Economic Empowerment Might Be the Key to Helping Middle East Christians

Throughout history, Jews have rallied to help their persecuted coreligionists abroad—from the international effort in the 17th century to buy the freedom of Ukrainian Jews sold into slavery in the Ottoman empire, to 20th-century efforts to free Soviet Jewry, to Israel’s rescue of Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen, and elsewhere. But Christians in recent years have had limited success in aiding the beleaguered Christian minorities of the Middle East. In the recent war in the Caucasus, Armenian Christians have suffered at the hands of Muslim Azerbaijan, and American Christians’ attempts to lobby their government to help have been stymied by the fact that Washington shares common interests with Baku. Robert Nicholson suggests a new approach that goes beyond the usual “bullets or band-aids”:

The time has come to shift our focus from state power to private investment, linking Christian businessmen in the West with those in the Middle East to open companies, develop properties, and transport local products to market. This was the survival strategy of the early church, whose members pooled their wealth for the benefit of all. It demands more creativity and determination, . . . but it promises more dignified and permanent results.

A peaceful economic crusade will prioritize Christian communities that have critical mass and favorable conditions for investment. Here, the significance of Armenia becomes obvious. Not only does Armenia rank high on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, it also boasts an emerging high-tech sector and inexpensive yet skilled labor.

Its Christians have something that others in the region only dream of: political sovereignty, which amplifies any investment in three dimensions. A strong economy means greater engagement from potential allies and greater resilience against local enemies. It also turns Armenia into a safe haven for regional Christians looking for better opportunity and, if needed, emergency asylum among other indigenous believers.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Armenians, Azerbaijan, Middle East Christianity, U.S. Foreign policy

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror