The Evangelical Left and Anti-Semitism

sourjournAnti-Israel bias among elements within the mainline Protestant churches is unfortunately common. In virtually all gatherings of these churches, motions that condemn the Jewish State are raised.  An additional element has, however, crept into the publications of these churches – hypocrisy and the distortion of the realities in the Middle East. In the July 2013 issue of Sojourners, a magazine serving liberal Evangelical Protestants in the U.S., one such example of bias, hypocrisy, and distortion is on display.

Gregg Brekke, former news director of the United Church of Christ, authored the lead article titled:  A Holy Land without Christians? and subtitled Arab Christians are vital to a thriving Middle East – and their numbers are dwindling.  The title, which focuses on the Holy Land, which typically connotes Israeli territory, is revealing in itself, and greatly misleading.  Had Brekke titled his article the “dwindling Arab Christians in the Muslim Middle East,” he would have been accurate. But in Israel the number of Arab Christians has greatly increased rather than dwindled.

Israel is, in fact, the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown in the past half century from 34,000 in 1948 to about 140,000 today.  In the Arab world and non-Arab Muslim states like Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, persecution of Christians has been and continues to be harsh and debilitating to the native Christian communities.  In Israel, by virtue of its freedom of religion, democracy, human rights, and economic opportunities, Arab Christians have not only increased in numbers, but individuals in the community have been able to attain high positions.

In addition to distinguished Arab Christian Israelis in business and medicine, there are, for example, Salim Joubran, a Justice of Israel’s Supreme Court; Knesset (Israeli parliament) Members Hana Sweid and Tawfik Toubi (Hadash Party), Basel Ghattas (Balad Party), and the famous now deceased author and Knesset Member Emile Habibi; actor, director, film maker and political activist Juliano Khamis; Mira Awad, actress, singer, and songwriter; Father Gabriel Nadaf, Greek-Orthodox priest calling for the enlistment of Arab-Christian youth into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); and Shaadi Halul, spokesperson for the Forum of Christian IDF officers.

Brekke writes that the

Christian population throughout the Middle East has fallen precipitously. Christians in the region held steady at 20 percent of the population throughout much of 19th and early 20th centuries, but today account for less than 5 percent of the total inhabitants…A roundup of the Christian population paints a vivid picture of identity anxiety and flight experienced by Christian communities throughout the Middle East. Coptic Christians, located primarily in Egypt – though many of them don’t consider themselves part of the larger Arab Christian community – account for the greater number of Christians in the region with 8 million followers, down from 10 million two decades ago.  Syria ranks second with nearly 2 million Christians, a 25 percent decline since 1970. Lebanon, with a large Christian majority during the 1920’s, now counts Christians as less than 40 percent of its population.

Due to political correctness and moral relativism that plague liberal Westerners, and perhaps fear of retribution from Islamists, Brekke ignores the role of radical Islam or Islamism in the plight of Christians.  The establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, coupled with the Wahhabi influence in the Islamic world and the West, had an impact. The so called 2011 “Arab Spring” gave rise to militant Muslim Brotherhood regimes and their Salafist affiliates in much of the Arab Middle East, coupled with the Sunni-Shiite clashes in Iraq and Syria. Life for Christians in Gaza, (under Hamas) Egypt, Iraq, and with Syria’s ongoing civil war, has become hellish.

Brekke refrained from mentioning, for example, the November 1, 2010 bombing attack by Al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq on Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad, in which 58 Christian worshippers were murdered.  Christian-owned liquor stores throughout Iraq were firebombed with loss of life.  Most of the Christian community in Iraq fled, driven by fear of Islamist death squads.

A similar story has repeated itself in Egypt, where Islamists attacked the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Day 2011. At least 21 people were killed and 97 injured in the blast, which occurred after midnight as Coptic Christians were attending services in the church.

In Syria, a Catholic Syriac priest, Fr. Francois Murad, was murdered in Idlib, on June 23, 2013, by rebel Islamist militias.  This is the latest victim in the shadow war against Christians that is being fought by jihadists in the Syrian conflict.  The Christian community in Syria is being devastated, allegedly for supporting the Assad regime (when in fact they have not done so). But for the Islamists, the mere allegation is good enough to murder Christian “infidels.”

In the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the few remaining Christians live in fear.  On October 8, 2007, The Independent reported that “[t]he manager of Gaza’s only Christian bookshop, who was abducted on Saturday by suspected Muslim extremists, was found dead yesterday.  Medical officials said Rami Ayyad, 31, had been shot and stabbed.” The article added that “About 3000 Arab Christians live among 1.4 million Muslims in the Gaza Strip, and pointed out that more than 40 video cassette shops and Internet cafes, identified with western values, have been bombed in the past year. So was an American school.  A shadowy group calling itself the Righteous Swords of Islam claimed responsibility.” Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, the Christian community has shrunk further, to about 1500.

Brekke bemoaned the decline of the Arab Christian population in Israel, but has deliberately ignored the fact that the Arab Christian community has seen a 268% increase since 1948.  At the end of 2011, however, the Jewish population of Israel stood at 5.8 million and the Arab Muslims numbered 1.3 million, increasing by 427% and 1,040% respectively.  In the case of the Arab Christian and Muslim increases, it was strictly through natural births and not through immigration as Brekke falsely suggested (“Israel and Iran have seen slight increases in Arab Christian immigrants in recent decades.”) The reality is that Arab Christians in Israel have the lowest birthrates as a group.  They have also attained high socio-economic standards and educational levels.

As a result of lower birthrates among Arab Christians in Israel, the percentage of Arab Christians in the overall population has shrunk as well.  If, in 1948, the Arab Christian population amounted to 2.72% of the total (1,248,000) at the end of 2011, that percentage was only 1.93% of the total (7,225,000).  Brekke, for some reason, was unable to comprehend this simple reality.

The deceptive title of the article that gave the impression that the Holy Land was without Christians is exaggerated at best and libelous at worst. Brekke is correct however, by asserting that in the Palestinian-controlled cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah, the Arab Christian population has indeed declined, but not in Israel. What contributes to the disappearance of Christians from the Middle East is the new jihad.  If the previous jihad of the 7th century converted the largely Christian Middle East to Islam by sword, the new jihad and its violent aspects in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories has caused a massive flight of Christians. Political correctness will not alleviate the condition of Christians in the Middle East, but the naked truth about Islamist persecution may.

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  • UCSPanther

    Israel is the one place in the ME where those of the Bahai faith can find refuge, because unlike in the rest of Arab World where they are persecuted way more viciously than even Christians and Jews (Because they are listed as “pagans” in Islam’s view, which more or less means “open season”), Israel actually is a center of religious tolerance.

  • Kate Curry

    The descendants, both spiritual and physical, of Jacob and Esau are still at it. It’s useless to wring ones hands over the mainline Christian churches, they’re a lost cause. From whence does our help come? Besides praying, I can tweet and share this article. So I will.

  • ratonis

    A UCC writer saying disingenuous and false things. Wow. Why am I not shocked?

  • Paratisi

    This is not the “Evangelical” Left! These are BLT(Black Liberation Theology) churches! An invention of a Marxist Racist, while serving time in jail for RAPE! In other words, Satanically Inspired!
    Not to say their isn’t some antisemitism in the actual “Evengelical” Left or some on the right. But the distinction, has to be made! Precise language is a major problem, the left has fomented for the sake of their point of view. The less their Morons understand, the easier to fool them, consistently!

    #NOrinos2014 #CrushRove

    God Bless America!

  • The Dead Critic

    As I always say to Atheists/Agnostics and Anti-Semites who just think their [Fill in the blank] way is the NATURAL way to life’s riches……

    When your dead, you’ll have your answer to life’s biggest mystery….at least the one that pertains to YOU!

  • AmericaFirst

    Is there anything more satisfying then when gullible Christians who have been inculcated in judeo-leftist thought turn on the standard-bearers of their ideology? Perhaps only the kosher kvetching that ensues…

    • UCSPanther

      I want you to answer a question for me: If the Soviets were controlled by the Jews, then why did they aid Gamal Nasser during the Six Day War?

      I highly doubt you neo-nazis can provide a satisfactory answer…

      • James Keir Baughman

        By then not many we’re left in Russia. And far fewer now. But, the facts of history of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia are indeed facts, and the most murderous ones of the past 100 years.

      • AmericaFirst

        Oy! First I’m a N@zi, and now I’m a neo-N@zi? All this name-calling is leaving me fertummelt, let me tells ya! Who was it again that said that “if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth?” Whoever he was, I’m sure he was a very, very bad man!

        @jameskeirbaughman:disqus was kind enough to field this question very effectively for me and dispel you of your historical sophistry. At the risk of leaving your payes in a knot, Bubele, I would further direct your attention to these fine articles, one of which is from a jew–so you KNOW it must be true! Honest! Would I lie to you?

        • UCSPanther

          If you are a representative of the “aryan” race, then you are screwed. No wonder you lost WWII…

          And for you denying you are a nazi, nice try. I call it like it is because you talk like one. Remember your comment about Zyclon-B?

          Oh, and BTW, David Duke is a con artist with a narcisstic complex and he served a year in prison for defrauding losers like you…

        • UCSPanther

          Yep. No satisfactory answer. Your beloved David Duke ain’t worth looking at because he is a confirmed liar…

          If you are a representative of the “master race”, you are doomed. No wonder you lost WWII. It must suck for you nazis to know that the Jews of today aren’t the unarmed ones of WWII…

          I’m surprised you haven’t dredged up blood libels or false accusations of pedophilia. I honestly think that you are slipping here…

      • AmericaFirst

        Oy! First I’m a Nazi, and now I’m a neo-Nazi? All this name-calling is leaving me fertummelt, let me tells ya! Who was it again that said that “if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth?” Whoever he was, I’m sure he was a very, very bad man!

        @jameskeirbaughman:disqus was kind enough to field this question very effectively for me and dispel you of your historical sophistry. At the risk of leaving your payes in a knot, Bubele, I would further direct your attention to these fine articles, one of which is from a jew–so you KNOW it must be true! Honest! Would I lie to you?,7340,L-3342999,00.html

  • Paul Marks

    If Sojourners – is a “liberal” publication then so is Pravda. It is a hard core socialist “Christian” publication.

    That it lies about the Middle East (pretending that the threat to Christians is the Jews – not Islam) does not astonish me. After all the Sojourners crowd lie about everything else.

  • Deborah

    I recently learned that the Evangelical Left is one of nine major volags that is getting paid by the State Dept (surprise, surprise) to mass immigrate ‘refugees’ to the USA; the ‘Church’ is getting paid with our hard-earned tax dollars to help heap our own funeral pyres. See the shocking, outrageous facts:

  • ralphie44

    save america – DUMP israel