one tortured and killed by romans.

    I’m still waiting for each and every christian to aplogize and repent via self-flagellation for burning witches, a worse death than crucifixion.

    Jews are people too, there simply is no difference, no divine decree, it’s all so silly & sad.

    • delusion you say ? to call someone preaching a delusion , you must first prove without a shadow of a doubt what reality is . since no one can do that , this is a very intellectual lazy statement .

      point 2 . who do you think delivered jesus to the romans ? the jews. they could not perform the dealth penalty themsleves at that time . so they handed him over to pilate.

    • The Romans struck Jesus dead because Jesus both stood up to the Pharisees and called Himself the messiah. That is how they nailed Him to the cross, calling Him a blasphemer. Not all Jews did it, but people who were Jews did it and today’s Judaism follows the teaching of the Pharisees. You can’t blame today’s Jews for the sins of their ancestors.

      Concerning the. “delusions” it is interesting to note by the Talmud three things. First, Jesus existed. Second, He called Himself God. Third, that He did miraculous works. The Jews, who could have easily discredited Christianity by either pointing out that Jesus didn’t exist or didn’t do any miracle, didn’t do so because they couldn’t. Instead they had to call Him a magician. So we know for sure that Jesus did exist, the NT is right when it says He called Himself God, and he really did do miracles. Ponder on that. Whenever God wanted to prove His messenger’s mission in the Torah He sent miraculous signs. Jesus was either evil or He was God, and His life and teachings show that He couldn’t be an evil man.

  2. I am Native American…

    I am Siouxish…

    Really…throughout history …there have been Jews who are anti-Jewish…

    Torquemade was reputed to have been Jewish…

    Hitler…may have had some Jewish ancestry…though he was baptized Catholic…

    Anyway, who cares what Jeremy thinks…what are his credentials?

    In 2010…the anti-Jewish forces are very powerful…they will get their comeuppance soon…

    Fascists are very powerful now…their day is coming and they will be defeated…

  3. Mr. Salad…

    I know a Nazi when I see one…

    I believe an Israeli person once complimented me once by saying that I could find an antisemite in a synagogue…

    And, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that Jeremy is a very dangerous person to the Jewish people…

    If Jeremy had power…he would be a jihadi or Nazi…no doubt…

  4. Mr. Salad…

    OK…good point…

    I will comply…

    I was trying to be amusing…

    But…can I get an answer…it Jeremy a Catholic or Muslim?

    I need to know…


  5. I never did get an answer…

    Is Jeremy a Catholic or Protestant or Muslim?

    I need to know…

    Also, I am curious…

    Does anyone agree with me…that the rhetoric of Jeremy…who is a venal person…is not a true Christian viewpoint…

    Does anyone agree with me…that Jeremy is the reason there was a Bolshevik Revolution…?

    If I were made kommissar…I would put Jeremy in a re-education camp…and teach him to be more tolerant…

    Jeremy is a turd with eyes…

  6. Recommended reading:
    Robert Eisenman: “James the Brother of Jesus”

    You will see how the various New Testament accounts do not correspond to one another, that they are really quite different in what each of the Gospels tell (or do not tell) us. Hammond’s reading is the usual simplistic nonsense with a purpose, ie to defame and besmirch the Jewish state and the Jews. Nothing new here. Same old, same old antisemitism

    • i read that book when it first came out . be specific when you talk about N.T. contradictions. anyone can say that accounts dont correspond to each other. get specific . chapter and verse please ?

  7. Can someone play the banjo music for Jeremy?

    He sounds like a congregant of the Westboro Baptist Church…

    Any guilt Jews have for killing the Jeezer has been atoned by a sea of Jewish blood that Christians have spilt…

    Jeremy…go join the Aryan Nations…

    • Rollie, are you a Christian? Just wondering.

      Are you suggesting that everyone who agrees with Jeremy should also join the “Aryan Nations”, too? As a Jew, I find that offensive.

    • rollie , have you forgotten how the jews persecuted the early believers in Jesus in palestine ? how Saul was converted to Paul ?

      you dont understand atonement because you dont understand how holy God really is . no amount of Jewish blood can atone for for what they did to their own messiah . no amount ! to even think so is to be self righteous . SELF RIGHTEOUS .

      am i letting off the hook those so called christians who persecuted jews. no way ! that was an evil act and contrary to what christ taught about loving ones enemies.

      but dont start coming up with this self righteous jewish shit . they will have to face their messiah on judgment day just like we will all have to , and explain why they constantly rejected his blood atonement .

      the crucifixion of christ is THE holocaust.

      but the good news is that God forgives . but one must ask for that forgiveness. to continue in unbelief is a sure fire remedy for damnation .

      however , as we approach the final days more and more jews are believing in Jesus . is see it every day .

  8. Rocket, First of all, you better thank Lo for letting you get away with saying what you did about her people. She may forgive you but I won’t. Second, There’s not a Jew in this world that considers you their brother.

    “Only repentance and accepting him as the messiah erases it ”

    That’s it huh? That’s the only way we can get in? Man, people like you are why people hate religion. “My way or the Highway.” Well here’s a news flash what if you’re wrong?

    Here’s another, are you fluent in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic? I’m not, And i’m willing to bet that your Preacher isn’t either. So be honest with yourself what do you actually know about what the Bible says? I used to be the same way you are until I asked myself those questions.

    • But Gary, Jesus said, “To the Jew first.” That means that Christians are obligated to tell the Good News to Jews that they know. Rocket indeed did that for me over 10 years ago. Thank goodness he did.

      • I know Lo, but he should know as a Christian that dying on the cross was what Christ was sent here to do. If he hadn’t we’d all be in a lot of trouble. The Jews and Romans were just instruments in a devine plan.No one people is more guilty than the other.

        • Oh, I understand you now. Rocket, you, Jeremy and I are on the same page then. We are ALL culpable. Rocket can explain what he meant better tomorrow when he gets online again.

    • if you are a jew gary then you should be the first one to not only hear the good news of your messiah , but receive him and proclaim him to the gentiles who are getting it all wrong. i happen to love my jewish friends enough to tell them the truth . how do you think Lo met her messiah ? i told her about him . people that withhold the good news of the messiah from the jews dont love them , they love their own reputation . i have no reputation to protect.

      in regards to the bible , i have studied it for 36 years , and if you read my testimony ”the crossing ” on this blog you will see that i was a vehement enemy of the gospel until my conversion .

      i dont have a preacher . i am not a clone . i am a free thinker . the evidence that i am telling the truth is that my life was radically changed by the risen messiah , and so can yours . it has remained changed till this day . there is a lot of Christophobia going around in america because of people who mis-represent messiah . there must be a corrective measure to this mis representation . that is why i speak truth to power and live it .

      concerning jews …they consider me a brother . there are many . i have gone to shabbat services here with orthodox , conservative , reform , and reconstructionists. i am involved in interfaith dialogue with the jewish community on a number of issues , but mostly on messiah . we work together at soup kitchen and homeless shelters here . please dont misread my relationship with jews. i dont patronize them , neither do i withhold the truth from them . i dont expect them to do that with me either .

      now — if you are personally offended by the gospel of Yeshua ( jesus ) , i suggest that you take a second look and simply read the 4 gospels for yourself . you sound like an intelligent man . one thing to remember –the messiah came in a way that is called theologically ”a reversal of expectation ” . he came in humility , vulnerable . not a big bully on the block to oppress, but to serve . this is why it is such an offense ot many jews ( and gentiles ) . Jews expected their messiah to come and kick ass , and he came in a different way and said ”the kingdom of heaven does not come with signs to be observed , for it is within you ”.

      so , one must pass thru the offense of his crucifixion for us in order to be born again . what if i am wrong ? good question . Pascal’s wager. what if i am right ? its your turn to flip the coin and find out .

  9. gary — so true . we all did it . but that must come by divine revelation . but this does not let the Jewish people off the hook for being involved in it , and then centuries later still denying their involvement .

    example : if i talk to a Jew and say ”should there be statute time limit on a Nazi war criminal . most of them would say ”NO ”. and they would be right . time does not erase the evil done .

    and yet , they think that even if they accept the fact that they had a hand as a nation in the crucifixion of Christ , that time will erase it . there is a glaring inconsistency here. time does not erase it . only repentance and accepting him as the messiah erases it , because of the great mercy and forgiveness and love of God .

    maybe i said what this writer was saying shorter , but this must be said nonetheless so that our Jewish brother can enter into the kingdom of heaven and not be left out because of their obstruction of mercy .

    • We aren’t killing random Germans today for the crimes of Nazis committed before they were born. The is no statute of limitations on murder and war crimes committed by individuals, but it is insane to punish people living today for something people thousands of years ago did. Only a raving psychotic would not be able to understand the difference.

      Yeshua was killed by the oligarchy. The high priests who controlled the sacrifice racket, and extorted the people through the money changers, enjoyed privilege and prestige based on exploiting the people. Why were there so many sick people Yeshua had to heal? The system used people up and then cast them out when they were no longer useful, letting the sick and crippled beg in the street.

      Yeshua came and said, you don’t need priests, sacrifices, crazy moralistic laws, you only need to love God and love your brothers. He said the most exalted priest is less worthy than a heretic who helps his fellow man. That teaching threatened the rule of the oligarchs, so they wanted him dead.

      • eyebeam — points well made. i keep thinking of the 2 words that Yeshua said over and over like a broken record ”follow me ”. that means in everything . picking up our cross . loving those who hate us . speaking truth to power. taking care of the destitute .

        some time ago i came up with the term ”obstruction of mercy ”. like ”obstruction of justice”in the law and order t.v. shows. so , please take my statement and analogy in context. anyone can obstruct Gods mercy by rejecting the blood sacrifice of Messiah on the cross. the german –jewish analogy had to do with the erasure of culpability toward a holy God .

        the germans defaced the image of God in man and disfigured it via crimes against humanity . that generation of nazis had to come to court. even if they lived to be 100 , time does not erase their guilt . concerning the jews — 2, ooo years after the crucifixion , both jews and gentiles sin that killed christ must be either accepted or rejected. if todays jew lets say decides to reject –they are obstructing mercy . which leaves the individual before God with no plan B.

        judgment day will be everlasting when mercy is rejected. in other words –time did not erase the efficacy of the blood sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua . it stand for all time . so , one must choose. ..for or against.

  10. “Jew and Gentile alike, killed him.” He took all that time to say what could’ve been said in one sentence… “We all did it” if you believe in what the New Testament has to say..

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