USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

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USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:25 pm

USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians


USA Today's page one article “Faith is fading out in Gaza; Christian presence dwindles around a 1,600-year-old shrine” (Dec. 21, 2015 print edition) is an anti-Israel hatchet job. Whether intended as such or not—perhaps the result of uninformed reporting and editing—it never should have been published in the form it appeared. 

The article was written by Matthew Vickery, a stringer for USA Today. Vickery also has reported for Al-Jazeera English, part of the Qatari-owned satellite and cable television network. CAMERA's Al-Jazeera Watch documents that outlet's chronic anti-Israel slant.

Perhaps the Vickery-Al-Jazeera connection does not taint “Faith is fading out in Gaza.” But Qatar has supported Sunni Muslim extremist groups, including Hamas, the U.S.- and Israeli-designated terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, and USA Today's story virtually omits the role of Islamic radicals in persecuting Gaza Christians.

The article says “the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the highest unemployment rate in the world are prompting Christians to leave the besieged area in droves ….” USA Today cites a Palestinian Arab from Bethlehem to state, erroneously, that “the Christian population in the West Bank has also been declining for similar reasons. … ‘Palestinian Christians … receive no tolerance or mercy from the Israeli occupation. Their land has been confiscated, their houses have been destroyed” said George Abueed.

Sensational, especially days before Christmas. Except that Gaza doesn't have the world's highest unemployment rate, the West Bank's Christian population has increased and any lack of tolerance Christians there face may come primarily from the ruling Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement and the area's largely Muslim majority.

“Everything she writes is a lie, including ‘and' and ‘the,'” Mary McCarthy famously charged about fellow novelist and Stalinist fellow-traveler Lillian Hellman (see, for example, The New Criterion's “The life and death of Lillian Hellman,” October, 1984). That's nearly the case with USA Today's “Faith is fading out in Gaza”.

Muslim persecution of Christians white-washed

 

The article nearly whitewashes Muslim persecution of Gaza Christians, enabled when not led by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other jihadi terrorist groups in the Strip. It omits the context in which Gaza's dwindling Christian population finds itself—the more than one century-old decline of Near Eastern and greater Middle Eastern Christian populations. That decline in countries such as Iraq and Syria today amounts to ethnic cleansing by armed segments of local Muslim majorities. And USA Today's report blames Israel for a partial blockade of the Strip without noting it was caused and has been prolonged by the anti-Israeli, antisemitic aggression of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and similar groups.

*Contrary to USA Today's page one article, the Gaza Strip does not have “the highest unemployment rate in the world.” That distinction belongs to the African country of Zimbabwe, under the thumb of aging dictator Robert Mugabe, followed by the Pacific island state of Naura and, in third place, Liberia, according to Aneki, a Web site that tracks economic rankings. A World Bank study cited by USA Today lists the Strip's unemployment at 43 percent, which doesn't crack Aneki's top 10.

In any case, the responsibility for unemployment, and underdevelopment in Gaza in general, lies primarily with Hamas. Since Israel's unilateral withdrawal in 2005, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS is its acronym) has spent hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars on turning the Strip into a terrorist haven and launch site for mortars and rockets aimed at Israel rather than focusing on economic growth.

The same World Bank study the newspaper cites to indict Israel for Gaza's unlivability notes that international donors—including Western and Arab countries alike—have fulfilled only 27.5 percent of their pledges for the Strip's post-2014 war rehabilitation. Why? Because they don't expect Hamas to spend it on behalf of Gaza residents. Although the World Bank doesn't assign blame to Hamas for “the conflicts and restrictions” that hobble the Strip, that's where it belongs.

*USA Today claims “although Israel rarely grants permits to leave the Palestinian territory, dozens of Christians are allowed to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem during Easter and Christmas …” Israel allows thousands of Gazans annually to seek medical care in the Jewish state not available to them in the Strip. Before the Hamas take-over, before the second intifada, Israel allowed thousands of Gaza Arabs to work in the Jewish state.

*The newspaper quotes a Greek Orthodox Church official saying “people might think we're leaving because of Hamas, but no, it's because of … (Israeli) policies on Gaza….” What else would he say for publication? Muslim extremists have closed and/or attacked some of the few Christian institutions in the Strip, including schools and a bookstore. There have been reports of forced conversions of Christians to Islam. Whether in the old Soviet Union or today's Iran, for example, people rarely speak freely to foreign reporters for publication about life under dictatorships. By implying that they do—it also reports “many Christians say that they feel respected under Hamas' rule”—USA Today misleads readers.

 

Avoiding blame where it's due

*The article says “the population that spanned 3,000 Christians in Gaza a few years ago has been reduced to 1,200, and worshipers say the area could be entirely devoid of the religious denomination within two decades.” Gaza's population is estimated at 1.8 millio, 98 percent Muslim (CIA's The World Fact Book). Its Christian population never has been large—Reuters estimated it at 3,000 in 2009. What can be said, but which USA Today does not, is that prior to Israel's unilateral withdrawal in 2005, it was more secure than it has been since.

*The newspaper cites a U.N. report that “the Israeli-Hamas conflict in 2014 and the blockade will make the Palestinian territory ‘unlivable' by 2020.” If anything makes the Strip unlivable, it will be Palestinian infighting, international donor reluctance and above all Hamas' insistence on continuing its struggle against Israel, which largely blocks reconstruction from the Hamas-initiated wars of December, 2008-January, 2009; 2012 and 2014. (See, for example, “One year after war. People of Gaza still sit among the ruins,” New York Times, Aug. 22, 2105.)

*According to USA Today, Hamas “refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist.” More accurately, Hamas calls for Israel's destruction and replacement by an Islamic theocracy and genocide of the Jews.

Gaza's beleaguered, shrinking Christian Arab community ought to be seen in context of Christian Arabs in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority, in Israel, and the rest of the Middle East. In many of the Middle East's overwhelmingly Muslim countries, Christianity has declined markedly, and Christian leaders worry about its survival.

Only in Israel has a Christian Arab population grown significantly in the post-World War II era and the end of colonial rule. Only in Israel has it enjoyed freedom of religion as a minority in tandem with that of the majority. (See, for example, “Grudging AP Clarification on Israel's Christians falls short,” CAMERA, Sept. 11 2015.)

But readers of USA Today's “Faith is fading out in Gaza” would never know. The article reads, one hopes inadvertently, like part of a campaign former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren refers to in his book Ally; My Journey Across the America-Israel Divide. That's the effort to undermine U.S. Christian support for the Jewish state. In pre-digital days, a newsroom copy desk had a spike, on which substandard articles were left to die. Spiked is how “Faith is fading out in Gaza” should have been handled.



http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=53&x_article=3202

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Re: USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by sassy on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:30 pm

GAZA CITY — Dim lighting and candles softly illuminate decorative tapestries as the smell of incense fills the air and the harmonic sound of hundreds singing in unison drifts onto a busy street next to an overflowing church on a wet and windy Sunday morning.

Despite the packed pews at Gaza’s Church of St. Porphyrius just weeks before Christmas, Christianity is not booming here. Rather, the worshipers at the 1,600-year-old shrine believe they may be the last group of Christians in Gaza, where they have lived and prayed since the birth of Jesus.

The ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the highest unemployment rate in the world are prompting Christians to leave the besieged area in droves, some using the holiday season to their advantage.

Although Israel rarely grants permits to leave the Palestinian territory, dozens of Christians are allowed to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem during Easter and Christmas, and some take the opportunity to never return home so they can start a new life elsewhere.

Today, the population that once spanned 3,000 Christians in Gaza just a few years ago has been reduced to 1,200, and worshipers say the area could be entirely devoid of the religious denomination within two decades.

“People might think we’re leaving because of Hamas, but no it’s because of ... (Israeli) policies on Gaza,” Jaber Jilder, an official with the Greek Orthodox Church said, referring to the militant group that governs Gaza and is labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and others.


Israeli sanctions on Gaza have made freedom of movement and goods almost non-existent, and have contributed to an economy that the World Bank said is on the "verge of collapse." A United Nations report this year said the 2014 Israeli-Hamas war and the current blockade will make the Palestinian territory "unlivable" by 2020.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frequently defended the blockade, saying it stops weapons from being smuggled into Gaza and to Hamas.

“Most of our community have no opportunities. There are no jobs, especially after university," Jilder said. "I hear this Christmas about 50 people will leave Gaza ... but they won’t return.”

"As soon as there is a way for me to leave I will go, and I want to send my sons outside if they get the chance,” he added.

There is a palpable sadness when conversation drifts to the future of Christianity in Gaza, and there’s anger, too. A community that has survived two centuries through times of war and natural disasters now feels like it is on its last legs.

"We don’t want to leave, but we are forced to because of the economic and political situation here,” said Luzil Asaree, a worshiper sitting in the courtyard of the church after the service. “It’s sad, Christians have been here since the beginning of our religion.”


The Christian population in the West Bank has also been on the decline for similar reasons, said George Abueed, a Palestinian-Christian from Bethlehem.

"Palestinian Christians ... receive no tolerance or mercy from the Israeli occupation. Their land has been confiscated, their houses have been destroyed, and they have been subjected to daily humiliation on checkpoints when they travel," he said. "Same discriminatory measures for everyone. Christians and Muslims."




Palestinian Christians at the St. Porphyrius Church in Gaza City celebrate Palm Sunday June 4, 2015. (Photo: Ahmed Hjazy, Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)




That claim of discrimination by both religious groups in Gaza has led to a feeling of unity. During the 2014 war, the Church of St. Porphyrius was opened up by the Christian community as a shelter for hundreds of Muslims. In addition, many Christians said they feel respected under Hamas' rule, and that the militant group regards them as an important religious minority.


“The government here has helped us, and we can go to them if we have problems,” Jilder said. “We face the same problems, the same bombs."



With three devastating wars in a decade and the ongoing blockade, the vulnerable community believes it is losing about 5% of its population each year. Those leaving are mainly young Christians with limited job opportunities who are jaded and traumatized by war and hoping to start a new life.

Ibrahim Tarazi, an unemployed mechatronics graduate, says he is "trying to find any way to get out" of Gaza. (Photo: Matthew Vickery)




Ibrahim Tarazi, a engineering graduate, said he is one of those waiting to leave. “I am trying to find any way to get out. All the youth are suffering here, all of them are trying to leave.”

Still, the thought that the Christian population could be gone in a decade or two pains him.

“Nobody would leave if we had a life here,” he said. “If the situation remains the same then the numbers will keep going down, but I can’t see any future where it is better.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/12/20/after-2000-years-christians-gaza-disappearing/77503936/


The truth instead of propaganda

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Re: USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:33 pm

Lol sassy posts up the libel story and as seen it is under Muslim PERSECUTION that Christians suffer.
Does sassy highlight the plight of the Christsians in the middle east?
No as she supports Islamist scum

Thanos sasy for exposing yourself once again

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Re: USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by sassy on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:34 pm

I'll take the words of the Christians in Gaza themselves rather of the lying shits in the RW Neaderthal, pald for by Israel, hasbara sheets.

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Re: USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:36 pm

You mean you are taking the words of Al-Jazeeraandf nobody gives flying fuck what you think you racist low life scum

Again why are you not highlighting the plight of Christians in Muslim lands?

Because you are the biggest hypocritical two faced twat

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Re: USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by sassy on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:37 pm

Oh dear, you are getting upset.  Don't like the truth do you.

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Re: USA Today Smears Israel with 'Report' on Gaza Christians

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:39 pm

Me upset sassy?
Hardly I am just here to constantly expose your lies and how you only use this forum as a platform of your hate.
You are a racist low life Islamist appeaser.

Again where is your countless posts on Muslim persecution of Christians.
Last I heard in the Uk the Archbishop was not concerned with Israel but the Arab nations

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