Why are Palestinian Christians leaving the West Bank?

A friend of mine pointed this out on his Face Book page today.

45.9% of Americans blame Muslims for the Christian immigration out of the Holy Land, while only 7.4% of Americans cite Israeli restrictions as contributing to Arab Christian immigration. However, when Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem were asked about the primary cause for Christian immigration out of the area, 78% cited Israeli restrictions as their reason for leaving.

The statistic is from an article entitled Challenging the Evangelical Bias Against Palestinians.

Why is there such a disconnect between why Americans, and be extension American Christians, think that Palestinian Christians are leaving the West Bank and the actual reasons cited by the Palestinian Christians themselves?

Simple: The real reason why Palestinian Christians are leaving is Israeli restrictions (like home demolitions, land seizures, road blocks, checkpoints, walls that cut through private property and isolate people from their families…..) and any time the word “Israel” is mentioned as inflicting any kind of pain on Christians, it challenges a cherished belief system that goes something like this:

Jews and Christians = good, pure, innocent, God’s people

Muslims = evil, unclean, guilty, persecutors of God’s people

Because this narrative is so ingrained in us, the “us” vs. “them” mentality with “us” always being the embodiment of pure good and “them” always being the embodiment of pure evil, it’s hard for us to see it any other way. Further complicating the problem is the fact that for many Christians in America, the only information they have about the Muslim world is what they read in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine. No wonder it’s hard to see Muslims as anything else but the evil persecutor of Christians! You’ll never read about Christian militias that have massacred Muslims in places like Nigeria, Lebanon, the Philippines, and Indonesia in a magazine dedicated to highlighting the suffering of persecuted Christians.

I’m not saying that a ministry like Voice of the Martyrs is wrong for highlighting the suffering of persecuted Christians. I’ve been doing that for years on my blog. What I am saying is that if all the average Christian knows about the Muslim world is what they read about in the magazine or newsletter of their favorite ministry highlighting the suffering of persecuted Christians, , it leads to a distorted, unbalanced picture. We forget that Christian fundamentalism, and, yes, Jewish fundamentalism can be just as oppressive as Islamic fundamentalism.

Jesus had it right when he said, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

We ignore his teachings at our peril.

Posted on April 5, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. just saw your movie "Holy Wars" at the Srq Film festival. "hats off to you". One might say you had an epiphany of understanding the other side. i spent 25 years in the Middle East and it is too bad other don't have the insight you do!rhn2@cornell.edu

  2. What an absolutely ridiculous article. Muslims are not raped, murdered, imprisoned, and degraded daily in America or any western country as Christians are in the Islamic countries. America media bends over backwards to portray Muslims as doves and loveable people. One does not need to read Voice of the Martyr. One only need look at history and the reality of Islamic blood letting to see the truth. Pretending to see Islam and Muslims as a nice group of people in an attempt to display ones own wonderful outlook on life is ignorant, foolish and dangerous. Islam was born at the end of a sword, with the blood of others who did not want to submit and it will not cease because people pretend it is a warm and fuzzy religion with a few confused members. Islam is intolerant, violent, and hateful. There is not one country dominated by Islam where Christians are treated as equals or with the decency with which Muslims are guaranteed in in the West. Only in countries where Islam does not rule or have a majority are Christians, for the moment, relatively safe. This does not even touch on the suffering and murderous intent of the Muslims against the Israeli population who were stripped from their country in 70 and 135 AD by Rome, and now threatened with extinction by a few hundred hateful Muslims on every side. No, all Muslims are not violent and hateful, but neither were all Germans in World War Two, yet millions, including women and children, mostly Jewish, were still gassed and victims of German thought. It is absolutely frightening to see so many foolish people wearing the blinders of self-nicety, that are the instruments of the coming horrors yet to be unleashed by Muslims and Islam.

  3. Since a Nation called Palestine never existed nor a people of history called the Palestinians, how did they magically appear in the Middle East in the twentieth century? Another magical invention of a world in hate-mode for anything Jewish. There are no Palestinians. Palestine was a Rome Invention when they murdered the previous Jewish population and stole their land, sending them into exile in 70 and 135 AD. Wishing to annihilate any trace of Jewish ancestry and the country of Israel, they went about methodically killing a few million, and forcing the rest to leave their land. Now it is the Muslims turn to try.

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