Sunday, November 14, 2010

After the Jews, Iraqi Christians put to the sword

Lighting a candle at a remembrance ceremony for the 52 Christians massacred by Al-Qaeda at Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad (photo: AP)

The Daily Telegraph's Adrian Blomfield, normally stationed in Tel Aviv, ventures into Baghdad to file this report. He puts the massacre of Christians into rare context - the persecution of minorities in the Arab world, starting with the Jews (with thanks Frank, Lily):

Unless told what to look for, the casual visitor to the once glamorous Baghdad thoroughfare that hugs the east bank of the Tigris would almost certainly pass them by. The Stars of David carved into the stonework of the low-slung buildings that line the alleyways of Abu Nuwas Street *are little more than a curiosity these days – a memento of a civilisation lost to the pages of history.

Judaism has a connection to Iraq that no other faith can match. The patriarch Abraham may well have been born there; the prophet Jonah reluctantly returned to foretell the destruction of Nineveh. Centuries later, the Bible tells us that the exiled Jewish people sat down by Babylon's rivers and wept for their homeland. Yet Jewish links to Iraq are far from ancient history.

In the 1920s, there were reckoned to have been 130,000 Jews in Baghdad, 40 per cent of the population. Today, after decades of persecution before and immediately after the creation of the state of Israel, there are no more than eight.

Iraqi Christians might not be able to boast such a heritage – though even if there is no way of proving their belief that the apostle Thomas brought the faith to Iraq in the first century AD, theirs is still one of the oldest Christian communities on earth. Yet after a series of attacks in the past month by Islamist extremists – whose creed is the parvenu of the monotheistic religions in the country – fears are mounting that Christianity in Iraq is doomed to follow Judaism into oblivion.

Read article in full

* Bataween's family home was Abu Nawas St no 33/1


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

One way for the US to have helped the Christian minorities in Iraq would have been to help fund, organize, train, and arm militias made up of Iraqi Christians to defend their villages, churches, neighborhoods, etc.

But this was not done. Maybe the US has been applying the same logic that the British applied in 1941 when the British army --under Foreign Office orders-- allowed the Farhud to proceed. In other words, keep the Arabs/Muslims happy by letting them slake their thirst with dhimmi blood [metaphorically speaking]. Btw, the Telegraph reporter, Blomfield, although having written a good article, is not quite clear about the dhimma. He seems to think that it was created by the Ottoman empire when it goes back to early Islam.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

When they conquered Iraq in 2003, the US army should have known that the Christian and other minorities there were vulnerable in a sea of Muslim hatred and bigotry and that they needed special protection. But such protection was not given. Christians, Yazidis and others have been repeated objects of hatred and mass murder.

Since the US has not made any effort to protect their Christian brethren in Iraq in the last seven years of a US military presence in Iraq, we can judge on those grounds the worth of the current Obama administration promises made in the context of the "incentives package" offered to Israel in return for a surrender of Jewish human, civil and national rights, that is, to live throughout the Land of Israel. The Obama crowd wants a "settlement freeze" that is in fact anti-Jewish racism and apartheid against Jews. And they want to hold Jews hostage to the whims of the Arabs.

Such promises are worthless, like the UK commitment to carry out the "palestine mandate" given it by the League of Nations in 1922 to foster development of the Jewish National Home. The UK openly disavowed that mandate in the 1939 White Paper that doomed millions of Jews to Hitler's death camps.

Obama and sec'y Clinton have already disavowed commitments about settlements made by Bush to Israel in the letter to Sharon. American diplomatic promises are worse than worthless. They are sinister, since they may give Jews a false sense of security.

The plight of native Iraqi Christians ought to be a signal to Jews of what to expect from hypocritical Western powers, the US, UK, EU, etc.

In this context, we can understand a nasty article by the notorious Stephen Walt. He advocates that the US come down hard on Israel for "pragmatic" policy reasons, for the sake of "US national interests," presumably as defined by the State Dept and the national security council. Walt argues that Obama failed at the G20, where most major industrial powers rejected his proposals, because of Israel. This is ridiculous. Did China, India, Brazil, Russia and most or all EU states reject his proposals because of Israel, no matter how much the EU Commission and most EU member states may hate Israel??? Obviously, Walt and his ignorant, benighted sympathizers in the comments section will hate Israel in any case. They seem to want Israel to be held hostage by the US to Arab whims. Walt lies by calling Indonesia a "tolerant" Muslim country. Some commenters belied Walt by pointing out the massacres of Chinese and native Christians there, etc.