“Offend the sensibilities of Islamists and you might get killed,” says CAMERA’s Van Zile.
Christians’ condemnation of Israel – and not jihad – have turned themselves into dhimmis, non-Muslims who have already submitted to Muslim rule, a Christian media analyst said. Writing for the Gatestone Institute in an essay titled “Jihadism: The fear that dare not speak its name,” Dexter Van Zile, the Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said that although Christian groups occasionally blame the perpetrators of violence and terrorism, such as the Assad regime, Islamic State and Boko Haram in West Africa, it is never nearly close to the way they blame Israel. “Yes, they issue condemnations, but their statements are lamentations that really do not approach in ferocity the ugly denunciations these institutions target at Israel,” he said.
Van Zile said the root of the issue is knowing that Israel and the Jewish people do not react the same way that the extreme, jihadi terrorists act.
“One source of the problem is that it is simply a lot easier and safer to speak out about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians than it is to confront the violence against Christians in the rest of the Middle East,” he said. Israel has been allowing the entry of boycott supporters and detractors of the state, and only during the summer did the government begin preventing these activists from entering the country. Never did Israel do what other Middle East countries – and much more so terrorist groups – did to their critics.
“If you fly to Israel, you can participate in a protest against the IDF at the security barrier in the morning and be eating in a nice restaurant in Tel Aviv that afternoon without having to worry about getting shot,” he said. “Protesting against ISIS or the misdeeds of the Iranian government, which puts Westerners in jail, is another, rather more courageous, thing altogether.”
Van Zile said that one of the worst responses an attacker of Israel may get is a letter from his organization.
“Another factor is fear – fear of Islam. The threat of violence that comes with confronting the impact of Sharia law and jihadism on human rights and national security has been significant, but it has remained doggedly unstated in the witness of churches in the United States,” he said. “Condemn Israel unfairly or engage in Jew-baiting and you get a letter from CAMERA, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] or the local board of rabbis. Offend the sensibilities of jihadists and you might get killed.” Van Zile traced the Presbyterian Church USA’s anti-Zionist platform back to the election of Benjamin Weir, a former missionary who was kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon, who had a significant influence on the church’s proceedings. Upon his release, while he did criticize Hezbollah, he used American support for Israel as his punching bag.
“Israel was a safe target for the rage he felt over being kidnapped and having a year of his life stolen from him,” Van Zile said. “The jihadists who kidnapped him were not a safe target.”
The analyst said that now is the time for Christians to speak out.
“In this time of trial, during which the very foundations of our moral and intellectual order are under assault, it is time we find our voice to address this problem while we still can.”
[written by BY BENJAMIN GLATT]