Given the common status as minorities within an overwhelmingly Islamic region, you might expect Christian Arabs to find common cause with Jews and Israel. But it seems that the traditional hatred of Eastern Christianity for Judaism has closed off that option.
The proof is Ray Hanania, a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post and other publications, a well known Arab Christian, considered by them to be a “moderate Palestinian”.
His recent column in the Saudi Gazette and Al Arabiya, is a sum of Arab Christian hatred for Israel expressed in political and theological terms.Hanania slams “Israel’s racist claims to Palestine” and contends that “Palestinians like myself have more of a claim to ‘Israel’ than Jews, many of whom are converts to Judaism who long ago lost any links to the Biblical Hebrew people”.
According to this experienced columnist, Israel is more racist with Christians than the Muslims. He writes: “Israel, which claims to be the ‘homeland of the Jewish people’, rejects all Jews who believe in Jesus. The logic continues along the same lines for those Jews who became Christians and who later, in the 7th century, became followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Maybe that is why Muslims have shown more compassion for Christians, and why Israeli Jews hate Christians as much as they hate Muslims”.
According to Hanania, “Arab Muslims have done far more to protect Middle East Christians, mainly because they too suffer as a result of Israeli war crimes.
Today, Israel is doing everything it can to destroy not only the Muslim claim to Palestine but the Christian claim, too. In fact, for Israelis, destroying the Arab Christian presence in Palestine is more important than destroying the Muslim claim to Palestine”.
Hamas, Fatah and Iran’s Ahmadinejad could have not said it better.
And that’s not all. “Without America, Israel would be just another apartheid South Africa”, Christian columnist continues, suggesting Muslims “include Arab Christians in their organizations, recognizing them as the ‘New Jews’ of today’s world”.
This is the same theology which portrayed the Jews as the executioners of Jesus and helped fuel burnings at stake and pogroms, until the Holocaust drove it underground for a short period.
In Bethlehem tourists are back, shops are open, but behind what appears to be a sunny Christmas lurks a political struggle for control of the hearts and minds of the people. Islam is going to superseed Christianity. While the Arab Christian writers like Haninia are endlessly focused on “Islamophobia,” a potential genocidal Christianophobia is spreading through Islamic lands. Ask the Christians in Nigeria and Syria.
Yasser Arafat and Ahmed Yassin, Ayatollah Khomeini and Hassan Nasrallah, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden all linked the wanton murder of Jews with the liquidation of Christianity. They don’t see Jerusalem as an urban terrain of conflict, but as a religious symbol of historical significance.
Why the global Christian columnist Hanania hasn’t the courage to say that the process of eradication of Palestinian Arab Christianity began immediately after Yasser Arafat assumed control of the Palestinian Authority, when Christian sites and cemeteries were desecrated by Muslims, slogans like “Islam will win” and “First the Saturday people then the Sunday People” were painted on walls, and PLO flags were draped over crosses?
Why doesn’t Hanania say that after the 1948 war, Christian communities suffered most when they were not under “Israel’s occupation,” because Muslim refugees were cynically settled in their midst by the Arab leadership?
Why doesn’t Hanania confess that Ramallah was 90% Christian before the war, while Bethlehem was 80% Christian, but that by 1967, more than half of Bethlehem’s residents were Muslim, while Ramallah is a large Muslim city today?
Why doesn’t Hanania write that in a process of “Lebanonization,” Arafat changed Bethlehem’s demography by bringing in thousands of Muslims from refugee camps?
Why doesn’t Hanania explain that Arafat and Hamas turned Bethlehem into a safe haven for suicide bombers, that Christians became the PLO’s human shields, that the owner of the Gaza Strip’s only Christian bookstore was murdered by Islamists and that Christian shops and schools have been firebombed?
Why doesn’t Hanania state that in fact, the bigger truth ignored by the Western press and the Churches is that Israel’s “occupation” helped restore calm and security not just in Israel, but also in Bethlehem?
Why doesn’t Hanania reveal that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches asked Israeli authorities to change the route of the fence simply because they don’t want to live under the Palestinian autocracy?
Hanania’s column shows that Arab Christians have already Islamicized. Supported by the Vatican and the Orthodox Churches, they chose the war against the Jews. But they will be paid back with their own extinction, risking the same fate of their brethen in Lebanon.
Everyone remembers the Phalange atrocity in Sabra and Shatila. But very few know that the first place ethnically cleansed during the civil war was a Christian town. It was November, 1976. Palestinian terrorists came into Damour. They dynamited homes and churches, massacring entire families. They exhumed the dead from the Christian cemetery and scattered skeletons throughout the rubble. 500 Christians died that day.
Nonetheless, Hanania is right: the Christian era in the Middle East is coming to an end. It’s the fault of Palestinian Christians like Hanania, who didn’t have the courage to denounce Islamic law, to fight against the terrorist butchers like the Phalange did in Lebanon, and to reject anti-Semitism as a disease, a virus, a bacteria.
Shame on them.
Jewish eschatology contains many references to an alliance between Esau (Rome, the Christian West) and his father-in-law Ishmael (Islam) against the Jewish people. Historically, it has proven to be correct. And the Jews can’t forget 2,000 years of vicious Christian anti-Semitism.
In the Islamic world, Jews paid racist taxes, had to wear clothing that set them apart from Muslims, were prohibited from building synagogues, were required by law to take a subservient role in business with Muslims and were, by law, second-class citizens. It was the “golden age.” In the Christian world, Jews could not own land, lived in ghettos, occupied only niches in the economy and were despised as the “killers of Christ.”
Yet today, Christians and Jews both live under the shadow of Islamic law and terror; and in a world threatened by jihad, they are natural partners. Israel has become the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East.
When on October 13, 1990, the Syrian army, Hizbullah and other Islamic factions invaded the Christian enclave in Lebanon, only in the so-called “security zone” free Christians were able to survive. The famous “good fence” in Metulla became a symbol of cooperation and blood alliance between the Jewish and Christian peoples in the Middle East.
Now that Bethlehem stands under the sprouting photographs of Arafat and of waving flags promising “Palestine”, may the city in Judea not become a second Damour.
If the land that belongs to the Jews is gradually overtaken, the Christians will be next. That’s why Christians should see Israel as the first line of Western defense in the battle for non-Muslim survival and prosperity in the world.
The rest is just empty words.
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the personal stories of Israel’s terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.