How Palestinian Activists Manipulate Western Christians

Since the recreation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, there has been a Christian doctrinal anti-semitic revolution. After Rome adopted Christianity as the state religion, the early forms of Christian anti-semitism were created and fixed, and remain embedded in Catholic policy. The most common forms of Christian anti-semitism were built on the accusation of deicide, the depiction of Jews as Satanic, and replacement theology. There was very little variation in these forms until after the recreation of Israel in 1948: the rebirth of Israel presented a serious theological challenge to replacement theology. For those who wished to deny the Jewish people the right to freedom from Christian and Islamic overlords, new theological reasons had to be formulated to argue that the Jewish people should be denied a nation.

For this reason it might be helpful to divide Christian anti-semitism into Pre-Israel and Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism. Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism is primarily defined as a method of using Scripture to argue that modern Israel should be eliminated. A great deal of Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism is being developed by Palestinian Christian theologians, who partner with western theologians in manipulating the Christian faith to deny the Jewish people the right to a nation. Some have called this new version of anti-Israel Christianity, “Christian Palestinianism.”

Christian Palestinianism was primarily developed with three goals: 1) to invent a Christian doctrine which calls for the delegitimization of Zionism and the complete destruction of Israel, 2) to justify Arab claims to possess the land, and, 3) to justify the Arab-Islamic war against Israel. There is a network of Christian Palestinian theologians who have devoted themselves to spreading this message to western Christians.

This essay is longer than the average blog in order to cover more information. I hope to expose the networks and the players, explain their message, and refute their message. My hope is that by learning about the authors behind the origins of these arguments, people will be better equipped to refute their propaganda.

The question of whether modern Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy.

The issue of whether modern Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy is a necessary question for all three monotheistic faiths, and thus, the answer will have a direct affect on one’s position for or against Israel. If a person does not believe in the Bible, then the person is under no obligation to answer the question, and can simply dismiss the Bible as fairy tales. However, due to the promises of restoration made in the Bible to the Jewish people, those who claim to believe in the Bible are obligated to answer the question of whether modern Israel is the fulfillment of prophecy.

All three monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, prophesy events which will unfold at the end of time. After the destruction of the Temple, and the exile of the Jewish people, the complexity of these predictions became compounded by centuries of commentary and disagreements about how or whether the Jewish people would return to the land. The dominant view within Orthodox Judaism was that the nation of Israel could not be reconstituted without the Messiah. For example, the extreme anti-Zionist group, “Torah Jews,” exaggerates this position on their website, “When we talk about Zionism here, we are referring to the concept that Jews should rise up, emancipate themselves from exile without waiting for the messiah, and establish a Jewish government in the Holy Land. Using Jewish texts, we demonstrate that this concept is against the Torah and has been opposed by rabbis in all generations.”

The Catholic Church developed replacement theology, which taught that God was finished with the Jewish people and replaced them with the Church. Pastor John Hagee, the founder of, “Christians United For Israel” (CUFI), explains: “Replacement theology, which is also called supersessionism, is a particular interpretation of the New Testament claims, viewing God’s relationship with Christians as superseding His prior relationship with the Jews. This destructive idea espouses the idea that the promises, covenants, and blessings ascribed to Israel in Scriptures have been taken away from the Jews and given to the church.” This doctrine, “holds that the historic nation of Israel no longer has a part in God’s divine plan for the remainder of time.”

There is also an Islamic version of supersessionism. Central to Islam is the doctrine that Mohammed is the last prophet of God, superseding all others, from Abraham to Moses and Jesus. Thus, Koranic law superseded Jewish law and created a view of Islamic triumph over Judaism. In addition, there is an Islamic teaching that Jews and Christians altered the Torah as well as the Gospels to hide the revelation of the coming of Muhammad, called, Taḥrīf (Arabic: “alteration”).

Thus, the recreation of Israel was a slap in the face to centuries of religious doctrine which did not anticipate a secular state of Israel. Since Israel’s recreation in 1948, all three faiths have been faced with a burning question: is the current nation of Israel the fulfillment of biblical prophecy? CUFI Pastor Dumisani Washington framed the question from the Christian perspective, “So how does a Christian reconcile the secular roots of the modern Jewish state with the spiritual promises of a restored Israel? If God is the one who truly engineered Israel’s restoration, what are we to do with the non-religious mindset of the founding fathers [of Israel]?”

Faith communities were left with three options, 1) reject Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, 2) reject their own doctrine, or 3) tweak their former doctrines to better fit historical reality. For example, some Orthodox Jews modified their view, allowing that modern day secular Israel is a stepping stone toward the fulfillment of the messianic hope.

Christian Zionists believe that modern Israel is the fulfillment of prophecy. Anti-zionist Anglican Vicar Stephen Sizer summarizes the position of his opponents: Christian Zionists are, “Those who insist that the Jewish people are God’s ‘chosen people’ also insist that the promises made to Abraham and the Patriarchs concerning the land bequeathed to them are promises that apply to his physical descendants today. So the contemporary State of Israel is seen as evidence of God’s continuing protection and favour toward the Jewish people.”

Christian Palestinianism also claims that modern Israel is not the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. As a religious-political movement, Christian Palestinianism asserts that the ancient biblical nation of Israel is not the same entity as the modern state of Israel. The goal of Christian Palestinianism is to convince the world that the promises made in the Bible to ancient Israel do not apply to modern Israel, that God is finished with the Jewish nation.

The players in the network:

The godfather of Christian Palestinianism is Rev. Naim Ateek, an Arab-Israeli citizen who self-identifies as a Palestinian. He is the founder of Sabeel (Arabic for “the way”), an Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center based in Jerusalem. Sabeel has become one of the leading international headquarters to spread anti-zionism into many western churches. Ateek is calculating and has devoted his life to developing a strategy to separate the Bible from Zionism. He wrote, “The center should go beyond the immediate area of conflict to reach Christians abroad, especially the West. This outreach should aim at… de-Zionizing the Bible.”

Ateek has partnered with western theologians, pastors and activists, such as Walter Brueggemann, Stephen Sizer, Mary Gray, and Mark Braverman. Over the last couple of decades these Palestinians and western theologians have created a new systematic reading of Scripture to attack every foundation which can be used to support Israel. Theologian Walter Brueggemann wrote, “It is my hope that the Christian community in the United States will cease to appeal to the Bible as a direct support for the state of Israel.”

The Jerusalem Sabeel Document contains a section called, “The Vision for the Future,” which states, “the ideal and best solution has always been to envisage ultimately a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel.” Sabeel seeks, “One state for two nations.” This is also known as the “one state solution,” which means that Israel would be removed and replaced with an entirely different bi-national country. In other words, the best solution is for Israel to disappear.

Another major headquarter promoting Christian Palestinianism is Bethlehem Bible College, founded in 1979 by local Arab pastors under the leadership of Bishara Awad. The college sponsors the “Christ at the Checkpoint,” conference. Most of its speakers claim to be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian, yet they blame Palestinian suffering on  Israel alone.

Another lead organization is Kairos Palestine, a coalition of Palestinian Christians. In 2009, they produced The Kairos Palestine Document, which singled out the Israeli military occupation as a “sin.” These Palestinian organizations also marketed an American version; for example, Sabeel created Friends of Sabeel North America, and Kairos Palestine created Kairos USA. These Palestinian groups collaborate with western theologians, pastors and activists, attempting to spread their message throughout churches.

Kairos Palestine promotes the boycott movement against Israel in major American churches. As the anti-Israel publication, “Electronic Intifada,” reported in 2012, “This summer, headlines about Palestine dominated news from gatherings of Christian churches. North America’s United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and United Church of Canada voted to boycott products from Israeli settlements.” And, “At the center of these efforts lay a document… known as the Kairos Palestine Document.” And, “Over three years the document and Kairos Palestine, the organization behind it, have infused church-based activism for Palestine.”

Millions of Christians travel to Israel to visit the Holy Land. The standard tours bring Christians to see the holy sites, such as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Palestinian Christians have established a number of Palestinian social justice tour groups, which piggyback on the tourism industry. These tours visit places where Jesus walked, as well as Palestinian areas. One website lists all of the standard Christian sites, but adds a, “Geo Political tour of Bethlehem including Palestinian refugee camps, youth centers, the wall and checkpoints.”

The Palestinian network has worldwide influence through the World Council of Churches (WCC), which represents roughly 600 million church members. The WCC has established several groups “aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.” In 2008, the WCC and Sabeel published a booklet titled “Imagine Peace,” which claimed that Christ’s promise of peace is unfulfilled because, “this part of the world is under the domination of American/Israeli military power.” In 2013, the WCC issued the following statement: “Christians who promote ‘Christian Zionism’ distort the interpretation of the Word of God and the historic connection of Palestinians—Christians and Muslims—to the Holy Land, enable the manipulation of public opinion by Zionist lobbies, and damage intra-Christian relations.” Allied with the Palestinian organizations, the WCC wages church warfare against Israel.

There are seven major pillars of both Judaism and Christianity which had to be attacked in order to argue that the modern nation of Israel should be destroyed.

In the Jewish Bible, God makes an eternal covenant with the Jewish people, promising them the land of Israel in perpetuity. The Bible actually precludes the possibility that the land could belong to any other group of people. Trying to deny this fundamental thought in the Jewish Bible would be like denying that Jesus is the Messiah in the Christian Bible, or that Muhammad is the received prophet in the Koran.

These Christian Palestinian activists are fully aware that many western Christians support Israel, based on the biblical promises made to the Jewish people. If they are going to cut off this support, they must find a way to get around the Bible verses which promise the land to the Jewish people for eternity: the Bible itself is the greatest barrier standing in their way. Thus, the Scriptures themselves have to be circumvented. How to do this? By waging an attack against the major foundational pillars of the Bible.

First attack: The Jewish Bible is not a reliable source of history. This attack is done in two forms. First, by a flat out denial of the historical reliability of Bible accounts. Second, by arguing that the Bible was not inspired by God, but rather, is a collection of Jewish writings from different periods of Jewish history, written by men to justify their own ambitions to conquer land. Walter Brueggemann works with Sabeel; he argues, “the Bible refuses to speak in a single voice.” These theologians purport that the Bible is collection of Jewish writings which were created to justify the political agenda of their authors, and modern Christians Zionists who use the Bible as a support for Israel are merely an extension of the system of using God’s name to further one’s own political agenda.

Second attack: The Jewish people are not chosen. In the Torah, God chose the Jewish people to be in a special covenant. Deuteronomy 14:2 states, “the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Mary Grey serves as Chair of the Theology Group of Friends of Sabeel UK; she is a self-described feminist-Roman Catholic theologian. Grey declared that the goal of Sabeel is to convince Jewish people that they should not view themselves as chosen. She wrote, “It has never been more important for Sabeel, not only to continue to explore the roots of a visionary, prophetic theology of a God of justice who wants the wellbeing of all peoples, but also to work with peace loving Jews to tease out core notions of Judaism like election and covenant in a way that brings to birth the reality of peace and a just sharing of the land.”

In order to undermine the belief that Jewish people are chosen, these theologians do not necessarily have to defeat the claim that Jewish people were chosen in the past, rather they only have to subvert the claim that Jews are still chosen in the modern era. Brueggemann holds that it is true that the Jewish people were chosen, but that the latter prophets changed their minds on the issue. Brueggemann develops a theory that the early books of the Bible depict only Israel as chosen, while the latter prophetic tradition begins to depict many nations as chosen.

Brueggemann even goes so far as to argue that the latter prophets rebuked Israel for believing they were uniquely chosen by God. He writes, “One can see at the edge of the Old Testament an inclusion of other people in the sphere of God’s attentiveness, an inclusion that intends to mitigate any exclusionary claim by Israel.” In order to support this view, he cites verses such as, “Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage” (Isa. 19:24-25).  Brueggemann argues that in the latter tradition, “God has now, according to the prophet, scattered these names across the world so that other peoples, even Israel’s adversaries, are reckoned to be chosen of God.” While the argument is that all nations are equally chosen, the logical outcome is the same: the nation of Israel is not chosen.

Third Attack: The land of Israel is not promised to the Jewish people. In the Jewish Bible, God makes an eternal covenant with the Jewish people, and the land of Israel is promised to them for eternity. Genesis 48:3-4 summarizes, “Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty… said to me… ‘I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your seed after you.’” Jewish literature, especially the Talmud, is filled with centuries of debate on how to reconcile seemingly contradictory verses. But, there are no conflicting Bible verses on the subject of God’s promise of the land, and thus no history of debate.

Christian commentaries debate whether the Jews will return to the land based on accepting Christ, but there is no history of debate over whether the land is promised to the Jews. However, these theologians developed a theory called, “Land Theology,” which is supposed to be a theological debate over whether land can truly be promised to a single group in the Bible. Not surprisingly, they conclude that it cannot.

Ateek also develops a line of reasoning that the Hebrew Bible started with a tribal mentality but then progressed to an inclusive mentality. This transformation continued in The New Testament, which he argues called on Jewish people to move past the belief that they require a specific land, and replaced it with the Kingdom of God. Ateek stated, “in the New Testament, an amazing thing happens, the focus is no more on the land… the focus is on the Kingdom of God,” which is wherever “God is sovereign.” Anti-Zionist Anglican Vicar Stephen Sizer summarizes, “The New Testament knows nothing of this preoccupation with an earthly kingdom.” And, “Instead, Jesus redefines the boundaries of the kingdom of God to embrace the whole world.”

Fourth Attack: There is no promise of a prophetic restoration of Israel. In the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish exile and return are clearly prophesied, “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land (Jer. 23:7-8).”

Yet, Christian Palestinianism simply dismisses these prophecies, purporting that the Jewish people have not been prophetically restored to their promised land, but rather that the Jews stole the land from the Palestinians and remain as foreign occupiers. Lutheran Palestinian Pastor Mitri Rehab depicts Palestine as a ancient nation which is currently being occupied by the Israelis, “The occupation of Palestine by Israel today is thus another link in a long chain of uninterrupted occupation.”

Sixth Attack: The Christian Bible contains a gross error: recent ‘evidence’ reveals that Jesus was not Jewish. Catholic theologians did not invent a false history about the ethnic identity of Christ, or rewrite his birthplace, yet Christian Palestinianism literally denies the historical account in the Christian Bible, as well as the ethnic identity and national homeland of Jesus. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus was a Jew born in Judea, as it is written, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea (Mat. 2:1).” In addition, Jesus gathered his disciples from a group of Jewish fisherman working in the Sea of Galilee.

The goal of Christian Palestinianism is to erase all Jewish history from the Christian Bible. In order to do this, Palestinian theologians have devised a ridiculous false revisionist history: they argue that the Bible was written in Palestine, Jesus was a Palestinian, his first disciples were Palestinians, and that the Palestinians are the true protectors of the holy sites on behalf of the Christian world. In their view, Jews do not appear in the Christian Bible.

In that vein, Pastor Raheb stated, “the Bible could not have been written anywhere else but in Palestine.” And, “being born just across the street from where Jesus was born… I always loved to say that most probably one of my grand, grand, grand, grandmas used to babysit for Jesus.” In 2012, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation published a letter which stated, “We Palestinian Christians are the descendants of the first Christians.” The Palestinian Authority published an article which stated, “We must not forget that Messiah is a Palestinian, the son of Mary the Palestinian.”

The message has been promoted by Al Jazeera’s online news channel, AJ+. In a video about Christian Palestinians, they stated, “Jesus Christ was from Palestine, you know, the birthplace of Christianity.” The aim of this revisionist history, which proposes Palestine as the birthplace of Christianity, is to replace Israel’s historical connection to the land with a Palestinian claim to ownership of the land.

Seventh Attack: Christ would only be on the side of the Palestinians. The goal of these theologians is to deter Christian support for the state of Israel and redirect that support to the Palestinians. The political dimension is a Palestinian adaptation of Christian liberation theology. The best known form of liberation theology developed within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s. Liberation theology alleges that Christ’s concerns center on political and economic oppression. Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff summarized the work of the liberation theologians who always placed, “themselves firmly on the side of the poor.”

In like manner, Ateek created his version of liberation theology and published a book called, “Justice and Only Justice; A Palestinian Theology of Liberation.” Since Palestinian theologians cannot reasonably appeal to the Jewish Bible, they argue that Israel is oppressive to the Palestinians, and that Christ called on his followers to fight oppression; therefore Christians must fight with Palestinians against Israel. Sadly, while liberation theology was concerned with liberating the economically oppressed from poverty, Christian Palestinian liberation theology is concerned with liberating Palestine from the Jews.

In summary: One difficulty for these theologians is that they repeatedly try to market themselves as different from the history of Christian anti-semitic predecessors. In order to sound like they are not singling out the Jewish faith for discrimination, Christian Palestinianism proposes a universal theological reason for why the Abrahamic covenant no longer applies to the Jews. It devises an interpretation that God has rejected all nationalism. If this is so, God has not rejected only the nation of Israel, rather God has rejected all nations.

Four contradictions within Christian Palestinianism which reveal that its goal is only to harm Israel:

First, Christian Palestinianism argues that the Jewish belief in election is immoral, and that Jewish people should abandon the belief that they are chosen. Christian Palestinianism demands that Jewish people abandon their faith or, “tease out core notions of Judaism like election and covenant,” in order to satisfy Palestinians aspirations. However, both Christianity and Islam have a parallel concept of election. 1 Peter 2:9 declares to Christians, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” Surah 3:110 declares to Muslims that, “You have been the best nation that has been raised up for mankind.” If the belief in election is immoral, then these Christian theologians should start condemning the Christian faith. Also, why do these Christian theologians not call on Muslims to abandon their belief that Muslims are “the best nation?”

Second, these theologians argue that the true message of both the Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible is the call to abandon nationalism. Yet, members of Sabeel are located in multiple countries throughout Europe and America and they do not call for their own countries to be dismantled. For example, Dr. Mark Braverman is a leader in Kairos USA. He has traveled throughout both America and Germany preaching that Jews need to repent of the sin of nationalism. However, if nationalism is a sin in itself, then he should have preached that the Germans need to repent of nationalism and begin by destroying Germany. There is a glaring contradiction between the written message of these theologians and their action: although they write about a universal message that nationalism in itself is a transgression, when they preach in churches they only proclaim that Jewish nationalism is a sin against God. In a greater act of hypocrisy, Sabeel supports Palestinian nationalism.

Third, although these theologians argue that the ancient Jews and the modern Jews are not the same entity, they invariably use the Bible to judge the present-day Jewish people. These anti-Zionist theologians constantly judge modern Israel by the supernatural conditions of the covenant, commandments, prophecies, and even sometimes the curses of the Bible. At every turn their writings inescapably attach the connection of ancient Israel to modern Israel even while doing everything to avoid that conclusion!

The problem for these theologians is that all of their claims are false. Edward Gibbon’s, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” is about the Roman Empire. This may sound painfully obvious, but likewise, the Jewish Bible is about the Jews. Nonetheless, the goal of Christian Palestinianism is to somehow invent a new method of interpretation to argue that the Jewish Bible is not really about the Jews. But, these claims are hollow and impossible.

Fourth, it seems that for good measure, Brueggemann contradicts himself and says that, just in case the ancient Israelites turn out to be the same as the modern Israelis, then God would still not chose them because of their abuse of the Palestinians. The attack made by Brueggemann in his book, “Chosen,” is that either modern Israel is no longer chosen by God, or cannot expect to be recognized as chosen by other people due to their violations of Palestinian human rights.

Brueggemann gives his own list of reasons why, “The state of Israel has evolved into an immense military power… (escalated) its occupation of the West Bank by an aggressive development of new settlements… (and) has exhibited a massive indifference to the human rights of the Palestinians. Thus, it seems… that the state of Israel, in its present inclination and strategy, cannot expect much ‘positive play’ from its identity as ‘God’s chosen people.” This accusation is a major development in the evolution of Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism: the Jews are rejected over slanted accusations regarding their mistreatment of Palestinians.

Christian Palestinian behavior cannot be explained without factoring both a history of Islamic oppression as well as current Islamic persecution against Christians in the Middle East.

In 638 CE, when the Arab-Islamic armies conquered Jerusalem, Jews and Christians were generally given three options: death, conversion, or pay a tribute tax called the Jizya. The surrender pact between the Muslim ruler and the conquered non-Muslim community was called a dhimma, sometimes translated as “residence in return for taxes.” Jews and Christians were given dhimmi status under Islamic law. The dhimma pact subjugated non-Muslims as a class of non-citizens; dhimmis had no right to bear arms or to testify against a Muslim in court.

The 1988 Hamas Charter states explicitly that the goal of Hamas is to place Jews and Christians under Islam. The charter states, “Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam.” In 2006, Hassan El Masalmeh, a Hamas member of the Bethlehem City Council, publicly announced his goal to implement a tax on non-Muslim residents.

In more recent times, Christians are being ethnically cleansed across the entire Middle East, except for Israel. Raymond Ibrahim is a Christian of Coptic descent. He is a leading expert on the motivation behind Radical Islam and the author of “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.” He described the current situation in the Middle East, “One hundred years ago, 20% of North Africa and the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, was Christian. Today, Christians make up 4% of the population. Much of that decline has occurred in the last decade. In essence Muslims are rendering North Africa and the Middle East free of Christians.” As the Christian organization Open Doors reported, the pattern is exactly the same in the West Bank and Gaza. “The percentage of Christians has dropped from ten percent of the Palestinian population in 1920 to little over one percent today.”

In sharp contrast, since the creation of Israel in 1948, the Christian population has increased by nearly 300 percent. The numbers demonstrate that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are protected and granted equal rights. The numbers also demonstrate that Arab Christians are being ethnically cleansed in the same exact pattern under Islamic authority in Gaza and the West Bank as they are under Islamic authority in the rest of the Middle East. This pattern demonstrates that the Muslim Palestinian authorities are to blame for the decrease in the numbers of Christians in Gaza and the West Bank, and not the Israeli “occupation.”

All of this is to demonstrate that the behavior of Palestinian Christians is circumscribed within the Palestinian war with Israel, their unofficial status as dhimmis, and the ethnic cleansing of Arab Christians in the Middle East. Western Christians do not realize that Palestinian Christians lack the civil rights of westerners and are not free to speak their minds.

Palestinian Christians are surrounded by a Muslim majority which is engaged in a violent struggle against Israel. If they side with Israel, they would be seen as a fifth column, and they are totally helpless to defend themselves. If they want to maintain somewhat normal lives, they must repeat the same message as the Muslim majority, which blames Israel for the lack of peace – even if the facts demonstrate that Israel treats its Christian population far better than Palestinian society.

Palestinian Christians who honor terrorists are rewarded, while Palestinian Christians who condemn terrorism are persecuted.

The effect of the physical and psychological reality of the unofficial system of dhimmitude, as well as the dangers of the ethnic cleansing and the persecution facing the Palestinian Christian population can be seen in concrete terms. A tiny minority of Palestinian Christians speak out against Islamic terrorism and seek genuine peace with Israel. The main leaders in this movement are Evangelical Pastor Naim Khoury and his son Pastor Steven Khoury; both have Israeli citizenship, but both have chosen to minister amongst the Palestinians.

The concrete reality of the situation for Palestinian Christians can be seen by comparing the treatment of Pastor Mitri Raheb with Pastors Naim and Steven Khoury. In 2017, two Druze-Israeli policemen were shot to death near the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In response, Israel attempted to install some new metal detectors, which are common at every holy site in the world. However, the Palestinians held protests against the installations of these metal detectors. Pastor Mitri Raheb joined in these protests. In a video posted two days after the attack, Raheb declared that his visit to Al Aqsa was an “unforgettable night… demonstrating… Christian-Muslim unity as a tool of creative resistance.”

Dexter Van Zile reported, “Raheb’s rhetoric was almost enough to make people forget that the drama surrounding metal detectors at the Temple Mount began with Palestinian terrorists shooting two unsuspecting Israeli police officers.” If the policemen, “had not been ambushed by murderers who had been lying in wait for them on the Temple Mount, no metal detectors would have been installed, no protests would have taken place, and Raheb would have no ‘creative resistance’ to celebrate.”

Van Zile further reported, “Because of his ties and utility to the Palestinian Authority, Raheb has been able to build something of an empire in the West Bank. In addition to serving many years as pastor at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem… Raheb is founder and president of the Diyar Consortium, a non-profit that provides social services to people in the West Bank. He is also founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, often described as the third largest private employer in Bethlehem.” By continuing to support the kind of people who celebrate the murder of Israeli policemen, Rehab has become quite powerful.

In sharp contrast, Pastor Naim Khoury and his son Pastor Steven Khoury have been persecuted for simply preaching that Jesus was Jewish and for condemning Islamic violence. The Jerusalem Post reported, “Steven Khoury was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Bethlehem. Today he is the pastor of Calvary Church in east Jerusalem. His father, Dr. Naim Khoury, is the founding pastor of First Baptist Church in Bethlehem. Both men are Israeli Arabs. Together their umbrella ministry is called Holy Land Missions… Their message never changes: Jesus was born a Jewish baby in Bethlehem, (and) died an observant Jew in Jerusalem… Taking this stand is hazardous. Because of it, the Khourys have seen their places of worship firebombed and defaced. Church members have been attacked. Property has been stolen, stones thrown, shots fired. Steven’s uncle was murdered. And his father, Dr. Naim, has been shot at four times over the past 10 years.”

During an interview on The 700 Club, Steven Khoury was asked why Christians are leaving Bethlehem. He replied, “Christians are leaving because they are seeing that nobody is standing with them, they are seeing that extremism is growing, anti-Christian agenda is growing.” And, “Unfortunately, a lot of people’s mindsets, who are considered jihadists or extremists, that is their ultimate goal, is to put fear and submission in the heart of every single Christian in the Middle East.”

Within 24 hours of the interview Steven Khoury was given an eviction notice, giving his Church one month to vacate, even though the rent had been paid for a full year. He explained, “The family that we are renting from have been pressured by the extremists in the community.” Steven Khoury struggles to maintain a permanent church building. Evidently, any Palestinian pastor who honors terrorists is rewarded while any Palestinian pastor who condemns terrorism is persecuted.

Conclusion: Christian Palestinianism does not lead to peace:

There is a question of whether Christian Palestinianism can even be considered a form of normative Christianity. The average American Christian has nothing in common with the message of Christian Palestinianism, although both are called, “Christian.” In fact, it is immoral for western Christians to partner in good faith with those who rewrite Jewish and Christian history for political reasons.

In essence, Christian Palestinianism is a cynical distortion of the Christian faith, created after the restoration of Israel and based on a new version of Palestinian replacement theology, with the express political purpose to deny the Jewish people the right to a nation. It is a twisted reading of the Jewish Bible to deny the prophecies of restoration. It is a twisted reading of the Christian Bible to claim that Christ would command his followers to only support the Palestinians. It was created to be compatible with Islamic supersession doctrines over Jewish scripture. It was created to be submissive to Islamic apartheid laws and to avoid being the target of radical Islamic violence. It was created to justify the Arab claims to own the land, and to be compatible with the greater Arab-Islamic war against Israel. In conclusion, Christian Palestinianism was not created to express the Christian faith, but rather designed to be a Christian doctrinal weapon to erase Zionism, and ultimately the state of Israel, from the planet.

Second, the teachings of Christian Palestinianism do not call for peace. The problem with all of the organizations in the network is threefold: First, they ignore the fact that the Arabs started the 1948 War. Second, they deny the role that Palestinian terrorism plays in necessitating security checkpoints and restrictions on movement. The checkpoints do not target Palestinian Christians or Palestinian Muslims; the checkpoints look for Palestinians who wish to carry out attacks.

Third, their message is that Zionism is evil. But, Zionism is simply the belief that Jewish people have the right to self-determination. The claim that Zionism is evil is equivalent to saying that the existence of a Jewish state is evil. The Palestinian Christian network promotes the message that Jewish people should not have the right to self-determination, while arguing for the right of Christian and Muslim Palestinians to own the land. They use the term peace but are not promoting peace: by definition, peace means recognizing Israel, not denying it’s right to exist.

Fourth, the Middle East is comprised of roughly 20 countries, and Christians are being ethnically cleansed from all of them, except for one country – Israel. The Jewish State has emerged as the singular example of how to protect Christians in the Middle East. Yet, pro-Palestinian western Christians reverse reality, condemning the single Middle Eastern country which protects Christians, while not bringing to account the countries which actively persecute Christians.

By condemning the protector of Christians, these western Christians draw attention away from ongoing ethnic cleansing in Muslim countries, as well as in the Palestinian territories. The end result is that they aid and abet the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. If these western Christians really care about their fellow Christians in the Middle East, maybe they should start caring about the fact that they are disappearing and partner with the Israelis who are protecting them.

About the Author
Daniel Swindell is a Zionist. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Missouri, and has studied in Yeshiva.