Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald makes a modest proposal for Bethlehem, and wonders how some prominent dhimmi Christians will react:
One thing is clear: Christians such as Hanan Ashrawi, Naim Ateek, and Michel Sabbah are not defenders of Christianity but traitors to it. They deserve a special contempt from all Arabic-speaking Christians. If a modern model is sought, Charles Malik, the Lebanese statesman, would do. And so would the Bishop of Beirut, Moubarac, who in 1947, welcoming the nascent state of Israel, saw clearly that the long-term fates of the Maronites and other Christians in the Middle East were indissolubly wedded to the fate of the Jews and the Jewish state. His views continue to make sense. Those of the unpleasant-in-every-respect Ashrawi do not.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, founded by the Christian Georges Habash, provided an opportunity for Christians to display their devotion to the “Palestinian” cause. It was the act of dhimmis, of course, behaving in the same desperate-for-Muslim-acceptance-and-approval manner that was displayed by Michel Aflaq, that Damascene Christian, when he co-founded the political movement of Ba’athism. Ba”athism began, of course, as a fascistic ideology of “Arabism” that would help make a political space for Christians. In both Syria and Iraq the ruling Muslims (in Iraq) or quasi-Muslims (the Alawites in Syria) found it useful for their own purposes as minorities (the Sunnis being far outnumbered by the Shi’a in Iraq and the Alawites being only 12% of the Syrian population).
The Christians of the Middle East, for their pains, have gotten, and will get, nothing from the Muslims. Only where they have taken a stand, and have been sufficiently powerful themselves, as in Lebanon, or protected from abroad (right now the Copts in Egypt have attracted, at long last, the interest of the outside world), or both, do they stand a chance of being left unpersecuted.
Pretending there is nothing menacing about Islam, as in the case of so many “Palestinian” Christians who thought they could survive by internalizing the Muslim view and promoting the campaign against Israel, has proven to be a disaster. Some of these Arab Christians, when they finally leave Muslim lands, whether for Belize or West Africa, or Montreal or Hoboken (not that many Arab “Palestinians” — if any — should be allowed into our societies at this point, given the views that many of them appear incapable of shaking off) actually have begun to reconsider their past coping strategy, their irrational but deep anti-Israel beliefs, and to figure out that the real menace to them always came from Islam. Or at least that is what some of them now say. Be wary, of course, for the amount of lying that goes on to cover tracks, in order to satisfy new neighbors in America or elsewhere, is considerable. Obviously now that it does not pay to express sympathy for the PLO or Hamas or the Arab Jihad against Israel, some of those expressing a change of heart and view may mean it, and others may not meant it at all. After all, their entire lives in the Middle East as Christians have required them to lie and lie in order to get along with dangerous Muslim neighbors; old habits of such accommodation die hard, if they die at all. Only when the slave is squeezed out of them, and they can begin to learn the pleasures of being straightforward, will anyone be able to tell who really thinks what.
I hope that some of those Arabic-speaking (not always Arab) Christians will take up the cause of Bethlehem’s re-christianization and simultaneous de-islamization, and possible retaking by Israel. Israel should never have agreed to give up Bethlehem. It should have been clear to them that the Muslims would apply pressure inexorably on Christians everywhere — whatever cynical political use they made of local Arab or Arabic-speaking Christians, those useful “islamochristians” as they have been dubbed. And why not? That is what being true to Islam means. Nowhere have Christians not suffered from pressure at the hands of their Muslim neighbors or masters — not even in Lebanon, where only the influence of powerful outside forces (France) and the unusual size and stability and self-assurance of the leading Christian group, the Maronites, protected them.
And the same might be appropriate for the rest of the West Bank: empty it of Muslims, fill their places with Christians from the Middle East and outside the Middle East. The latter may possibly come for a limited stay, a kind of service to the church, staking a claim to the Holy Land — necessarily under Israeli protection. Shocking? No more so than the transfer of populations in Europe after World War II.
Christians worldwide should demand that there be a place for both Middle Eastern Christians, and Christians from elsewhere, in Bethlehem and elsewhere in Judea and Samaria, as those places were called by Jesus and by Western Christendom for two thousand years — until the Jordanian Arabs decided to rename the area under their control as “the West Bank.” And those Christians — for example, the Christians now leaving Iraq — should be established in places from which, necessarily, Muslim Arabs will be expelled. Only thus can Christianity retain its hold in the Holy Land, in conjunction with the benign and protective Israel. The bet that was made, that appeasement of the Arabs and Muslims would work, has failed. The years of dutiful islamochristians working to support the Muslim agenda has blown up in the faces of the Arab Christians, and not only the Arab Christians.
Start with Bethlehem. Arab-speaking Christians everywhere should demand the re-Christianization and de-Islamization of Bethlehem. They should be supported in this by other Christians. And let us see how the remaining “islamochristians” still busily spouting their anti-Israel propaganda — such as Ateek, Sabbah, and Ashrawi — react to this request. Will they come down on the side of Christianity, or will they in the end show even here that they are really indifferent to Christian interests and wish only to promote the Muslim agenda?
A question that deserves to be put to them.