30 December 2015

Uniting Church, Jesus and Palestinians


A blog written by MICHAEL VAN DER GALIEN came across my screen tonight. It's here In this piece Van Der Galien affirms that Jesus was in fact a Jew, and that he was not in modern terms a Palestinian. He even cites Peter Wertheim who as executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry sent a letter asking for help from the Uniting Church, Australia's third largest Protestant denomination. Wertheim is quoted as writing,

"The proposition that Jesus was a Palestinian and that the Palestinian Arab population of today are his “living descendants” is so absurd and offensive that it deserves an immediate and substantive rebuttal."

In response the Uniting Church president Stuart McMillan wrote a general letter to the public saying,
"I would like to assure you and the Jewish community that the Uniting Church does not accept the view that Jesus was Palestinian. We affirm that Jesus and most of his early followers were Jewish. We note that Jesus was born neither in Israel nor in 'Palestine', but in the Roman-occupied province of Judea, and that it is entirely inappropriate for anybody to attempt to claim political capital from the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to bolster claims of either ‘side’ of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute."

Goodonya Mr McMillan. And good on Mr Wertheim as well. Making sure we remember who Jesus was helps us understand who he continues to be in the present tense, and who he will be in the future.

Van Der Galien's point here is to be noted well. "Palestinians and other fundamentalist Muslims cry racism and can even become aggressive when they're called out for trying to rewrite history." This is happening and has happened for as long as men have been reporting what happened to each other. News gets skewed with bias and partiality. But the Muslim agenda is visible to observers-- they want everyone else back-pedalling from an evangelical stance whether at a university lecture or in public fora in Europe, here in Australia, South Africa or in the US. The misuse of the term "Palestine" is a key element. Consider this.

Before 1948, every Jew born in what we title "Israel" today was a Palestinian. The land was renamed "Palestine" by the Romans in the 2nd Century under Hadrian in order to eradicate any Jewish reference at all. (See this link for more

So a Palestinian was someone from that land mass between Lebanon and Egypt. Before 135 AD (CE), no one had that term applied to them, except the Philistines. And Jesus was definitely not a Philistine.

A major work of Jewish scholarship is the Palestinian Talmud, composed between the 2nd and 5th centuries of this era, long after Jesus lived, died and rose again from the dead. For more, read Talmud and see what they say about Palestine there. Clearly the problem is more than semantic -- some racism is happening as well as nationalism. God help us all.

No comments: