Raymond Ibrahim/Presbyterian Church USA Criticizes Israel, Ignores Christian Persecution

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Presbyterian Church USA Criticizes Israel, Ignores Christian Persecution
By Raymond Ibrahim on July 27, 2014 in Islam, Muslim Persecution of Christians
CBN News
Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”
Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move. Netanyahu responded:
It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.
First, the obvious: why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?
And he is absolutely right to say that the persecution of Christians in the Mideast has reached a point of “savagery of unimaginable proportions.” Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the atrocities Mideast Christians are exposed to—the slaughters, crucifixions, beheadings, torture and rape—is the absolute silence emanating from so-called mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.
Note also the nations Netanyahu highlighted for their brutal persecution of Christian minorities: Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Indigenous Christians were markedly better off in all three nations before the U.S. got involved, specifically be empowering, deliberately or not, Islamist forces. Now,according to recent studies, Christians in all three nations are experiencing the worst form of persecution around the globe:
•Libya: Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Gaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. It’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was not the case under Gaddafi.
•Syria: Christians have been attacked in indescribable ways—wholesale massacres, bombed and desecrated churches, beheadings, crucifixions, and rampant kidnappings—since the U.S.-sponsored “Arab Spring” reached the Levant.
•Iraq: After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here forgraphic images). In the last decade, Christians have beenterrorized into near-extinction, with well over half of them fleeing Iraq.
If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people—in this case, the Israeli government’s purported treatment of Palestinians, hence the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israel—perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christiansin the Middle East.
Christians are also being targeted in the P.A. territories—by the very same elements the Presbyterian Church is trying to defend.
In 2012, for example, a pastor noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the P.A. continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians],Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.” And in fact, the kidnapping and forced conversions of Christians in Gaza is an ugly reality.”
More recently, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property. “Someone wants to send us away,” wrote Sister Ibraxia in the letter, “but we will not flee.”
Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, fifteen leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting “persecuted” Palestinians.
Yet nary a word from these same church leaders concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation pale in comparison.
Other “leftist” Protestants do find time to criticize Muslim persecution of Christians—but only to blame Israel for it. Thus, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, wrote an article in the Daily Beast ostensibly addressing the plight of Mideast Christians—but only to argue that the source of Christian persecution “ in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine.”In reality, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism engenders for all non-Muslims. The reason hostility for Israel is much more viral is because the Jewish state holds a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities who can be abused at will (as fully explained here).
Little wonder, then, that more Arab Christians—double the number of each of the preceding three years—are now joining the Israel Defense Forces.
They know they can count on basic human rights protection from Israel than from many of their fellow Christians in the West. After all, beyond the sophistry, distortions, and downright lies emanating from some of these Christian denominations, the fact remains: both Jews and Christians are under attack from the same foe and for the same reason: they are non-Muslim “infidels” who need to be subjugated.

10 Killed in Gaza as Death Toll Hits 1,065 and Netanyahu Dismisses Hamas Truce Offer
Naharnet/Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused Hamas of violating a ceasefire that it had itself called and vowed that Israeli operations in Gaza would continue, as the death toll from 20 days of Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian strip rose to 1,062.Hamas’ belated acceptance of diplomatic calls for a temporary ceasefire was announced several hours after Israel resumed a devastating military assault on the enclave after a pause of more than 24 hours. Although Hamas said its militants would halt their fire from 1100 GMT in response to a request from the United Nations, there was no response from Israel.
Agence France-Presse said rockets continued to fall, with 11 striking Israel in the two hours after the reported truce went into effect, prompting a derisive response from Netanyahu. “They are violating their own ceasefire,” he told the CNN news network. In a separate interview with CBS, Netanyahu said Israel would not allow “a ruthless terror organization… to decide when it’s convenient for them to stop for a moment, rearm, and continue firing on our citizens and our people.”
The abortive announcement came shortly after Israel said it would no longer abide by a unilateral ceasefire while coming under “incessant” fire from Hamas.
Shortly afterwards, Israeli troops resumed their punishing air strikes and tank shelling, killing 10 people across the territory, including an elderly Christian woman, medics said. Another three people also succumbed to their wounds, hiking the toll on day 20 of Israel’s devastating military campaign to 1,062. The renewed violence came after a rare 12-hour break in the hostilities on Saturday, which was respected by both sides, with world powers urging both Israel and Hamas to extend the temporary truce by another 24 hours. But Saturday’s relative calm quickly became a distant memory
“I was praying at church when my father called me and told me to go home quickly,” said Antonio Ayad, a Christian whose elderly mother was killed when a missile struck their home in western Gaza City.
“They are targeting Christians in Gaza,” he said.
“I’m not Hamas, I’m not Fatah — I don’t belong to any Palestinian faction. Where is the world? Where is the pope?” he asked. From the pulpit in Rome, Pope Francis issued his own call, pleading for an end to the bloodshed which has killed over a thousand victims, around a quarter of them children. “Stop, please stop! I beg you with all my heart,” he said in the weekly Angelus prayer.
Following Saturday’s humanitarian lull, which was respected by both sides, Israel’s security cabinet agreed to extend the calm by 24 hours, but Hamas rejected the move, firing rockets over the border, one of which killed a soldier. But after 12 hours of holding its fire, Israel said it was resuming its operations following “incessant” rocket fire from Hamas. Shortly afterwards, the skies over Gaza were filled with the familiar sound of explosions, as plumes of black smoke quickly rose on the horizon, an AFP correspondent in Gaza City said.
Ambulance sirens wailed as medics sprang into action, cars racing down the streets which quickly emptied of people who had ventured out to make the most of the lull.
For Israelis, the quiet skies had ended late on Saturday with sirens sounding up the coastal plain as rockets fell on the south and center, killing a soldier and raising to 43 the number of troops killed since the July 17 start of a ground operation to destroy a sophisticated network of tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel. Two Israeli civilians and a Thai agricultural worker have also been killed by rocket fire. By Sunday morning, there appeared to be little appetite in Israel to prolong the one-sided truce, with 86.5 percent of Israelis opposing any truce in the current climate, army radio said, quoting pollsters Mina Tzemah. “It is clear that Hamas isn’t interested in this ceasefire so I think we should renew the fighting and maybe even more so,” said Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, a security cabinet member who had voted late on Saturday in favor of extending the truce by 24 hours. “After what we’ve seen last night and this morning, I’m fairly certain that we should renew our fire even stronger,” he said, while Israel was initially observing a ceasefire. SourceAgence France Presse