Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ashrawi's "Jesus is A Palestinian" Claim

Thanks to David Gerstman, I now have a reliable source for my memory of what Hanan Ashrawi said at the Madrid Conference I attended when I heard her speak to the media.

Whatever else Ashrawi is, one thing she is not is an expert in history. Caryle Murphy of the Washington Post wrote a fawning profile of Ashrawi, The Practiced Palestinian, in November 1991.
As spokeswoman for the Palestinian delegation at the Middle East peace conference here, the 45-year-old Ashrawi has been arguing that case with a composure, conciseness and clarity long missing in the bitter Palestinian-Israeli dispute. In the process, she has left many of the outworn cliches and taboos surrounding this conflict cut to ribbons. Take, for example, the man who rose at Friday's press conference to confront her. A representative of an American Christian broadcasting outlet, he said he "didn't understand" how Ashrawi could ask Israel "to exchange land for peace," because "when Judea and Samaria were in the hands of the Arab world, Israel was attacked three times."
"First of all, I find your reference to 'Judea and Samaria' a statement of extreme bias, and rather offensive," Ashrawi replied, homing in on his use of the biblical names for the occupied West Bank that echoes the Israeli government's religion-based claim to the land where Ashrawi lives and where the Palestinians hope someday to have an independent state. "I am a Palestinian Christian, and I know what Christianity is. I am a descendant of the first Christians in the world, and Jesus Christ was born in my country, in my land. Bethlehem is a Palestinian town. So I will not accept this one-upmanship on Christianity. Nobody has the monopoly."
After dismissing the man's challenge with a deft mini-dissertation, she ended with: "Are there any serious questions?"
How else would the areas have been referred to at the time of Jesus? I would think Judea and Samaria. (Yisrael Medad once noted that even the Christian bible uses the names. Ashrawi apparently doesn't know her own religion very well either.)

And I can add, this is how Bethlehem is geographically noted in the New Testament:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea... And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea...And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda...   Matthew 2:1, 5-6


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