Posted by: azizabusarah | March 29, 2010

Associate Press false report about Palestinian Christians

By Aziz Abu Sarah

An Associate Press article published on Haaretz and NPR related the following information: “The Christian population in the West Bank and Gaza have been dwindling for decades. Many have left for economic reasons and Muslim pressure.”

However, this statement is unsupported by sources or evidence. In fact, according to a survey by Zogby International, “While the Christians of Bethlehem overwhelmingly (78%) blame the exodus of Christians from the town on Israel’s blockade, Americans are more likely (45.9%) to blame it on Islamic politics and are reluctant (7.4%) to blame Israel.” (click here to read more about the survey)

In addition, AP omits important information regarding the Palm Sunday celebrations that occurred in Jerusalem this weekend. Christian leaders in Bethlehem complained about their inability to reach an agreement with the Israeli Military to allow Palestinian Christians to come to Jerusalem for Palm Sunday and Easter. (read more) Meanwhile, Palestinian Muslims demonstrated with the Christian community and many of them were arrested in peaceful demonstrations on Sunday. (read more)

The AP version of events is misleading  and disregards the facts on the ground.

I believe we should hold journalism to a higher standard of professionalism and not allow the opinion of the writers to change actual facts. Anything less is a disgrace to professional journalism.

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Responses

  1. I tend to agree with you for the most part. While I maintain my Zionist view of the problems between Palestinians and Israelis, from what I have seen, Christian Palestinians, for the most part appear to be supportive of their Muslim compatriots…Oddly enough, at least in America, Lebanese Christians with whom I have had contact ( including clerics) harbor more antisemitic views and inclination than their Muslim counterparts..( strange world huh??)

    • I think we must make sure that we don’t lump any religious group, Christians, Muslims or Jews in one stereotype. you mention being a Zionist, yet event that can be interpreted in different way. My blog targets the role of media in spreading false information. AP is a reputable media source and should be held to higher standards. AP report was a commentary about a popular American view on Islam rather than reporting actual facts.

  2. I highly commend Aziz for telling us that he and his friend Ibrahim respect Israel’s day of Independence’ despite their sufferings. I believe that many Israelis will congratulate the Palestinians when they have their own State, despite the loss of more than 6000 Israeli lives during Israel’s war of Independence. It is in the spirit of the Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible, which clearly teach us to respect, love and help our enemies: thereby we are elevated to a different moral plane of existence, and the enemy is an enemy no longer.

    Here are some examples:
    The Jewish Bible (called the “Old Testament” by Christians) gives specific examples and leaves it to us to work out the underlying principle:
    1) “When you encounter your enemy’s ox or ass wandering, you must take it back to him. When you see the ass of your enemy lying under its burden and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with him.”
    Exodus 23:4-5

    2) Also, do not wish personal harm on your enemies.

    “If your enemy falls, do not exult;
    If he trips, let your heart not rejoice, lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
    And avert his wrath from him.”
    Proverbs, 24:17-18

    3) The prophet Elisha had caused the capture of a band of the enemy Arameans. His ensuing conversation with the King speaks volumes on the subject at hand:
    “When the king of Israel saw them [the Arameans], he said to [the Prophet] Elisha, “Father, shall I strike them down?” “No, do not,” he replied… rather, set food and drink before them, and let them eat and drink and return to their master. So he prepared a lavish feast for them and, after they had eaten and drunk, he let them go., and they returned to their master. And the Aramean bands stopped invading the land of Israel.”
    2 Kings 6:21-23

    New Testament
    1) The New Testament displays the same wisdom, but sometimes prefers to state the principle itself, and leaves it to the reader to work the principle into real life situations:
    “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
    Matthew 5:44

    2) Elsewhere –
    “But I say unto you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
    Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.”
    Luke 6:27-28.

    The above sentiments are also expressed by the great Taosit sage, Lao Tzu, in his book, the Tao Te Ching, which teaches how to live one’s life:

    1) Chapter 69 regards having an enemy as the greatest misfortune:

    “There is no greater misfortune than feeling
    “I have an enemy”
    For when “I” and “enemy” exist together
    There is no room for my treasure

    When two opponents meet
    The one without an enemy
    Will surely triumph.”

    2) Chapter 31 teaches that –
    “One who … delights in the misfortune of others
    Will never gain a thing
    From this world below Heaven.”

    I would appreciate contributions from others as to where such thoughts are expressed in the great Islamic tradition.

    My purpose in the above is to show that the greatest leaders have pointed the way: we only have to walk in their footsteps. Do we have the courage to do so?

    • Jonathan,
      thank you and I really appreciate you taking the time to post the bible scriptures. I agree with you and I believe that those who use holy text to justify violence are violating the core purpose of the holy books.


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