Jesus was not a Palestinian
by Christine Williams
It is not a new phenomenon that Jesus has been called a Palestinian, but in a recent article in Canada’s Toronto Star, the subject is presented with an attack on irredeemable racists in the Church, who supposedly have a preference for “blue eyed” whites. Â Â
An “ethically speaking columnist” starts out his article quoting an unidentified character:
For 39 years, whenever I applied for a church position, an intellectually inferior, academically incompetent, or spiritually bankrupt person with “blue eyes” was hired “¦.Once I told an interfaith gathering that, when I cross the street at Yonge & Bloor, folks don’t see my clerical collar, just another bloody Paki”¦”¦ Tools of ecclesiastical rejection are so polished that one suspects divine intervention. Why are “˜good” Christians so irredeemably more racist than their cousins outside the church? Incidentally, Jesus, the Palestinian, didn’t have blue eyes.
The “ethically speaking columnist” concludes with these less-than-subtle words that relate to “Jesus, the Palestinian”: “So if the church doesn’t want your considerable talents, follow the advice of the brown-eyed Jesus: shake the dust off your feet and move on.”
While this column attempts to cover a thorny issue of racism in the Church, declaring Jesus to be Palestinian will bring no resolution. It is also historically flawed at best, propagandist at worst.Â
In exploring some of the roots of how and where Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) came to be deemed a Palestinian, the Israeli monitoring agency Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) exposed a Palestinian Authority TV interview 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, while the TV 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 RajoubÂ (“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.
In this Palestinian creation of the “Holy Trinity” now resides Mahmoud Abbas, who did his PhD in Holocaust denial, and Rahman Abdul Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (a.k.a. Yasser Arafat), who learned under the tutelage of his revered uncle the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who worked with Hitler and Adolph Eichmann to slaughter six million Jews. Now Jesus — the holy deity to the world’s Christians, known as “the Prince of Peace” — has been thrown into this pile.
Bible researcher and author Jim Fletcher wrote that “the revisionists originally were the usual suspects: Arafat, mainline church scholars, media types.” But more gravely, he states that this revisionismÂ “burrowed-into the American evangelical community.” For example:
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”.
Assemblies of God minister and Palmer Theological Seminary Professor Paul Alexander referred to Jesus as “the Palestinian Jew” and has asked: “What will it take for the world to care enough to end the occupation?”
Fletcher further states that some evangelical leaders are advancing the false narratives of the likes of Arafat and the PLO, whether they are doing it knowingly or unknowingly. Although Fletcher asserted that popular Christian author Philip Yancey referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian rabbi,” Yancey was also cited in another article “Unwrapping Jesus,” in which he stated unequivocally that Jesus was a Jew, even though he describes Jesus walking “the dusty roads of Palestine.” Yancey explains that the “true-blue Jewishness” of Jesus leaps out from Matthew’s very first sentence, which introduces him as “the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
For those who believe that there is a legitimate historic ancient Palestinian claim to the Holy Land, no such data even exists. The Romans coined the term itself. Following the Jewish revolt and ancient Battle of Masada, the term “Palestine” was invented in 135 AD for the sole purpose of delegitimizing and dishonoring the Jewish presence in the Holy Land. Before that, the land was known as “Judah.” Then in 636 AD, the Ottoman Arab raiders came to the land and uprooted Jews during the Battle of Yarmouk between the Rashidun Caliphate and the armies of the Roman Empire. Yet they did not form any Arab nation there, let alone a “Palestinian” one. The term “Palestine” was applied to the territory that was placed under the British Mandate after World War I, and Arabs from the vast surrounding lands populated it. Then in 1964, the PLO was created under the leadership of Palestinian lawyer, Ahmed Shukheiry, at a conference in East Jerusalem attended by Arab foreign ministers. Its founding manifesto stated that it was formed “to attain the objective of liquidating Israel.”
History proclaims the fallacy of Christians who claim that Jesus was Palestinian. This is not to say that Jesus is not a recognized figure in Islam. He is considered a messenger of God and a prophet called Isa — and also a Jew, “sent to the children of Israel.”
Returning to the Toronto Star article and the discussion of racism being perpetrated in the Church: Jesus was a Jew, born in the Biblical heartlands. Christianity advanced into Egypt in the early part of the first century AD, as can be traced to the ancient Christian Copts of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, following the martyrdom of St. Mark. Any racism problem that exists within the Church is a separate issue altogether that needs to be addressed, and it will not be solved by falsely declaring Jesus to be a Palestinian. To do so advances the cause of Arafat and the PLO — Jihadists who virulently hate the West and whose mission remains to “liquidate Israel.”
Christine Williams is Public Affairs and Media Consultant for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem Canada; a nine-time award-winning TV Host and Producer; and a Director on the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.