Shmuel Katz was a disciple of the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and was himself one of the great political minds modern Israel has produced. Katz, who passed away in 2008 at age 94, wrote Lone Wolf, the definitive account of the life and times of Jabotinsky, Zionism’s towering figure. This article is from the Shmuel Katz website whose purpose is to continue his work.
By David Isaac
A little over a month after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fall, Ayman Anwar Mitri, a Coptic Christian, was beaten by Islamists inside his apartment, which they had torched.
“When they were beating me, they kept saying: ‘We won’t leave any Christians in this country,'” Mr. Mitri recalled to The Wall Street Journal.
Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, recently wrote: “Since [late February], a heightened campaign of violence is being directed against Egypt’s Copts and is presaging a mass exodus from the country…”
You’d never guess this listening to President Obama’s speeches. In a major speech on the Middle East in May he declared: “In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.'” Apparently Obama didn’t get the memo that they are no longer one.
Egypt’s Copts are not alone. The war against Iraq’s Christians began when the U.S. invaded Iraq. U.S. troops were unable to protect the Christians, an estimated half of whom had fled the country by 2009. Ironically, they were safer under Saddam Hussein. President Obama seems to have missed this development as well. In that same speech he declared: “In Iraq we see the promise of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy.”
To be sure, Christians of the region have long ceased expecting support from Western (ostensibly Christian) nations. When Lebanon’s Christians suffered a similar fate in the 1970s, the West ignored their plight.
As Shmuel writes in his book “Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine”, (Bantam Books, 1973):
Here was the only Arab state in which the Moslems had to share power and even to accept a minor share in it. Indeed, the original raison d’etre and the whole modern history of Lebanon was primarily of a Christian enclave, of a haven for Christians in an unfriendly Moslem environment. In recent years in particular, with the increasing discomforts and unease suffered by Christians in some of the Arab states, Christian immigrants from those countries were being absorbed by Lebanon. By the agreed Lebanese Constitution of 1943, the President and the Commander in Chief of the Army were always Christians, while a Moslem was Prime Minister. A Moslem was also Speaker in the Parliament, but the Christians held a majority of its seats.
But Muslims could not abide a status less than domination. Shmuel wrote in “Hypocrisy in Lebanon” (The Jerusalem Post, August 31, 1979):
That, after all is the source and root of the horror and destruction the Moslems have brought down upon Lebanon. It began early in 1975 with the combined onslaught by Lebanese Moslems and Palestinian Arab terrorists to crush the Christians and destroy their power in the country. The attack was sponsored by the Syrian Government, who had two objects in view. Following closely upon the crushing of the Kurdish revolt in Iraq, the attack in Lebanon dovetailed into the overall purpose of extinguishing the pockets of non Arab-Moslem independence in the “Arab world.” The second purpose was to establish specifically Syrian hegemony over Lebanon–which they claim as part (like Palestine) of “Greater Syria.”
Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT! For America, describes what it was like living in Lebanon in the 1970s: “When the Moslems and Palestinians declared Jihad on the Christians in 1975, they started massacring the Christians, city after city. I ended up living in a bomb shelter underground from age 10 to 17, without electricity, eating grass to live, and crawling under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.”
As Shmuel relates in “Battleground” (updated edition, 1985):
Large sections of [Beirut] the once flourishing westernized city, banking and business metropolis of all the Arab states, were reduced to rubble, and day after day tens, and later hundreds, of people, mostly civilians, were killed. After a year of civil war, at least twenty thousand people had perished.
By then the political objective of the Moslem onslaught had been accomplished. Whatever the precise organization of the country turned out to be, Christian predominance had been brought to an end. The army had been broken up into its religious components and had in fact disintegrated as a viable force. The Christian President, whose resignation was demanded by the Moslem insurgents, was finally replaced by a cowed majority vote in a besieged Parliament; his successor was a Christian nominated by the Syrians. …
The Christian nations, who with more or less embarrassment had throughout the months kept silent and turned their faces from the slaughter that Syria had generated and sustained, now welcomed her, and the troops she sent into Lebanon, as a “Peacemaker”.
One might say that the coup de grace to this decades-long process begun in 1975, (and delayed for a time by Israeli intervention), took place this Monday. Lebanon announced the formation of a new government dominated by the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Thus is a new Syrian-Iranian client state born out of the ashes of a formerly peaceful Christian country.
The Christian world did nothing for Lebanon’s Christians. It did nothing for Iraq’s Christians. It will do nothing for Egypt’s Christians. The reason, for the most part, is that the Christian world has stopped considering itself Christian, whereas the Muslim world has not stopped considering itself Muslim. In “No Solution to the Arab-Palestinian Problem” (Dawn Books, 1985), Shmuel wrote:
In the Arabs’ view, they were humiliated for hundreds of years, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, by the Western Christian powers – even though they, as Muslims, are the bearers of a superior religion.
The Arabs never lost that feeling that they should rule by divine right. Indeed, in the midst of an Islamist resurgence they believe this more than ever. The Christian West, on the other hand, has replaced its Christianity with a toxic blend of multiculturalism, environmentalism and assorted politically correct pieties.
Given the imbalance, which side do you think will win?