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Jews and Christians in Israel

Reader comment on item: Christianity Dying in Its Birthplace

Submitted by AV (United States), Sep 14, 2005 at 02:15

Having studied in Jerusalem, I discerned how different Palestinians Christians are from Palestinian Muslims. I never talk about the two groups in the same category. Their cultures are so different.

I feel it is in the self-interest of Palestinian Christians, as an ethnic group, to identify themselves with the Jewish state of Israel, rather than the Muslim state of Palestine. Similar to the Israeli citizenship of the Druz and the Beduin. Painfully this option never seemed viable, perhaps because Palestinian Christians distrust Jews via hostile religious indoctrination (none of my Palestinian Christian friends even knew Jesus was a Jew), or oppositely Israeli Jews distrust Christians via reactions to the Holocaust in Christian Europe. In any case, Palestinian Christians and Israeli Jews never saw each other as natural allies. Not in the larger sense.

Palestinian Christians struck me as a noble people with a tragic (even Shakespearean) flaw. They are well-educated, industrious, tolerant, compassionate, forward thinking, and spiritually generous. Truly admirable. And yet, somehow they would ally themselves with Palestinian Muslims who seem incapable of respecting basic human rights. Palestinian Muslims can't acknowledging Palestinian Christians as equals because of Islamic law. Moreover for many Muslims, Arabs should be Muslim, and a Christian Arab is nothing more than an apostate Muslim.

In other words, the ancient Christians of the Holy Land *chose* to call themselves 'Palestinians' despite the fact that the rest of the 'Palestinians' are Muslims would destroy them. I feel, if the Christains had called themselves 'Israelis' instead, they would be flourishing and vibrant today.

Ironically, it is the Palestinian Christians who stirred Western sympathy for a Palestinian state. Christian advocates like Hannan Ashrawi and the Palestinian bishops were able to present the case for Palestinian 'freedom' in a way that Westerners could understand. These concepts of 'freedom' are alien to Palestinian Muslims, however. After Palestinian Muslims donned the 'Christian mask' to speak to the West, they then commited cultural genocide against the Christians. Indiginous Christian communities that had lived in the Holy Land for two thousand years have undergone Muslim violence and silence, and are now nearly extinct.

The native Christians should have joined Israel instead.

This was my opinion in the 1990's, before seeing my fears unfold. Now I have watched Muslims commit ethnic cleansing against these ancient Christians. These same Christians who whould call Muslims brothers.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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