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

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy