BY VICTOR SHARPE, CANADA FREE PRESS—
I have never been an admirer of the CBS program, Sixty Minutes: Too liberal and left leaning for my taste. But, in particular, I have always felt that its veteran reporter, Bob Simon, had a problem.
Simon has lived so much of the time in the safety of journalist friendly Israel, reporting on the Middle East, that he seems to feel the necessity of assuring his Muslim and Arab audience – especially those Arabs who call themselves Palestinians – that he isn’t too pro-Israel.
Simon has thus bent so far backwards to appease his Palestinian Authority contacts, especially during his recently produced Sixty Minutes segment about the exodus of Christians from the Middle East, that he is in danger of disappearing up his own trouser legs. So patently untrue is his belief of who the real culprit of this exodus is that his propaganda-filled screed would be comical if it was not so grievous.
Simon resorted to the long discredited falsehood that it is the “Israeli occupation” that is responsible for the Christian flight from the territories, especially those under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Yet Christians have been fleeing the Muslim dominated Middle East long before Israel was forced by Arab aggression to fight the 1967 Six Day War, thus liberating Judea and Samaria – the 3,700 year old ancestral and biblical Jewish heartland also known by its 19 year old Jordanian Arab occupation name – the “West Bank.”
But Simon fails to explain that the Christians are fleeing not from Israel but purely from the Muslim dominated Palestinian Authority itself. The reality is that the one and only place in the Middle East where Christians are thriving and growing in numbers is Israel. Simon, predictably, ignores this fact.
As David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) points out:
“… The disturbing truth is that more than 60% of the Arab Christians in Palestinian Authority areas now live abroad. The same holds true for Lebanese Christians, as a similar 60% of their beleaguered community now live in foreign lands.
“Indeed, there has been a widening Christian exodus from all the surrounding Muslim Arab countries, with Iraq’s ancient Assyrian Christian community collapsing from 1.5 million to as few as 250,000 since the Second Gulf War commenced in 2003. The Coptic Church in Egypt is also losing tens of thousands of parishioners in the wake of the Arab Spring.”
Sadly too many Christian clerics, enduring Muslim occupation and discrimination, are bashing Israel and absurdly blaming the Israeli villages in biblically Jewish Judea and Samaria (called “settlements” by Israel bashers) for their plight. As Parsons suggests, “this is, sadly, a living portrait of a people in denial.”
It is essential for folks to understand the historic realities between Christians, Jews and Muslims since the creation of Islam in the 7th century.
Both Christians and Jews were forced into the degrading status of dhimmis; second class citizens under Islamic dominance, subject to all manner of discrimination and persecution; forced to pay the jizya tax in order to survive and forced to bow to their Muslim overlords and never to offend Islamic Sharia law on pain of death.
An English traveler, in the Holy Land in 1816, remarked that Christians were not permitted to ride on horseback without express permission from the Muslim Pasha.
Other European travelers to the Holy Land mentioned the practice whereby, “a dhimmi must not come face to face with a Muslim in the street but pass him to the left, the impure side,” and described how Christians and Jews were humiliated and insulted in the streets of Jerusalem until the mid-1800s.
The British consul in Jerusalem wrote that in the Holy Land, particularly in Jerusalem until 1839, Christians were pushed into the gutter by any Muslim who would swear: “turn to my left, thou dog.” They were forbidden to ride on a mount in town or to wear bright clothes.
David Parsons points out that, “… For many Christians in the Middle East, the rebirth of Israel actually stands as a light and model of freedom from Muslim tyranny. But for Palestinian Christians, the conflict that seeks to destroy the Jewish state has been too close for comfort.”
That is why it is so important to understand why some Christian clerics spew vicious falsehoods against the Jewish state because they feel by so doing they deflect Muslim hatred towards them and their beleaguered communities.
In other words, the way to survive as threatened Christian islands in the midst of a Muslim Sea, is to appear more anti-Israel than Hamas, Fatah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaida, ad nauseum. The tragedy for Christians in the Middle East, especially within the Palestinian Authority, is that such tortuous acts avail them naught.
The facts, not the Muslim Arab myths, are that since the late arch-terrorist, Yasser Arafat, took power in 1994, thousands of Christians have fled from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. Once a Christian city, by 2002 Muslims outnumbered Christians in Bethlehem four to one. The number of Muslims compared to Christians in 2012 is now infinitely higher.
Naomi Ragen, a highly respected author and journalist, in a May 4, 2012 article in the Jerusalem Post, titled, “A rusty hatchet job, ”wrote as follows:
“As I vividly recollect, back in 2001-2 during the height of the intifada I was receiving alarming e-mails several times a day from Christian organizations decrying the rape and kidnap of local Christian girls by Palestinians as a means of converting them to Islam; the desecration of Christian shrines and churches by Palestinian gunmen, including the repulsive siege of the Church of the Nativity, in which dozens of priests were held hostage by terrorists, while arguably the holiest shrine in Christendom was trashed by Arafat’s men.”
As Naomi Ragen also pointed out, “…oddly, none of this found its way into Bob Simon’s 60 minute segment.”
Victor Sharpe is a prolific freelance writer and author of the acclaimed trilogy, Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.