If you come across the byline of Giulio Meotti, stop and read what he has to say. Like Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein — a fearless warrior in the battlefield of ideas — Meotti is among the small number of European intellectuals who have not been carried out to sea by the tide of cowardice and political correctness that have been undermining the very foundation of Western civilization.
Unlike Nirenstein, however, Meotti is not Jewish. Therefore, he cannot be accused of being some kind of dual loyalist or “Zionist agent.” The best his enemies can do is scream that he’s got too many “neocon” connections in the United States.
I certainly hope so. We could all use heavy doses of his sanity, as well as his grasp of the global crisis in which we find ourselves.
The most recent case in point is an Op-Ed he published in Ynet this weekend, dealing with the plight of Christians in Muslim lands — an issue that has been sorely neglected at best, and purposely distorted for anti-Israel purposes, at worst. (“Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner,” by Lela Gilbert, is an important book that sheds much light on this topic. It is being released by Encounter in the fall.)
The piece — titled “Will Jews, Christians finally join forces in battle against genocidal Islamic hatred?” — asserts that whatever theological or historical differences have existed between Christians and Jews over the centuries, “There is an urgent mutual solidarity about the single most defining issue of our time: religious freedom.”
Describing an interfaith candlelight vigil held at the Colosseum in Rome last week to protest the abominable treatment of minorities in the Islamicized Middle East, Meotti says that today, Christians and Jews are “true partners.”
He points to a new report conducted by “Open Doors,” (a nongovernmental organization whose aim is to “serve persecuted Christians worldwide”) that “addresses the diminution, subjugation, emasculation, conversion, massacre and deportation of the indigenous Christians who came under the rule of Muhammad’s faithful.”
What the report reveals is that: “With the only exception being North Korea, an atheistic nightmare where 70,000 Christians are held in ghastly camps, nine of the 10 worst persecutors of Christians are Islamic countries (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan.) Of the 50 countries on the Open Doors’ list, 35 are Muslim (the Palestinian Authority is listed, but not Israel.) Islamic groups recently issued an ultimatum to the Christians in Nigeria: “You have three days to leave, or you’ll die.” Over 13,750 Christians have already been killed in Nigeria since the introduction of Shariah laws in 2001. Some 500 Christians have been slaughtered since last December and 300 churches have been demolished.”
The only country in the Middle East in which Christians continue to flourish, he points out, is Israel. Indeed, he says, “The Jewish State hosts a multitude of Christian creeds, confessions and cultures.”
It is for this and other reasons, concludes Meotti, that “Christians should see Israel as the first line of Western defense in the battle for non-Muslim survival and prosperity in the world.”
He is right, but it works both ways. Israel has come to realize that Christians — other than those who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — can be counted on for their unfaltering allegiance to, and alliance with, the Jewish state. Members of the secular Left in Israel, however — just like their counterparts in the Diaspora — do not embrace this unconditional love, as it has a biblically religious and politically conservative core. Members of the religious Right also tend to be suspicious of Christian solidarity, fearing that its ultimate theological goal is to convert all Jews to Christianity at the End of Days.
To the Left, there is nothing one can say. It is a camp that is guilty of abetting the obfuscation of crimes committed against Christians in Muslim-Arab countries, because of its persistent attitude that Israel’s behavior is at the root of Mideast strife.
To the religious Right in this country, there is one main point that needs to be hit home — and it leaves theology out of the equation. The only End of Days with which we should all be concerning ourselves right now is the untimely one we are trying to prevent from occurring as a result of a nuclear world war.
While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be waiting with bated breath for the return of the Mahdi — the 12th Imam — and anxious to speed his arrival along, the rest of us Christians and Jews actually want to stick around to watch our grandchildren grow up.
Meotti not only gets this; he also knows how to convey it.
Ruthie Blum, a former senior editor at The Jerusalem Post, is the author of “Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring,’” to be released by RVP Press in the summer.