Monday, August 13, 2012

"Alone, Frightened, & Struggling": The Jewish Remnant in Egypt (video)


"Alone, Frightened, & Struggling": The Jewish Remnant in Egypt (video)

Last week, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote here of the visceral antisemitism that has Egypt's masses in its grip:
".... Anti-Semitism, the socialism of fools, is becoming the opiate of the Egyptian masses. And not just the masses. Egypt has never been notably philo-Semitic (just ask Moses), but today it’s entirely acceptable among the educated and creative classes there to demonize Jews and voice the most despicable anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Careerists know that even fleeting associations with Jews and Israelis could spell professional trouble.
The level of anti-Semitism in Egypt has consequences, of course, for Middle East peace and for the safety of Jews. But, importantly, it has consequences for the welfare of Egypt itself. The revolution that overthrew the country’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak, held great promise, but it also exposed the enormous challenges facing Egyptian politics and culture. And anti-Semitism, if nothing else, has always been a sign of a deeply damaged culture...."
This video underlines that antisemitism, and of the danger facing the pitiful Jewish remnant living in Egypt today, the last representatives of a once flourishing community.

Also suffering, of course, are the Christians of Egypt, as many news reports make clear.

The Arab Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes, at the end of an article that's well worth reading:
'In the past two years, tens of thousands of Christians have fled Egypt, mainly due to the rise of Muslim fundamentalists to power. Recurring attacks on Christian families and property and failure of the Egyptian authorities to employ a tougher policy against the fundamentalists have led many Christians to reach the conclusion that they have no future not only in Egypt, but in other Arab countries where radical Muslims are rising to power.
Christian fears are not unjustified. Muslim fanatics will continue to target Christians because they consider all non-Muslims "infidels." If the fanatics cannot tolerate moderate and secular Muslims, why should they be expected to accept those who belong to other faiths?
While the number of Christians in the Arab world continues to decline, Israel remains the only country in the Middle East where they feel safe and comfortable. That explains why Christians living in Israel have been appealing to Israel to open its borders to absorb their brothers who are fleeing from the Gaza Strip, Bethlehem, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Sudan.'
This clearly undermines a recent assertion by Jeremy Moodey, chief executive of the British NGO BibleLands (see here for its most recent statement regarding Israel) that:
"It is a Western conceit that all Arab Christian communities are persecuted minorities and need our help to save them from Islamic fundamentalism. Most Middle East Christians are deeply embedded in their societies, with roots which pre-date even the rise of Islam. Indeed, they are closer to the Oriental origins of Christianity than many Western Christians. They have lived peacefully with their Muslim neighbours for centuries. The Arab Spring has led to a resurgence of Islamism, but it is not inevitable that this will lead to persecution of religious minorities. The overtures of the new Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt to the country’s Coptic community are evidence that the new pluralism could benefit not harm the region’s Christians.
In a sense, it suits us Western Christians to see our co-religionists in the Middle East as ‘victims’. In this way we can live out, vicariously, our own fears of Islamic fundamentalism. But this is not how Middle East Christians always see themselves. Their rootedness in their communities means that they have always been outwardfacing, expressing their faith and relating to their Muslim neighbours through social action. They are living examples of “salt and light”, in the very land where Jesus used these powerful metaphors, and we Christians in the West should encourage them in this ministry.”
 To quote an old adage: None so blind as those who won't see.