Crowley and McCaul Abandon Palestinian Christians

“Quietly Withdrew” Draft Resolution Based on Justus Weiner Report

Back in July I blogged on a US draft resolution on the topic of “the plight of Palestinian Christians”. The resolution had been sponsored by Reps. Joseph Crowley and Michael McCaul, who were both deeply influenced by a report on the subject by Justus Reid Weiner. Justus Weiner (better known for his “Edward Said is not Palestinian” hatchet job) had painted a grim picture of life for Palestinian Christians facing religious persecution from Palestinian Islamists and the Palestinian Authority (I blogged on it here). But what happened next? The JTA reports:

…McCaul and Crowley said P.A. policies had led to “to mass migration of Palestinian Christians out of territories under Palestinian Authority control” and that “Christian holy sites and cemeteries have suffered repeated desecration with little response from the police.”

That drew multiple critiques from Holy Land Christians who said they did not recognize the dire circumstances described by Crowley and McCaul and were not consulted by Justus Weiner, a scholar in residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs who wrote the study that formed the basis for the resolution.

The response had an effect: By the end of summer, Crowley and McCaul quietly withdrew the resolution.

This is tucked away in an article about Bernard Sabella, a Palestinian Christian sociologist and politician currently visiting the USA for a conference. Sabella in fact blames both sides for Palestinian Christian decline:

He said that instability in the region derives from Israel’s presence in the West Bank and noted the disruption occasioned by the security barrier, which he says is frustrating commerce and travel between the Bethlehem area, a Christian center, and the rest of the West Bank.

…he blames both sides for not getting their political houses in order and negotiating a two-state solution to the crisis.

Sabella is wary of the Hamas government’s Islamization of what he believes should be a secular Palestinian society, and he acknowledges “sensitivities” between Muslims and Christians…

The article adds:

Congressional staffers who met with Sabella were impressed with his restraint and eloquence; one said his input might have salvaged the Crowley-McCaul resolution.

I’m sceptical about that, and the reasons why Crowley and McCaul chose to withdraw their unbalanced resolution rather than to amend it into something more useful are not hard to fathom. Obviously, the resolution was an attempt to co-opt Palestinian Christians into an attack on Palestinian society for the benefit of Israel; Crowley and McCaul didn’t really care about their “plight”, and when they realised that they had misunderstood the nature of it they simply lost interest. Either that, or they came to realise that defending Palestinian Christians requires more moral courage than that needed to express obvious pieties about the evils of Islamism, and neither man was up to the task.