The Christians who do not fit into the BBC’s Middle East narrative

A few weeks ago the BBC covered the subject of the recent Middle East tour made by the new Archbishop of Canterbury on the UK page of the BBC News website.

An article dated June 21st 2013 included a side box of ‘analysis’ by John McManus which for some obscure reason went off on a tangent on the subject of the protests by ‘Women of the Wall’ – a subject hardly relevant to an article about the visit of the head of the Anglican Church. 

A of C trip analysis

An article dated June 22nd quoted the BBC’s religious affairs correspondent:

“BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the trip was partly intended as support for hard-pressed Christian minorities.

Archbishop Welby said he was “deeply concerned” about the “pressures on Christian communities” in the region. […]

Our correspondent said the political turmoil that has followed the national revolutions of the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria has undermined Christian communities.

Christian minorities have suffered violent attacks and harassment in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, among other countries, and many Christians have fled the region, he added.”

Significantly, the article makes no mention of the persecution of Christians in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority controlled areas, despite the fact that – unlike Syria and Iraq – the latter actually was on the Archbishop’s itinerary. 

A third article from June 28th has the BBC quoting one anti-Israel activist and linking to other sources quoting additional ones – with the Guardian link also including the usual distortions by Harriet Sherwood.

“But reports in the Times and the Guardian contained strong criticism from local Christians of the archbishop’s position that he had not had time to visit Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Nora Carmi, of the Kairos of Palestine Christian group, called for the Church of England to “call a spade a spade” over persecution of Christians.”

Notably, the BBC only seems to recognize the existence of one genre of Palestinian Christian – the type involved in anti-Israel campaigning. The others – the ones who are persecuted by their fellow Palestinians – cannot rely on the BBC to tell their stories or grant exposure to their point of view. And there are other Middle East Christians ignored by the BBC too. 

In the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population is growing and thriving, a months-long story of persecution has been completely overlooked. A Greek Orthodox priest from Yafia, near Nazareth, has been threatened by his own church and subjected to incitement by Arab members of the ‘Balad’ party for supporting service in the Israeli army by Christian Israelis. 

“The persecution of Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Nadaf has escalated to a new crescendo, as the Jerusalem Patriarchate threatens to sack the Nazareth-resident and deprive him of his livelihood.

Nadaf’s sin is his open activism on behalf of integration by Arab Christians – or Arab-speaking Christian Israelis, as Nadaf prefers to call himself and his followers – into Israel’s mainstream.

He openly and bravely supports, though does not necessarily encourage, the growing number of young Christians who are interested in enlistment in the IDF. He also supports those interested in performing national service in their own communities. This sufficed to put him on the hit list of radical Arab MKs – including the only Greek Orthodox Arab MK, Basel Ghattas (Balad) – and to create inordinate pressure on the Jerusalem Patriarchate to dissociate itself from Nadaf and to punish him. The Palestinian Authority is also reportedly leaning on the patriarchate.”

The tribulations of Father Nadaf and others were discussed in the Knesset earlier this month and Christian Israelis have begun speaking out. They have even formed a new political party which calls for the full integration of Christians into Israeli life.

Apparently though, none of that fits in with the BBC’s Middle East narrative and so BBC audiences remain unaware of such cases of harassment and persecution.


Outside the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth – March 2012


Outside the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth – March 2012


10 comments on “The Christians who do not fit into the BBC’s Middle East narrative

  1. Hadar I am sorry to use your article to talk to Adam but he has banned me on CIFWatch after complaining that he was banned on CIF. Yanks really dont do irony

    I am a strong supporter of Israel yet he banned me. On this site I have tried to be unbiased my language has been moderate and you really had no excuse.

    Yours Rosco Burns

    • The only difference that Adam Levick has been banned without any reason (apart from his activity at Cifwatch and his excellent and polite arguments debunking the Guardian Worldview) and you didn’t do anything else on Cifwatch but trolling and expressing your strong and very biased anti-Israel opinion without bothering to relate (or learn about) the most well known and basic facts and history.
      Sweeten your bitter mood I have to add that If I were the owner of Cifwatch I would allow you to continue posting, your contributions made crystal clear the true nature of the so called “unbiased” “anti-Zionist” worldview proving again and again that Israel can’t compromise on its security and only us Israelis have the will and obligation to protect ourselves and prevent the return of the situation when we have to base our existence on the “goodwill” of your “anti racists”.
      I can suggest you to spend your time on blogs like the Electronic Intifada or Mondoweiss – you will be liked very much. ( I can recommend the talkback section of the Iranian PressTV too, it will be a perfect match to your “unbiased” worldview.)

  2. ‘Supporter of Israel’ my arse…….If your posts on this site are you ‘trying to be unbiased’, you may as well just quit trying right now, because you’ve failed miserably. All you ever do is distort the truth and blatantly lie at every turn, in order to deligitimise Israel.

    And now you’ve finally managed to completely p*ss CIFwatch off, you have the utter cheek to come whining to it’s sister site, claiming to be all hurt and aggrieved….but actually spouting even more lies!
    Hadar must have the patience of a saint, because I would have banned you from this site a long time ago if it were mine.

  3. The new Archbishop is different from his predecessor, Archbishop Rowan.
    This is from an article in ‘Church Times’* before Archbishop Justin’s recent visit to Israel;
    “THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he should have voted against a General Synod motion that endorsed the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

    Archbishop Welby abstained on a private member’s motion on Palestine and Israel that was passed by the Synod last year ( News, 29 June 2012, Synod, 13 July 2012). The Board of Deputies of British Jews objected to the motion’s calling for the Synod to “affirm its support” for EAPPI. It said that EAPPI’s “ecumenical accompaniers”, who monitor human-rights abuses of Palestinians, had “almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis”.

    In an interview with The Jewish News, published on Thursday of last week, Archbishop Welby, who is scheduled to visit Israel in June, said: “On reflection, I’d have voted against. I wasn’t quite up to speed when I went into that vote. I think the situation in the Holy Land is so complicated . . . and I don’t think the motion adequately reflected the complexity.”

    * ‘Church Times’ is an Anglican newspaper and should not be confused with ‘The Times’

    • Rosco Burns has been banned from CiFWatch? Finally.

      I wonder when we’ll be privileged to see the banning of the troll-of-many-nicks (I should live so long… )

  4. ‘Notably, the BBC only seems to recognize the existence of one genre of Palestinian Christian – the type involved in anti-Israel campaigning.’

    That about sums up the BBC and the Guardian.

  5. This despicable betrayal of Palestinian Christians by the BBC has been going on for ages. It needs to be exposed and published far and wide.

    And yes, Robert Pigott, BBC Religious Affairs Propagandist. He deceived an entire London Parish into believing he was doing a programme on them when in fact he was simply using them as background prop to slyly push his pro-reform views, bringing a pro-reform stranger to the service and then presenting her on his program as though she were part of the (conservative) parish.

    One parishioner was so outraged by this deceit that she complained directly to Mark Thompson. I doubt Thompson replied, and naturally the BBC hushed up this major betrayal of the public.

    And naturally the deceitful Pigott is still happily employed at that rotten organisation. I doubt he was even rapped over the knuckles.

Comments are closed.