Archbishop: Desecration of Jerusalem Cemetery a 'Hate Crime'

Jerusalem's Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum condemned the desecration of a cemetery in Mount Zion on Wednesday, calling it a cowardly and disgusting act and a "clear hate crime" towards Christians.

Archbishop: Desecration of Jerusalem Cemetery a 'Hate Crime'
Image credit: Reuters [via BBC]

Facts

  • Jerusalem's Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum condemned the desecration of a cemetery in Mount Zion on Wednesday, calling it a cowardly and disgusting act and a "clear hate crime" towards Christians.
  • The Archbishop's comments were in response to video footage allegedly of two Jewish men who vandalized toppled headstones and damaged gravesites at the Protestant Cemetery on Sunday afternoon.
  • The cemetery, which was founded in 1848, is the burial place of 77 military personnel during the British Mandate period, as well as prominent Christian leaders — including Samuel Gobat, the former Bishop of Jerusalem.
  • The Anglican Church, suggesting the act of vandalism was motivated by religious bigotry, called for collaborative efforts to create a safer and more tolerant environment in Jerusalem, which is considered a holy city by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
  • The attack on the historic cemetery comes days after Israel swore in Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, establishing the most far-right, religiously conservative government in the country's history.
  • Nearly 16K Christians live in Jerusalem, the majority of whom are Palestinian. Though Israel claims Jerusalem as its eternal capital, Palestinians generally see east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Times of Israel, Sky News, BBC News, Foreign Affairs, and ABC.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Daily Mail. The New Year's Day attack is the latest sign of tension between Christians and Jewish extremists in Israel. In recent years, Jewish extremists — seeking to cleanse their nation of religious minorities — have carried out acts of vandalism at Christian sites across the country without fear of prosecution or justice. If the Netanyahu government resists preventive measures to protect the community, radical Israeli groups will ultimately drive Christians out.
  • Narrative B, as provided by The Wall Street Journal. While the perpetrators of this incident must be held to account, allegations that Christians are frequently the target of sustained attacks by radical groups is baseless and distorted. Israel is a democratic state and has finally formed a popular government. Benjamin Netanyahu is committed to protecting the country from radical Islamists and its citizens from coercion, irrespective of their faith. The West must support Israel instead of tarnishing its image with propaganda.

Predictions