Monday, September 15, 2014

No, Ted Cruz shouldn't have withdrawn from the Middle East Christian Conference-Spengler

9/13/14, "Ross Shouldn’t Do That," Spengler, PJ Media

"I had to read the penultimate paragraph of Ross Douthat’s New York Times piece on “friendless Middle East Christians” before the enormity of it sunk in. Douthat wrote:

"If Cruz felt that he couldn’t address an audience of persecuted Arab Christians without including a florid, “no greater ally” preamble about Israel, he could have withdrawn from the event. The fact that he preferred to do it this way says a lot–none of it good–about his priorities and instincts."

In so many words: Jew-hatred among Middle Eastern Christians is so rampant that it should be ignored in the interests of saving this oppressed minority. Never mind that it is impossible to conceive of any strategic configuration on the Middle East that might help Middle Eastern Christians without including Israel; never mind that Israel’s supporters in the United States are among the first to urge America to act on their behalf; and, above all, never mind that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians can practice their religion in security and safety, and that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population.

The statement is outrageous, capping a long list of inaccuracies. 

The problem is NOT, as Douthat argues, that “the Middle East’s Christians simply don’t  have the kind of influence to matter” in American strategic calculations. The problem is that Middle East Christians threw in with (and some helped invent) a movement directly opposed to American interests in the region, namely the Arab nationalism embodied in the Ba’ath Party. I reviewed this sad history in a 2009 essay reposted on this site.

No-one proposes to blame the afflicted Christians of the Middle East for previous choices under duress: they had no good choices, and hardly can be faulted for bad ones. Unlike some of my conservative friends, moreover, I can’t blame Syrian Christians for supporting the Assad regime, which protects them from murdering Sunni jihadists. It isn’t about blame, but about the future–if there is one. Israel has a prominent role in any possible state of the world in which Christianity continues to exist in the Middle East (outside of Israel itself).

As I observed in the linked essay, the Catholic Church remains in the grip of nostalgia for its past influence in the region, and a great many of its Middle Eastern specialists simply cannot abide the idea that  Israel might be the home to the remnant of Middle Eastern Christianity as well as the protector of Christian minorities elsewhere. But that is how things have worked out. That’s reality, and it’s the job of political leaders like Sen. Cruz to explain reality to their constituents. That’s not “florid.” That’s leadership.

An analogy might be useful: Evangelical Christians are among Israel’s strongest supporters in America, yet some Jews–including liberals as well as Christianophobic ultra-Orthodox–reject this support. That is hysteria. Israel’s supporters in America are among the strongest defenders of Middle Eastern Christians, yet some Middle Eastern Christians reject this support. That is also hysteria. Jews who reject Christian support are crazy, and Middle Eastern Christians who reject Jewish support are crazy. It’s the job of leaders to tell them so." via Mark Levin twitter


8/11/2009, "The closing of the Christian womb," Spengler, Asia Times

"A century ago, Christians dominated the intellectual and commercial life of the Levant, comprising more than one-fifth of the 13 million people of Turkey, the region's ruling power, and most of the population of Lebanon. Ancient communities flourished in what is now Iraq and Syria. But starting with the Armenian genocide in 1914 and continuing through the massacre and expulsion of Anatolian Greeks in 1922-1923, the Turks killed three to four million Christians in Turkey and the Ottoman provinces. Thus began a century of Muslim violence that nearly has eradicated Christian communities in the cradle of their religion."...


9/11/14, "Why Did Middle Eastern Christians Drive Sen. Cruz from the Stage?" Spengler, PJ Media

"The Assyrian Christians of Iraq’s north are at greater risk than any Christian population in the world, and their only effective defenders are the Kurdish Peshmerga, which was trained and armed by Israel almost from inception. These facts are widely known. Why, then, did Sen. Cruz’s remarks provoke an eruption of Jew-hatred? A large part of the audience could not control its rage, and drove their keynote speaker from the podium."...


A NY Times commenter to the Douthat piece has it backwards as do 50 people who "upvoted" his comment. (Comments are now closed.) Adelson and Fox News (Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove) are strictly GOP Establishment, ie liberal democrat. Ted Cruz beat the Establishment. He's the only real opposition they have:


"J NYC 10 hours ago 

Does anyone seriously believe Cruz went there to have an insightful discussion about the Middle East instead of shameless pandering to the Sheldon Adelson/Fox News audience?


Comment: The GOP Establishment and RNC (the Bush and Barbour families) ran a campaign in Mississippi in June 2014 claiming the Tea Party would prevent blacks from voting. It was going to be so difficult to permanently silence the opposition, they decided to use any means necessary including inciting racial hatred and violence. It worked. The NY Times is even more experienced than their GOP E pals at this sort of thing, but both are champs at silencing whomever they choose to. Ted Cruz knows this.


Added: Douthat notes one of the reasons Middle East Christians haven't received the attention they deserve:

"The political left in the West associates Christian faith with dead white male imperialism and does not come naturally to the recognition that Christianity is now the globe’s most persecuted religion." 


P.S. If a single entity is responsible for guiding the beliefs of "the political left in the West" (as described by Douthat) it's certainly the NY Times.  


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