Manfred and Anne Lehmann Foundation

FIRST-EVER JOINT ACTION AGAINST ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM IS HELD BY MIDEAST CHRISTIANS AND PRO-ISRAEL JEWISH LEADERS

NEW YORK -- A historic meeting of leaders of the Christian Communities in the Middle East with leaders of pro-Israel Jewish organizations took place. The event featured the following organizational representation:

The Chairmen of the groups were: Dr. Manfred Lehmann and Dr. Walid Phares

Christian Communities Represented:

Coptic American Association - Dr. Shawki Karas, President

Assyrian National Congress - Dr. Sargon Dadesho, President

World Lebanese Organization - Dr. Walid Phares, Pres.; Najib Khoury, NY Director

South Sudan Assoc. - Sabit Alley, U.S. Coordinator; Moses Akol, Chairman Resource Center

Middle East Christian Committee - Mr. Joseph Saouk, Secretary-General

Christian Israel Public Affairs Committee - CIPAC - David Parson, General Counsel

Jewish Organizations Represented:

Jewish Action Alliance - Beth Gilinsky, President

World Committee for Israel - Dr. Manfred Lehmann, Chairman

Leadership Conference for Israel - Rabbi David Algaze

Likud America - Howard Barbanel, President

Jerusalem Reclamation Project - Dr. Joseph Frager, President

No Affiliation - Ed Siegel

Other Organizations Represented:

The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights Under Islamization - Rev. Keith Roderick, Secretary-General

American Academic Alliance for Israel - Olga Barakette

Americans for a Safe Israel - George Rubin

The purpose of the joint effort was to call the world's attention to the oppression of non-Moslem minorities in Moslem countries and suppression of the struggle for self-determination of various ethnic communities. Christian and Jewish communities share the same threat throughout the Middle East. Survival of Christian communities is closely linked to a strong Israel.

A comprehensive peace conference, as alternative to the current process, must include rights for all non-Muslim communities. This historic coalition of Christian and Jewish communities marks an important milestone, and serves significant American interest in the strategic Middle East. Americans from Middle Eastern Christian communities number over 3 million U.S. citizens.

Commenting on the joint press conference, Dr. Walid Phares, president of the World Lebanese Organization declared: "There are many reasons why now is an opportune time for the Christians of the Middle East to consolidate their relationship with the American Jewish community.

First, both communities are witnessing the emergence of a common danger in the Middle East; Islamic fundamentalism. This movement embodied by Hizbollah in South Lebanon, the Islamic extremists in Egypt and the Arab world, and Hamas in Israel, has pledged the destruction of all non-Moslem entities in the region.

During the war, Israel was the only country which supported the Christian resistance in Lebanon against the threat. In South Lebanon, a direct alliance between the Jewish state and the local Christian population continues. It is embodied by the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and supporters abroad.

Today Middle Eastern Christians consider Israel as the only hope for the defense of non-Moslems in the region. The weakening of Israel will pose a great threat to the survival of the oppressed minorities. Non-Arab nations such as the Assyrians, Copts, South Sudanese, Lebanese, Aramaic, and others, consider that a strong Israel is a guarantee for their survival. Those Middle Eastern nations support the right for the Jewish people to return and settle on all its historical and biblical land, including Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

JOINT DECLARATION BETWEEN MIDDLE EASTERN AND JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS IN THE USA

"TOWARDS A FREE MIDDLE EAST"

NEW YORK, December 11, 1994

We, the representatives of the following organizations declare that:

  1. We are concerned by the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and the threats it poses to non-Moslems in the region and to the United States and the Western World as well.

  2. We condemn the oppression of non-Moslems and non-Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, the large scale abuse of human rights vis a vis minorities and opposition groups, and the suppression of democracy.

  3. We support the struggle of the people of South Sudan for self-determination and independence.

  4. We support the struggle of the Assyrian people for self-determination in his historical homeland in northern Iraq.

  5. We condemn the oppression of the Coptic people in Egypt and call for the respect of its human rights under international protection.

  6. We demand Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon and we support self-determination for the Christian people of Lebanon.

  7. We are committed to the guarantee of the security of Israel and we support the right for the Jewish people to return and settle on all its historical and Biblical land, including Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. We recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the Jewish state under Israeli sovereignty.

  8. We call for a comprehensive Peace conference as an alternative to the current framework. And demand to invite representatives of all oppressed nationalities from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq and Iran.

We declare the organization present in the panel as a permanent Leadership Committee for a Free Middle East.

Signatories to the joint declaration are:

Coptic American Association - Dr. Shawki Karas, President

Assyrian National Congress - Dr. Sargon Dadesho, President

World Lebanese Organization - Dr. Walid Phares, Pres.; Najib Khoury, NY Director

South Sudan Assoc. - Sabit Alley, U.S. Coordinator; Moses Akol, Chairman Resource Center

Middle East Christian Committee - Mr. Joseph Saouk, Secretary-General

Christian Israel Public Affairs Committee - CIPAC - David Parson, General Counsel

World Committee for Israel - Dr. Manfred Lehmann, Chairman

Jewish Action Alliance - Beth Gilinsky, President

Leadership Conference for Israel - Rabbi David Algaze

Likud America - Howard Barbanel, President

Jerusalem Reclamation Project - Dr. Joseph Frager, President

The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights Under Islamization -

Rev. Keith Roderick, Secretary-General

Americans for a Safe Israel - George Rubin

Middle East Christians Forge Coalition with Jews Advocating Strong Israel

On December 12,1994 a historic meeting took place in New York. A press conference was conducted at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, at which leaders of oppressed Christian communities in five Middle Eastern countries revealed endless tales of oppression and persecution perpetrated by Moslem governments.

They had invited six staunch pro-Israel organizations to join hands with them in a common fight against Moslem fundamentalism and terrorism, which not only threatens Israel, but also menaces Christians in all parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

The meeting was chaired by Professor Walid Phares, the President of the World Lebanese Organization, which is composed of Maronite Lebanese who have lost the Christian sections of their native country and now called only southern Lebanon, under Israeli military protection, their safety zone. Phares had invited leaders of a large number of Christian communities to the press conference, mainly representing Christians in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, South Sudan and Bangladesh, as well as, representatives of American Christian organizations, including CIPAC -- the well-known Christian Israel PAC -- and the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights in Islamic Countries (CDHRIC).

Among the amazing tales of oppression, Father Keith Roderick, the Anglican head of the CDHRIC, related the widespread crime of slavery practiced by Moslems, who sell their Christian slaves to Libya and other Gulf States. Other members of the panel also lamented the horrible Moslem practice of selling Christians into slavery, continuing the ancient Arab slave trade, which began over 1,000 years ago.

In the Sudan the Moslems have for many years attempted to force Islam on the black Christians. Scores of Christians are tortured until they agree to convert. Hundreds of thousands have been herded into the desert without food or drink and exposed to certain death -- until they convert to Islam. Over 1 million Sudanese Christians have been slaughtered over the past years by the Moslem Arabs without the world taking notice.

The outcry of these leaders throughout the conference was that they cannot anymore bear alone the burden of these persecutions and need support in their fight. Dr. Shawki Karas, President of the Coptic American Association, representing some 700,000 Coptic Americans, listed a long series of crimes perpetrated against the Christian Copts, the survivors of the people of the ancient pharaohs. Coptic churches have been burned down with no permission given for rebuilding them. Islamization is pushed throughout Egypt. Copts who refuse to convert are discriminated against in seeking work and finding a livelihood. Even Boutros Boutros Ghali, the Secretary General at the United Nations, who is a Copt, suffered discrimination in Egypt when he served in Egypt's Foreign Ministry.

It may surprise us, but the largest group of Christians are today found in Saudi Arabia. However, the Saudis do not grant them rights. They cannot establish a place of worship anywhere in the country. Even during the Gulf War, when President Bush came to visit the U.S. troops, any Christian religious service had to be held on-board a warship offshore, not on Saudi soil.

Dr. David Shend, President of the Sudan Human Rights Association, pictured graphically the horrendous suffering that his people are subjected to by the Arab Moslem government in Khartoum. Yasser Arafat still maintains training camps for terrorists in the Sudan -- nobody has ever bothered to ask him to close them down, even while he poses as a "peace" prize Nobel Laureate. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees live in crowded camps in nearby Kenya. The Arab Moslems have been waging war against the Christians for years and prevent any humanitarian aid from being delivered to the starving people in the south. The eight million Sudanese Christians are also subject to capture by the army of the Moslems, with their wives and children being sold into slavery in Libya and Saudi Arabia. It is amazing that black-American anti-Semites, who fraudulently accuse Jews of slave trading 200 years ago, are not protesting the Arab's slave trade going on today!

The next speaker was Peter Said from Bangladesh, the Moslem country that was carved out of Pakistan. There, too, Christians suffer humiliation and persecution.

Negib Khourv, a Lebanese who lives in the United States and who holds a high office in the World Lebanese Organization, lamented the "betrayal by the West" of the Christians in Lebanon. He accused outside forces of having in the past introduced anti-Semitism into his country, whereby one faction of the Maronite Christians there could be pitted against the other. He pleaded against Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, as this would expose the surviving Christian communities there to genocide by the Syrian Moslems.

David Parson, representing CIPAC, spoke out forcefully for a strong Israel as the only salvation for the Christians in the Middle East. He invoked the Torah, citing Deuteronomy 32:8, where Moses prophesies that the borders of the nations -- in this case the borders of Lebanon -- can only be secured by Jews. CIPAC has done wonderful work in Washington, supplementing and supporting the efforts there of Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America. CIPAC is a powerful ally for those Jews who strive for a strong, intact Israel. This Christian organization bases its program on the biblical promise that the Land of Israel is for the people of Israel, which is a very welcome approach, so sadly neglected by the leftist, secular Jews who pretend to speak for the Jewish people. Mr. Parson said that the recent statement by Israel's ambassador in Washington about "contracting Syria" to watch over Lebanon in any projected "peace" with Hafez Assad has profoundly shaken and shocked the Christian Lebanese because they know from experience the terrible fate that would await them under Syrian rule. Hence, the plea of CIPAC for Israel not to leave southern Lebanon.

The floor was next turned over to the Jewish groups at the Conference. I, as the co-chairman, spoke at length about the historic significance of the occasion. Here are some of my words:

"History is today closing full cycle. We who are here have common roots that literally go back thousands of years -- to the days of the Bible. I do not see here Lebanese, but Phoenicians, not Iraqis but Arameans, not Egyptians but Pharaonic people; for , the occupation of the Middle East by Arabs is a relatively recent occurrence in history. We are here meeting those people who lived in the area for thousands of years before that invasion and occupation. Phoenicians were partners with Jews of the tribe of Dan in sailing to the Western Mediterranean to found Carthage and Spain. Names such as Cartagena, Barcelona, Marseilles and many others are still the original Hebrew-Phoenician names. King Hiram of Tyre was a partner with King Solomon in constructing the Temple in Jerusalem. It was a Phoenician engraver who crafted the beautiful seal depicting King Solomon, which was found recently and which I published two years ago. Boats of the kings of Judah sailed to Ofir on the East African Coast near Somalia to bring incense and gold for the Temple. A Jewish military settlement existed in the fifth century B.C.E. to protect the African border of the Persian empire near today's Sudan. Cousins and uncles of our patriarchs lived in Aram -- modern Iraq. For 210 years our forefathers lived among the Pharaonic Egyptians, the ancestors of today's Copts. The Coptic language used today is derived from the Pharaonic language."

The alliance between Jews and the descendants of these early tribes from biblical days is therefore a natural, although a belated, phenomenon. I explained the roots of Islamic fundamentalism as a result of the standard perception of the world within Islam. The world is divided into two sphere, one is Dar el-Islam, the sphere where Islam exists, and the other Dar el-Harab, the sphere of warfare where infidels live, who have to be converted to Islam by warfare or forced conversion through the Jihad, Holy War.

I introduced each of the leaders of the Jewish groups present, beginning with Ed Siegel, one of the highest officers of ZOA. He was followed by Dr. Joseph Frager, president of the Jerusalem Reclamation Project; Beth Galinsky, president of the Jewish Action Alliance; Rabbi David Algazi, Olga Barekette of the American Academic Alliance for Israel; George Rubin of Americans for a Safe Israel; and Howard Barbanel, president of Likud America.

All the Jewish leaders present expressed their awareness of the historic significance of the meeting and the importance of the coalition being forged between the Christian communities concerned with their self-determination in the Middle East and Africa, and Israel. They all spoke with great vehemence and eloquence, bordering on the passionate, of the strength that can be gained by the two camps joining forces, pledged to support the aims of the Christian groups, and expressed their appreciation for the valuable support that these Christians are giving Israel. It became clear from all that was said during the Conference that the fate of the Christians is now for the first time being recognized to be inalienably linked to the fate and survival of a strong Israel.

These conclusions were formalized and signed by the participants in a solemn document titled "Joint Declaration Between Middle Eastern and Jewish Organizations in the USA -- Towards a Free Middle East." Of the eight declarations enumerated in the document, the most salient to Jews is No. 7: "We are committed to the guarantee of the security of Israel and we support the right of the Jewish people to return and settle on all its historical and biblical land, including Judea, Gaza, Samaria and the Golan Heights. We recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the Jewish state under Israeli sovereignty."

 

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