Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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TiM GW Bulletin 97/12-7

Dec. 30, 1997

The NYT's A.M. Rosenthal Speaks Out Against Persecution of Christians

A Year of Awakening

Rosenthal Lashes Out at Clinton Administration, Yet Remains Mum About Treatment of Israel's Christians



PHOENIX, Dec. 30 - A few months ago (on Aug. 15 to be exact), this writer wrote to the nationally syndicated New York Times columnist, A.M. Rosenthal, and asked him why he never protested the persecution of the Christians around the world, including in Israel, as he did in the case of China. We enclosed a CNN news clip about a new law proposed in Israel which would ban Christian missionaries, and would allow authorities to jail anyone who shares Christian literature.

"What if the tables were turned?" we asked Mr. Rosenthal. "What if the Christians in America said 'We want America to remain a Christian country,' as the Jewish religious zealots are saying about Israel?" (the CNN report quoted an Israeli Knesset member as saying, 'We are a Jewish state. We want to remain a Jewish state.').

"Pretty scary, huh?" we asked Mr. Rosenthal. "You have often written about the persecution of Christians in China, for which you should be commended. But I have never seen you condemn the persecution of Christians in Israel. Why not? Will you do it now?"

We never got a reply. Until today... in the form of an OpEd column. No, Mr. Rosenthal's Dec. 30 piece, "A Year of Awakening," still did not address the mistreatment of the Christians in Israel. But it did in other countries besides China, including in the U.S.

Mr. Rosenthal's column started out like a confessional. "Did you report the full story on every important subject you wrote about?" he asked himself.

"No," this former New York Times editor replied to his own question. "Early this year, I realized that in decades of reporting, writing or assigning stories on human rights, I rarely touched on one of the most important... the right to worship where and how God or conscience leads, almost never."

Mr. Rosenthal went on to talk about "the growing American public awareness of the persecution of Christians and desire to help the victims. They are persecuted in a half-dozen Muslim countries and China."

And he was also critical of the "Americans of great power and standing, almost all Christian themselves," for opposing the American Christians' desire to help the persecuted Christians abroad. Among such culprits Rosenthal includes Bill Clinton, "those who serve him to obey him, and the chiefs of America's major companies and trade associations."

"The Administration-business partnership has dredged up some classic pieces of hypocrisy," Mr. Rosenthal rails. "Most shameful is that opposing persecution would just bring more. Once that was said about the Nazis. Ask the prisoners."

But the Clinton administration's kow-towing to anti-Christian regimes goes beyond silence and acquiescence. Timothy Hunter, for example, a former State Department officer, was fired in April 1995 ostensibly for blowing the whistle on the State Department for undermining the rights American Christians in Saudi Arabia.

In a recent letter to the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, this writer reminded her that she had spoken up in the past about the importance of human rights and religious freedom. "So I wonder if you would be kind enough to personally review Mr. Hunter's case, and see to it that he is reinstated, if indeed his only 'crime' was standing up for the rights of Christians in Saudi Arabia," this writer asked the Madam Secretary. We are awaiting her reply.

"And there is organized nastiness about the anti-persecution coalition drawing attention to Christians," Mr. Rosenthal notes the prevailing attitudes in America. "Why not? They happen to be the largest victim group. And focusing attention on specific victims is the heart of the struggle for human rights. That is what Clintonians do on issues like women's rights that might bring cost-free votes."

Nor did Mr. Rosenthal spare his colleagues in the media, including his own paper. "America's press has been disappointing... In a recent 5,600-word cover story in The New York Times Magazine, I am sorry to say, only a few hundred touched on that. The rest was how the (Christian) coalition might split the Republican Party."

Mr. Rosenthal closed his column with a warning to his colleagues wrapped inside a "happy new year"-wish "Secure in the knowledge that my news judgment about religious human rights is correct at last, and yours (is) still wrong, I wish you a happy new year, and an awakening one."

Hear, hear! Let us hope that other media editors' minds are open enough to be awakened by this veteran journalist's warning, as his evidently was.

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Also, check out also the TiM GW Bulletins: "Christianity Under Siege... Revisited""New World Order's Control of Israel's Economy", "Caspian Sea Oil: The Matchmaker?", "We Have No Business Bombing Anyone Except in Self-Defense", "A Year of Awakening," "Like Bosnia, Like Lebanon"

Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Christianity Under Siege: Toward a One World Religion" and "The Three Musketeers"