Falling for Islamic State Propaganda about Christians

July 29 2016

On June 15, the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report on the ongoing genocide of Iraqi Yazidis, an ethnically Kurdish religious group, by Islamic State (IS). The same report dismisses the accusation that IS is also bent on exterminating Christians. Nina Shea argues that the Commission—an influential body established by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights—has credulously believed IS denials while ignoring a great deal of contrary evidence:

The report confidently declares that IS unconditionally recognizes Christians’ “right to exist as Christians,” including those within its territory, “as long as they pay the jizya tax” [traditionally demanded of those neither Muslim nor pagan] because, it suggests, the terror group respects Christians (and presumably Jews) as “People of the Book.” Another unsubstantiated and insupportable claim is that there are “Christian communities still living in IS-controlled territory.” The report even denies that the IS attacks against the Christian minority are religious, asserting instead a political motivation for its violence against that minority. . . .

[T]his conclusion is demonstrably false. . . .

In truth, there is a complete absence of intact Christian communities in IS-held territory, which is prima facie evidence that there was no jizya option for the Christians. Testimony and reports from the Christian survivors and their clergy confirm this.

What IS refers to as “jizya” is extortion and ransom from a few disabled or elderly individuals, and others who did not escape in time. Those who did not escape have been killed or forced to become “brides” [i.e., sex-slaves] to jihadists, human shields, slaves, hostages, or Muslims against their will. They are barred from practicing their Christian faith.

IS not only intends to destroy the Christian communities under its control; it has done so, and should be held accountable for the genocide against the Christians as well as for that against the Yazidis.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at American Interest

More about: Genocide, ISIS, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, United Nations, Yazidis

Europe-Israel Relations Have Been Transformed

On Monday, Israel and the EU held their first “association council” meeting since 2012, resuming what was once an annual event, equivalent to the meetings Brussels conducts with many other countries. Although the summit didn’t produce any major agreements or diplomatic breakthroughs, writes Shany Mor, it is a sign of a dramatic change that has occurred over the past decade. The very fact that the discussion focused on energy, counterterrorism, military technology, and the situation in Ukraine—rather than on the Israel-Palestinian conflict—is evidence of this change:

Israel is no longer the isolated and boycotted outpost in the Middle East that it was for most of its history. It has peace treaties with six Arab states now, four of which were signed since the last association council meeting. There are direct flights from Tel Aviv to major cities in the region and a burgeoning trade between Israel and Gulf monarchies, including those without official relations.

It is a player in the regional alliance systems of both the Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean, just as it has also become a net energy exporter due to the discovery of large gas deposits of its shoreline. None of this was the case at the last council meeting in 2012. [Moreover], Israel has cultivated deep ties with a number of new member states in the EU from Central and Eastern Europe, whose presence in Brussels bridges cultural ideological gaps that were once much wider.

Beyond the diplomatic shifts, however, is an even larger change that has happened in European-Israeli relations. The tiny Israel defined by its conflict with the Arabs that Europeans once knew is no more. When the first Cooperation Agreement [between Israel and the EU’s precursor] was signed in 1975, Israel, with its three million people, was smaller than all the European member states save Luxembourg. Sometime in the next two years, the Israeli population will cross the 10 million mark, making it significantly larger than Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and Austria (among others), and roughly equal in population to Greece, Portugal, and Sweden.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israeli gas