The Daily Telegraph reports:
[T]the cause which [outgoing Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks] discusses with the deepest concern of all is the persecution of Christians in the Middle East – a plight, he argues, which is getting virtually no attention in public life.
“I think this is a human tragedy that is going almost unremarked. I don’t know what the name for this is, it is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing.
“We are seeing Christians in Syria in great danger, we are seeing the burning of Coptic churches in Egypt. There is a large Coptic population in Egypt and for some years now it has been living in fear. Two years ago the last church in Afghanistan was destroyed, certainly closed. There are no churches left in Afghanistan.
“Between half a million and a million Christians have left Iraq. At the beginning of the 19th century Christians represented 20 per cent of the population of the Arab world, today two per cent. This is a story that is crying out for a public voice, and I have not heard an adequate public voice.”
It is striking that this is an issue which does not directly involve Jews at all.
But being Jewish, “you cannot but feel this very deeply and personally”, he says. “I think sometimes Jews feel very puzzled that Christians do not protest this more vociferously.”
He compares the violence faced by Christians in Egypt, Syria and Iraq to the mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries in 1948, when the establishment of the Jewish state was followed by the persecution of Jews in countries including Egypt and Libya.
Those who remain today are “very small residual communities living in fear”, the Chief Rabbi says.
What a shame that Greenbelt should ignore the persecution of Christians, whilst the Chief Rabbi clearly sees the issue.