“There are only a few places Christian Arabs can turn to for support. One of those places is Israel, which constantly addresses their needs. Israelis talk about us; Arab activists want us to disappear,” Christian Palestinian-American columnist Ray Hanania wrote.
By: United with Israel Staff
In a recent column in the English-language Saudi daily Arab News, Christian Palestinian-American columnist Ray Hanania bemoaned the fact that Christian Arabs receive more support from Israel than from their fellow Arabs of the Muslim religion.
As an example, he presented Palestinian-Christian filmmaker Shady Srour, based in Nazareth, whose new film Holy Air is celebrated by Israelis but is likely to be disregarded by Arab activists because it was made with Israeli funding.
The film is not political. It is about a fictional character who devises a scheme to sell bottled air from the Holy Land to enrich himself and pay his family’s bills. The message in Srour’s film is that money cuts across Middle East differences and brings Arabs and Israelis together.
Arab activists, Hanania asserted, pay lip service to the idea that Christian and Muslim Arabs are brothers, but in practice they do not regard Christian Arabs as their equals, especially if these Christians challenge mainstream Arab principles such as supporting the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement or rejecting normalization with Israel.
Stressing that films are far more effective than protests as a means of swaying public opinion, Hanania suggests that, instead of rejecting normalization with Israel, Arabs should make quality films that will show Israelis, and the rest of the world, the positive face of Palestinians and Arabs.
“Overall, I think Christian Arabs tend to get more support from Israel than they do from Arabs,” Hanania wrote. “Israel recognizes how important Arab Christians are in the war for the hearts and minds of the world, especially in gaining US support.”
He charged that Arabs tend to “parrot the politically correct line that Christians and Muslims have shared the same suffering and challenges, and shed their blood for the same causes. But Christians are not equal to Muslims in the eyes of Arab activists.”
“There are only a few places Christian Arabs can turn to for support. One of those places is Israel, which constantly addresses their needs. Israelis talk about us; Arab activists want us to disappear,” he wrote.
While he said he was “sure Israel is motivated by propaganda value,” ultimately “the point is that it is supporting Christian Arabs.”
Israel is the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, while their numbers diminish as a result of Muslim persecution in all other areas of the region.