The speaker was Gabriel Naddaf (center of photo), a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and spiritual leader of the Nazareth-based movement encouraging young Arabic-speaking Christians to join the Israel Defense Forces.
Naddaf was standing before the European Parliament for an emergency session on the recent limitations being imposed on Israeli produce in European markets.
In his speech, Father Naddaf said that the decision to exclusively mark Israeli products in Europe is racist and anti-Semitic, whether this is being done openly or quietly on the side. “This is anti-Semitism at it’s worse,” Naddaf exclaimed, noting that singling out products made in Israel will hurt all the citizens of Israel, Arab and Jew alike. But most of all it will damage the Palestinians, as tens of thousands of Palestinian families earn their living from the very factories being boycotted by the Europeans.
“Singling out Israeli products betrays the very core of Europe’s Christian heritage, and is yet another sign of the weakening Christian values in Europe,” Naddaf told the parliamentarians.
The priest added:
“While Europe is busy specially marking Israeli products, the lands throughout the Middle East and Africa are being drenched daily with the blood of Christians. In the Middle East there is only one country, just one where Christians can live in security, where they can prosper, and where there have freedom of religious expression. Here Christians are able to practice their religious traditions, can be elected to parliament and where they have full democratic rights. It is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing and prospers.
“This is the Jewish nation, the nation of Israel – and we, the Christians, must protect her, and protect the freedoms we Christians have here in Israel. We Christians should be protecting this holy land, which is the source of the Christian faith.”
In closing, Naddaf stated that he will continue to fight against any and all attempts to harm or weaken Israel in any way. He promised to also continue the fight against any attempt by anyone to damage the Israeli economy, or to sour relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel.
Father Naddaf supports the full integration of Arabic-speaking Christians in all of Israel’s institutions, including the army and national service. As a result of that, he has received threats by other Israeli Arabs, even politicians. His oldest son, Jubran, was physically attacked on December 2013 for the activities of his father. On the other hand, Naddaf has received the support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Ministry of Defense, members of the Knesset and other Israeli officials.