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The In Defense of Christianity conference recently held in Washington D.C. was a success for some because of the participation of all Eastern Christian sects.Its purpose was to raise awareness of Christian suffering in the Middle East and to rally Western support for Arab Christian communities.However, the inflammatory address of Senator Ted Cruz, who stated that Arab Christians had no better friend than Israel, unleashed a powerful anti-American and anti-Israeli reaction among the participants.Ever since the invasion of Iraq, Christians throughout the Middle East have blamed the United States for the forced migration of Iraqi Christians. Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Lahham, in response to Cruz's inflammatory remarks, accused the U.S. of being responsible for evicting the Jews from the Arab states.However, Aziz later conceded the serious negative consequences of the episode for Eastern Christianity.The Greek Orthodox representative at the meeting, Bishop Joseph Zehlawi, did not seem to have much hope, discourteously saying in an interview that Arab Christians were speaking to the deaf.Should Eastern Christianity disappear, Western culture would disappear too in the East.The IDC conference has surely shed a light on Christian suffering but it remains doubtful that it has revived Western interest in Eastern Christianity.
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