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Jihad’s Own Patriarch

On Wednesday, longtime jihad apologist Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch and Archbishop of Jerusalem, lashed out against Israel once again. The Jerusalem Post reports:

“If there’s a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against,” Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah told reporters at the annual press conference he holds in Jerusalem before the Christian holiday.

In his address, which he read in Arabic and English, Sabbah said Israel should abandon its Jewish character in favor of a “political, normal state for Christians, Muslims and Jews.” Sabbah’s rap sheet of anti-Semitism and Islamist sympathy is long and storied, and well worth reading. However, his recent claim itself demands rebuttal, lest people begin weighing in with the “he’s a bad guy, but . . .” canard.

It’s worth noting that the Patriarch himself is emissary of a state—the Vatican—the citizens of which are “subject to the sovereignty of the Holy See” as well as emissary to a state that’s declared Islam its official and sole religion. It’s this habitual blindness to contradiction that characterizes analyses of Israel, whether by interested or non-interested parties.

Israel is simply the most religiously plural state in the Middle East—by an enormous margin. Muslims and Christians have equal rights under Israeli law: they vote in elections; they hold elected positions; they enjoy religious freedoms; and so on. This is to say nothing of the humanitarian purpose served by Israel’s open-door policy for Jewish refugees.

In Egypt, Coptic Christians may be imprisoned for their beliefs. In Saudi Arabia, the practice of non-Muslim religions is illegal. In Jordan, Jews are denied citizenship. A true representative survey of the region’s discriminatory policies could fill a library, let alone a blog posting. When the head rabbi of Riyadh speaks up, perhaps the issue of Israel’s religiously exclusionary nature can be revisited.


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