The new Holocaust

A Greek-Orthodox church in Hama, Syria is a sign of a long Christian tradition of tolerance and reaching out.
A Greek-Orthodox church in Hama, Syria is a sign of a long Christian tradition of tolerance and reaching out. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Norwegian pundit Hanne Nabintu Herland published a post on her blog about a week ago where she blames us (mainly NATO) for the refugee crisis. She refers to our actions in the Middle East, or in some cases lack thereof, as a modern Holocaust and the cynical reaction of our time.

She doesn’t compare this to the Holocaust of World War II, but to the 19th century definition. It was used for mass murder, and fire was often a part of it. The Armenian genocide where the Ottoman Empire killed between 800 000 and 1,5 million Christians, was called a Holocaust. I agree with a lot of what she writes, even about Christians being guilty as well.  We have generally had a tradition of not helping people we see as outsiders. We help Europeans, and mostly white Europeans, but are more skeptical to Muslims.

We could have done much differently in Libya, Syria and Iraq. We didn’t show any hesitation when the USA asked for our participation. We willingly sent F-16 and pilots to Libya, and they didn’t only attack military infrastructure. They were used directly against people, and as the pilots had to pick out the targets themselves, they didn’t really know who they were killing. We thought we could settle this without any kind of discomfort at home. As a consequence Libya is in complete chaos today and ISIS is of course more than willing to take advantage of the situation. They have been growing in strength and size the last year and it wouldn’t surprise me if Libya became their new stronghold. Google Libya and look at the map. Libya isn’t a bad location if you want to be close to Europe.

I don’t think Hanne Nabintu Herland has translated the post i linked to on the Norwegian version of this text, but she said something similar in NATO’s role in Libya war is one of the worst examples of Western assault in modern history. I’d like to comment another point she made in the Norwegian post I referred to. I agree with her that our lack of care is a cynical reaction that seems to be typical for the times we are living in, and this criticism applies to Christians as well. I think we are seeing another disturbing thing among Christians, a totally blind loyalty to Israel. I have often met an implacable attitude among Christians, and some of today’s zealots speak hatefully about all Arabs as murderers, while they defend Israel’s right to kill their brothers.

It’s hard as an outsider to know who is right. Max Blumenthal appears to be controversial. Eric Altman is his strongest opponent and this is what he said about Blumenthal’s book:

Then the book arrived. “I expected to disagree with its analysis,” he wrote. “I did not expect it to be remotely as awful as it is…. It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed). forward.com

They basically accuse each other of lobbying for different groups both claiming to represent the truth. Israel might still be a democracy, but the democratic debate doesn’t seem to be prevalent at the moment. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for viewpoints that differ from your own. There are probably not many taboos left in the public debate, but this might be one of the big ones remaining. One may wonder if participants in a debate are willing to listen, or even learn something, if they won’t consider opposing arguments. Then they will only see a person, a person they believe doesn’t even have the right to speak.

What appears in Max Blumenthal’s video may not be different from what I have said myself in previous posts, that we have the right to defend our own culture. I believe we have the right to limit immigration to a level we can handle. I still wonder whether Israel is taking this too far. When many Christians don’t even want to know what Israel is doing.  When their fixed position is to always defend Israel, they may have been influenced by how this country is portrayed in media. Most of the people we see representing Israel have a very light skin, and quite a few of them look like they could be Europeans. I don’t know how many of the citizens of Israel are Europeans, but I have a suspicion that seeing these people on TV has influenced Christians. We may say it’s just because they are God’s chosen people, but I don’t believe it. The Arabs are their brothers and we don’t seem to care about our Christians congregation in Syria and Iraq.

I suspect that Israel has felt pressured to accept immigration, like most countries have. I still wonder why some of them don’t seem to be welcome. This is a story from 2013 about Israel giving birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent. There are other examples of possible prejudices too, but for some reason Christians are expected to ignore this. There is a disturbing trend now. We are seeing a rise in antisemitism, but I think it’s just as sad when the democratic debate loses because we use words like racist and antisemitism as weapons against people we disagree with.

This, together with Christians’ determination to support wrongdoings, could be just as serious as us not responding to the needs of Arabs. I strongly disagree with the people, mostly atheists, that get upset when Christians talk politics. That’s exactly what we should do. We should try to influence our governments to change their plans for the Middle East.

 

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