Christians Are 'Most Endangered Minority' in the World, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein Says

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, talks with "The 700 Club" host Pat Robertson in December 2016. |

Christians have become the new Jews, as they are now the "the most endangered minority" in the world, says prominent Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein.

Adlerstein, who is the director of interfaith affairs at the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center, was interviewed by televangelist Pat Robertson on CBN's "The 700 Club" this week about the dire need for American Christians to wake up and acknowledge the intense persecution that thousands of their brothers and sisters across the globe are currently facing.

As Adlerstein's mother is a survivor of a German concentration camp during the Holocaust, Adlerstein explained that he tells his children and grandchildren about how the world stood silent while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime.

Although many declared after the Holocaust that genocide would never again occur on this Earth, there have been multiple different genocides that have occurred since then, including the genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities carried out over the last two years by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

However, it is not just the Islamic State that is persecuting Christians. Christians throughout the world are facing various forms of persecution, whether it is at the hands of extremist group's, radical Muslim mobs, governmental actors or even their own family members.

"Now, we look at the world and we see Christians as the most endangered minority all around the world in a huge swath of territory going from western Africa, all the way around through Afghanistan and Iran," Adlerstein said. "Christians can wake up on any given day and not know whether they will return home, whether they will be killed that day, whether they will be persecuted. Christians have, in effect, become the new Jews."

Robertson chimed in by saying that it is "almost as if nobody cares about the fact that Christians are being persecuted."

"There has been a reluctance of Christians to get out there and show their determination in state capitals, in national capitals," Adlerstein added. "You shudder to think of how many lives have been lost for the fact that Christians did not have mass demonstrations in Washington years ago when there still could have been safe zones carved out before the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people that would have allowed Christians an autonomous region in the Nineveh region, in the Assyrian triangle."

In addition to his segment on the "The 700 Club," Adlerstein appeared on the "700 Club Interactive" program where he explained that two things need to take place to bring about change.

The first is that American Christians need to be willing to stand up for the lives of their brothers and sisters across the world and not worry about being politically correct.

"Sometimes it's the idea that Christians love is supposed to be so universal that it can show no particularism. It's PC to say that you are particularistic," Adlerstein said. "Our experience as Jews is that love starts at the home, in your own neighborhood, and it expands in concentric circles. And their is an infinite amount of love within God. If you draw on it, you wind up with a lot more to share with others."

"There is nothing wrong with promoting the interest of your own community first," he asserted.

The second thing that needs to be improved, Adlerstein said, is that governments need to universally take a stand to show that human rights abuses and persecution are intolerable and at the forefront of diplomatic relations.

"That is that every government ought to be responsible and accountable in the world community to protect the rights of minority religious populations," Adlerstein said. "Part of it is that if the United States is motivated by its own citizenry to make this plank part of its platform, then the how we deal with other countries is predicated in how they deal with human rights. [The late president] Ronald Reagan did that and it led to the freeing of Jews behind the Iron Curtain."

Part of the problem, Adlerstein added, is that the U.S. government has been reluctant in recent years to acknowledge religious motivations behind much of the persecution facing Christians across the world. As an example, he pointed to how the Obama State Department has, in some of the most egregious cases of persecution, been unwilling to admit that Christians are being killed for their faith.

"The government has been unwilling to inject a religious flavor or theme into some of the conflict," Adlerstein said. "Some people feel that if you don't own up to it, you are going to make matters worse. We don't want to start a holy war with Muslims or anybody else, nor should we. But, we cannot deny the fact that there is religious tension around the world and we have to deal with it directly."

Adlerstein added that he also believes that many American Christians are not doing their part to advocate for the rights of their persecuted Christian brethren because they don't culturally identify with them.

"Some of this comes back to the idea that many Christians look at others and say, 'Well, they are kind of Orthodox and we are Catholic.' Or, 'They are a different stripe and their skin color is a little different,'" Adlerstein asserted. "We aren't perfect. We have not gotten rid of all of our intolerance and subliminal racism out there and it has cost people their lives."

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