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“Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr.” –Yasser Arafat

A few months back Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren penned an article titled, “Israel and the plight of Palestinian Christians,” in which he attempted to manipulate the reality of Christians in the Holy Land. Oren’s article came on the heels of an Islamophobic screed by Ayaan H. Ali in Newsweek titled, “The War on Christians.”

Also, today, Bob Simon of 60 minutes will be reporting on the “slow exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.”

As the birthplace of Christianity, Palestine is home to the oldest Christian populations in the world. But after centuries of continuous presence in the Holy Land, the creation of modern-day Israel in 1948 precipitated a quiet exodus of native Christians.

Although Christian opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict has always been mixed in Western countries, many evangelicals have been blind to the plight of  Palestinians in favor of Israeli hardliners. Though their unconditional support for Israel can be attributed to many factors, the phenomenon of “Christian Zionism” can at least in part be traced to concerted outreach efforts on behalf of Israel–bolstered by negative portrayals of the Palestinian people, and an absence of their narrative.

Christian Palestinian groups like Sabeel Center and Al-Bushra have had an on-line presence for years, but they were not widely known outside the Middle East. Recently, Palestinian Christians reached out to the global community with the launch of the Kairos Palestine Document, modeled after the South African Kairos Document published in 1985 as part of a successful effort to abolish Apartheid:

This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God.

We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.

Also, last month in the West Bank city of  Christ’s birth, the Bethlehem Bible College  held an annual conference under the banner, “Christ at the Checkpoint.” Hundreds of Christians from around the world attended, and organizers hailed the event as, “a major breakthrough in the evangelical world.”

While Palestinian Christians have so far reached only a small minority of their Western counterparts, their apparent success has captured the attention of Israel’s increasingly worried supporters.

Christians for Palestine

By Lee SmithTablet

For most American Jews and Israelis, evangelical Christians are synonymous with zealous, biblically inspired support of the Jewish state—so zealous, in fact, that it makes some Jews uneasy. But the days when Israel could count on unconditional support from evangelicals may be coming to an end.

Last month, a conference convened in Bethlehem by Palestinian activists and Christian clergy long at odds with the Jewish state managed to bring a number of leading lights from the evangelical community in North America and Europe to the Holy Land. Many of the speeches at the conference touched on themes that one would commonly hear at a BDS teach-in, like blaming the entire Middle East conflict on Israel’s occupation and the settlements.

Indeed, the name of the conference, Christ at the Checkpoint, is indicative of the different direction this segment of the evangelical movement is heading toward. The idea is that evangelicals should rethink their support for a state that occupies another people and oppresses them. Once they get the full story, conference organizers hope, Western evangelicals may find they have more in common with the downtrodden Palestinians than with the Israelis.

To pro-Israel evangelicals and Zionists who were paying attention, Christ at the Checkpoint was a wake-up call. The larger trend, which for want of a better phrase might be called the pro-Palestinian evangelical movement and is indeed spearheaded by Palestinian Christians, is already changing minds. Giving them momentum are money raised in the United States, theology, and perhaps most important of all, a movie. The documentary film With God on Our Side is leaving many former pro-Israel evangelicals wondering why they never heard the Palestinian side of the story.

Many friends of Israel, as well as Israelis, have long been concerned that evangelical support is premised largely on self-interest of an especially macabre nature. Israel, in this reading, is ground zero for the apocalypse: Before Christ can return to Earth, the Jews must return to Israel and the Temple must be restored, ushering in first a time of tribulation and then a reign of peace.

Of course, the apocalypse and Christ’s return is not the only justification for Christian support of Israel. Indeed, this end-time scenario embarrasses some evangelicals whose support is premised on the idea that God keeps his promises, not only to Christians but also to Jews, to whom God pledged the land of Israel. This conviction is further buttressed by a sense of historical responsibility, specifically to stand with the Jews and atone for the failure of Christians during the Holocaust to save the nation that gave them their savior.

Though the vast majority of evangelicals still maintain that support, for the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948, there is an increasingly heated debate in the evangelical community that may augur a shift in the political winds. And if the Christ at the Checkpoint camp wins out, the pro-Israel Jewish community that once looked warily upon evangelical support may come to regard that movement with nostalgia.

***

“The debate in the Jewish community should not be about whether or not to be comfortable with Christian support for Israel,” David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, told me last week. “Christians are going to be involved in the issue whether we are comfortable or not. The question is whether they’re going to be on Israel’s side or not.”

Christians United for Israel is the United States’ largest and best-known Christian Zionist organization. Founded in 2006 by John Hagee, pastor of the CornerStone Church in San Antonio, Texas, CUFI boasts over a million members. Hagee has found himself in the middle of political controversy in the past—most recently during John McCain’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign when his statements regarding the Holocaust were misinterpreted and McCain rejected his support. (Hagee declined to comment for this article.)

John Hagee

Hagee and other figures base support for the Jewish state on biblical foundations, specifically on Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” The message is clear: Those who support Israel will be rewarded by God. But pro-Israel evangelicals have sent their flock out into the field vulnerable—that is, without an account of the conflict that besets the citizens of the present-day homeland of the Jews. Armed only with a biblical defense of the Jewish state, evangelicals are unprepared to justify it on political grounds.

This gap has made room for people across the cultural and ideological spectrum—whose motivations run the gamut from genuine compassion for Palestinians to anti-Semitism—to fill the space with their own interpretations of contemporary Middle East history. Not surprisingly, many of these narratives tend to be drawn from precincts of the left, like the BDS movement, that are known for their hostility to the Jewish state. What is peculiar is that these accounts are being entertained and sometimes embraced in evangelical churches, Bible schools, and Christian colleges that are not typically known for their progressive politics.

It wasn’t difficult for these Christian critics of Israel to find a weak link in the Christian Zionist narrative—it’s the ethical morass inherent in the formulation of Genesis 12:3. The children of the Bible, Christians as well as Jews, believe that all people are created in God’s image and are therefore born with individual dignity. But if people of faith are supposed to bless Israel because they’ll be blessed in return, then they are treating others, Jews and Arabs, not as individuals but rather as instruments in their own spiritual drama.

You can’t treat people as chess pieces, says Porter Speakman Jr., the 40-year-old director of With God on Our Side. This 82-minute-long documentary, which premiered in 2010 and is now being shown at churches and college campuses, has had a major role in tilting evangelical opinion, especially among young people, against Israel. Speakman told me in a phone interview that isn’t aim isn’t to “delegitimize Israel, but to be critical of policies that are having an effect on real people’s lives.”

“I grew up in a Christian home in the south, where not to support Israel was to go against God,” Speakman told me. He said he made the film in order to explore a question that he thinks has been missing from the conversation in the evangelical community. That is: “What are the consequences of my beliefs and my theology for real people living on the ground?”

With God on Our Side follows the intellectual odyssey of Christopher Harrell, a twenty-something recent film-school graduate, who is trying to come to grips with the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is a very different story from the Bible-based injunctions that formed his spiritual life as a child. The film’s narrative trajectory starts with Harrell’s parents, who he recalls once celebrated Passover—“I’m not sure why we did that. We’re not Jewish. We’re just this normal American Midwestern family”—and who support Israel because that’s “just what everyone did.” The film moves then to a series of interviews with figures in the evangelical community known for their animus toward Zionism, like Gary Burge and Stephen Sizer, and writers outside the evangelical milieu whose reputation rests on their hostility to Israel, like Ilan Pappé and Norman Finkelstein.

These interviews challenge the mainstream evangelical narrative with well-worn accusations typical of BDSers. For instance, the Israeli occupation, says one South African evangelical, is “apartheid on steroids.”

“Growing up,” Speakman said of his childhood, “there was never a choice, you were supposed to love and support Israel. That meant following Genesis 12 as well as a fulfillment of endtime prophecies. But does supporting Israel mean supporting all of Israel’s geopolitical decisions?”

Speakman, who lived in Israel with his wife from 1998 until 2003, said that he thinks the role of Christians is to support both Jews and Arabs in their search for a solution. But some critics of his documentary think that the film goes much further. They see it as making the case that evangelicals have taken the wrong side—favoring a nation inhabited by those who rejected Jesus as their savior rather than the Christian communities that have existed in the Holy Land since the time of Christ. The issue is that key segments of the Palestinian Christian community have a vested political interest in delegitimizing Zionism—a fact that Speakman and other Western activists in the evangelical community may or may not be aware of.

Among the Palestinian outfits leading the campaign critical of Israel is the Bethlehem Bible College, which organized Christ at the Checkpoint, for which Speakman served as a media coordinator. The most prominent and active organization is the Jerusalem-based Sabeel, headed by a Palestinian Anglican priest, Rev. Naim Ateek. Its American branch, Friends of Sabeel North America, is based in Portland, Ore., and raises money for its Jerusalem affiliate.

“Sabeel is nakedly hostile to Israel,” Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst for CAMERA, told me in an interview. In an article on Sabeel and Ateek published last week, Van Zile quotes the clergyman at length, including this peculiar admission: “From my perspective as a Palestinian Christian, Zionism is a step backward in the development of Judaism.”

***

According to Randy Neal, Western Regional Coordinator of CUFI, the ideological foundations of the pro-Palestinian Christian movement are grounded in both liberation theology and replacement theology. The first is a politicized doctrine that requires a continual mindset of victimhood, in order to solicit political sympathy and action on behalf of the “oppressed” against the “oppressors.” The latter holds that the church has replaced Jews as God’s chosen and become the real Israel.

“It’s not just that church has replaced Israel,” said Neal, but for many of the Palestinian Christian clergy and their activist sympathizers, “the Palestinian church is the real church. Jesus, on this reading, was an underdog, who came to champion the underdog. He was oppressed by the Romans, so if you are Christ-like, you are also oppressed, like the Palestinians. This increasingly includes the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian. It’s an adopted narrative that is believed to have started with Yasser Arafat, but to some people it’s become a gospel fact.”

In other words, it’s a narrative that denies Jesus’ Jewish identity. “It is a very ugly expression of Christian anti-Semitism,” Neal said.

But Brog, Neal’s colleague, disagrees: “anti-Semitism is not the driving force.” Rather, he said, the impetus comes from a combination of two ideological streams. “There’s the anti-Israel perspective, which comes from the Palestinian Christians, who are using theology to preach a politically anti-Israel message. And then there are the Christians based in North America and Europe who are allowing liberal politics to trump Christian beliefs.”

The unpleasant reality is that Christian anti-Semitism has as much, if not more, theological justification as Christian support for Israel. Compared to two millennia of Christian anti-Semitism culminating with the Holocaust, one biblical verse is a pretty thin thread on which to hang support of the Jewish state.

Neal says that he believes Christian love of Israel is premised on Genesis 12:3 and on Joel 3:2: “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will enter into judgement with them there for my people, my heritage Israel.”

“We are supposed to love what God loves,” Neal said. “We consider ourselves ambassadors of Christ. For centuries, Christians abused and abandoned the apple of God’s eye, and we are not going to let that happen again on our watch.”

But as CUFI pushes Genesis and Joel, the Christ at the Checkpoint crowd is focused exclusively on Palestinians’ distress and apparently ignoring history. CAMERA’s Van Zile, who attended last month’s conference, noted that nowhere in the pro-Palestinian evangelical narrative is there any account of Jewish persecution. “I’ve heard moving testimony about Palestinian suffering. But they don’t acknowledge Muslim anti-Semitism. They don’t talk about Palestinian leadership, or how it’s abused the Palestinian community. There’s no account of Hamas in their story about Israel.”

********

John Hagee of the rabid Zionist Christians United for Israel, trying to drag the US into a war with Iran:

 

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  • Just Stopping By

    @AJ: I’ve enjoyed many of your posts too, though I don’t think we’ve intereacted (or much) in the past. Hopefully, that will change.

    @HGG: When I said, “I think Géji is really off base in this thread,” I meant in terms of the point of her argument, not tone. I think that Géji makes a lot of good points on religion-related threads, but does seem to get a bit sharp when it turns to Palestine.

    @myself: Emperor, not Emporer; and Matthew, not Mark. I should have also made the analogy of asking if William Penn was an American, because there were people who referred to the area as America even back then. Learn that you are not so careful in posts in the middle of the night.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Believing Atheist: On your first post, I think that there is no need for such a lengthy post attacking another commenter here. I really see little benefit in such squabbles.

    On your second, I think the article has some interesting points, but exaggerates in the opposite direction. For example, in the second paragraph, “A simple stroll down the Christmas aisle will show you the dominant depiction of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white man.” Blond? Just Google-Image Jesus and it looks like over 90% of the images have dark brown hair, with the remainder light brown.

    As for the direct question of whether Jesus was a Palestinian, the article provides a quote that “When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine.” Huh? The provinces were Judea and the Galilee during Jesus’ time. At best, the word Palestinian would have been similar to calling the France Gaul, a perhaps recognized but not the common term.

    If one wants to say that Jesus was Palestinian because all the inhabitants of the area were Palestinian, however, I have no problem with that. But, recognize too that current usage has taken the term Palestinian to exclude Jews, something that was not true a hundred years ago, when essentially all the inhabitants of the region used that as one of many terms for themselves.

    The author also says, “Without acknowledging Jesus as a native Middle Eastern person — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew …” Here the author again goes far in the other direction: Jesus was “a Middle Eastern person” who did not live in a particular religious community, I suppose. Again, “the importance of understanding that Jesus spoke Aramaic, not English, and that his words, as well as his worldview, must be understood in light of Middle Eastern language and spirituality.” Yes, his words must be understood in light of Middle Eastern spirituality with no word of what that spirituality is. Does Jesus’ spirituality involve Zeus or Jupiter or the worship of the Roman Emporer? Given that there was only one (reasonably popular?) monotheism in the region of the Middle East where Jesus lived, that statement says much about what it attempts to exclude through language.

    Though, to be fair, that’s actually one of the more intriguing parts of the essay. It took me some time when first discussing the Gospels with Christians to realize that they often were missing things that I saw as obvious, from the oddities of the genealogy in Mark to what the money-changers were doing in the Temple court.

    Again, I have no problem with recognizing Jesus as a Palestinian if one also recognizes that he probably would have found the word foreign if he recognized it at all, and if one uses the term to also include Jews. But if that is meant as a political statement to relate to today’s political use of the term, it’s simply inaccurate, and often meant to remove Jesus’ Jewishness and replace it with “Middle Eastern spirituality.”

  • http://aayjay.wordpress.com AJ

    Geji probably lost a little patience here but I like her/his attitude a lot – clear, concise, eloquent and unapologetic. JSB I like you a lot too. BTW if you see the 60 Minutes video on the other thread about Bob Simon interviewing the Israeli ambassador, it shows the same thing that Jesus was a Palestinian.

  • HGG

    “Perhaps the reason that I have had some interesting discussions with Géji is that I don’t resort to calling her (I believe her) a “ball of bile and hatred” so easily. The discussion can only go downhill from there. I think Géji is really off base in this thread, but I don’t see how name-calling will help anything.”

    Oh, it’s not “so easily”. It’s dozens and dozens of posts where s/he constantly insults and demeans anyone with an opposite view. You say “in this thread”, and yet I don’t see how the behavior is any different here than in any other.

    Others believed that it might be correct to characterize Jesus as a Palestinian, and so far no one else has called those who believe that position as false “Zionist boot-licking Islamophobes”. From my point of view, those are the ones I’m interested in reading their reasons.

    YMMV.

  • Believing Atheist

    @JSB,

    Here is a good article that I think partially sums up what I was saying about the possibility of Jesus being Palestinian theoretically. I would like you to peruse it and give me your opinion

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=345198

    It’s called Jesus was Palestinian and why it matters.

  • Believing Atheist

    @HGG,

    BWAHHAHAHAHA. :) That’s hilarious and so true simultaneously HGG!

    This is basically the summary of the tactics used by that poster you mentioned.

    (1). When you disagree with him, he uses ad hominem (personal) attacks
    (2). When you expose him with facts and citations, he changes the goal post
    (3). When you call him out for changing the goal post, he lies and says that he never said that (expect another ad hominem attack here).
    (4). To prove that he lied you quote him lying, This is followed by another ad hominem attack (mostly Anti-Semite, Zionist and/or Islamophobe).
    And thus ends the conversation. This is exactly what happened on this thread:
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/04/jeff-sparrow-the-weaponization-of-atheism/

    Other Muslim commenters called out that poster for these tactics on that thread and said that the behavior was unIslamic.

    A lot of the stuff this poster says is entirely fabrication and you can see this on this very thread, the poster is defending the claim that Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr. One can argue that Jesus was Palestinian, but he certainly was not the first Palestinian martyr.

    I also wish to credit JSB for tolerating that poster in question. JSB has a lot of patience. In this case I don’t know if it is a virtue or a vice.

  • Just Stopping By

    @HGG: Perhaps the reason that I have had some interesting discussions with Géji is that I don’t resort to calling her (I believe her) a “ball of bile and hatred” so easily. The discussion can only go downhill from there. I think Géji is really off base in this thread, but I don’t see how name-calling will help anything.

    הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד
    (Pslams 133:1)

  • HGG

    “It’s a shame that you cannot disagree with me without using terms like “darn fools” or “stupid.””

    Personally, I’m partial to “Zionist boot-licking Islamophobes, known for their boneless hypocrisy and servile attitude at worshiping the ground zionist boots walk-on. ugh!!”

    Geji has always been a ball of bile and hatred for anyone who disagrees with him. That you have somehow managed to get a couple of interesting discussions out of him does a lot of credit to you.

  • Believing Atheist

    @JSB,

    No I am saying that the possibility exists that Jesus can be a Palestinian because the region in which Jesus was born was known as Palestine to the Greeks and later called that by the Romans. So Arafat can be right in the sense that Jesus was a Palestinian but he is wrong to call him the first martyr.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my response to you.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Believing Atheist: Perhaps I was not clear. I am saying that Arafat used the word “first” to try to make the claim that Palestinian should be equated with non-Jew. I agree with you that that claim doesn’t make sense historically.

    And certainly no one thinks Jesus was an Israeli. Well, unless perhaps we can also think that Julius Caesar was an Italian, and the first murdered Italian politician to boot.

    @Averroe’s Ghost: I can agree with you that Arafat was speaking hyperbolically (meaning stating something that was not actually true). We just may have different views on why. We may also disagree on politics, but do know that there are people like me who favor the two-state solution who really believe an a politically and economically viable fully independent Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem.

  • Believing Atheist

    @JSB

    I think the mistake you’re making is that you are equating Palestinian with non-Jew in other worlds Palestinian does not equal Jew.

    That is a mistake because as David Jacobson stated Palestine actually referred to Israel in both Greek geography and linguistics and I quote: “I would argue that “Palestine” is the Greek equivalent of “Israel.” The word Palaistinê is remarkably similar to the Greek palaistês, meaning “wrestler,” “rival” or “adversary.”

    So if your contention is that Jesus was an Israeli then he can very well be a Palestinian as well (not sure this is your contention, but it seems like it).

  • Ravenscroft

    I’m not interested in romancing Israel like a reluctant lover. Why is it that country is always entitled to everything and accountable for nothing?

    If they are so keen on keeping a Jewish majority, building all those settlements was reckless and foolish. The two state deal is dead, and this is an anti-Apartheid struggle now. Sanctions were part of the struggle against South African Apartheid, and that should be the model.

  • http://www.muslimheritage.com/ Muslim Heritage .com

    23:52: “And verily this Ummah of yours IS A SINGLE UMMAH and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore Fear Me (and no other)”

    It is narrated by Abu Da’wud that the Messenger of Allah (saaw) said: “He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyyah,(nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyyah or who dies for `Asabiyyah.”

    And in another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (saaw) referring to nationalism, racism, and patriotism said: “Leave it, it is rotten.” [Muslim and Bukhari].

    In the Hadith recorded in Mishkat al-Masabith, the Messenger of Allah (saaw) said: “He who calls for `Asabiyyah is as if he bit his father’s genitals.”

  • http://www.muslimheritage.com/ Muslim Heritage .com

    Geji

    I didn’t like Arafat, and I believe the Palestinians got a raw deal with him, and his dreadful looting wife, who pretended a conversion to Islam, all the while touting Jesus and the Pope in private. She f*** of to Paris and was comitting adultery with a Palestinian Christian exile even when he was alive.

    He was secular. Geji, he wasn’t above abusing Islam for his own ends, he even showed a film of Jesus even though we are forbidden from picturising the Prophets.

    Nationalisms are forbidden to Muslims. The Prophet forbade us from championing any kind of nationalism.

    For the sake of peace, I suppport these so called countries now.

    Averroes Ghost

    That’s nice believing atheist…but you seem to advocate a 2 state solution where the west bank is reduced to swiss cheese, whre there is a sea of “israel” in the middle of gaza and the west bank.

    A one state solution would reduce the Jewish majority and since Jews only have one country it makes sense for them to want to keep it a Jewish majority.

    The refugees can be compensated and be citizens of the new state of Palestine. The ‘swiss cheese’ that you talk of is irrelevant, becuase in a final deal, ‘the sea of Israel’ you talk of will not be there, or they will compromise.

    I believe Saudi Arabia has already offered a deal whereby they would compenstate the Palestinian refugees, and they would take up citizenship in the new state, when the final agreements are signed.

    In any case, there are poeple who support a one state solution simply because they don’t want Jews to have soverignty. Those people (usually anti semites) should be vociferously opposed.

    There is no reason why the Israelis and Palestinians cannot agree on a population transfer, like other countries did when they came into being.

    Unless they are calling for Pakistan to become a greater India, the USA to become a greater Mexico, these people have zero credence, expecially from an Islamic point of view, which bans nationalims.

  • Believing Atheist

    The right of return is a disputed right. It may or may not be legal. The only legally binding way for the right of return that I could find is via self-determinism and that too is disputable.

    It may in fact imply that the Palestinians have a right to form a state to which the Palestinian refugees will return, but not to Israel. The language is not clear. I already had a discussion on this matter with llisha see comments below:
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/03/the-haunting-of-daniel-pipes-by-poes-tell-tale-heart/

    UN general assembly resolutions are not legally binding and the only Security Council resolutions that are legally binding are derived from Chapter VII of the charter.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not legally binding even if it were the language wouldn’t help the Palestinian right of return (see the comments from the link).

    So the right of return is a weak case, but the Palestinians can try and invoke it via self-determinism and we will see what happens.

    I will not determine the size i.e., borders of the West Bank or Gaza that will be determined through negotiations.

    Good luck making up the losses from the sanctions movement. Oh btw, you will piss off a lot of developing nations, which depend on Israeli charity to strengthen their economy, technology, medicine production, and military prowess. One example is India, which gets huge stocks of military equipment from Israel (the largest in fact).

  • Just Stopping By

    @Géji:

    It’s a shame that you cannot disagree with me without using terms like “darn fools” or “stupid.”

    Jesus was recognized as a Jew well before modern Zionism. Christians and Muslims honor Jesus, and that is all to the good. But, again, for Jesus to be the *first* Palestinian martyr, you have to think that the Jewish people of and right before Jesus’ time were not Palestinian though somehow Jesus was, despite their shared blood and the fact that they recognized only the same Scriptures.

    The statement was nothing but a clever ploy by Arafat to appropriate Jesus and to try to remove any Jewish connection from the land. If he had said that Jesus was a Palestinian martyr, that would have been different, though still a historical anachronism. But that would have meant recognizing the Jews’ historical roots, something that Arafat was quite reluctant to do.

    I wish you peace, and hopefully you can learn to understand that people can view history and politics differently than you do without being evil or stupid.

  • Averroe’s Ghost

    That’s nice believing atheist…but you seem to advocate a 2 state solution where the west bank is reduced to swiss cheese, whre there is a sea of “israel” in the middle of gaza and the west bank. I’m on the side of history, the only just solution is one stae, for two peoples, an increaing number of Israelis and Palestinians support this. We can make up for the loss of what you desccribe as vital goods from Israel from elsewhere in the sanctions movement.

    right of return is not the same as immigration by the way. they were forced out, crass way to putt it on your part.

  • Believing Atheist

    But the law is clear. The settlements are illegal, that’s correct. East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory, that’s correct, the West Bank and Gaza are occupied Palestinian territory, that’s correct, but it’s also correct that Israel is a state. That’s also the law.
    -Norman Finkelstein.

    Israel doesn’t want a one state solution and you can’t compel it to want one. Israel wishes to retain its Jewish majority, and maintaining ethnic purity through a restriction on immigration by law is legal. Just as Japan or South Korea.

    Furthermore, just as you can’t order say Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia etc., to reconstruct Yugoslavia or Pakistan and Bangladesh to reconstruct Pre-1971 Pakistan you cannot order Israel to annex its Palestinian population and treat them as citizens.

    Even the Palestinian Declaration of Independence references the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and UN resolutions since 1947, indicating that a one state solution is not a goal of Palestinian independence movement.

  • Averroe’s Ghost

    Yasser Arafat was speaking in hyperbolically..he meant Jesus was one of the earliest, the greatest martyrs. Jews can be Palestinian too, don’t forget. :)

  • Averroe’s Ghost

    The same reasons peple have to oppose the BDS movement are some of the Same reason people opposed boycott of Apartheid S.Africa. IT’s not true that being for BDS means you want to destroy Israel, Ali Abu Nimah pointed this out: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/02/2012227111759385177.html
    Finkelstines view is shortsighted on the matter.

    One state, one man, one vote and right of return for Palestinian refugees!

  • Believing Atheist

    Jesus cannot be the first Palestinian martyr if you trust the Bible particularly the NT and not the Greek sources. Because:

    Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead who sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matt. 2:20-21)

    But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man shall have come. (Matt. 10:23)

    So the NT has the divine commanding I believe Jesus’s human parents at one point (correct me if I am wrong) to go to Israel and not Palestine.

    The only way that I can see Jesus being a Palestinian is as David Jacobson says i.e., the terms Israel and Palestine are seen interchangeably.But then again Jesus wouldn’t be the first Palestinian martyr because Hebrews died before him in battle.

    If the word Palestine derives from Philistines, as many think Jesus still wouldn’t be the first Palestinian martyr because Goliath was a Philistine who was slain by David, and hence a martyr.

  • Géji

    By the way @Just Stopping By, the Prophet Muhammad as well “recognized” Jewish and Christian scriptures simultaneously, does that make him the flesh and blood of Christian or Jewish people? But I would say, that it’s indeed very funny at how this Zionism ideology is not only so desperate wishing the world citizens to be darn fools, but also laughably attempting to write in this day and age a nonsensical fairy-tale, but I would sincerely think that neither Jews nor the world at large are that stupid, not at all!

  • Just Stopping By

    @Géji:

    First, how can Jesus possibly be the *first* Palestinian martyr? Did the Palestinians begin to exist with him? In claiming that he was the *first* Palestinian martyr, Arafat was trying to separate Jesus from his Jewish roots.

    Whatever you think of politics, Jesus always identified as a Jew, both religiously and ethnically. Others are of course free to identify with him, and if that helps them spiritually or morally, I think that is fantastic. If you want to argue what Jesus’ politics would be, unsurprisingly, almost everyone finds that they share political views with the great figures of history.

    But if you asked Jesus who his people were, he would have said the Jews.
    “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) Jesus’ ministry did in fact stretch wider, but he viewed himself as part of the House of Israel.

  • Géji

    @Just Stopping By Says: “For Jesus to be the first Palestinian martyr, then there would have to be no Palestinian martyrs before him.”

    He was murdered for not following, or should I say, disagreeing with the leading dogma over-there at that time isn’t?? Just like the Palestinians today are punished away from their ancestral land just because they’re not following the dogma of the European majority that imposed itself by force isn’t??

    > “That’s just a way of trying to separate Jesus from his connection to the Jewish people, his actual flesh and blood, not to mention the people whose texts were the only ones he recognized as Scripture and whose holidays he celebrated.”

    JSB, you’re mixing way too much stuff here, since when following “scriptures” or “holidays” is by “blood and flesh” and not by faith?? And no, “Jewish people” are as much his blood and flesh as is “Muslim people” or “Christian people”, we already had that conversation remember? If any today, his people are the Palestinians, regardless of their faith.

  • Believing Atheist

    Israel has many resources and products that the world needs especially developing nations. It is a leader in software development, pharmaceuticals, military technology, diamonds, not to mention developmental aid to poverty-stricken nations.

    So BDS (1). Is not practical. The world needs Israel’s products in order to function

    (2). It isolates Israelis who internally and domestically put pressure on their government to secure Palestinian rights. People you need as allies.

    (3). It’s wrapped in ambiguity. The movement has not thoroughly disclosed what exactly it wishes to accomplish. Why would anyone sign on board the movement without knowing what they are participating in?

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