The plight this Christmas of the Christian community in the Palestinian Territories.

jin-december-24-2016-feature

Part of this article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute, and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on December 24, 2016

Yet another wake-up call!

by Alan Simons

The Palestinian Information Center, so-called “Voice of Palestine to the World and the Voice of the World to Palestine,” as seen in the illustration above, directs its oppugnant Christmas message to the world. One would surmise, at this time of year, an honourable declaration of peace, compassion and goodwill to mankind that encompasses all that is good in Jesus Christ and Mary would be appropriate. Think again! At the time of writing this article, PICs website extends no hand in friendship and not even to its own Christian community in the West Bank and Gaza.

Within the Palestinian Territories the Christian population, comprising of a mere grain of sand compared to the overwhelming number of predominantly Sunni Muslims, only 1,100 Christians live in the Gaza Strip compared to 5,000 in 2006. And in the West Bank only 42,000 Christians remain. One wonders, with some dismay, what is to become of its Christians? Will history repeat itself as in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt?

This morning, Khaled Abu Toameh, who is based in Jerusalem  and is one of the areas most respected journalists, in an article originally published by the Gatestone Institute, and republished below with permission by jewishinfoNews, had something to say about the plight of the Christian community in the Palestinian Territories. Irrespective of your religious faith, I urge you to read it now!

Palestinians: The Nightmare of Christians

  • For the past four decades, Samir Qumsieh, who hails from a large and well-respected Christian family in the town of Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem, has fought for the rights of the region’s minuscule Palestinian Christian minority. He has even dared to speak out against the subjugation of Christians living under the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
  • He regularly receives death threats, and he has been the target of a petrol bomb attack.
  • “The solution to extremism starts with the kindergarten, with elementary school. It begins with the churches, with the mosques and the school curricula. Curricula are very important – Jewish, Christian and Muslim ones. They should concentrate on accepting the ‘other.’ If this idea is adopted, the future generation will be liberal and open-minded.” — Samir Qumsieh.
  • “Every day we hear and see some radical Muslim clerics speaking strongly against Christians. Just recently, one of the sheiks was saying that Christian Copts should be slaughtered like sheep. Where is the Egyptian security? If I were in charge of Egyptian security, I would have this sheikh arrested immediately, and have him rot in a dark underground cell.” — Samir Qumsieh.
  • “To understand the severity of the situation is, let us recall that in the 1950s about 86% of the population of the Bethlehem area was Christian. Today, we are only 12%. In Israel, by contrast, we have 133,000 Christians and the figure is stable. Of course, I am worried about the future of Christians here.” — Samir Qumsieh.
  • “I fear the day will come when our churches will become museums. is my nightmare.” — Samir Qumsieh.

Without question, Samir Qumsieh is one of the most courageous Christian leaders in the Middle East. Qumsieh is one of the few willing to risk his life to speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians in the Palestinian territories and the Middle East, generally.

For the past four decades, Samir Qumsieh, who hails from a large and well-respected Christian family in the town of Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem, has fought for the rights of the region’s miniscule Palestinian Christian minority. He has even dared to speak out against the subjugation of Christians living under the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The plight of the Christians living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is a subject truly taboo. Yet Qumsieh perseveres – and pays the price. He regularly receives death threats, and he has been the target of a petrol bomb attack. Muslim extremists have also distributed leaflets in the Bethlehem area condemning him for his outspoken views and activities on behalf of persecuted Christians.

Samir Qumsieh.

However, the campaign of intimidation has not deterred Qumsieh from defending them.

In an exclusive interview with Gatestone Institute, the prominent Christian figure, who founded the private Nativity TV Station in Bet Sahour, accuses the Obama Administration of failing to combat ISIS and radical Islam. Qumsieh says he is convinced that President-elect Trump will “terminate” ISIS.

Qumsieh discloses that a “Muslim mafia” has been stealing Christian-owned lands in the Bethlehem area.

As a prominent Palestinian Christian figure in the living in the Middle East, how would you assess the Obama Administration’s role in the war on ISIS?

President Obama is the spiritual father of ISIS. His administration and he were never serious about fighting ISIS. This is what I firmly believe, and many facts confirm my thoughts. When Obama saw that this was about to be exposed, he finally acted, but in a weak manner. He put out a ransom against (ISIS leader) Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi and started telling us that he had bombed ISIS, and so on.

How do you explain Obama’s refusal to use the term radical Islam?

If you ask me, I will tell you the truth: I doubt that Obama is a Christian. Really, I doubt it. During his term, ISIS emerged, and the Christians have suffered heavily. Let me ask you a question. What is ISIS? Why is it that this mobilization of the whole world has not been able to eradicate them? Who can convince me? When America toppled Saddam Hussein, who had a very big and strong army, he collapsed. But when it comes to ISIS, how come they still exist?

Do you believe that President-elect Donald Trump will endorse a different stance toward ISIS?

Absolutely. Trump will obliterate ISIS. Had Hilary Clinton won, believe me ISIS would have continued and flourished. In my view, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the ‘father’ of ISIS, and Clinton is its ‘mother.’

I have a friend who is a painter. He paints portraits of presidents. He is a Muslim, by the way. We sent portraits to King Abdullah, to Mahmoud Abbas and the Pope. He painted a portrait of Obama in front of the Church of Nativity. He worked on it for two months and it cost a lot of money. When the portrait was presented to Obama through the US consul-general in Jerusalem, they did not bother to send a thank you letter to the painter, although I personally talked to the consulate about this. I told them, ‘Gentlemen, this is shameful, at least send a thank-you letter to this man.’ The consul-general at that time came to my office and took the portrait. Doesn’t the painter deserve at least a thank-you letter?

Are you saying that Obama has not done anything to help Christians in the Middle East?

Nothing at all. As I said, I think he was not serious about fighting ISIS, which has harmed the Christians very badly.

In your opinion, what is the best way to fight religious extremism?

I have always said that the solution to extremism is not through the military or security. The solution to extremism starts with the kindergarten, with elementary school. It begins with the churches, with the mosques and the school curricula. Curricula are very important – Jewish, Christian and Muslim ones. They should concentrate on accepting the ‘other.’ If this idea is adopted, the future generation will be liberal and open-minded.

But isn’t the turmoil and violence in the Middle East the result of religious extremism?

The current conflict in the entire region is a religious and sectarian war. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are Sunni. They are against Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Alawite regime of Bashar Assad in Syria. So we are witnessing a religious and sectarian war. This is not only a conflict between Sunnis and Shias.

How do you feel as a Christian when you see what is happening to Christians in the Middle East, especially the recent bombing of a church in Egypt?

What is happening is extremely sad, especially the bombing of a church. I think the Egyptian authorities should act decisively. Every day we hear and see some radical Muslim clerics speaking strongly against Christians. Just recently, one of the sheiks was saying that Christian Copts should be slaughtered like sheep. Where is the Egyptian security? If I was in charge of Egyptian security, I would have this sheikh arrested immediately, and have him rot in a dark underground cell.

Are you aware of Palestinian Muslim clerics who also speak out against Christians?

Yes. This past Friday, one of the sheikhs at a mosque was speaking in a threatening way about Christians. He said that Muslim youths should not imitate Christian youths, and should not wish them well at Christmas. He also said that Muslims should not be doing business with Christians. The sheikh said some highly intimidating things about Christians.

Did the Christians protest against this incitement by the sheikh?

My cousin, who is a retired officer with the Palestinian Authority Intelligence Security Department, published something about the Friday sermon on Facebook. The following day he had to delete the post because it seems he received threats or something like that. When I told my cousin that I will talk with the Palestinian Authority attorney-general about it, he asked me not to talk to anyone. My cousin said, ‘Please don’t talk about this matter because we are 40 Christian families in that area (where the sheikh lives). It is clear to me that my cousin did receive threats, although he would not admit to it.

How would you describe relations between Christians and Muslims in the Bethlehem area?

Objectively speaking, there are millions of Muslims who are good people. I have many close Muslim friends whom I consider as my brothers. The problem is not Muslims. The real problem is radical Islam. In the Quran, there are various kinds of statements, and every Muslim, depending on his belief and attitude, selects what suits him. Some verses call for peace and describe Christians as the ‘People of the Book’ and good people. There are also verses that describe us as infidels and sinful folks. Everyone chooses what appeals to him. According to my humble knowledge, these verses are undated. I think that if they were dated, the fresh ones would supersede the old ones.

My understanding is that you have personally been the target of threats and violent attacks. Can you elaborate?

Yes, I have faced a great deal of harassment, and in 2006 I was even attacked with Molotov cocktails. Also, fliers that spoke against me have been distributed.

What is the main accusation against you? Why are some Muslims angry with you?

When I saw that there was encroachment on Christian-owned land here, I protested against it.

Is it true that Muslims have been illegally laying their hands on Christian property in Bethlehem?

We have a mafia here that is seizing Christian-owned lands. I protested against this Muslim mafia, and I even called a large gathering. I invited 80 people to my home. They included the elite of society – Muslims and Christians. They all joined my protest. That same night, fliers were distributed in Bethlehem threatening to kill me.

What has the Palestinian Authority done to help against you fight this mafia?

There are still many unresolved cases with regards to land encroachment. These cases are in the courts, but our judicial system is very slow. If you go to court, you have to wait 15-20 years. Recently, we have noticed that the encroachments decreased immensely because we have been talking to the Palestinian Authority and pressing them about the problem. Today, there are only a few cases like this taking place. We want all these cases to be solved.

Is there discrimination against Christians living under the Palestinian Authority?

One cannot say that there is official discrimination. President Abbas attends Christmas midnight mass, his prime minister attends the lighting of the Christmas tree. Still, I can simply say that among our people you will find some who harbor radical extremist thoughts. ISIS is a thought. There are Christians working in the Palestinian Authority, but not many. We have Christian mayors, and that is how it should be. Bethlehem, Bet Sahour and Bet Jala have Christian mayors, although some have been demanding that this be changed because Christians are a minority. Fortunately for us, the Palestinian Authority did not respond to these demands.

Do you believe that Christian leaders are doing enough to defend the interests of their people?

Frankly, I do not want the day to come when the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Church of the Nativity are turned into museums. Rather, I wish to seize this opportunity hope that it will encourage our leaders to tackle the problem and find a solution. Any Christian businessman who is interested in the general issue of Christians should come and invest here. We want them to build projects, including housing projects. We are also hoping that these projects will provide jobs for young Christians. The biggest problem we are facing is Christian emigration. Some Christians are helping, but this is being done on a very limited scale. But I cannot say that Christian patriarchates are doing their best. Some of them are far from the congregation and do not even care about us. We want wealthy Christians to come here and create project initiatives. It is not enough to say ‘I love the Christians and I care about them.’ This love should be demonstrated through deeds.

Are you worried about the growing number of Christians who are leaving the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

Once, 5,000 Christians lived in the Gaza Strip. When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006, Christians began to be harassed and discriminated against. Today, only 1,100 Christians live there. In the Bethlehem area, there are about 40,000 Christians. Altogether, there are about 42,000 Christians remaining in the West Bank. There are two reasons behind the dwindling figures. The first of these is the ongoing emigration, which is a nightmare for us; the second is the low birth rate among Christian families. To understand the severity of the situation is, let us recall that in the 1950s about 86% of the population of the Bethlehem area was Christian. Today, we are only 12%. In Israel, by contrast, we have 133,000 Christians and the figure is stable. Of course, I am worried about the future of Christians here. Looking at the facts on the ground, you can see that there is no future for the Christians here. We are melting; we are disappearing. I fear the day will come when our churches will become museums. That is my nightmare.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

* * *

SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

“Who Do Bigots Blame for Police Shootings in America? Israel, of Course!”

Special Report

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on July 13, 2016.

by Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz credit jewishbusinessnews JIN July 13 2016In response to the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted the following on its Facebook page:

“In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police…. We must remember that many US police departments train with #IsraeliDefenceForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.”

Even in moments of national mourning such as these, SJP bigots cannot help but exploit the deaths of innocent Americans to further their own anti-Semitic political agenda, namely to delegitimize and demonize the nation state of the Jewish people.

By implicating Israel in these killings, SJP is engaging in the old trope of blaming Jews for systemic and far-reaching societal problems. This practice was anti-Semitic when some Christian communities used it to blame Jews for plagues, poisonings, and murders; it was anti-Semitic when the Nazis used it to blame Jews for the failing German economy; and it is still anti-Semitic today. There is no more evidence that any of the police who killed Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling were in fact trained in Israel than there was that Jews were responsible for any of the other crimes that formed the basis for traditional blood libels.

The oppression of black Americans long predates the founding of the state of Israel; contrary to the claims of SJP and like-minded groups, Zionism did not beget racism, nor is Zionism a reflection of racism. It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. But the twisted logic on the part of SJP should come as no surprise, given that the same organization blamed Zionism for rising tuition costs in the City University of New York college system. The essence of anti-Semitism is the bigoted claim that if there is a problem, then Jews — and now Zionists — must be its cause.

Addressing the structural causes of racism in the United States will take more than scapegoating Israel — it will require the type of far-reaching legislative action of which our current Congress seems incapable. By morphing the discussion about criminal justice reform and systemic racism in the United States into a polemic against Israel, SJP makes progress even more difficult.

That said, the reaction by SJP is reflective of a broader trend in hard left politics. Increasingly, groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), MoveOn, Code Pink, and Occupy Wall Street have embraced intersectionality — a radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked.

This radical concept has led to the linking of disparate left-wing causes, no matter how tenuous their connections. Some intersectional feminist activists, for example, insist that feminists must oppose drone strikes (and by extension, Hillary Clinton), because they negatively impact women in the developing world. Even more absurdly, Jill Stein — the Green Party candidate for president — has come out in favor of the bigoted Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, partly on the grounds that support for Israel furthers the interests of the military-industrial complex, and by extension the fossil fuel industry.

Those activists that do not sufficiently embrace the new intersectional orthodoxy, meanwhile, have been targeted by protests: the 2016 Gay Pride parade in Toronto, for example, was broken up by Black Lives Matter for including a police float, and for not sufficiently prioritizing the concerns of black trans women. Similarly, a gay rights event in Chicago was broken up by activists, who insisted on the exclusion of an Israeli organization, which they claimed was co-opting the gay rights agenda and “pinkwashing” Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Intersectionality seems to be driving hard left activists towards a “No True Scotsman” worldview: increasingly, they insist on a package of unrelated left-wing causes that must be embraced by anyone claiming the label of progressive — including the demonization of Israel as a racist, apartheid state.

Perhaps more worryingly, intersectionality tends towards the conclusion that the existing social, political, and economic system is flawed in so many profound ways, that any attempt at remaking it through democratic means is unacceptable. Activists have become increasingly obsessed with “Shut it Down” protest tactics, and a proud politics of “disrespectability,” that prioritizes resistance to a “corrupt,” “rigged” socio-economic system over respectful discourse and political compromise.

This helps to explain the sympathetic attitude of Black Lives Matter activists towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of “resistance” (in their view) against Israel. Indeed, Black Lives Matter activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures. While Black Lives Matter claims to disavow violence in securing its political objectives, many of its most prominent members are far more eager to criticize the “Israeli genocide of Palestinians” than to criticize Hamas for using rockets to target Israeli civilians. Black Lives Matter and other hard left groups have been notably silent about other oppressed ethnic groups such as Tibetans, Chechens, and Kurds. The only alleged “oppressors” they single out for condemnation are the Jews. This double standard raises legitimate questions about their real motivations.

Black Lives Matter activists have a sympathetic attitude towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of resistance against Israel. Indeed, BLM activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures.

Moreover, the conflation of police actions in American cities with Israeli military actions in Gaza raises a disturbing question: if the so-called oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the oppression of people of color in the United States are two sides of the same coin — as the SJP implied in its tweet — are the violent tactics employed by Hamas, and perversely supported by many on the hard left, an appropriate model to emulate in the United States? One hopes that the answer is no, and that the intersectionalist radicals will make that clear to their followers.

Professor Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus and author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law.

(Photo credit of Alan Dershowitz- Jewish Business News)

* * *

SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

“Lion Cubs of the Caliphate” – Child Executioners

Special Report

Death Squads Made Up of Children?

“This is one of the gravest situations on earth. Children are the key to the future. Indoctrination in Islamic State begins at birth, and increases in schools and training camps. Children are instructed in a particular interpretation of shari’a, desensitised to violence, and learn specific skills to take up the banner of jihad.”

–  Noman Benotman, President of Quilliam

      by Alan Simons

The British-based  Quilliam Foundation is the world’s first counter-extremism think tank set up to address the unique challenges of citizenship, identity, and belonging in a globalised world. Quilliam stands for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy. This week it released its devastating 100-page report on Children in the Caliphate in partnership with The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and UNESCO. 

Quilliam state that  “from August 2015 to February 2016, they documented 254 instances of children being used in Islamic State propaganda. These have been organised into the five categories: participation in violence, normalisation to violence, state building, utopia, and foreign policy grievances.”  Their report is frightening beyond belief. I quote:

  • The largest amount of Islamic State media featuring children relates to violence, comprising either of children directly participating in violence, or being exposed and normalised to violence.
  • Islamic State’s wilayats in Iraq have released the most images showing children and teens in combat and acting as suicide bombers.
  • In the last six months, Islamic State propaganda depicts 12 child executioners, and one child participating in a public execution.
  • Islamic State’s wilayats in Syria depict more children as executioners — an attempt to project strength in the face of heavy airstrikes — whereas wilayats in Iraq release the most images of children in combat or acting as suicide bombers.

Quilliam’s report doesn’t stop there. Some findings of the report reveal:

There are currently 31,000 pregnant women in Islamic State.

  • As many as 50 children from the UK are growing up on jihad in the “caliphate”.
  • Children are normally abducted into joining Islamic State. However, Islamic State also pressures children to join the group out of fear.
  • Children assist in meeting the present needs of the “caliphate”, and can continue to propagate the state’s existence and expansion once they grow up.
  • The current generation sees children as better and more lethal fighters than themselves. Rather than being converted into radical ideologies, children are indoctrinated into extreme values from birth.
  • Boys learn a rigid Islamic State curriculum. Drawing, philosophy and social studies, the ‘methodology of atheism’, have been eradicated. Children churn out memorised verses of the Qur’an and attend ‘Jihadist Training’, which includes shooting, weaponry and martial arts. Girls, known as the ‘pearls of the caliphate‘, are veiled, hidden, confined to the home, and taught to look after husbands.
  • Children’s prolonged exposure and desensitisation to violence affects their physical and psychological well-being, both in the short term and in the long term.

In the report Quilliam’s Senior Researcher Nikita Malik states with simplicity and an understatement befitting the tartness of a Granny Smith apple. . . “It is imperative that the international community takes a proactive rather than a reactive approach when focusing on these children.” As Isaac Newton once said: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”  

This report will open your eyes. I urge you to read it. >>>Click here<<<

Late last year the BBCs Channel 4 News broadcast a programme about Isis’s systematically recruiting children as young as eight to become soldiers and suicide bombers. Here one sees an evil side of human nature that is beyond comprehension. I caution you. The video can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVxZfP1fC_I

 

(Photo credits: vocatv.com; shoah.org.uk)

 * * *

SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے