Ignoring the Persecution and Mass Murder of Middle Eastern Christians, Britain’s Leading Churchman Complains about Israel

Dec. 21 2021

As the chief clergyman of the Church of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is an important public figure in Britain. Thus, when he chooses to write, or put his name to, an article in his nation’s leading paper a few days before Christmas, it’s because he believes a subject is especially important. Jake Wallis Simons comments on the archbishop’s current concerns:

Yesterday, Mr. Welby and Hosam Naoum, an Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, jointly penned an article in the Sunday Times titled: “Let us pray for the Christians being driven from the Holy Land.” In it, they drew readers’ attention to the “frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups” in Israel, arguing that this was behind the sharp decline in the Christian population in Jerusalem. Nowhere else in the region. Only the Jewish state.

The archbishops took care to remind readers that the “first Christmas” had taken place “against the backdrop of the genocide of infants,” carried out by King Herod.

The archbishops were curiously silent on who these “fringe radical groups” are or what motivates them. Yet in the examples they pointed to, cases of arson and vandalism against church buildings, it is hardline Jews who have been blamed. These attacks must of course be condemned. But this does not detract from the fact that overall, Christians in Israel are flourishing.

Compare this to the routine anti-Christian carnage across the region, which the Foreign Office has described as “coming close to genocide.” A government report stated that “the inconvenient truth is that the overwhelming majority (80 percent) of persecuted religious believers are Christians.” This ranges from routine discrimination in education, the workplace, and wider society all the way to kidnap, assassination, and mass murder against Christian communities. It might not be the Holy Land, but surely such persecution deserves at least a mention by the archbishops.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Anti-Zionism, Church of England, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East Christianity

 

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia