A Christian Holocaust in our time - is it possible?

Howard Stern, a Christian mediator and negotiator involved in Middle East affairs looks at the situation in the region and asks why the West is funding the systematic persecution, torture and discrimination against Christians in these lands.

by Howard Stern

A Christian Holocaust in our time?

persecutionThe short answer is yes. One only has to consider the Egyptian Copts facing genocidal threats from the Moslem Brotherhood should they oppose the new government's Sharia constitution to see the potential: a regime we helped bring to power! So I must ask why the West is funding the systematic persecution, torture and discrimination of Christians, demonstrated well by Egypt having just been awarded $6.4 billion in "aid" by the EU.

My concerns are echoed by Dutch novelist Leon de Winter, who recently stated that "offering aid to Egypt is the same as giving billions to Nazi Germany." Many observers have commented on how the Arab Spring has become a Christian Winter.

The Open Doors charity recently published its world watch list of nations who persecute torture and violate the rights of Christians. "Islamic extremism is the prime persecutor of Christians in the world today," said Ron Boyd-MacMillan, Open Doors' chief strategy officer, at a Washington D. C. news conference. Among 24 of the leading 30 persecuting countries, "it is Islamic extremists, either in government or in violent opposition forces, that are the source of the persecution," he said.

The list of 50 countries -- which have a total Christian population of nearly 530 million – may be accessed online.

Travelling regularly to Israel and the Palestinian territory I have noticed a disturbing trend over last eighteen months in which the rights of Holy Land Christians are being systematically eroded, with threats and discrimination by radical Islamists commonplace. Palestinian Christians say to me, in the privacy of their own homes, that they now regard Israel's occupation of the disputed territory as their only protection.

Palestinian Christians fleeing to Israel

The Palestinian Territories rate 36/50 in the Open Doors watch list. Notably, Israel is the only nation in the middle-east where Christianity is actually growing. This Christmas some 600 of the remaining 1500 Palestinian Christians in Gaza were issued permits by Israel to travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Many are seeking refuge in Israel stating they feel unsafe living among their Moslem neighbours. The Holy Land Christians are worried for their future.

Exodus from Bethlehem

One Bethlehem Pastor I know well, whose identity cannot be disclosed, stated, "we think we have only five to seven years left and then there will be no more Christians in Bethlehem." Once the City of David and long-time Christian stronghold, Bethlehem's Christian population has declined from
85% to 9% and is now a Moslem city.

As with the funding of Egypt's Moslem Brotherhood, I question why the EU and US fund the Palestinian Authority to the tune of $2.5billion (2010-11) when human right violations take place widely in their territory. While the West contributes vast amounts of money to prop up and embolden such regimes; pogroms, persecution and genocidal threats will continue against Christians.

Worse still is the considerable amount of weaponry, munitions and military hardware flowing from the US and Europe to the region - in addition to our taxpayer's money - weapons used against our own Christian family.

 In many nations such as Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria and Syria, churches have been bombed and set on fire, homes ransacked, children terrorized. Men are dragged through the streets and killed. Women are abducted, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Khaled Mashaal, a Hamas leader in Gaza, recently called on all Moslems and Christians to live as partners in a freed Palestine, whilst ignoring the methodical persecution of Christians throughout Africa, the Middle-East and Palestine.

I believe if action is not taken to halt the supply of arms and money to these regimes then the lives of many millions of Christians remain at risk. So what can be done? The Dutch novelist, de Winter, is withholding part of his tax. We Christians can't do this for we must "give to Caesar what is Caesar's." But what we can do is lobby our MPs and MEPs to demand the cessation of funding and arms supplies to corrupt and violent regimes. I am well aware of the hurt and pain caused by the silence of the church in the Jewish Holocaust: my concern now is that history is repeating itself with the church appearing silent once again in the face of a second holocaust - of its own people. 

Footnote: See Telegraph article 'Christians persecuted throughout the world'.

Howard Stern, 06/02/2013

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Guest 1948 (Guest) 02/03/2013 17:41
End time prophecy staring us in the face, Jerusalem will become a cup of trembling to all nations.
" And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people, all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered against it."..Zechariah 12:3.
Editor 04/03/2013 14:03
Turkey’s Erdogan Calls Zionism A “Crime Against Humanity” at UN Conference

UN Watch expressed shock over anti-Jewish remarks delivered by Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan at a UN summit for tolerance, and urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon — who was present on the stage yet stayed silent — to speak out and condemn the speech. The Geneva-based human rights group also called on Erdogan to apologize, and hoped US President Obama would press him to do so.

Speaking yesterday before a Vienna forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, a UN framework for West-Islam dialogue, Erdogan called Zionism, the movement founded in 1897 for Jewish self-determination, a “crime against humanity,” likening it with anti-Semitism, fascism, and Islamophobia. click here for Turkish news report.

“We remind secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that his predecessor Kofi Annan recognized that the UN’s 1975 Zionism-is-racism resolution was an expression of anti-Semitism, and he welcomed its repeal.”

UN Watch urged all members of the Alliance’s High Level Group, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “to denounce remarks that fundamentally contradict the very purpose of a forum supposedly dedicated to mutual tolerance.”

“Erdogan’s misuse of this global podium to incite hatred, and his resort to Ahmandinejad-style pronouncements appealing to the lowest common denominator in the Muslim world, will only strengthen the belief that his government is hewing to a confrontational stance, and fundamentally unwilling to end its four-year-old feud with Israel.”
guest (Guest) 04/03/2013 15:03
More politics.
There is a lot of anti-Israel feeling in the middle east and Erdogan is expressing it.
There is good reason too as Israel has been engaged in many battles, using its military advantage to crush those it doesn't like into the ground.
If we agree with Israeli foreign policy then fine. But don't feel obliged to support it.
You could certainly argue with Erdogan that Israel has conducted crimes against humanity - consider for example the bombing of the refugee camps in Lebanon.
Editor 04/03/2013 17:11
(Guest) said: "There is good reason too as Israel has been engaged in many battles."

I think Guest, that if you check the modern history, every battle which Israel has fought has been essentially one with neighbouring states who are seeking - using military or political means - to "wipe Israel off the map".

I'm not sure which 'bombing of refugee camps' you refer to. If it is the Sabra and Shatila violence, the facts are that it was Lebanese against Lebanese. The charge (which was proven) was the Israeli army didn't do anything to prevent it happening.

Regarding 'Israel foreign policy', Israel is doing what any nation is bound to do - defend its citizens. While I am not aware of your nationality, perhaps you might like to comment on whether you would wish your government to defend you if faced with external (or internal) threats which call for your annihilation.

However, the main and by far most important point is nothing to do with politics: it is a spiritual matter.

I don't know whether you know or believe what is written in the Bible but Israel and the Jewish people (who have faults like everyone else; but are more heavily scrutinised than anyone else) are still a 'banner to the nations' (Is 11:12).

And one day Jesus feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) and the Jewish people will recognise him as their Messiah (Zech 12:10; Matt 23:39; Rom 11:25 - 27).

All we are seeing in the political and military realm is yet another attempt to destroy the nation. In the same manner as Haman and Hitler. Anti-semitism is essentially a spiritual dynamic which strives to negate the sovereign purposes of an almighty God.
guest (Guest) 04/03/2013 17:43
The Sabra and Shatila massacre was the slaughter of between 762 and 3,500 civilians, mostly Palestinian and Lebanese Shia, by a Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon from approximately 6:00 pm 16 September to 8:00 am 18 September 1982.[3]

The Israeli's were using their proxi's in Lebanon.

The massacre was presented as retaliation for the assassination of newly elected Lebanese president Bachir Gemayel, the leader of the Lebanese Kataeb Party. It was wrongly assumed that Palestinian militants had carried out the assassination, which is now generally attributed to native, pro-Syrian militants.

Israel invaded Lebanon with the intention of rooting out the PLO. Under the supervision of the Multinational Force the PLO withdrew from Lebanon following weeks of battles in West Beirut and shortly before the massacre took place. Various forces — Israeli, Phalangist and possibly also of the SLA — were in the vicinity of the camps at the time of the slaughter, taking advantage of the fact that the multinational forces had removed barracks and mines that encircled Beirut's Muslim neighborhoods and kept the Israelis at bay.[4] The Israeli advance over West Beirut in the wake of the PLO withdrawal, which enabled the Phalangist raid, was considered a violation of the ceasefire agreement between the various forces.[5] The actual killers were "the Young Men", a gang recruited by Elie Hobeika, the Lebanese Forces intelligence chief, from men who had been expelled from the Lebanese Forces for insubordination or criminal activities. [6] The killings are widely believed to have taken place under Hobeika's direct orders. Hobeika's family and fiancée had been murdered by Palestinian militiamen, and their Lebanese allies, at the Damour massacre of 1976,[7][8] itself a response to a previous massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese Muslims at the hands of Christian militants. Hobeika later became a long-serving Member of the Parliament of Lebanon and served in several ministerial roles.

The Israel Defense Forces surrounded the camps and at the Phalangists' request,[9] fired illuminating flares at night.[10][11] In 1982, a UN commission chaired by Sean MacBride concluded that Israel bore responsibility for the violence.[12] In 1983, the Israeli Kahan Commission, appointed to investigate the incident, found that Israeli military personnel, aware that a massacre was in progress, had failed to take serious steps to stop it. Thus Israel was indirectly responsible, while Ariel Sharon, then Defense Minister, bore personal responsibility, forcing him to resign.[13]

guest (Guest) 04/03/2013 18:01
Israel has justified its civilian settlements by stating that a temporary use of land and buildings for various purposes appears permissible under a plea of military necessity and that the settlements fulfilled security needs.[9] The United Nations affirmed the principle of international law that the continuation of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations is a crime and that colonial peoples have the inherent right to struggle by all necessary means at their disposal against colonial Powers and alien domination in exercise of their right of self-determination.[10] National liberation struggles are categorized as international armed conflicts by Article 1(4) of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 to which the majority of states (including the Western states) are parties.[11][12] The International Court of Justice concluded that Israel had breached its obligations under international law by establishing settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and that Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of imposing a régime, which is contrary to international law. The Court also concluded that the Israeli régime violates the basic human rights of the Palestinians by impeding the liberty of movement of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (with the exception of Israeli citizens) and their exercise of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living.[13]

In Hebron, where 500-600 settlers live among 167,000 Palestinians, B'Tselem argues that there have been "grave violations" of Palestinian human rights because of the "presence of the settlers within the city." The organization cites regular incidents of "almost daily physical violence and property damage by settlers in the city", curfews and restrictions of movement that are "among the harshest in the Occupied Territories", and violence and by Israeli border policemen and the IDF against Palestinians who live in the city's H2 sector.[14][15][16]

Human Rights Watch reports on physical violence against Palestinians by settlers, including, "frequent[ly] stoning and shooting at Palestinian cars. In many cases, settlers abuse Palestinians in front of Israeli soldiers or police with little interference from the authorities."[17]

B'Tselem also says that settler actions include "blocking roadways, so as to impede Palestinian life and commerce. The settlers also shoot solar panels on roofs of buildings, torch automobiles, shatter windowpanes and windshields, destroy crops, uproot trees, abuse merchants and owners of stalls in the market. Some of these actions are intended to force Palestinians to leave their homes and farmland, and thereby enable the settlers to gain control of them."[18]

Editor 04/03/2013 18:07
Again I don't know what nationality you are, but maybe you could comment on the indiscriminating British bombing of German cities, the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the current violence in Syria, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan , etc. etc.

You might also like to visit the testimony of a British Army Officer -

But as I said before the problem - fundamentally - is not political, military or ethic: it is spiritual. It is only on this level that anything can be fully understood.

Accordingly if this conversation is to have any real basis it needs to be on the revealed word and purposes of God. Additionally I am not prepared to discuss any issue at length with someone who hides behind anonyimity.
guest (Guest) 04/03/2013 18:10
With respect, editor, your comments are political as you are siding with Israel in your description of the conflicts in the region.
You talk about Israels neightbours trying to wipe them off the face of the map whilst ignoring Israels attempts to grind Gaza into the dust.
Your attempts to persuade me to comment on the bombing of Dresden are obfuscation.
Editor 04/03/2013 18:24
As earlier stated I will dialogue on a Biblical basis and with anyone provided they are prepared to identify themselves to me.

The political arguments will go on until Kingdom come (and I notice you make no comment about the British Army Officer's testimony).

If you are not a believer in God (and I say this as kindly as I can) there is no way that anyone can hope to understand the spiritual dynamic behind the events that we witness in the physical realm.

I am not going to stand on any arguments I can make; rather I will stand on God's word.
RF (Guest) 30/05/2013 20:44
Guest at 04/03/13 18.10 has, in my view, made sound points. Also what is this degree of intolerance towards anonymity on this site? Reasoned comments hold force whether or not Tommy Adkins pretends to be Joe Soap or Albert Anon; I can see the distaste for anonymity in some other contexts, but not on this or similar sites if the writer is not abusive or cowardly.
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