Jerusalem Christians debunk attempts to deny their reality

Jerusalem Christians debunk attempts to deny their reality

An aerial view shows an empty avenue in Jerusalem on October 5, 2022. (AFP)

Israel’s narrative that it is a benevolent liberal democratic country that respects the rights of all people under its domain, including their right to worship, has recently been debunked. Church leaders applauded the words of King Abdullah of Jordan and rejected efforts by Christian Zionists to paint a falsely rosy picture of the situation of Christians in Jerusalem.
Joel Rosenberg, a dual US-Israeli citizen and Christian Zionist leader, has publicly attacked King Abdullah, saying he was ‘mistaken’ in telling the UN General Assembly that Christians and Muslims were targeted by Israel . Rosenberg, who boasted in his book “Enemies and Allies” of his friendship with the Jordanian king and other Arab leaders, publicly stabbed his supposed friend in the back, saying he was “shocked by the words of the King” on his description of the situation of Christians in Jerusalem.
Rosenberg, a staunch right-wing Republican whose sons serve in the IDF, also attacked the (lack of action) words of Democratic President Joe Biden. In one of his recent articles, Rosenberg claimed that “Biden is absolutely wrong to call for a Palestinian state.”
Another article published late last month was titled “The King of Jordan is wrong – Christianity in Jerusalem is not ‘under fire’ and the churches here are not ‘threatened.'” In it, Rosenberg n didn’t do much to support his argument, other than to say that the number of Christians in Jerusalem is dwindling.His argument failed to note that he was referring to illegally and unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem as making part of Israel. Instead, he blamed the king for not detailing the charges.
All the New York Times bestselling novelist had to do was Google the problem. If he had, among the many documented facts about Israel’s actions against Christians in Jerusalem, he would have found that the World Council of Churches, at its last meeting in Germany, said that Christians and churches in East Jerusalem are facing “increasing intimidation, violations, restricted access to places of worship, and attacks by radicals and authorities on Christian presence and identity in Jerusalem… threatening the status quo and the city’s multi-religious and multi-cultural identity.
And if Rosenberg wanted to hear what the leader of 600 million evangelicals around the world had to say, he would have found a recent video interview I conducted with Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, the general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance world. He expressed genuine empathy for the plight of Palestinian Christians, similar to that expressed by King Abdullah. When I asked him how he would feel if he was born a Palestinian Christian, Schirrmacher replied that, if you see the West Bank barrier every day as a Palestinian Christian, “it’s easy to feel like you’re living in a big prison. ”

Without the support and defense of King Abdullah of Jordan, the city’s Christians and their churches must act alone.

Daoud Kuttab

The German evangelical bishop also criticized some of Rosenberg’s American evangelical friends. “It’s a basic everyday reality and you can’t counter a biblical theology of verses. I think the same Christians who criticize Palestinian Christians would do the same if they lived here,” he said.
Ironically, Rosenberg, while arguing that friends sometimes disagree, admits to the existence of attacks on priests and the Israeli police’s laxity in tracking down anti-Christian Jewish attackers. However, it does not address the well-documented strategic efforts of right-wing Jewish extremists, with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the Israel Police, regarding threats to gradually replace Christian and Muslim residents of Jerusalem with Jewish fanatics. .
Rosenberg insists that the description of the Jordanian king is “not accurate”. However, King Abdullah and his family are guardians of Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Christian leaders and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas publicly and voluntarily support this important decades-old role.
The Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf manages the third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More than 1,000 guards and administrative staff are employed by the Jordanian government to protect and maintain this important Islamic site.
King Abdullah has also financially supported – out of his own funds – the renovation of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and has been in regular coordination with Christian leaders and the Jerusalem community.
As Rosenberg came to his defense on behalf of the State of Israel, Christian leaders in Jerusalem quickly responded to his unwarranted and unfounded attack on the king’s words. In a September 27 statement, the patriarchs and leaders of the Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches in Jerusalem thanked King Abdullah for “his faithful and honest depiction of Christian reality in the Holy Land, especially in Jerusalem.” “.
The statement goes on to express gratitude to the King of Jordan for “spearheading efforts to ring warning bells about the deteriorating situation of fundamental human rights of Christians.” Church leaders added that Abdullah’s statement sends “a strong message to the world regarding the clear and present dangers surrounding Christian heritage and presence in Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land.” We call on the international community as a whole, and all peace-loving peoples around the world, to heed His Majesty’s warnings.
Without the support and defense of King Abdullah, Christians and their churches must act alone as they defend themselves against successive hawkish, right-wing and settler-influenced Israeli governments. The escalation of discriminatory actions has led respected human rights organizations to document these cases and conclude that Israel is committing the war crime of apartheid through its racist laws and actions on the ground. .
In the past, Israeli stories were considered the truth. Now is the time to debunk these myths and hear the facts from Christian leaders and Jerusalemites who are suffering because of Israeli policies and actions.

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian Christian journalist from Jerusalem. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University.
Twitter: @daoudkuttab

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Barry F. Howard