Friday, April 9, 2010

Don't forget about those Palestinian Christians

Updated below

One thing that has always surprised me about Evangelical Christian support for Zionism and Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank is that Christian Zionists seem to have absolutely no regard for their Christian Palestinian brothers both in the West Bank and inside Israel. Israel loves to frame the struggle as one between Western Judeo-Christian civilization and extremist Islam, but this completely ignores the large minorities of Palestinian Christians, especially in the West Bank. I'm not telling Christians who to back, but I still find it strange that you very rarely find Christian groups criticizing Israel for the way the country has blatantly stolen land from and built walls dividing the predominantly Christian city of Bethlehem. It's as if the American Christian community turns it head rather than see what is right in front of them: Israel's occupation of Palestine hurts both Muslims and their Christian brothers. I in no way want to be like the neo-cons that scream and cry about how American Jews should always vote Republican because the GOP is stronger on just letting Israel have what it wants to take, but I would like to see more visibility from mainstream media outlets on the plight of Palestinian Christians. That would really help correctly characterize the conflict as about more than just religion - it's about land and nationalism.

Anyway, I just think it would be nice if American Christian groups that totally support Israel's settlement enterprise and occupation were better educated on how those policies affect Palestine's Christian communities. Bassim Khoury at Foreign Policy is trying to do just that.

Update:

As if on cue, IPS just published an article entitled: "Palestinian Christians Barred From Jerusalem for Easter." 

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