“Anyone who claims that the Arab world - Muslim and Christian - is not pathologically anti-Semitic is delusional.”--Luma Simms
By Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Columnist
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife Columns)-- It is “the secret sin” that no one wants to talk about, according to one Iraq-raised Christian writer. It's, she says, “the elephant in the room in the Arab Christian sub-culture.”
Author Luma Simms describes in The Federalist journal the sorry phenomenon of anti-Semitism, so rife today among Mideast Christians. She adds sadly: “Anyone who claims that the Arab world - Muslim and Christian - is not pathologically anti-Semitic is delusional.”
Indeed, it was Britain’s Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who wrote that it was Coptic and Maronite Christians who introduced the blood libel - the slander that Jews use the blood of gentiles in religious rituals - into Egypt and Syria in the 19th century.
Simms says it is this anti-Semitism that prevents Mideast Christians from seeking assistance of any kind from Israel, even as they suffer the most grotesque persecution at the hands of the Islamic State group and others.
She writes: “Israel is the last hope for Arab Christians; it’s as simple as that….As the genocide of Middle Eastern Christians continues, the only hope of an Arab Christian remnant - a remnant that would keep and pass on its beliefs, traditions, and customs - is through help from the state of Israel.”
Simms even urges Israel to take the initiative in working to rescue besieged Christians. Sadly, this is unlikely, explained US citizen and Israeli resident Lela Gilbert, author of “Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner.”
I asked her if Israel might even become a refuge for Christians fleeing the Islamic State onslaught in Iraq and Syria. "No," she told me in an interview.
She made clear that Israelis are very sensitive to infiltrators, and a sudden influx of non-Jewish, Arabic-speaking refugees would surely provoke controversy. And so prevalent is anti-Semitism that many Mideast Christians would themselves probably reject the notion of coming to Israel, the author noted.
Yet Simms writes that Israel has hospitals and medical units at its borders and quietly helped many Syrians caught up in the bloodshed.
And while Christians are being relentlessly persecuted throughout much of the Middle East, there is one shining exception – Israel itself. Christianity is thriving in Israel, with the numbers of churches and believers growing (of course from a very low base).
Meanwhile, growing numbers of Palestinians appear to be sympathizing with Islamic State, after the pope issued a call for an independent Palestinian state.
In a previous column I quoted a commentator as saying that opinion surveys indicated that, if free elections were held in a Palestinian state, they would likely result in a Hamas majority, including elements of Islamic State.
If this Palestinian government were given control of the Old City of Jerusalem it would lead to the destruction of Christian "holy" sites.
“Christianity survives in Judea and Samaria because Jews are willing to die for Jerusalem,” wrote this commentator. “How many Christians are willing to die for Jerusalem?” Christianity is under attack in most parts of the Middle East outside Israel. Yet too many Arab Christians persist in their “secret sin.”
It is a sin that could be hastening their destruction.
(Martin Roth (www.authormartinroth.com), BosNewsLife's Senior Columnist and Special Correspondent is a respected Australian journalist and former Tokyo-based foreign correspondent. He is the author of “Journey Out Of Nothing: My Buddhist Path to Christianity” and of the Brother Half Angel series of thrillers, which focus on the persecuted church. BosNewsLife Columns distributes opinionated columns and commentaries providing a fresh perspective on issues in the news. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BosNewsLife News Agency or its parent company.)