The Archbishop of Canterbury Blamed Israel for Palestinian Muslims’ Persecution of Christians

On the Sunday before Christmas, an article coauthored by a Jerusalem clergyman and Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury—the highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England—appeared in the London Times decrying the treatment of Christians in Israel and citing a “century-long decline in the Christian population in the Holy Land.” Meanwhile, Welby has been silent about the recent spike in attacks on Christians in India, and didn’t see fit to write essays on the persecution of his coreligionists elsewhere in the Middle East. Elliott Abrams comments:

The Christian population in Gaza has declined by 80 percent, from about 4,500 when Israel ruled Gaza down to 1,000 now under Hamas rule. . . . In the West Bank, the Christian population is steadily declining and the State Department reports that, “According to local Christian leaders, Palestinian Christian emigration has continued at rapid rates.”

The Christian population appears to be rising in Israel, but dropping in the West Bank and Gaza. Why, then, blame Israel rather than the Palestinian Authority and Hamas?

Robert Nicholson summed up the situation well: “If the Church of England wants a Christian renaissance in the Near East, it should extend a hand of friendship to the only country where that project is still viable.”

Yet, to adopt Dara Horn’s felicitous phrasing, Welby is very sensitive when it comes to dead Jews, even as he appears fixated on finding fault with living Jews:

Last summer, Archbishop Welby announced that in 2022 the Church of England would apologize for the treatment of Jews in, and their expulsion from, England 800 years ago. . . . The apology is a bit odd, though, given that the Church of England as such would not exist until several hundred years later. . . . Welby should understand that his apology for the church’s actions regarding Jews in England 800 years ago is of far less importance to Jews everywhere today, including in England and especially in Israel, than treating the Jewish state fairly. If he can’t manage that, no apologies will ever be sufficient.

Read more at Bulwark

More about: Anti-Semitism, Church of England, Hamas, Middle East Christianity, Palestinian Authority

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion