Once a month I get a newsletter from Christ for the Nations magazine. Receiving this magazine is a mixed baggage for me because, while most of the magazine focuses on the work of CFNI graduates and the great things God is doing around the world though them, in nearly every issue there is commentary on Israel and the Middle-East conflict.
This issue is no different. In Jeffery Seif’s column O Little Once Christian Town of Bethlehem
Dr. Seif, a former instructor of mine, laments the fact that so few Christians remain in Bethlehem. Not only is Bethlehem becoming barren of Christians, it’s also becoming barren of people.
As to be expected, Dr. Seif puts the blame for Bethlehem’s economic depravity squarely on the Muslims. The Israeli army is, of course innocent.
Just so you can see what I’m up against, here is Dr. Seif’s evaluation of the situation.
As is to be expected, many blame the Jews for those statistics-even the victims. As with just about every other problem on planet Earth, Jews are seen as the principl culprits. Demonic-inspired Jew-bashing aside, unreported-or under-reported anyway-are the abuses that Christian Arabs suffer under the administrations of their Islamic Arab overlords, pressing them to seek better lives for themselves outside of Muslim jurisdictions. This is the real problem. The Palestinian Authority seems either unwilling or unable to assist Arab citizens of Christian persuasion.
While we remember Jesus’ birth and sing tunes anticipating “peace on earth and goodwill toward men,” let us all remember how Christian brethren are suffering in the land of Jesus’ birth, and let us pry for them. Mindful of that, let us not delude ourselves with the popular, politically correct fantasy that by ceding more and more real estate to Muslim terrorists, we are purchasing peace for the peoples of the Middle East. It may sound good in theory, but is not borne out in practice; it, in truth, is just another ploy to detach Jews from their ancestral homeland.
Dr. Seif, has it ever occured to you that the economic starvation and mass exodus from Bethlehem might possibly be due to the gargantuan-sized wall the Israeli military has built around the city? The problem with Dr. Seif’s thesis is that it doesn’t reflect the views of the average Palestinian Christian. During my trip to Bethlehem, I talked to many Christians and all of them put the blame on the Israeli military occupation for making their lives difficult. Not one Christian I talked to said their primary problem was with their Muslim neighbors. What I heard from them was, in fact, the opposite. Every Christian I talked to, even evangelical Charismatic Christians, identified their struggle with the struggle of their Muslim neighbors. While I don’t deny their could be some discrimination between Muslim overlords and their Christian subjects, every Christian I talked to agreed that Christians and Muslims live together peacefully in the West Bank.
Even more disturbing is the length that Seif goes to automatically rule out the view of anyone who questions his thesis….as if criticizing the Israeli military’s heavy handed policies is equivalent to “demonically-inspired Jew-bashing.”
Such rhetoric is typical among people who only see what they want to see. Instead of reasoning with someone sees a situation different from you, all you have to do is say he has a demon.
Works every time for the ignorant.