There are many working journalists who are knowledgeable about the Middle East, but for some reason the Seattle Times has selected Floyd McKay to be its featured writer of op-eds about the Middle East. Floyd McKay is a professor of "journalism" at Western Washington University whose only qualifications appear to be his unerring ability to get his facts wrong and his morbid disdain for Israel.
Floyd McKay celebrates Christmas today with a column, Christianity in the Holy Land, where he blames the decline of the Palestinian Christian community on Israel:
The occupation is strangling Christianity in the Holy Land.As an example, he gives these statistics:
Palestinian Christians were historically concentrated in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. But the 1947 creation of Israel forced some 50,000 Christians from West Jerusalem and into exile or the West Bank, where they made up 20 percent of the Palestinian population. By 1966, that percentage was down to 13 percent, and it is now only 2.9 percent in the occupied territories. Muslims have a higher birth rate, but the major factor is emigration to America and elsewhere.As you can see, the demographic trend favoring Muslims over Christians was well underway prior to 1967, when the West Bank was occupied by Jordan.
Although there are Christian-Muslim tensions in the occupied lands, particularly since the increase in suicide bombings and militant Islamic organizations, Palestinian Christian leaders identify the problem as the Israeli occupation, now in its 46th year.46th year??? If he's referring to the 1967 war that Israel didn't want and didn't start as the beginning of the "occupation", then it is not in the 46th year, but in the 37th year. But who's counting?
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the officially Muslim Palestinian Authority, which has been in control of Bethlehem since 1995, has conducted a deliberate campaign of Islamicization to obliterate the city's Christian character. This is consistent with the behavior of the Muslim majorities toward Christians throughout the Middle East, such as in Egypt. Meanwhile, also in the real world that Floyd McKay refuses to visit, there are the Israeli Arab Christians in mixed cities like Haifa and predominately Arab cities like Nazareth, who are faring far better than Christians in Muslim countries. Indeed, the main complaints that Arab Christians seem to have about Israel are that it does not do enough to protect the Christians from Islamic militants.
There may be a ray of hope in the recently unveiled Geneva Accords, an ad hoc attempt by moderate Israelis and Palestinians to provide an alternative peace plan.Floyd McKay would probably prefer not to read the results of the latest Palestinian public opinion poll that show his "ray of hope" actively rejected by the Palestinian public 58% to 28%.
If anybody can explain why the Seattle Times continues to publish Floyd McKay, or why Western Washington University continues to pay him to damage the brains of aspiring journalists, please share it with the rest of us.Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 24, 2003 12:00 PM