4 December 2012
Cognitive Dissonance for Christians
… and not a little for the Jews†
How is it possible that while Christians are being raped, murdered, kidnapped, forced to change religion, their churches burnt and their property stolen in virtually all Muslim countries yet the official bodies of the Church, Protestant and Catholic, think punishing Israel for the temerity to build in the territories is the real issue?
How is it possible that all those things are happening yet it is local Palestinian Christians and church financed NGOs that are providing the ammunition for the attack? Could church support for BDS be their way of avoiding the cognitive dissonance that the groups they support really hate them?
That the one state the church does boycott is the one state that is Jewish is surely a coincidence?
It seems that every time you look yet another group of respectable mainstream churches is resolving to kick Israel. The Church of Scotland pulled a BDS resolution, at the last minute, calling for a UK ban of goods from ‘unlawful’ Israeli settlements ‘with regret’ after legal advice that they might actually have to pay for the economic damage they cause. They continue to lobby for the introduction of labelling of products in the UK which clearly identify whether they are from an Israeli settlement over the Green Line. They call it, without irony, a Deliverance.
By the way, what’s with all the Church of Scotland property for sale? Is the church an extremely active realtor or is it losing parishioners and desperate to recover lost income? The church that uses the burning bush as its symbol must be having a fire sale.
North America’s United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and United Church of Canada voted on boycott products from Israeli settlements resolutions. Despite claims to the contrary by the BDS movement they didn’t all pass the resolutions but resolutions condemning Israel did pass.
These are all Protestant organisations. You wonder if there is a herd mentality at work. Do they bond over tea-with-milk at faith conferences?
The Catholics are no better when it comes to Israel. Trocaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, billing itself as Working for a Just World is worse. Of course, I could be saying that because Trocaire has invested so much in preparing a beautiful website and making their support of Palestine aspirations a focus of their activities and not just an item on a busy schedule. It could be that Trocaire is coming under fire in Ireland and it’s not just Irish advocates for Israel protesting the Irish government financing this campaign. Trocaire’s call for Israel ban is ‘beyond its remit’.
There is an interesting flow-on. Trocaire receives money from the Irish Government and then passes it on to groups like Badil who specialise in anti Israel incitement.
Action Item (for the Irish)
If you receive a Trocaire gift catalogue with a reply paid envelope. Please take the time to write a quick note and tell Trocaire you stand with Israel and this Christmas will be donating to the people of Sderot, it won’t cost you a penny and will get our message across. (Hat tip to Irish4Israel on Facebook).
This is not the place to survey every NGO group working against Israel. For a much more detailed analysis I recommend Anti-Israel NGOs keep on pumping out lies. Of the twenty-two (22) separate groups involved in the publication of TRADING AWAY PEACE How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements, apparently being distributed to EU politicians to pressure them into banning imports of goods from Jews – and only Jews – who work in Judea and Samaria at least fifteen (15) are directly associated with Christian groups. Some were unfamiliar so a made a list in the footnotes with the Christian connection, usually gleaned from their websites‡.
It’s intriguing and ironical that in some cases you really have to look to find any Christian context, such as mention of God or Jesus, on their website. In others there is a disclaimer that their work has nothing to do with spreading Christianity or in any way is aimed at benefitting Christians in the areas they work. Are they scared what someone, less tolerant of diversity, might say?
What the churches, Protestant and Catholic, and for all I know Orthodox, have in common apart from their high-minded, hypocritical approach to Israel is absolute denial that Christians are in trouble throughout the Middle East and Muslim world.
The present and future of Christians in the Middle East
Last month I attended a seminar on this issue. This blog post was actually started a couple of days later but due to Operation Pillar of Defence, the successful Palestinian attempt to have the United Nations General Assembly impose their virtual state by majority vote and just plain real-life interfering with blogging, I put it aside. I feel it is just as relevant now. Nothing has changed for the Christians.
The seminar was sponsored by the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel (never heard of them) and Bnai Brith World Center Israel (them I’ve heard of) on the fate of Christians in the lands they originated from. The main speakers were Raymond Ibrahim, a Coptic Christian, well-known for his contributions to the Gatestone Institute; Juliana Taimoorazy, an Assyrian Christian refugee now living in America and campaigning for the Christian minority in Iraq and Mordechai Kedar, Arabic studies scholar and former Intelligence officer best known, at least for me, for schooling an interviewer on the Al Jazeera Arabic about Islam and Jerusalem. Check out this YouTube link.
I won’t attempt to review their presentations in detail but some things they said deserve repeating and sharing. Accuracy as best as I can without a recording device.
Israel is the Dhimmi that got away.
One thing that all three speakers agreed on is that the common factor in the persecution of Christians, worldwide, is Islam. It’s refreshing to hear them because so often so-called analysts bend over like ostriches to avoid dealing with a politically incorrect fact-of-life. Unfortunately that includes many politicians, analysts and otherwise Israel sympathisers in Israel and abroad.
That is actually one of my red flags when taking in the argument of someone who claims to have the solution to the Israel/Palestine problem. I ask, how have they factored in Islam. If they haven’t, their solution has no real world application.
I am amazed that the humanitarian situation in Palestine receives so much attention.
It is ludicrous when compared with the humanitarian situation of the Christians.
Actually, IMHO it’s ludicrous compared with the humanitarian situation most everywhere in the Muslim world.
I asked Ibrahim about the virulent antisemitism that comes out of the Egyptian Coptic Church. He didn’t deny it but claimed it was a response to Muslim pressure. His explanation was that Arab nationalism is a Christian invention to allow them to enter Arab society as equals (Egyptians, Tunisians, etc.) so they have to be more nationalist than their neighbours to prove themselves.
I’m not sure how much I buy this explanation. Thousands of years of indoctrination into the evil of the Jews doesn’t just go away. The hatred I see is expressed in religious terms against the Jews and not in national terms against the Israelis.
What is happening now is what the Christians have been enduring for 1,500 years.
Taimoorazy’s presentation was most graphic and most personal. She was a refugee smuggled out as a child. When things get difficult the Muslims kill the Christians. It is presumably worse now than ever. Christians make up a disproportionate percentage of all Iraqi refugees.
One interesting aspect of the presentation is the claim that the Kurds were persecuting (arson, kidnapping and murder) as much as the Arabs. Weren’t we always told the Kurds were the good guys?
The Churches oppose this initiative because it confuses the parishioners who we have told that Islam is a peaceful religion.
Most of us have asked why are the major Christian organisations, especially in the free world, not campaigning strongly on behalf of the Middle East’s Christians? One can understand, if not condone, their throwing Israel under the bus on pragmatic and theological grounds. As much as I appreciate the support we receive from some Christian groups I don’t doubt that mainstream Jew Hatred and Replacement Theology have much to do with it. But aren’t the Christians the home team?
Apparently not. According to Taimoorazy, they actively impede her work. She tells of approaching churches who told her that she would only be allowed to address their congregations is accompanied by a minder, who will contradict what she says!
When asked what can we, i.e. Israelis do, she answered spread the word. So please check out the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
If you don’t find plenty to debate in Dr. Kedar’s presentation, you haven’t been listening.
Islam is dominated by Christians who should have been subjugated by Islam.
The world is upside down.
America (seen as Christian) is too strong so local Christians must suffer.
The main idea of Islam to replace loyalties of the people is a total failure.
The idea of an embittered Islamic bully taking it out its frustrations on much weaker Christians seems to have merit. My problem with the concept is that just about every Islamic leader I have heard is convinced that victory is just around the corner. It’s not simply that they proclaim victory no matter how badly they have been battered, as in the latest Gaza scuffle, but they seem generally to believe it. How are they going to believe the Koran or their lying eyes? Total cognitive dissonance.
The ultimate victory of the West is the autonomy of the 16-year-old girl.
Cell phones are designed to defeat Islam.
According to Islamists
If true, I find this a cause for optimism. It confirms my observation that there is a battle going on in Islam between modernism and medievalism. I used to describe it as Turkey vs. Iran but that was before Erdogan. We can only hope, I guess, for a modernist victory.
But is it true? The soldiers of Islam may hate America and wish for a return to perfection in the 7th Century but they wear Levis; carry mobile phones and fly planes not magic carpets into buildings. The same men who sexually assault women in Tahrir square photograph their exploits on their phones and send the results as media messages.
They will start burning churches in Europe when the churches are too close to their neighbourhoods.
This is a prediction that will be decided one way or another, in time. One thing is sure. They burn plenty of churches in Africa and Asia.
Does it matter what happens to the Christians?
Not the easiest question to answer. Why should Israel care if the last Christian leaves Egypt or Iraq? It’s not as if they love us or we love them. With notable exceptions on both sides, of course. The late Menachem Begin thought it the moral duty of the Israeli state to come to the aid of the Lebanese Christians. Nor is it a case of first they come for the Christians and then they come for the Jews. The Jews have already been ethnic cleansed from nearly all the Middle East and North Africa.
Part of the concern is humanitarian, part pragmatic and part public diplomacy. It is something of an irony when the remaining Christians of the region that saw the birth of Christianity are in trouble and the only ones listening to their calls for help are the Jews.
† I never had even one Latin lesson in school. The title comes directly for Google Translate so I apologise in advance for errors in grammar. My tentative title was Pax Christi but I dropped that idea when I discovered that was the name of an existing organisation. One that is also well-known for its hostility to Israel.
‡The organizations behind this exercise in demonization are:
( Christian Groups are highlighted. There may be more connections requiring more that a five-minute Google search).
- APRODEV - the Association of World Council of Churches related Development Organisations in Europe.
- Broederlijk delen (Belgium)
- Caabu (UK)
- CCFd – Terre Solidaire (France) – Comité catholique contre la faim et pour le développement. The Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development CCFD-Terre solidaire was mandated by the Conference of Bishops of France to mobilize solidarity of Christians, especially during the period of Lent.
- Christian Aid (UK and Ireland) – Christian Aid is a Christian organisation although apparently not part of any single organised church.
- Church of Sweden - largest Christian church in Sweden and the largest single Lutheran church in the world. Until 2000 it held the position of state church.
- Cordaid (Netherlands) – The Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid
- danChurchAid (Denmark) = DanChurchAid is rooted in the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church.
- diakonia (Sweden) – is a Christian development organisation working together with local partners.
- FinnChurchAid (Finland) – Finn Church Aid operates as part of the international, ecumenical network of churches. Member of the ACT Alliance, an alliance of 111 churches and church-related organisations.
- ICCo (Netherlands) – ICCO is the interchurch organization for development cooperation.
- IKv pax Christi (Netherlands) – The Interchurch Peace Council (IKV) was created the then Dutch Reformed Church and Pax Christi in 1966.
- International Federation for Human rights (FIdH)
- Medical Aid for Palestinians (UK)
- medico international (Germany)
- medico international Switzerland
- The Methodist Church in Britain - largest Wesleyan Methodist body in the United Kingdom, with congregations across Great Britain (although more limited in Scotland).
- Norwegian people’s Aid – Couldn’t find a direct church connection but their symbol is a green cross.
- Norwegian Church Aid – Norwegian Church Aid is an ecumenical diakonal organisation.
- Quaker Council for European Affairs – The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) was founded in 1979 to promote the values of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the European context.
- Quaker Peace and Social Witness (UK) – We support Quaker witness in local communities and represent Quakers at a national level to parliament, government and the general public.
- Trocaire (Ireland) – official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
* Made in China.com (isn’t everything?)
- Christians Are the World’s Most Persecuted Religious Group, Enza Ferreri, 24 November 2012