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Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

Evangelicals Silent on Hamas Kidnappings

Bradley Scott’s shout-out to the White House, silent so far about the kidnapping of three Israeli youth this week, could also be directed at an audience formerly supportive of Israel: American Christian leaders.

Response from American “Christian Palestinianists” to the kidnappings this week by Hamas of three Israeli teenagers is almost non-existent. These supporters of the Palestinian Narrative (the idea that Israel is a belligerent and violent bully in the “occupation”) never miss an opportunity to criticize Israel loudly over real or perceived abuses of Palestinians.

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This silence is shameful and outrageous. Yet it goes on.

When looking at the usual suspects, one is struck by the fact that only a couple have even mentioned the kidnapping of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frankel, and Eyal Yifrah. The hostages have names and should be recognized.

Those American Christian supporters of the Palestinians are led by a host of well-known activists, media outlets, and ministry leaders, among them: writer Donald Miller, Sojourners, Shane Claiborne, Christianity Today magazine, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU), Telos Group, Lynne Hybels, World Vision, Relevant magazine, and Tony Campolo.

Todd Deatherage, co-founder of Telos, posted about the kidnappings on Twitter, citing a statement that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had condemned the kidnappings. CMEP posted about the kidnappings on its Facebook page.

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The others, especially Miller—who has accused the Israel Defense Forces of war crimes, without documentation—are silent in the face of this humanitarian outrage. In particular, media outlets like Christianity Today usually are quick to post negative articles about Israel (for example, when the Knesset considers bills to curtail “missionary activity”), yet so far the flagship periodical of the American evangelical world is silent about the kidnapping of Jewish youth by jihadists.

Relevant, a leader in the evangelical Millennial community, has also been silent about the kidnappings, yet rarely misses an opportunity to portray Israel in the most negative light possible. The grotesque abduction of Shaer, Frankel (an American citizen), and Yifrah does not fit the anti-Israel narrative of Relevant, CT, and others, and goes a long way in explaining their silence on this story.

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Some Christian media are spotlighting the kidnappings. World magazine, in the “Midday Roundup” on June 16, detailed the Israeli search:

“Politically charged. Israeli troops have been searching house to house in the city of Hebron for three teenagers who went missing in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the militant group Hamas kidnapped them. Israeli spokesman Mark Regev blamed the kidnappings on the Palestinian Authority, but a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that was not the case. He said Israeli security controlled the area where the teens went missing. Today, Abbas publicly condemned the kidnappings.”

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Abbas, of course, has allowed incitement against Jews to rage in Palestinian society for decades, and images of Palestinian children holding up three fingers to symbolize the cultural delight in the taking of three hostages have made the rounds on social media.

Posters of terrorist "martyrs" in Jerusalem's Old City.

Posters of terrorist “martyrs” in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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CAMERA, a Boston-based media watchdog group, has acknowledged the silence from several surprising quarters.

One would hope that those progressives who identify as Christian in America would have the decency to decry the kidnappings. Usually, the only time such do reply in these situations is when they take the opportunity to employ a common tactic from the Left: change the subject. This involves changing the focus from three Jewish kidnap victims now in the hands of jihadists, to focus on Israeli checkpoints, “occupation,” etc.

This silence stands as a macabre witness to the erosion of morality in the American Christian leadership community.

It would appear that Jewish life is cheap in powerful religious circles. We have been down this bloody and horrifying road before.

I call on the aforementioned activists for the Palestinians—and their wider circle of friends—to acknowledge these kidnappings.

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  • Jeremy Moodey

    The kidnapping of the yeshiva students is shocking, and all Christians everywhere will, like me, be praying for their safe return. You cannot infer from their public silence on the issue that Christian leaders like Shane Claiborne and Lynne Hybels are not also so praying. Do you know what is on their hearts? But to describe the kidnapping as a ‘humanitarian outrage’ is ridiculous. The real humanitarian outrages in Israel/Palestine are the 47-year occupation and ongoing theft of Palestinian land, a siege of Gaza which has made life for 1.8 million people barely liveable (and that is the UN’s assessment, not mine), the systematic detention and brutalisation of Palestinian children by the Israeli military and the denial of proper water access to Palestinians in the West Bank. It would be great to see this website covering some of these issues from the perspective of Christian justice.

    • Jim F.

      Semi-clever attempt to change the subject. You know very well the piece had nothing to do with whether they are “praying” about this situation. The point is—again—they are publicly silent about it. Yet they miss no opportunity to bash Israel. You further try to change the subject by reading from your PLO script. We have different worldviews; simple as that.

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