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Presenting Jesus as a dark-skinned Palestinian has become a political weapon

Interfaith

Presenting Jesus as a dark-skinned Palestinian has become a political weapon

Presenting Jesus as a dark-skinned Palestinian has become a political weapon

It is a historic fact that Jesus Christ was of Middle-Eastern Jewish heritage and he was from the house of David, who arrived in Bethlehem long before the 1995 Oslo Accords, when this historic city was assigned to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians are historically Ottoman South Syrians, with no historical claim to the Holy Land. Others say Palestinians came to the Holy Land from Jordan as refugees. In this case, Palestinians are either of Syrian or Jordanian origin. But in no case, they can have any claim of so-called statehood in the Holy Land.

In exploring some of the roots of how and where it became popularized to claim Jesus as a Palestinian, the Israeli monitoring agency Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) focused upon a Palestinian Authority TV interview in 2010, in which author Samih Ghanadreh from Nazareth was asked about his new book Christianity and its Connection to Islam.

Ghanadeh states that he personally heard Yasser Arafat several times affirm that Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr, whereupon the host replies: “Jesus was a Palestinian, no one denies that.” PMW cited the regularity of this declaration by prominent Palestinians, including the Governor of Ramallah Leila Ghannam (“We all have the right to be proud that Jesus is a Palestinian”), Senior PA leader Jibril Rajoub (“The greatest Palestinian in history since Jesus is Yasser Arafat“), and an editorial in the PA official daily — Al-Hayat Al-Jadida — referred to the “Holy Trinity” as being Arafat, Abbas and Jesus.

Abbas did his PhD in Holocaust denial, and Rahman Abdul Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (alias Yasser Arafat) learned under the tutelage of his revered uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Palestinian propaganda has become rooted in the modern-day Church via many outreach programs, which has unfortunately lead to a New antisemitism, tailored especially for evangelicals. Bible researcher and author Jim Fletcher wrote:

Even LifeWay bookstores, the chain owned and operated by the Southern Baptist Convention, stock Sunday school maps depicting “Palestine in the Time of Jesus.” Never mind that neither Jesus nor the apostles knew anything of “Palestine,” but the regional name has compelled too many evangelicals (like Philip Yancey) to label Jesus a “Palestinian rabbi,” or the “Palestinian Jesus.” This false historical label was popularized by none other than Yasser Arafat, yet evangelical leaders are good with it.

Ed Stetzer, president of research at LifeWay — the resource arm of the Southern Baptist Convention — referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian Jew” in his article published in Christianity Today entitled: Monday is for Missiology: Some thoughts on contextualization.

Robert O. Smith, program director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America/Middle East and North Africa and co-moderator of the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches, blames the Israeli “occupation” on the dwindling number of Christians in the Bethlehem regions. Smith’s agenda is anti-Zionism, and thus he helps to advance the false narratives about Israel and about the Palestinians which some evangelical leaders have fallen into, in sync with the late Arafat and the PLO.

Jesus is presented not only as a Palestinian but an oppressed Palestinian. In an obscene Easter message presented by Bethlehem Anglican Canon Rev. Naim Ateek, president of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Ateek stated:

In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.

On December 18th the BBC World Service radio program ‘Heart and Soul’ aired a 27-minute program (since repeated several times) titled ‘Black Jesus’.

“The identity and color of Jesus – and why it matters – has taken on a new significance in this year of protest and change. Seeing Jesus as a darker-skinned Palestinian rather than blonde European is both historically accurate and theologically important, but it’s not a new idea.”

The notion of Jesus as ‘Palestinian’ is repeated during the program itself by its presenter Robert Beckford.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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