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Monday, July 25, 2016

The last hope for Middle East Christians

It's no secret that there's only one country in the Middle East where Christians have not become an endangered species, and where their population has grown over the last 100 years. You guessed it - it's Israel and I've written about it time and time again (search Bethlehem in the blog for some examples).

In Catch the Jew, Tuvia Tenenbaum writes about a meeting he had with a Christian in Bethlehem, who acknowledged that the town's Christian population had declined by more than 90% since 2000, as Christians fled. When he asked her why, she blamed it on... you guessed it: The 'Occupation.'

So what is it that these people don't get? Luma Simms, a Christian who grew up in Iraq tries to explain.
This is not just a Muslim problem. This anti-Semitism trickles down to minority groups living in Islamic dominated lands. Middle Eastern Christians manifest a hobbled prejudice since they lack the power to politically act out against Israel. As I have observed my Middle Eastern community over the years, there seems to be a Stockholm Syndrome phenomenon. After being so long under Islamic rule and imbibing Islamic propaganda, the Christians are apt to parrot their “captors” in the Islamic authoritarian governments. I hold out hope that a free Arab Christian culture could break this spell within a generation. But hope is running out—Christianity may not survive in the Middle East.
Indeed it may not - at least outside of Israel. Simms goes on to explain why Israel is the last hope for Middle East Christians.
Israel is the last hope for Arab Christians; it’s as simple as that. America is not leading on the refugee issue, especially for Iraqi Christians. Yet helping them, doing good to the Christians in the Arab world, would require Israel overcoming her neighbors’ anti-Semitism, even of those Christians who will not ask for help because of their prejudices.
Arab Christians in America and abroad feel caught between Muslim interests on one side and Israeli interests on the other. They are bitter. They are a weak minority, always overlooked. Arab Christians have no power to negotiate or threaten, no money to buy arms, and no land to cultivate and build. Their bitterness makes them miss an important ally: Israel. As the genocide of Middle Eastern Christians continues, the only hope of an Arab Christian remnant—a remnant that would keep and pass on its beliefs, traditions, and customs—is through help from the state of Israel. It is the humanitarian thing to do.
Israel already exemplifies this humane treatment of her enemies. They have hospitals and medical units close to their borders where they discreetly treat the wounded and injured who come to them for medical help. These people eventually go back to their homes in Syria. Patients keep the medical care quiet to protect themselves from reprisal back home for receiving care from Israel. Sometimes the patients are combatants and other times it is civilians caught in crossfire; some arrive barely alive not even knowing they are in Israel, regaining consciousness only to find themselves being cared for by the very people they have been taught to hate. These doctors and nurses are “sowing seeds of peace.”
Another reason why helping Arab Christians would be good for Israel: What better way to overcome jihad in the region than for Israel to forge an alliance with Christians? For their part, Middle Eastern Christians should see Israel as an ally, support its democratic state, and build an alliance to combat Islamic terrorists. For too long Islam has used a divide and conquer tactic on the Christians and Jews. For example, when Arab Christians living in Nazareth wanted to integrate into Israeli society and enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, they were harassed, attacked, and threatened by Arab Muslim groups. What’s worse was the accusation by Muslims and Christians that they were betraying Palestine. Anyone thinking clearly can see this for what it is: Muslims fearing the alliance of Arab Christians with Israel.
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If Israel will not act, what’s to be done? It’s hard to find exact numbers, but maybe there are between 200,000 and 400,00 Iraqi Christians left. They will be killed in Iraq, or die trying to escape. Some, God willing, may be allowed to emigrate. Elliot Abrams, during an AEI panel on the Sykes-Picot Agreement, made the most courageous statements I have heard from anyone regarding the situation:
Most of the Christian communities are dying, will never be restored….nobody has that feeling toward Christian minorities in Iraq [speaking of the desire to save the communities]…we don’t even take Christian refugees…I am really struck by the hostility to the notion that anything should be done for the Christian communities of the Middle East…is anybody being persecuted more than the Iraqi Christians? Does anybody have a more well-founded fear [of persecution]? They can’t even go to U.N refugee camps safely. And we are doing nothing about that. [Regarding the conundrum of liquidating Christianity from the area] It would be like saying, in 1940, surely a 1000 years of Jewish history in Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, we don’t want to kill it by taking those people as refugees. They died. The Christians will die, or many of them will die. So I think we don’t have the right to say, ‘Stay there and maintain your churches,’ when they’re being killed.
Israel, rise up and lead that region of the world. You are the hope for Iraqi Christians. Let it always be said: In the dark age of ISIS, when desolation and despair covered the Arab world, Israel was the house of light. Like the prophet Jonah whom God commanded to go to Nineveh and offer redemption to the Assyrians, may Israel go and redeem Assyria—redeem the Nineveh plains once again.
I have many Christian followers on Twitter. There are two in particular that I follow. Every time I tweet a link like this one, I tag them. One retweets me every time. The other never does. Why? I wish I knew.

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