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BBC: ‘Seeing Jesus as a darker skinned Palestinian is both historically accurate and theologically important’

  BY CHRISTINE DOUGLASS-WILLIAMS   Presenting Jesus as a “Palestinian” has become a political weapon. This is why it is actually importa...




Presenting Jesus as a “Palestinian” has become a political weapon. This is why it is actually important that Jesus be presented as a “Palestinian,” particularly a “black Palestinian.” In this presentation, both Black Lives Matter (Marxist) and the Palestinian jihad are promoted as woke and therefore good. Beckford says this is particularly important “in this year of protest and change.”


The “Palestinian resistance,” presented to the world as peaceful, which it is not, should be recognized for what it is: an active jihadist war against Israel to obliterate it “from the River to the Sea.” There is no reason whatsoever that it should be associated with Jesus.


Jesus was of Middle-Eastern Jewish heritage. He was from the house of David and arrived in Bethlehem long before the 1995 Oslo Accords, when Bethlehem was assigned to the Palestinian Authority. This should be obvious. The Palestinians are historically Ottoman South Syrians, with no historical claim to 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 (a.k.a. Yasser Arafat) learned under the tutelage of his revered uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who worked with Hitler and Adolf Eichmann to slaughter six million Jews.


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.




“BBC WS radio promotes the claim that Jesus was ‘Palestinian,’” by Hadar Sela, CAMERA UK, December 23, 2020:


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


“The identity and colour 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.” [emphasis added]


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


01:16: “Despite the fact it’s more realistic as a first-century Palestinian Jew that Jesus was dark skinned, somehow the white Jesus has become the most popular and accepted image.”


25:37: “The colour of Jesus matters, both literally and symbolically. A first-century Palestinian Jew had colour…”


Beckford is of course by no means the first to promote the notion of Jesus as a Palestinian, be that for political ends or as a result of lack of knowledge.


As CAMERA observed in 2008 when the New York Times claimed that Jesus ‘spoke in Palestine’:


“Bernard Lewis has noted that the word “Palestine” was sometimes used by Greek and Latin authors prior to 135 CE, though that appears to have normally been used as an adjective in apposition to “Syria” (Palaistine Syria or Syria Palestina) and in reference to the coastal area formerly inhabited by the Philistines but not “Judaea,” a region that “in Roman times was still officially and commonly known by that name,” as Lewis explained, or the region around Nazareth (“Palestine: On the History and Geography of a Name,” The International History Review, January 1, 1980).”


Earlier this year when the same paper referred to “first-century Palestine” CAMERA noted that:


“…during the time of Jesus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem were in what was commonly called Judea and Nazareth was in what was commonly called the Galilee. The land where Jesus lived did not take on the name Palestine until the second century, well after his death. Thus, the notion of “first-century Palestine,” […] is totally fictional…


In 132 (Common Era or AD), approximately 100 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jews fought against Roman rule for a second time in what is known as the Bar Kochba Revolt. After the Romans defeated the rebellious Jews in 135, they renamed the land of the Jews Palestina to punish the Jews and to make an example of them to other peoples considering rebellion. The Romans took away the Jewish name, Judea, and replaced it with the name of an ancient enemy the Jews despised. The Philistines were an extinct Aegean people whom the Jews had historically loathed as uncultured and barbaric.”


One must assume that it is not a lack of knowledge which prompted “one of the UK’s prominent black theologians” – as Beckford is described in the programme’s synopsis – to repeatedly promote the anachronistic notion that Jesus was “a first-century Palestinian Jew”. In fact, Beckford’s political/theological agenda is abundantly clear throughout the programme, which begins by describing Jesus as “a leading figure in the fight against racism and discrimination” and goes on (apparently missing out the word ‘to’) to claim that:


“…in reality Jesus was a refugee whose family had to flee North Africa due to persecution. He was one of the oppressed by the colonisers of his day.”…


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