Daniel Seidemann tweeted, “In Jerusalem, 1948, the Christian community of Jerusalem was almost 20% of the city’s population. Today that number is approximately 1.5%. The interests of the vulnerable Christian community in the Holy Land are not served by hollow hasbarah. “
So what is he saying? That the Christians left because of Israeli policies?
The actual number of Christians increased, albeit slowly, since 1967. The only time the Christian population went down was under Jordanian rule, from 29,400 in 1944 to 12,400 in 1967.
The Christians didn’t leave under Israeli rule, but they flocked away under Muslim rule.
Which is consistent with the Christian population in the entire Middle East – save for Israel.
In fact, the raw numbers of Christians has slowly increased under Jewish rule, it has gone down under Palestinian rule.
The main factor driving Christian emigration is persecution. In the survey conducted by the Philos Project and the PCPSR, over 40% of Palestinian Christians surveyed indicated that they feel that Muslims do not wish to see them in Palestine. Additionally, 44% feel that there is discrimination against Christians when seeking employment, and 50% describe their economic situation as “bad or very bad.” Nearly 30% have been called a “non-believer” or “crusader” by Muslims.
Palestinian Christians are no strangers to violence. Father Justinus, a monk at Jacob’s Well Monastery on the outskirts of Nablus, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, was beaten in January 2022. The elderly monk has survived 32 life-threatening attacks throughout his time at the monastery.
Seidemann uses percentages, not raw numbers, because the actual number of Christians in Jerusalem has not gone down at all. But the reason that the percentage of Christians has gone down is because the number of Jews in Jerusalem has skyrocketed – and the number of Muslims has gone up far faster than the Jews, from 55,000 to 320,000 since 19671
If Seidemann is suggesting that Christians are leaving because of persecution by Jews – and that is exactly what he wants people to think – then by that logic, Israel has made Jerusalem into a paradise for Palestinian Muslims!
This is another instance where anti-Israel activists rely on their readers being innumerate – subject to propaganda using misleading statistics.
And it happens all the time.