Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Presbyterian Church Criticizes Israel, Remains Silent on Brutal Anti-Christian Persecution in Middle East

July 28, 2014 1:09 am 9 comments

Presbyterian Church Assembly. Photo: Screenshot.

Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth of 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 by 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 been terrorized 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 PA 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.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.  A Mideast and Islam specialist, he is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Hoover Institution Media Fellow, 2013.


  • It is the Christian tradition to suffer persecution silently. It’s only the Jews, Muslims, Feminists, and Evangelicals (those ‘structuralist’ folks who believe it’s more important who you are than what you do – the very source of all terrorism) who politicize their claims of persecution, and make the loudest noise possible.

  • The presbeterians should probably convert to islam and retrofit their church to mosque

  • just after the current war against palestine started, benjamin netanyahu finally admitted out loud he wants to steal palestinian land outright. that’s what this war is all about. and, why were some surprised? golda meir said, “i, too, would want the arabs out of the country, and my conscience would be absolutely clear.” she said that way back in 1938. jewish israeli peace activist, miko peled said, “the borders from an israeli perspective are very clear. the borders of the state of israel are the jordan river on the east and the mediterranean on the west, that’s it. if you look at israeli schoolbooks, if you look at israeli weather maps, if you look at any official maps of the state of israel it is absolutely clear.” there has never been any plan, but to steal the land and wipe out or drive out the palesinians.
    this is a cleansing of the land of peoples that are themselves ethnically arab, genocide. ethnic cleansing. killing. period. our government has always known this. truth is, barack obama sanctions this along with american democrats. killing children has always been part of the plan. mike bloomberg proved the iron dome works so well they want you to vacation on the beaches of israel while the rockets are firing. they have no need to kill.
    the desire the blood of their neighbors on their hands. remember, it does not make you a self-hating jew to feel that does not represent you and to feel ashamed and disgusted by your government. we did in iraq, and after-all, right now this is the democrat party’s iraq.

  • The Presbyterian church in the US and its leaders are upstanding and courageous to condemn the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. Your attempt to divert the issue won’t help you one bit. Israel’s lobby may control many governments including the regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, not to mention the US and all the west, but she is going the way of South Africa’s apartheid. Its days are numbered.

  • This is par for the course, for Presbyterians. Help the enemies of God! Do not help the Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
    This denomination has turned its back on God. Slowly, over decades this church has been seduced by Satan. Now Presbyterians do not even know which side to be on! They are easy, and willing, participants in the propaganda war.
    This is the Church of Laodicea spoken of in Revelation! The church God spits out of His mouth!

    • No it isn’t. The State of Israel does not follow the word of God. Jesus said:

      ‘But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.’ (Luke 6:27-36)

      • We are not supposed to take these statements literally! We are not to lay down and die , don’t be a total moron! We should not let people walk on us and steal. That’s not what those passages mean.

        Israel needs to survive and I’m embarrassed by many Christians like the Copts who did not fight back when they were murdered by muslims. Now I’m ashamed of the prespaterians!

        One must fight fire with fire or the muslims win and that can not happen.

    I HAVE BEEN IN ISRAEL 10 YEARS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,IN MY HEART IT´S MY HOME,,,,,,,,,,,
    SHEMAH ISRAEL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Bart A, Charta

    No Christians in Mosul, Iraq, for the first time in 1700 years, forcibly driven out by radical Muslims under pain of death.

    Presbyterians: Protest THAT !

    Show the (brotherly) love.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →