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.

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Read more at Bulwark

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

 

The Arab Press Blames Iran Rather Than Israel for Gaza’s Woes

Following the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the weekend, many journalists and commentators in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia didn’t rush to condemn the Jewish state. Instead, as the translators at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) note, they criticized the terrorist group for “operating in service of Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip’s residents.” One Saudi intellectual, Turki al-Hamad, wrote the following on Twitter:

It is apparent that, if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today it does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, “Why [is this happening] and who is to blame?”

I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders. . . . From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motives, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime.

A, article in a major Arabic-language newspaper took a similar approach:

In a lengthy front-page report on August 7, the London-based UAE daily Al-Arab criticized Islamic Jihad, writing that “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, while the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” It added that Iran does not want to confront Israel directly for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

“The war in Gaza is not the first, nor will it be the last. But it proves . . . that Iran is exploiting Gaza as it exploits Lebanon, in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with the West. We all know that Iran hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israel, and it also will not do this to defend Gaza or Lebanon.”

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza Strip, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel-Arab relations, Persian Gulf