Jewish leader blasts indifference to persecuted Christians
The leader of the World Jewish Congress slammed global apathy to persecution of Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world, saying more countries should be moved to action.
“The general indifference to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation with Israel, isn't just wrong; it's obscene,” wrote Ronald S. Lauder in an Aug. 19 New York Times editorial.
“The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent,” he said. “This campaign of death must be stopped.”
Lauder stated that while the international community has rallied to defend the persecution of other minorities in other conflicts, as well as to protest Israel's attacks against Hamas when the organization is known to be using civilians as human shields, “the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.”
Noting a range of offenses against “Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries” in the Middle East and parts of Africa, he decried a lack of action.
Lauder also noted that recently, militant groups in Nigeria have “kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians” in Nigeria, and that half a million “Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there,” and have faced persecution and murder in Lebanon, Sudan and elsewhere.
“Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings,” Lauder warned. He noted that international organization have mostly remained quiet on “the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across” Iraq.
Additionally, he said, celebrities of public figures have not spoken on the persecution, and he wondered “why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?”
In his letter, Lauder commended President Obama for “ordering airstrikes to save tens of thousands of Yazidis,” but said that the airstrikes were not enough to counter the the economic resources and military force of the Islamic State. Saying the organization was “perhaps the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world,” he noted that “where it truly excels is in its carnage,” where it “has ruthlessly targeted Shiites, Kurds and Christians.”
“They actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick,” he said, quoting a CNN report on violence in Mosul, Iraq with a Chaldean-American businessman, Mark Arabo. “More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”
Lauder reiterated an earlier promise he made in June, that as he “will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering.”
Good people of all faiths, but particularly Christians and Jews, he continued, “must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence.” Lauder stressed that the two faiths share “ much more than most religions,” including a Bible and “moral and ethical core.”
“Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering,” he added. “Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.”
Lauder pressed people around the world to act. “It's not as if we are powerless,” he said, pointing out that he was writing “as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth,” as well as “as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters.”
More from this section:
- Pope Francis: Europe must ensure peaceful coexistence after Brexit
- UK prelate responds to Brexit results with call to remember society's vulnerable
- With 7 dead after teachers' union clash, Mexican bishop calls for prayer
- We must forgive: a bishop's message after a horrendous Nigerian massacre
- A martyr of the French revolution is almost a saint