On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a report on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Was it on the Copts in Egypt? The destruction of Christian communities in Arab lands? Syrian Christians living in Bashar al-Assad’s slaughterhouse? Oh no. This was about Israel.
Because here’s the thing: the story is kind of B.S. At one point, [host Bob] Simon notes the obstacles that West Bank checkpoints impose on Palestinian Christians, as though this were something Christians were specifically targeted for or uniquely suffer from. He thinks he is taking an original angle on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he is really just rehashing it and unfairly narrowing it in such a way that ignorant viewers may get that incorrect impression.
What was wrong with Simon’s piece? Well, together with producer Harry Radliffe, he aired an item that was a presentation representing the most extreme anti-Zionist, and at times, anti-Semitic local Christian liberation ideologies, with no balance provided from the pro-Zionist Christians nor any neutral group who could have provided much counter-argument to the various claims asserted from official or non-official Israel representatives except for one journalist/columnist from Haaretz.
It might have been worth noting, in the Simon piece, that the rate of departure by Christians from the West Bank accelerated dramatically after Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority took over in the mid-1990s. Or that Hamas has systematically driven out Gaza’s Christians. But, whatever… The occupation, and more to the point, the settlements, are to Israel’s discredit (witness that idiot IDF colonel who was driven mad by a group of bicyclists last week), but casting the occupation as anti-Christian is absurd.
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