As violent persecution against Christians around the world intensifies, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, in a recent op-ed bluntly asks, "Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?"
"In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza," wrote Lauder in his piece published in The New York Times. "The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference."
Lauder leads the World Jewish Congress, which is an international organization that represents Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries around the world.
In the op-ed, he notes that in the Middle East and in parts of central Africa, entire Christian communities are being lost in areas where peace had previously prevailed for centuries.
"The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago," he states. "Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan."
If the United States, and if especially Christians within the country, are supposed to lead the world in the fight against this sort of escalating oppression, then they may have to get educated on the matter first, observed a Christian persecution leader.
Open Doors USA president David Curry told The Christian Post as he took office last year, "The biggest challenge I think we are going to face is trying to get the American church to understand the scale and the magnitude of persecution around the world their brothers and sisters are facing today."
"We are so far removed, even with modern technology, from the kinds of punishment and persecution that people are facing in these countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and so forth that I'm not sure we can get our minds around it."
However, even leaders and organizations that should know the gravity of the situation better appear to be silent, according to Lauder.
"The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014," he writes. "There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn't the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?"
After explaining that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is "not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq" and "uses money from banks and gold shops it has captured, along with control of oil resources and old-fashioned extortion, to finance its killing machine, making it perhaps the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world," Lauder says, "…the general indifference to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation with Israel, isn't just wrong; it's obscene."
He writes that during a speech before thousands of Christians in Budapest in June, he made a "solemn promise" that just as he "will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, [he] will not be indifferent to Christian suffering."
"Historically, it has almost always been the other way around: Jews have all too often been the persecuted minority … Christians can openly practice their religion in Israel, unlike in much of the Middle East," Lauder states.
He believes "the bond between Jews and Christians makes complete sense."
"We share much more than most religions," Lauder writes. "We read the same Bible, and share a moral and ethical core. Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering: Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering."
After explaining that he wrote the op-ed "as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters," he concludes, "The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent. This campaign of death must be stopped."