Jerusalem, New York, July 11, 1999, staff, Mideast Newswire, www.cmep.com
Responding to Ezer Weizman's statements on Judaism, Islam and Christianity, the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC), said the President of the State of Israel should study the history of the Christians in the Middle East before engaging in propaganda declarations to the Arab world. The MECHRIC reaction came in the wake of an interview granted by Israel's President to the pan-Arab (Saudi-financed) daily al-Hayat which appeared on June 27, 1999. In the mentioned interview, Mr. Weizman said: "I think there are closer relations between Jews and Muslims then between Jews and Christians. For Muslims do not eat pork, as well as Jews. Islam did not wage crusades nor persecuted the Jews as the Christians did in Europe."
Reacting to the statement, a MECHRIC release said "while we do not interfere in President Weizman's attempts to buy sympathies from the Arab-Muslim world, as his way to disentangle Israel from the region's Jihad against the Jewish state, we cannot but underline few factual remarks :
1) It is a fact that the Jewish people was persecuted by both Christians and Muslims since the onset of both civilizations. However, although the major Christian churches have rejected Christian anti-semitism, Muslim hierarchies did not until this day replicate this rejection within the Muslim world. Therefore it is not true that Jews today have to fear Christians more than Muslims. Theologically, the opposite equation has to be addressed.
2) It is also a fact that European Christians have persecuted Jews in Jerusalem, a sad episode in the cycle between the two faiths, but it is also a major fact that Islamic regimes have constantly persecuted the Jews for 13 centuries, from the massacre of Khaibar in the 7th century to the massacre of Hebron in 1929. Unfortunately Mr. Weizman tries to dodge these painful realities, and bases his political choices on tactical necessities of the moment.
3) As to us Middle East Christians, we are appalled that Mr. Weizman doesn't even mention the historical relations between our communities and the Jewish communities of the Middle East. We have been facing the same threats and living on the same boat for the past 13 centuries. We would like to remind the President of Israel of so many episodes where Middle East Christians have stood firmly by the Jews, and particularly the brave attitude of the Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon, who helped survivors of the Holocaust, to reach Palestine during the difficult times of the 1930s and the 1940s.
4) It is the absolute right of Mr. Weizman to court the Arab-Islamic media by praising a Jewish-Muslim rapprochement, but he should be very careful about reaching this objective by stirring anti-Christian feelings. We strongly urge Mr. Weizman and the Israeli elites who are circulating these ideas, in the context of a political game, to read the history of Middle East Christians, particularly as outlined and presented by prominent Jewish authors such as Bat Yeor and Mordechai Nisan