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Jesus was Palestinian and why it matters - Jehanzeb Dar
Published Saturday 25/12/2010 (updated) 31/12/2010 14:02
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A Palestinian carver works on wooden figurines near the Church of the Nativity
in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Dec. 17, 2010. [MaanImages/Luay Sababa]
Because of modern alarmist reactions to the word “Palestine,” many non-Arabs and non-Muslims take offense when it is argued that Jesus was a Palestinian (peace be upon him).

Jesus’ ethnicity, skin color, and culture often accompany this conversation, but few people are willing to acknowledge the fact he was non-European. A simple stroll down the Christmas aisle will show you the dominant depiction of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white man.

Islamophobia and anti-Arab propaganda have conditioned us to view Palestinians as nothing but heartless suicide bombers, “terrorists,” and “enemies of freedom and democracy.” Perpetual media vilification and demonization of Palestinians, in contrast to the glorification of Israel, obstructs us from seeing serious issues such as the Palestinian refugee crisis, the victims of Israel’s atrocious three-week assault on Gaza during the winter of 2008-2009, the tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians, and many other struggles that are constantly addressed by human rights activists around the world.

To speak from the perspective of the Palestinians, especially in casual non-Arab and non-Muslim settings, generates controversy because of the alignment between Palestinians and violent stereotypes. So, how could Jesus belong to a group of people that we’re taught to dehumanize?

When I’ve spoken to people about this, I’ve noticed the following responses: “No, Jesus was a Jew,” or “Jesus is not Muslim.” The mistake isn’t a surprise to me, but it certainly is revealing. Being a Palestinian does not mean one is Muslim or vice versa. Prior to the brutal and unjust dispossession of indigenous Palestinians during the creation of the state of Israel, the word “Palestine” was a geographic term applied to Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian Jews. Although most Palestinians are Muslim today, there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority who are often overlooked, especially by the mainstream Western media.

That dominant narrative not only distorts and misrepresents the Palestinian struggle as a religious conflict between “Muslims and Jews,” but consequentially pushes the lives of Palestinian Christians into “non-existence.” That is, due to the media's reluctance to report the experiences and stories of Palestinian Christians, it isn’t a surprise when white Americans are astonished by the fact that Palestinian and Arab Christians do, in fact, exist. One could argue that the very existence of Palestinian Christians is threatening, as it disrupts the sweeping and overly-simplistic “Muslim vs. Jew” Zionist narrative. To learn about many Palestinian Christians opposing Israeli military occupation, as well as Jews who oppose the occupation, is to reveal more voices, perspectives, and complexities to a conflict that has been immensely portrayed as one-sided, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim.

Yeshua (Jesus’ real Aramaic name) was born in Bethlehem, a Palestinian city in the West Bank and home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities. The Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches in the world, marks the birthplace of Jesus and is sacred to both Christians and Muslims. While tourists from the around the world visit the site, they are subject to Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks. The Israeli construction of the West Bank barrier also severely restricts travel for local Palestinians. In April of 2010, Israeli authorities barred Palestinian Christians from entering Jerusalem and visiting the Church of Holy Sepulchre during Easter. Yosef Zabaneh, a Palestinian Christian merchant in Ramallah, said: “The Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank doesn't distinguish between us, but treats all Palestinians with contempt.”

Zabaneh’s comments allude to the persistent dehumanization of Palestinians, as well as the erasure of Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims. By constantly casting Palestinians as the villains, even the term “Palestine” becomes “evil.” There is refusal to recognize, for example, that the word “Palestine” was used as early as the 5th century BCE by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. John Bimson, author of “The Compact Handbook of Old Testament Life,” acknowledges the objection to the use of “Palestine”:

The term ‘Palestine’ is derived from the Philistines. In the fifth century BC the Greek historian Herodotus seems to have used the term Palaistine Syria (= Philistine Syria) to refer to the whole region between Phoenicia and the Lebanon mountains in the north and Egypt in the south… Today the name “Palestine” has political overtones which many find objectionable, and for that reason some writers deliberately avoid using it. However, the alternatives are either too clumsy to be used repeatedly or else they are inaccurate when applied to certain periods, so “Palestine” remains a useful term…

Deliberately avoiding the use of the name “Palestine” not only misrepresents history, but also reinforces anti-Palestinian racism as acceptable. When one examines the argument against Jesus being a Palestinian, one detects a remarkable amount of hostility aimed at both Palestinians and Muslims. One cannot help but wonder, is there something threatening about identifying Jesus as a Palestinian? Professor Jack D. Forbes writes about Jesus’ multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment:

When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine. Thus, when Yehoshu'a [Jesus] was born, he was born a Palestinian as were all of the inhabitants of the region, Jews and non-Jews. He was also a Nazarene (being born in Nazareth) and a Galilean (born in the region of Galilee)… At the time of Yehoshu'a's birth, Palestine was inhabited by Jews-descendants of Hebrews, Canaanites, and many other Semitic peoples-and also by Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs.

Despite these facts, there are those who use the color-blind argument: “It does not matter what Jesus’ ethnicity or skin color was. It does not matter what language he spoke. Jesus is for all people, whether you’re black, white, brown, yellow, etc.” While this is a well-intentioned expression of inclusiveness and universalism, it misses the point.

When we see so many depictions of Jesus as a Euro-American white man, the ethnocentrism and race-bending needs to be called out. In respect to language, for instance, Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of “The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus,” emphasizes 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. Douglas-Klotz provides an interesting example which reminds me of the rich depth and meaning of Arabic, Urdu, and Farsi words, especially the word for “spirit”:

Whenever a saying of Jesus refers to spirit, we must remember that he would have used an Aramaic or Hebrew word. In both of these languages, the same word stands for spirit, breath, air, and wind. So ‘Holy Spirit’ must also be ‘Holy Breath.’ The duality between spirit and body, which we often take for granted in our Western languages falls away. If Jesus made the famous statement about speaking or sinning against the Holy Spirit (for instance, in Luke 12:10), then somehow the Middle Eastern concept of breath is also involved.

Certainly, no person is superior to another based on culture, language, or skin color, but to ignore the way Jesus’ whiteness has been used to subjugate and discriminate against racial minorities in the West and many other countries is to overlook another important aspect of Jesus’ teachings: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Malcolm X wrote about white supremacists and slave-owners using Christianity to justify their “moral” and “racial superiority” over blacks. In Malcolm’s own words, “The Holy Bible in the White man's hands and its interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” Throughout history, whether it was in Jerusalem, Spain, India, Africa, or in the Americas, white so-called “Christians” cultivated a distorted interpretation of religion that was compatible with their racist, colonialist agenda.

And here we are in the 21st century where Islamophobia (also stemming from racism because the religion of Islam gets racialized) is on the rise; where people calling themselves “Christian” fear to have a black president; where members of the KKK and anti-immigration movements behave as if Jesus were an intolerant white American racist who only spoke English despite being born in the Middle East. It is astonishing how so-called “Christians” like Ann Coulter call Muslims “rag-heads” when in actuality, Jesus himself would fit the profile of a “rag-head,” too. As would Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and the rest of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). As William Rivers Pitt writes:

The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea. This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11. After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible. Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason.

Without acknowledging Jesus as a native Middle Eastern person — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist. They will still be treated as “cultural outsiders.” Interesting enough, Christianity and Judaism are never considered “foreign religions,” despite having Middle Eastern origins, like Islam. As Douglas-Klotz insists, affirming Jesus as a native Middle Eastern person “enables Christians to understand that the mind and message” of Jesus arises from “the same earth as have the traditions of their Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers.”

Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another. I believe he would condemn today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people, as well as the misrepresentations of him that only fuel ignorance and ethnocentrism. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.

And in that spirit, I wish you a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic: God be with you).

The author blogs at Muslim Reverie. He recently wrote a chapter in "Teaching Against Islamophobia" on the demonization of Muslims and Arabs in mainstream American comics.
1 ) Saskia / Netherlands
25/12/2010 14:53
Thank you for this very insightful article, Jehanzeb.

2 ) elias / palestine
25/12/2010 15:26
nice story.

3 ) Nichole / USA
25/12/2010 16:08
I am not a Zionist. Nor am I Anti-Muslim, jew etc. What I don't understand, is why there cannot be peace. Isn't that what Jesus taught? Does it matter what ethnicity Jesus was when he walked the Earth?

4 ) rabia / ghana
25/12/2010 17:39
yeah Jesus would love Mohammad Atta..........shows you how little Jesus knew

5 ) Malach HaMavet / Gehenem
25/12/2010 17:51
Yes Elias, it's a nice "story", however, it isn't true
Jesus lived in the Kingdom of Israel, and died for the second time in C.E. 33,
the Roman's didn't create the name Palestine until C.E. 66, thirty three years after his death
So by simple deduction he couldn't have lived in a country that didn't exist while he lived

6 ) Joe Fattal / USA
25/12/2010 18:04
Regardless what and who Jesus was, Jesus was and is mostly a symbol not as a Palestinian , a Jew or an Arab, but a symbol of human suffering, humility, and compassion. There is a Jesus in each of us regardless what religion we practice, what race, gender or ethnic background we are. In this case it will easy to define him as someone that die because of human injustice, we call them now heroes, back then they call him Jesus of Nazareth. May Jesus be in all of us.

7 ) steve / usa
25/12/2010 18:07
one of the more interesting things about the 'nice' story is that the author never really recognizes that jesus was a JEWISH RABBI. He was a jew living in a predominately Jewish land. I wonder what the author is trying to prove or disprove. if he wants to teach against islamiphobia i suggest he tell a more truthful account of history. maybe then educated people will believe him.

8 ) Arnold / Canada
25/12/2010 19:40
Each religion has its percentage of if you excuse the expression "loonies". These people see with blinders and therefore see nothiong except what they want to see. The writer has an interesting perspective of Jesus and as far as I am concerned Jesus could be a Palestinian Jew or an Israeli Jew or a Caananite Jew. Or for that matter leave out that he was even born a Jew. He was definately not born a Moslem. I wonder if Jesus and Mohammad would have gotten along together as friends.

9 ) Peter / USA
25/12/2010 19:44
Good, for if he's Jewish. Am changing my Religion.

10 ) rick / usa
25/12/2010 19:45
jesus was a jew THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A CIVILIZATION OR NATION REFERRED TO AS “PALESTINE!” Yasser Arafat, In short, the so-called Arab “Palestinians” are a manufactured people…a people with no history and no authority…whose sole purpose for existence is to destroy the Jewish State!

11 ) Steve / Usa
25/12/2010 20:45
Why don't you print my comments? I read your policy for comments and appropriate content and I was careful you make sure I didn't attack the authors character or attack him personally..

12 ) Moe / Jesus land
25/12/2010 23:42
So Jesus was a Jew and Jews are indigenous to Israel.

13 ) lehrerdan / europe
26/12/2010 00:55
exquisite! a very sensible point of view, a truely commited thought, all against apartheid, against these racist torturers-murderers of the only common hope we have for a better world & for a free palestinian people, sovereign and proud of his marvellous history and life! Free Terra Sancta!

14 ) Maureen / Australia
26/12/2010 01:39
This is a most inspiring article by Jehanzeb Dar. Personal revelation (may sound far fetched to some) caused me not to believe in the depiction of a blond haired, blue eyed Jesus many years ago. Yes, Jesus is/was a prophet - a Messenger.

15 ) BIG MIKE / US
26/12/2010 02:22
Jew's rejection of Jesus as MESSIAH makes them ANTICHRIST and anyone that supports them and their zionist LIE, called "Israel", is supporting ANTICHRISTS !!!

16 ) Jesus / Judea
26/12/2010 03:08
Hate to break it to you, but when Jesus lived, the area was known as Judea. The Romans didn't name it Palestina until the 2nd century AD after the Bar Kochba rebellion. So despite this and similar rhetoric from PA TV, Jesus was most certainly not Palestinian. However it was true Palestinians, "protectors of holy sites", who holed themselves up inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002, showing true respect for the origins of Christianity.

17 ) Tiziano / Italia
26/12/2010 05:23
The Palestinians deserve support to achieve dignified independence and freedom form the occupation forces. The truth is that while some Muslim seek peace and tolerance for diversity of religions, today on Christmas Day, Muslims killed Christians in Nigeria and on December Muslims killed Christians in an Iraqi church. Muslims are also persecuting Christians in other countries. It should also be noted that Muslims are in return persecuted by some Christians in various countries

18 ) Tiziano / Italia
26/12/2010 05:29
True, Jesus was Semitic and not white.
Islamophobia is real, as real as the hatred that some Muslims have against Christians and Jews. Today on Christmas Day, Muslims have killed Christians therefore raising the level of Islamophopbia

19 ) Laura / Australia
26/12/2010 05:40
Good work with this article, and for using the Aramaic phrase at the end - if Christians heard more of the language that Yehoshua himself spoke I think they would have a much higher appreciation for the Arabic language and Middle Eastern culture, by realising this is where Jesus came from and the Arabian lifestyle/traditions practised today are similar to how he would have lived.

20 ) eporue / europe
26/12/2010 06:35
color of christian holy figures... jesus isnt always blonde. mostly - imo - he has light brown hair, and brown sometimes blue eyes. joseph with darker brown hair and brown eyes. more "pressing" (?) is the question, why mary barely is blonde - what she should be as the perfect symbol of purity ? she also is mostly light brown haired, blue eyes. except for mary, the others are often somewhat "tanned".

21 ) eporue / europe
26/12/2010 06:38
but the "meanest" of all, is the depiction of mary magdalene... defamed as a prostitute by the catholic church, her hair is red. i have never seen her different. for a lot of the 5 million women, murdered in the medieval witch hunts, lead by the catholic church in europe, being red haired was the death sentence.

22 ) eporue / europe
26/12/2010 06:41
in southern france, a "black madonna" is worshipped, also (faik) in germany (city of berchtesgaden). in the first case, its "sarah" (not mary), about the german one i dont know.

23 ) eporue / europe
26/12/2010 06:57
im not so really with you, to call the (european) depiction as a sign of "racism", or "being superior"... of course, people wanted to picture them as one of "theirs", thats a natural thing, especially during the time most of the pictures/figures were created. most of the wood, used for carving, is very light too. and a halo looks less harsh on brownish hair, than on deep black. the reasons are probably rather banal than racist.

24 ) Daud / Palestine
26/12/2010 09:48
The article here is fraudulent. Jesus was a Jew, his concerns were only about Jews and Jewish practices and, when asked to help a gentile woman, he refused on the grounds that his mission as for the Jews only. Does the word Palestine appear once in the Gospels? Are the people he addresses ever called Palestinians? It's one thing to fight over historical narrastive; it's another to engage in misleading, self-serving propaganda.

25 ) Danny / Palestine
26/12/2010 13:02
Jesus is never depicted as a blonde haired blue eyed man. He was a Jewish citizen of the Roman Empire. The modern concepts of Israel and Palestine do not apply. Please keep your politics away from Christianity. The race of Jesus does not matter, and your attempt to portray Him as a Palestinian Arab is equally racist. All we know for sure is that He was a Jew and he was born in land occupied by Rome. Stop using the birth of the world's saviour for your own narrow minded political ends.

26 ) Have you ever read the Christian Bible / Nigeria
26/12/2010 15:05
Assumption devoid of the knowing christian Bible.
When Jesus resurrected, his disciples ask him "will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel" don't be foolish Jesus and his disciples where Israelis

27 ) Truth Pilgrim / United States
26/12/2010 16:01
The Bible and other sources always describe Semites as being fair of complexion (see 1 Sam. 17:42; 16:12; Lam. 4:7; Song of Solomon 5:10; 1QapGen Col. 20; 1 Enoch 106:2).

28 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
26/12/2010 17:09
Would "Islamaphobia not have something to do with the unmitigated attacks of Moslim terrorists both in the Mideast, western Europe and North America? Another case of Islamists refusing to take responsibility for what they, themselves, continue to initiate.

29 ) Kim / USA
26/12/2010 18:10
The land where Jesus was born was in a Roman province called "Judea" not Palestine and not Israel. Please do not re-write history to fit present day ideological and political battles. Nationalism does not transcend history (peace be upon you).

30 ) elias / palestine
26/12/2010 20:40
no it doesnt matter what ethnicity he was.it's just a fact that he was Palestinian.
if he was russian,german,ukranian,european etc-it wouldnt matter either.but he wasnt.
so iguess it doesnt matter?

31 ) Sarah / Israel
26/12/2010 22:24
Jesus was a Jew who was born in Judea, not "Palestine," a name invented by its Western conquerors. Certainly he wasn't a "white European" but then most Jews aren't either-most Israelis are indistinguishable from Palestinians in looks. Jews were discriminated against in Europe for being "dark" and "foreign" Middle Easterners. I agree he would never teach hate, and certainly he would not call others "sons of pigs and monkeys" and call for their deaths. Such hate dishonors Islam.

32 ) John / NZ
26/12/2010 22:27
This article has many truths and good quotes that Westerners need to grasp and accept; most seem unwilling or unable because they fit him into their own image. Although Jesus was a man of peace, in fact he separates people just as he said he would. Judaism and Jews reject him as a deceiver and false prophet. Islam and Muslims accept him as a true prophet who was a good man. Christians accept the claims he made, with all that means, but too often on their own terms with a limited perspective.

33 ) John / NZ
26/12/2010 22:57
3) Nor am I, Nichole. Yes, Jesus did teach about peace, yet showed why there cannot be peace. He said "Blessed are the peacemakers", but was not referring to peace between peoples or even between individuals. A peacemaker is someone who enables a person to be at peace with God. However, when a peacemaker does this it may well result in no peace in that situation. That is why Jesus said "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword" (Matthew 10:34).

34 ) Jehanzeb / USA
26/12/2010 23:06
Hi Nichole, I agree with you that Jesus taught peace and coexistence. Your concerns regarding the point of Jesus' ethnicity was addressed in my post. It matters when dominant depictions of Jesus are white and used to reinforce white supremacist ideologies, colonialism, racism, imperialism (especially in Middle Eastern countries, including upon the land Jesus walked). It matters because Middle Easterners are far too often demonized and victims of racism, discrimination, hate crimes, etc.

35 ) John / NZ
26/12/2010 23:41
The statement "Jesus was Palestinian" is false as to when he was here. Jesus was a Jew of the tribe of Judah, and used the term "we" when speaking of Jews. Herodotus notwithstanding, the New Testament never uses "Palestine" or "Palestinians", so in that sense he was not Palestinian; that term only came into general use later. However, in the modern sense it is true but only if by that we include Jews. We do need to acknowledge Jesus as "a native Middle Eastern person"; a Jew, not a Palestinian.

36 ) Ace / USA
26/12/2010 23:53
Great food for thought article. @Nichole: Peace requires equitable justice. If mankind truly wishes to transcend racial inequality, then acknowledgment of the genealogical identity of the historical figure Jesus is just as important as what he taught.

37 ) Dar / USA
26/12/2010 23:59
Thank you for the article. Funny enough, even if Jesus was "Jewish" (that is, of Israelite descent), it would still be more accurate to describe him as "Palestinian" than "Jewish" today since most Jews today have nothing to do with the ancient Israelites, while modern Palestinians probably have much Israelite blood in them.

38 ) American Back To The Indian / USA
27/12/2010 02:21
What a racist article. We don't fear a black president we elected him and have now realized his economic policies stink. White Americans died in the tens of thousands to end slavery. The idea Americans or westerners are not aware Jesus was not a European is ludicrous. Jesus was a Jew, he preached from the Torah, all Christians everywhere know this and who Isaac and Ishmael are. This writer is better at creating Islamophobia.

39 ) Colin Wright / USA
27/12/2010 10:10
On this topic, I'm often struck by the current use of the term 'Judeo-Christian.' Originally, it seems to have arisen as a way of including Jews in what had been an avowedly Christian West. A way of inviting Jews into the tent, so to speak. As such, the coinage was entirely laudable. However, when the term 'Judeo-Christian' occurs these days, it's usually to imply that Muslims are OUTSIDE the tent in some way -- which is both inaccurate and vicious.

40 ) Colin Wright / USA
27/12/2010 10:45
(Part I). One of the ironies of the situation is that so many American 'Christians' profess love and support for Judaism. Christ may have been born a Jew, but he denounced its priests and was betrayed by them in turn. Since then, Jewish theologians have denounced Christ variously as a charlatan and a lunatic, and claimed he is 'being boiled in shit in hell.'

41 ) Colin Wright / USA
27/12/2010 10:48
Part II) Islam, by contrast, considers Christ a prophet, the virgin birth as authentic, and explicitly insists on toleration and respect for Christianity. This may fall short of the ideal attitude from a Christian standpoint, but it is inarguably a vast improvement over the Jewish stance. So why then -- from a theological standpoint -- would Jews be friends and Muslims enemies? It's perverse.

42 ) Christopher / Arama
27/12/2010 11:40
At the bottom of this article "Alaha natarak, it is pronounced exactle as allah.. In Jesus native language Aramaic, God is "Elah/Alaha" (in english pronounced Alah)

43 ) Rawaa' / Syria
27/12/2010 12:50
It's is an amazing article , I ,personally, benefited from it a lot,, It uncovers so many truths about this area and it also shows the reality of this critical point Thanks a lot Salam

44 ) Moonwatch / Canada
27/12/2010 13:38
Well, if that isn't the most partial, biased explanation of "Palestinians" I've ever read ! To sum up, even if Jesus was a Palestinian, which he was NOT, he was a Jew who brought Christianity to the world. By your own words, you verify that
Arabs and Muslims have no claims to Palestine either as a race or as a religion. Peace and blessings and Happy New Year.

45 ) Phil / UK
27/12/2010 22:53
The name of the place of Jesus Christ's birth is Bethlehem in Judea. Throughout his life on Earth, there was never any place called Palestine. That name was given to the land by the Romans centuries later after they dispossessed the indigenous Jewish population.
This is just another attempt by a people with no indigenous history to steal the history of the Jewish people. It goes hand in hand with their ludicrous claims of there never having been a Jewish temple on Mt. Zion.

46 ) Andrew / United States of America
28/12/2010 00:26
Thank you ! we need more articles like this one and more public lectures on this subject.

47 ) johannes / usa
28/12/2010 05:28
Religion is irrelevant. Peace will come when religion is realized to be the cause of nearly all wars in history. Say something please...

48 ) eporue / europe
28/12/2010 07:39
#41 - "a vast improvement over the jewish stance"... it was a strategical decision, that the muslims "acknowledged" jesus in some way, the same they did with judaism/torah. it enabled them, to hijack every and each of the jewish and christian holy sites... as in "always good, to have a foot in the door..." . further, it were the muslims, who destroyed and stole churches and synogogues. islam always considered other religions as "enemy", and treated them that way.

49 ) Rafael / Spain
28/12/2010 12:07
Your way of using history is manipulative and misleading. Palestinians if you go back in the bible exist 1000 b.C when King David fights Goliath who was a filistean, and who by no means was muslim, cos that religion didn't exist back then. Like someone says romans start calling the region Syria Palestinae, after the destruction of the temple in 70 BC, in order to cut any connection of the land with the jewish people. u have an interesting point with arab christians, so dont manipulate!!!!

50 ) elias / palestine
28/12/2010 14:38
jesus was hebrew.
so too were most of palestinian ancestors.samaritan etc also.
the jews of today are all descendents of converts.
jesus wasnt russian,german,-ethnicly he was related to our ancestors.
when i said 'nice story'
i meant that the article is not as in depth as it could be.

51 ) Sarah / Israel
28/12/2010 17:40
Elias is incorrect--Jews today are not all descendents of converts. Its' very difficult to convert. Who would those converts marry, if not Jews? A Palestinian study commissioned to prove that Jews are "Europeans" (an insult to the Maghrebi and Mizrachi Jews here) proved just the opposite--DNA showed almost no intermarriage and the closest related ethnic groups to Jews are the Palestinians (Jews who converted to Christianity and Islam) and Kurds. Subsequent studies have corroborated this.

52 ) Tony / England
28/12/2010 20:08
Jesus was Jewish - read the Gospels. Given a name 'Yeshua' which means salvation in Hebrew, but nothing in any other language. Circumcised and dedicated in the Temple according to Hebrew rites. Attended synagogue and quoted from the Hebrew prophets. Participated in Jewish feasts - Tabernacles and Chanukah mentioned in John, suffered for our sins as final sacrifice at Passover - full of significance. He died for all and loves all, but take away his Jewishness and you deny the truth.

28/12/2010 22:18
no one ever said jesus was of hebrew religion.but he was a Palestinian.maybe the name of the country was different under roman /egyptian occupation but it was the same place.

51#no sorry ,your wrong ALL jews today are the descendents of converts .
just as palestinian ancestry convert to islam,or christianity-from the hebrew/samaritan etc religion

54 ) John / NZ
28/12/2010 22:54
47) You are right about religion, but its absence will not bring peace. That will only happen when what we are as mankind is no more. Religion has dominated humanity since earliest times and has been used as a war tool by each major version. The last century has shown a nation without religion is no different; think of the Soviet Union, North Korea, Pol Pot. Only the return of Jesus will bring peace because then there will be a new mankind that is just like him. Any one of us can be there too!

55 ) John / NZ
28/12/2010 22:57
51, 52: Great posts - thanks.

56 ) Hebrew / Israel
28/12/2010 23:38
"Aramaic is an ancestral language for Hebrew and Arabic"??? You must be kiddin! The beginning of Aramaic language is only at 10 century BCE, whereas the Hebrew existed long before that.

57 ) Jehanzeb / USA
29/12/2010 17:00
I'm quite astonished at how some of the readers here are offended by identifying Jesus as a Palestinian. I think it proves my point and speaks volumes about how demonized Palestinians are. Those of you who say Jesus was Jewish, of course he was. I am not denying that. I am saying he was a Palestinian Jew (I just revised my original post to make that more clear). If you argue he was Jewish, what about his race? Do you consider Ashkenazi Jews and Mirzahi Jews as biologically the same?

58 ) Hugo van Randwyck / United Kingdom
29/12/2010 18:11
Nice article, also including Neil Douglas-Klotz's work. He also has work on the Aramaic Lord's Prayer, starting 'Abwoon..' :) I feel the teachings of Jesus also include visualising a better world. For the Palestinians to be seen in the world, how about looking at the expulsions in 1948 as an expulsion of 'voters'? Palestinians can organise 'Unity Elections' with also the refugees and diaspora voting - linked to their ancestral towns, and electing representatives for Jaffa, Haifa, etc :) peace:)

59 ) elias / palestine
29/12/2010 18:30
why are religious (jewish)zionists concerned if jesus was a 'palestinian' or not.they dont speak to highly of him as it is.maybe the evangelist zionists should know about that.

60 ) John / NZ
29/12/2010 21:01
This is what Mark Braverman, a US Jew, said regarding the Kairos Statement at Bethlehem, December 11, 2009: "I am a Palestinian Jew. My grandfather was born in the Old City of Jerusalem in the year 1900. My prayer is that someday, the phrase “Palestinian Jew” will not sound strange to the ear. It does not sound strange to me".

61 ) Sarah / Israel
29/12/2010 21:28
#57: Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, Maghrebi Jews share the same ancestry, DNA, history, language, calendar, prayers, holidays--yes, we are all Jews, in Hebrew, "Yehudim" from Judea, the name of the kingdom crushed under Roman conquest. So, yes, we are all the same. Don't be misled by external appearances that change with each generation. Elias #51: your wishing that all Jews are converts unconnected to this Land does not make it so; history and genetics prove otherwise. Jesus was a rabbi to Jews.

62 ) John / NZ
29/12/2010 21:33
Jesus would today be called "a self-hating Jew". What he said and did continually angered the Jewish authorities; he often identified with non-Jews and outcasts. It is quite apparent what he would think of Zionism and Zionists. Consider this: "They said to him, 'Abraham is our father'. Jesus said to them, 'If you were Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I have heard from God. Abraham did not do that'". John 8: 39-40.

63 ) Phil / UK
29/12/2010 21:49
What I am concerned about is the way that Arabs hijack truth and pervert it in order to lay claim to that which is not theirs.
The only prophet Islamic Arabs can truly lay claim to is their false prophet Mohamed. All others are Jewish/Christian, and had absolutely nothing to do with Islam.
From the time God gave the land to Abraham's seed through Isaac it has never been Palestine. Philistines were just another invading force like the Romans, and like Palestinians today.

29/12/2010 22:20
56 ) Hebrew / Israel28/12/2010 23:38"Aramaic is an ancestral language for Hebrew and Arabic"??? You must be kiddin! yeh well for modern arabic in the levant aramaic is.
as for real hebrew it was basically one of the dialects of aramaic.

65 ) Jehanzeb / USA
30/12/2010 04:44
Coincidentally, there's an excellent article written on Mondoweiss called "Am I allowed to be a Palestinian Jew?" It was written today. :) You can read it here: http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/am-i-allowed-to-be-a-palestinian-jew.html

66 ) Phil / USA
30/12/2010 17:25
I'm not Arab. Even if I was, I'm not "hijacking" truth. I find it sad that you're attacking Islam when my post was about building bridges and coexistence.

67 ) Jehanzeb / USA
30/12/2010 18:58
Sorry, #66 was written by me and I meant to address it *to* Phil, lol!

68 ) John / NZ
30/12/2010 20:25
34, 57) Jehenzeb, your article has really got people buzzing; already more posts than any other I can recall. And you yourself are posting, a rarity for a writer, which is appreciated. It appears you wrote post 66 to Phil; it was a puzzle to me until I came to that conclusion. Phil could learn a lot from Sarah on how to write a post that actually makes a positive contribution. Hope you write more opinion articles. I'd like to see one on the mixed messages the Quran appears to give.

69 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/12/2010 22:47
re eporue #41 '#41 - "a vast improvement over the jewish stance"... it was a strategical decision, that the muslims "acknowledged" jesus in some way, the same they did with judaism/torah. it enabled them, to hijack every and each of the jewish and christian holy sites...' I think this is wildly unfair. It would be reasonable to describe Islam as a sincere attempt to reconcile and make sense of all the disparate Jewish and Christian ideas floating around Arabia at the time.

70 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/12/2010 22:49
'My boss is a Palestinian Carpenter.' I'll have to get a bumper sticker made up to that effect. Sadly, I'm not Christian, so it wouldn't be true. On the other hand, those who would object to it are hardly Christians either. Talk about perverting a faith...

71 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/12/2010 22:54
To Phil?UK #63 'What I am concerned about is the way that Arabs hijack truth and pervert it in order to lay claim to that which is not theirs...' Considering what you go on to say in the reminder of your post, your professed 'concern' over perversions of the truth is distinctly hypocritical.

72 ) Elaine Mc Donald / uk
31/12/2010 03:45
Jesus Christ would not recognise Himself in the portraits that have been made of Him, nor would He recognise his Father in the soundbites or spin attributed to him. He did not "die a second time". He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. The Spirit of God was given at Pentecost with great generosity and without favouritism and binds those of us together irrespective of our faith path and journey who want to be one community.

73 ) Buck / USA
31/12/2010 08:56
Complete and utter propagandistic deception. Jesus was a Jew from Galilee who strongly believed he was direct descendant of King David, a Jewish king. Palestina was the name the Romans gave to Judea after its ethnic cleansing of Jews, around the 2nd century AD. The Philistines were a "Greek" people probably from one of the Greek islands with volcanic activity. They disappeared after the Babylonian conquest in 586 BC. Please stop the delusional lying about your history.

74 ) John / NZ
31/12/2010 10:59
The present Palestine was not the home of Jesus. His parents came to Bethlehem due to a census and he was born while they were there. Bethlehem was considered by the UN in 1947 to be part of neither a prospective Israel nor Palestine but of the proposed Jerusalem international zone. Jesus lived all his life in Nazareth until he carried out his ministry from Capernaum. Both are in Galilee, which is now part of legal Israel. He was a Galilean Jew who sometimes visited Jerusalem, and died there.

75 ) Jehanzeb / USA
31/12/2010 21:25
Buck, Read my comments at # 57 and # 65. Be sure to check out the link in # 65, too. :)

76 ) Phil / UK
01/01/2011 20:09
#71) What I go on to say is the truth. It is easily researched, so liars like yourself have no cover for their deceit.
The truth is as unpopular today as it was in Jesus day. But when tempted by Satan to bow down to a lie, he refused.
And that is the path I have chosen. Those like John/NZ who sacrifice the truth for what they see as the greater good of peaceful coexistence with the hoards of Satan forget that Jesus could have spoken sweetly to hypocrites, but preferred to use a whip.

77 ) elias / palestine
02/01/2011 01:32
evangelists arent christians.
jesus was a palestinian.

78 ) kukuyu tribe / usa
02/01/2011 21:09
Elias , yes he was a palestine because born in the land of Palestine, even if his parents were religious jew he was a palestinian citizen....viva palestina!!!!

79 ) Tobias / the Land
03/01/2011 04:06

Whether "Jesus was Palestinian", Israelite, or Judean does NOT matter.

All that matters is two different peoples claim the same land, as their ancesral homeland, AND they can NOT find a workable compromise !!!

"land-grabs" from both sides,
followed by resistance, terror, war, increasingly brutal "self-defense",
and then back to more "land-grabs" ....

80 ) Schvach / USA
24/09/2011 21:13
Jesus was no rabbi to the Jews - the Talmud tells us that Jesus was a rabbinical student who was ousted. Jesus was a Jew. As for 'Palestinian", let us recall that the name 'Palestine' was revived and applied by the British to label the governance mandate assigned to the UK by the League of Nations. The British invented this term. Curiously enough, during their mandatory period, the British press labeled the Jews of the area 'Palestinians', while referring to the Arabs of the area as 'Arabs'.

81 ) Jehanzeb / USA
03/11/2011 20:15
Schvach obviously missed the part about Herodotus using the term "Palestine."

82 ) Norman S. / USA
24/01/2012 00:49
Let's set the record straight. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of GALILEE (near Nazareth), then called Judea. The name "Syria Palestina" was applied to the area following the Second Jewish (Bar Kokhba) Revolt, after 135 A.D. and stayed that way until 1948. Jews, Greeks, Armenians and other residents described themselves as "Palestinian". Arabs, called themselves Arab until that time to differentiate themselves from the Jews. Jesus was rejected by the Jews was because he could NOT save them from Rome

83 ) Whiney / USA
19/03/2012 19:30
You are all idiots. All religion is a bedtime story. And no, whatever Jesus was, it does not matter. This is 2012, stop whining.

84 ) Ollie Davis / USA
09/12/2012 07:04
Good stuff absolutely agree! WOW!

85 ) Scott / USA
02/04/2013 23:00
A lot of the comments on here are pretty discouraging. I'm an atheist, but I find elements of Islam and Christianity fascinatingly beautiful. (Arabic is a beautiful language, and Islamic art is gorgeous, Christ was a beautiful human). I wish peace for us all. Disagreements over the divinity of people and concepts need not cloud our vision to the beauty these religions and cultures have created. Jesus was absolutely palestinian, as were all of the semite peoples of the Levant. That's not negative

86 ) Conan Edogawa / Japan
13/05/2013 04:02
I am a strong atheist and this is just shit.

87 ) kaitou kid / japan
13/05/2013 04:02

88 ) JK / USA
20/05/2013 03:47
The Bible is good for children stories. Nothing more.

89 ) Issa / Palestine
28/06/2013 17:00
While Jesus himself was born a Jew, it would be wrong to say that he was an "Israeli" Jew. His background and race would be more connected to Palestinians than the majority of Israelis today who come from all over the world (Europe, Ethopia, Iran, etc.). Also, to anyone who says that "Palestinians are a manufactured people" is only an illogical fool who is kidding himself.

90 ) Kebatta / Canada
06/08/2013 19:06
Prophet abraham was from current day iraq, so he is considered iraqi and shared the physical characteristics of iraqi people. Prophet Moses was an Egyptian and shared the same genetic characteristic of egyptians of past and of today. Same for jesus. He is considered a palestinian because he would be genetically closer to the natives of the holy land, the palestinians. The samaritans who are still present in the country since biblical time look more likethe average palestinians.

91 ) Muhammad Ali / North Sudan
29/12/2013 01:23
Nice article! Keep up the good work..

92 ) adela / Romania
19/01/2014 12:26
I don't think non-Arab and non-Muslim take offence when someone says Jesus Christ was born in Palestine. You are just generalizing. I often use the world Palestine and is not a lack of respect for the state of Israel. Also I say Constantinople, rather than Istanbul and I don't think Turks have to be offended by that.

93 ) adela / Romania
19/01/2014 12:51
Maybe Americans do not use "Palestine", but here in Europe we use it. For God's sake, even the priests say " 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born in Palestine ..." :)

94 ) Terry / U.S.A.
04/10/2014 18:34
Jesus Christ was not Palestinian. He was white. Anglo-Saxon, and his kinsmen are in Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Finland, Russia, Iceland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Poland, and other European countries. However, there are white people in Palestine, just like there are white people in Africa and Asia. That doesn't mean that they are Asian or African. In fact, at the time of Jesus Christ Palestine wasn't known as Palestine at that time. It was Canaan.

95 ) Paulo / Portugal
04/11/2014 16:47
Jesus was born in the country Judea, now called Palestine. Israel doesn't exist. Jesus was also not a jew. Jesus called the jews, the children of satan.

96 ) Doives / World
01/01/2015 14:53
Logic of some defenders of this article: Jesus was born in a land called Judea --> land is now referred to as "Palestine" --> Jesus was Palestinian. So by that same logic: Xerxes I was a king of the Persian Empire --> land is now referred to as Iran --> Xerxes was Iranian. It makes no sense people. Stop attempting to rewrite history. If someone would've told Jesus he was Palestinian, it would sound as funny as telling him he's a Lalalandian...

25/02/2015 04:43
Jesus was Palestinian!!! The Greeks nicknamed Canaan "Palestine" in memory of the "Philistines" of Creta!!! THE JEWS DON'T BELIEVE IN JESUS!!! That is why Jesus cursed the Jews. John 8:44: "The Jews are children of the Devil".
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