Originally presented by Yasser Arafat’s PR woman Hannan Ashrawi in 2001, the claim that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian has been back in the news lately. But it is a claim that is historically impossible and designed to erase the historical connections between the Jewish people and the holy land.
On Saturday, the anti-Semitic, anti-America Rep Ilhan Omar, retweeted a tweet from Omar Suleiman, an adjunct professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University,
I was once asked by a relative who is a Palestinian Christian why the Christian right in America largely supports their oppression.
"Don't they know we're Christian too? Do they even consider us human? Don't they know Jesus was a Palestinian?" https://t.co/YJDwdlIIgM
— Omar Suleiman (@omarsuleiman504) April 20, 2019
Just 24 hours earlier the NY Times published an op-ed by Eric Copage, which said in part:
“As I grew older, I learned that the fair-skinned, blue-eyed depiction of Jesus has for centuries adorned stained glass windows and altars in churches throughout the United States and Europe. But Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin.”
The claim is not new, during the 2016 Democratic convention Rev. William Barber II received cheers during his speech when he said:
Jesus, a brown-skinned Palestinian Jew called us to preach good news to the poor, the broken, and the bruised, and all those who are made to feel unexpected.
Being Jewish and living around 2,000 years after Jesus’ death I can’t speak to what Jesus taught or the color of his skin. But considering when and where he lived Copage’s description of Jesus’ physical appearance is probably correct. In fact, scientists who have looked into it believe that Jesus looked like a typical Middle Eastern Judean, as opposed to the way he is normally portrayed as a European. (Yes Judean. The country was called Judea, that’s where the term “Jews” comes from).
After the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE, the Romans punished the Judeans (Jews) for revolting for the second time in sixty years. To poke those rebellious Judeans in the eye, the Romans changed the name of their country from Judea to Syria Palaestina. The Romans used Palaestina after the ancient enemy of the Jews, the Philistines. Not that there were Philistines around anymore (they had disappeared from existence around eight hundred years earlier).
The Romans also threw out many of the Judeans creating the Jewish exile that lasted till 1948. The Byzantine Empire took control of the holy land around the year 330 C.E., and in the year 638, it was conquered by Muslim Arab forces.
Putting the timeline together it is clear to anyone with basic math skills that it is impossible for Jesus to have been a Palestinian. There was no piece of land called Palestine until 100 years after Jesus died, and the area wasn’t controlled by Muslims until 600 years after his death.
if Jesus was a Palestinian, Christians couldn’t claim that he was from the line of King David, one of the Jewish Messiah requirements.
The people claiming that Jesus was a Palestinian are trying to create a new history for the Palestinians. If they can convince people of the falsehood that Palestinians were around for two millennia, then the lie that Jews are occupying Palestinian land becomes almost logical.
Anyone who says that Jesus was a Palestinian hasn’t the slightest idea of history and/or is trying to delegitimize the 3.500+ year Jewish heritage in the holy land. Both Jews and Christians believe that Jesus was a nice Judean (Jewish) boy who went into his father’s business. The real disagreement between the two faiths is his father’s occupation.