Guardian

Peter Beaumont wants you to believe that Jews oppress Christians in Jerusalem


The most recent report by the US State Department on Religious Freedom in Israel and the Palestinian territories noted that though “Israel’s security fence restricted the ability of some Palestinian Muslims and Christians to reach some places of worship”, overall “the Israeli government respected the right to freedom of religion within the Occupied Territories“.

Regarding Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, however, the State Department reached a far different conclusion, documenting the institutional discrimination against Christians, their minority Shiite population and all Muslims who didn’t abide by the strictest interpretation of Islam.

Here are some highlights from the report: 

The de facto Hamas authorities in Gaza continued to restrict religious freedom in both law and practice, and the negative trend for respect of this right was reflected in such abuses as arresting or detaining Muslims in Gaza who did not abide by Hamas’ strict interpretation of Islam and broadcasting a program calling for Jews to be killed.”

Since the 2007 Hamas coup in the Gaza Strip, Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, has exercised de facto authority over the territory and has enforced conservative Islamic law, harassed non-Muslims, and imposed religious restrictions on women.

Hamas maintained control of Gaza throughout the year, used it as a base for attacks against Israel, and sometimes exploited its security apparatus to arrest or detain Muslims in Gaza who did not abide by Hamas’ strict interpretation of Islam.

In January Hamas authorities reportedly raided a Shia religious gathering during the holiday of Arbaeen in the Gazan neighborhood of Sheikh Zayyad. Reports differed on whether excessive force was used, although some claim at least 14 persons were arrested and some hospitalized. Hamas Ministry of Interior public statements claimed that the raid was a response to an illegal group with “corrupt views” that sought to commit unspecified crimes. It further stated that Gaza was a “Sunni country where Shiism does not exist.

Hamas enforced a conservative interpretation of Islam on Gaza’s Muslim population. For example, Hamas operated a women’s prison during the year to house women convicted of “ethical crimes” such as “illegitimate pregnancy.”

 local [Gaza] religious leaders received warnings ahead of Christian holidays against any public display of Christianity. Christians raised concerns that Hamas failed to defend their rights as a religious minority. Local officials sometimes advised converts to leave their communities to prevent harassment against them.

More broadly, reports abound demonstrating that Christians face systemic persecution throughout the Arab and Muslim Middle East, with studies predicting that “Christianity will “effectively disappear from the region as a cultural and political force within our lifetime”.  As The Telegraph commented on a recent study by the think-tank Civitas, “the most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam”. The report estimates some 2 million Christians have reportedly fled the region in the past 20 years alone.

Israel, on the other hand, is the one country in the region where the Christians are free, the population thriving, and their numbers growing.

Yet, despite the fact that Israel is the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont filed a report employing quintessential Guardian trickery on the issue: imputing Israeli intolerance from a few highly questionable accounts that are completely devoid of context, while ignoring the far more egregious crimes against Christians by Palestinian Muslims.

His report, Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem find their path to the Via Dolorosa is an ever harder road, April 20, all but ignores the larger story, that tens of thousands of Christians were able to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as part of Easter celebrations in Jerusalem’s Old City, and characteristically focuses on a few sporadic complaints.

Typical is this passage:

Orthodox worshippers complained of a heavy-handed Israeli police presence at the Holy Fire ceremony on Easter Saturday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with many worshippers denied access.

Of course, such “heavy-handed” security and crowd control measures, to keep worshipers from surging into the church, may be one of the reasons why there were no reports of violence despite the incredibly large number of visitors.  Further, testifying to the overall success of the day’s events, Christian officials reportedly thanked Israeli police for their professional handling of the event.

Beaumont’s narrative appears to have taken an even more dishonest turn in the following passages:

On Sunday morning it emerged that Israeli police had prevented the UN’s peace envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, other diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians from attending the Holy Fire ceremony on Saturday.

Serry said in a statement Israeli security officers had stopped a group of Palestinian worshippers and diplomats in a procession near the church, “claiming they had orders to that effect”.

However, it appears that Serry was allowed to pass and did attend the ceremony.

As the Washington Post reported on the same incident:

A precarious standoff ensued ending in an angry crowd pushing their way through,” Serry said. Serry spokeswoman Elpida Rouka said that the envoy and his party were trapped for about 30 minutes but that eventually the police retreated and the group, along with “an anxious crowd of worshipers,” was able to enter.

Additionally, we emailed Israel Police Spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld who confirmed that Serry did indeed attend the ceremony.

It appears that Beaumont got it wrong.

Moreover, a more honest assessment of the day’s events would invariably conclude that Israel pulled off a remarkable feat on Saturday, allowing tens of thousands of Christians to visit holy sites in Jerusalem for Easter – a day which wasn’t marred by even the smallest incident of violence.

But, of course, such an honest account of Israel’s progressive advantages in the region would betray the Guardian narrative.  And, as we’re slowing learning about the paper’s new regional correspondent, when there’s a competition between allegiance to accuracy and telling Guardian readers what they want to hear, the former will lose almost every time.   

75 replies »

    • Seems like the US State Department and the EU with Beaumont:

      “Uniquely among would-be pilgrims, Palestinian Christians from the West Bank and Gaza are required to seek permission to travel to the Old City, a lottery in which it is never clear how many permits a family will receive, if any. Last week Christian leaders complained that – as in recent years – they had faced either obstruction from the Israeli authorities or a lack of travel permits preventing many from celebrating Easter in Jerusalem’s Old City.

      “It is not only local Christian leaders who have been critical. A US state department report three years ago also highlighted the problems of Palestinian Christians in reaching key religious sites, a complaint reportedly echoed by a recent internal EU document.”

      • “Uniquely among would-be pilgrims, Palestinian Christians from the West Bank and Gaza are required to seek permission to travel to the Old City…
        Maybe because only the Palestinian “would-be-pilgrims” are known about their tendency to express their religious devotion to kill Jews (and any others) using terrorism? Just asking…
        Last week Christian leaders complained that – as in recent years – they had faced either obstruction from the Israeli authorities or a lack of travel permits preventing many from celebrating Easter in Jerusalem’s Old City….
        Maybe they should ask their compatriots to behave as real Christians and not would-be-martyrs?
        A US state department report three years ago also highlighted the problems of Palestinian Christians in reaching key religious sites, a complaint reportedly echoed by a recent internal EU document….
        Everybody who only once passed US immigration can understand their worries…
        The difference that they allowed in some poor refugees like the Boston Marathon bombers. And the internal EU document? Obviously they are worried because they don’t have any other Christian brethren to worry about in any other ME countries…

        • Are they writing about the Christians who have been cleansed out from Egypt, the West Bank/Gaza too? Their number is about thousand times bigger than the population of Ikrit….

          • He’s talking about Palestinian Christians whose villages were razed by the IDF in the 40s or 50s. This did not happen in Syria but in Israel.

            • Reminds me the anti-semitic professor who complains that the Jewish students try to cheat during the exams and when the others tell him that every student tries to cheat then he answers: Yes but we are talking about the Jews now…

              • How can violations committed in Syria justify the treatment of Christian Israelis in Israel, when they complain of being forbidden to go back to two Christian villages and of never being compensated for the destruction of their homes?

                • Destruction? By the British army? The British army blew up a lot of Arab “villages” in the thirties.

  1. Beaumont only follows the two millenia old Christian Eastern fun. Sadly for him and his bosses his options are very limited in Israel.

  2. In a region full of war and strife, such as the slaughter in Syria, Jerusalem is the perfect place for the UN’s M.E. peace envoy to hide out and do nothing.

    As for Beaumont, he certainly knows how to earn a paycheck at al Guardian. He’s as cool as a cucumber and just as smart.

    • and just as smart.

      Indeed. Guardianistas seem to come out of some ‘central casting’ somewhere in the bowels of the radical ‘hate USA’, hate most things actually, extreme left.

      • Wait a minute–Beaumont is at least twice as smart as your average cucumber, which he apparently uses himself for purposes too disgusting to delineate here.

  3. ” Peter Beaumont wants you to believe that Jews oppress Christians in Jerusalem

    Well actually it’s not Beaumont who wants you to believe this but a range of Christian leaders whom he quotes, as anyone who actually reads the article can see. Moreover the notoriously anti-semitic US Dept of State seems to think there’s something in the oppression theory too. In their “2011 Report on International Religious Freedom: Israel and the occupied territories – the occupied territories” the department notes:

    “Israel’s Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty provides for the protection of religious freedom, although the government’s closure and curfew policies and its separation barrier restricted the ability of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to reach some places of worship and to practice their religious rites at certain locations, particularly in Jerusalem. Israel’s separation barrier also limited access to holy sites and seriously hindered the work of religious organizations and their delivery of humanitarian relief and social services to Palestinians, especially in and around East Jerusalem. Israeli security authorities at times restricted Muslim and Christian worship within Jerusalem.”

    • So you’re saying any restriction of movement equates oppression, even if that restriction is based on the “spontaneous” riots of Muslim men, for example, who can’t stand the Jews who hang out at the Temple Mount? So what you’re saying is that any attempt to stop rock throwers, or missile launchers, or pizzeria bombers is a form of oppression because you mis-read State Department reports?

      Not the sharpest tool in the shed. Not the brightest bulb in the kitchen. That’s Sencar in a nutshell, with an emphasis on Nut.

    • Israel’s separation barrier also limited access to holy sites and seriously hindered the work of religious organizations and their delivery of humanitarian relief and social services to Palestinians, especially in and around East Jerusalem

      Typical for the race, class and gender idiocy reigning in the Obama administration, when deliveries are considered as part of religious freedom, while Jews are barred from the temple.
      Some sort of political hypocrisy and corrupt morals.

      • From which Temple are “Jews barred from”, Fritz? The Temple was destroyed some 2.000 years ago.

        • Jews are barred from praying on the Temple Mount. Although most Orthodox rabbis also prohibit doing so, as one could possibly cross where the holy of holies once stood, that isn’t the Waqf’s motive.

        • Not the memory of the place where it stood, albeit your buddies are working hard on the extinction of any memory. But so far you have failed.

        • And Muhamad have never been to al aqsa. why not just say that in your opionin Jews have no histrical ties to israel. As far as you are concernd Jews don;t really know what they are saying when they consider the western wall which was the only thing that remained of the temple as their most holy place.

    • As everyone familiar with the problem knows, the priests of the Holy Sepulchre have a tradition of fistfights brawling for their branch’s dominance in the church – the Israeli Police only makes a public service for Christianity in general and Beaumont, Serry and sencar in particular – they prevent the embarrassing demonstrations of their barbarism.

      • Are you calling Christians “barbarians”, Peter? US Christian evangelists might not appreciate.

        • No Pete I call barbarians the monks who in the name of love brawling for dominance at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and their supporters like you.

        • ‘Pete’
          Here we go again, another day, another name but the same old bullshit and attempt to twist what someone has written in a pathetic attempt to make a feeble point.

          peterthehungarian was clearly writing about the antics at the Holy Sepulchre when he refers to “..embarrassing demonstrations of their barbarism.”
          And he is right to label it as such, for the definition of barbarism is “the absence of culture and civilized standards; ignorance and rudeness.”

          I cannot answer for Christians in the U.S., but I am a Christian in the U.K., and I read nothing offensive to Christians in his post.
          What is offensive is the behaviour of those who indulged in fights at the Holy Sepulchre for sectarian advantage, and of course your pathetic attempt to twist and misuse the post as an insult to Christians.

          • I kinda doubt that Christians in the US or in any other country in the world will appreciate Peter claiming that Christian priests serving in the Holy Sepulchre are “barbarians”. Seems like peter has never set a foot there.

            • If anybody doesn’t consider priests who sink on the level of street thugs barbarians then they have a serious problem. Probably you are confusing me with someone else who gives a shit what they appreciate and what not. Anyway I have a feeling that I was in this church many more times than you.

            • ‘Pete’ Oh dear me, yet again you try to twist things to suit your warped agenda.
              Either you are a) not reading the posts, or b) only seeing what you want to see, or c) incapable of understanding English.

              So which is it ‘Pete’ a,b, or c?

    • Sencar: “A range of Christian leaders….” want to libel the Jews.
      And you lap it up, because that’s your culture.

  4. “Orthodox worshippers complained of a heavy-handed Israeli police presence at the Holy Fire ceremony on Easter Saturday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with many worshippers denied access.”

    This is IRONIC…given how western journalists annually stand around during Hajj with their caps in hand to pity the Muslim pilgrims that get trampled to death, while saying nothing about how the Saudi authorities should exercise more control over the human masses.

      • You want Andrew to go to Saudi Arabia to tell something to western journalists?
        Pete,
        I know you want attention…desperately…but the adults are now having a conversation, and anyway, it’s way past your bedtime.

        • Maybe Andrew should travel in the Arab world prior to commenting about countries which he seems to have little to no knowledge or experience of?

          • But ‘Pete’ if we apply your logic about not commenting about things of which you “..have little to no knowledge or experience of.” Then we will never read anything from you again.
            Now wouldn’t that be a pity (sarcasm intended)

  5. Wait–i have a description that cuts out any ambiguity about Beaumont’s sadly predictable, dishonest and distorted articles: he’s simply an antiSemitic asshole.

  6. Peter Beaumont has been awarded the Orwell Prize in Journalism. No really, Peter Beaumont has been awarded the Orwell Prize in Journalism.

  7. What next, Mr. Beaumont? The Israeli police denying Christians their rights … by breaking up fights between rival monks?

  8. If it was not for Zionists peacekeepers the Palestinians would have killed each other off by now. Are Zionists stupid? Would that not have solved the I/P conflict forever. Or lioke any other Zionist narrative it is just so much air.

  9. What is the mater wit hZionists always talking about killing murdering and forcing others to kill – You first –

    • Listen, Diptastic, I’m not the one who can’t live with the Zionists on this planet. I’m not the one demanding total capitulation to my racist and idiotic dreams. I’m not the one trying to kill people.

      If you don’t like it here, you can either adapt or kill yourself. If you can’t adapt, then fuck the fuck off.

      There is a reason you are a pathetic asshole. YOU are the reason. This isn’t zen. This is what’s happening.

  10. Kauf – I assume you support the one state solution. Are you a Zionist? Unusual for a Zionist to support a one state multi ethnic solution

    • Ahh Drek.
      Are you ready to answer the questions I put to you the other day over on the “Catherine Philp” thread?

      You have had ample time to respond.
      Or are you going to carry on behaving like the snivelling coward and liar that you are?

    • “Unusual for a Zionist to support a one state multi ethnic solution”

      You seem to “know” as much about Zionism as Hitler “knew” about Jews. Israel is multi-ethnic. As for one-state solutions, Israel is also one state. If you’re talking about a bigger state, be careful what you wish for – Mahmoud Abbas – mayor of Ramallah in a majority Jewish State, no more jets, no more embassies, no more trips to the UN, no more money.

    • You’re so clueless. I supported Oslo which led to the 2000 Camp David accords in which Israel offered a state to the Palestinians and they rejected it without a counter-proposal. Of course, you have 10000000 reasons for rejecting a state offer, but you can’t explain them to me. Because I’m the fucking racist and you’re that amazingly gifted peace lover who just happens to want to extinguish the lone Jewish nation from the face of this Earth.

      You are dumber than shit.

  11. Great Jeff no more Zionist state. Abbas’s Jet is a price worth paying – he can shove that jet where the sun does not shine.and you can join him on his jet if you want.

    • Drek I am STILL waiting for you to answer the straight forward questions I put to you on the “Catherine Philp” thread.

  12. Opressing Christians and… children!

    Israel needs no outsiders to deligitimize it. It’s doing a good job on its own.

    Disgusting. You should all be ashamed.

        • Pallywood in its full glory for consumers who like to eat their shit. Have a nice lunch sencar…

        • Listen, Sencar, I get it that you’re a flippant moron, but if you head on over to the video Adam posted at the top of the current list of articles you’ll see hundreds of grown Arab adults yelling and screaming and spitting on and intimidating tiny Jewish children. Now, go fuck yourself with a chainsaw.

        • You obviously think that people aren’t going to watch the video, don’t you? He doesn’t even throw the rock in the Palestinian boy’s direction and it looks more like he symbolically throws it away.

          • “He doesn’t even throw the rock in the Palestinian boy’s direction”

            You’re seeing things, Michael. He doesn’t even pick up the rock untll the Arab has turned his back and walked a few yards. Then he clearly throws it at the smaller boy.

        • Nice to defend and link manipulated propaganda videos. Yeah, good, old antisemitism keeping up with the times