Linda Sarsour, a radical Islamist political activist, created a Twitter firestorm by her recent claim that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian. That the idea runs counter to history puts the matter mildly.
Fox News explains:
“Controversial left-wing activist Linda Sarsour is under fire for claiming ‘Jesus was Palestinian.’
“The Brooklyn-born Muslim Women’s March co-founder claims she is a victim of ‘hate’ after a 24-hour Twitter debate this weekend on the roots of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Sarsour went on to claim that “Palestinian is a nationality, not a religion. Your point is not negated. Jews lived with Palestinians in peaceful co-existence before there was a state of Israel.”
The Jerusalem Post describes how this assertion is extremely problematic:
“The latest attempt to push the ’Jesus was Palestinian’ claim is not as innocent as it appears. It is a negation of Jewish history and a modern-day attempt at replacement theology: to replace historical Jewish connections to the land 2,000 years ago, recreating an imagined history of Palestinians in place of Jews.”
“A more honest reading of history would start by mentioning the Jewish roots of Jesus and the Jewish areas where he traveled, and then point out that places like Nazareth and Bethlehem are today Palestinian or Arab cities – and that for Palestinian Christians, Jesus is not just a religious figure, but can also be a historical one of national importance.
“Sarsour’s tweet was in response to Bishop Talbert Swan as part of an exchange about race, nationality and historical figures such as Mussolini, Moses, and Jesus.
“Sarsour referenced Jesus in the Quran, not the New Testament. Sarsour continued tweeting about the topic on Saturday, noting that ‘Bethlehem is in Palestine… Jesus was born in Bethlehem which is in Palestine. Move on.’ She even disputed the origin of the name Bethlehem, claiming it was written in Arabic as if this precludes an earlier history. ‘Why so upset by the truth?’ she tweeted. ‘Jesus was born in Bethlehem, aka Beit Lahm in Arabic. Bethlehem is in Palestine. It’s currently occupied by Israel.’
“Sarsour Began to reverse course on Sunday, retweeting a comment that Jesus was a ‘Palestinian Jew,’ and another comment that ‘he was also a Jew.’”
According to the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ was the son of God, born as a human being in Bethlehem around the year 4 BC. At the time, the area of the world known as Israel and the West Bank was known as Judea and was a client kingdom within the Roman Empire ruled by King Herod. The very name “Palestine” was not even invented until the reign of Emperor Hadrian who, after putting down a Jewish revolt, scattered the Jewish population of Judea and combined the land with the Roman Province of Syria, renaming the while “Syria-Palaestina.” The name “Palestine” stuck well into the 20th Century, even surviving the establishment of the State of Israel.
Jesus is considered a prophet in the Muslim tradition but without the aspect of being divine. However, one regards him, the accounts of Jesus’ life in the New Testament depict him as a practicing Jew. The Last Supper, for example, was a Passover Seder.
Sarsour, a political agitator who has been connected to both Hamas and the odious Louis Farrakhan was clearly engaged in a bit of social media trolling in order to get herself mentioned in the mainstream media. The idea that Jesus was a Palestinian is something that is widely accepted in the Palestinian community.
Cultural appropriation is often a misused term thrown around by millennials to annoy the adults. However, the drafting of Jesus Christ, who as a man preached peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, into a violent struggle to expunge the Jews of Israel from the Middle East counts as a real-life example. The concept is and ought to be offensive to both Christians and Jews.
One wonders what Sarsour wants to achieve by making the assertion, besides making a lot of people upset and raising her public exposure as a bomb-thrower. If she wanted to persuade more people outside the Muslim world to the Palestinian nationalist cause, Sarsour is certainly going about it the wrong way. She thinks she is somehow delegitimizing the State of Israel. Instead, all she had accomplished is to anger people and harden positions in the Israel/Palestinian conflict.