Christmas has been hijacked!

The original spiritual meaning of Christmas has been sucked dry, replacing a Jewish Jesus with a false Palestinian narrative that demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state.

Christmas eve celebrations in Bethlehem, December 24, 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Christmas eve celebrations in Bethlehem, December 24, 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
Christmas has been hijacked to become political warfare against Israel. Its original spiritual meaning has been sucked dry, replacing a Jewish Jesus with a false Palestinian narrative that demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state.
In Ireland, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is selling Christmas cards showing three wise men denied entry into Bethlehem by a security barrier, despite the fact that thousands have enjoyed Christmas this year with the security fence. Another card features a Madonna and Child draped in a Palestinian flag, thereby falsely politicizing the nativity scene.
In the UK there are two public demonstrations, in Liverpool and London, portraying a fraudulent message that brutalizes Israel.
The Amos Trust is distributing a ‘Bethlehem pack’ to pressure churches to talk about the current situation in Bethlehem at Christmas events. Of course, they will fail to mention the mass flight of Christians from Bethlehem since Israel handed over control to the Palestinian Authority.
Since then, the Christian population has dropped from over 80% to less than 15%. They prefer, instead, to put out the "Mahmoud Abbas" version of the Christmas story. His message is that Jesus was a Palestinian.
“In Bethlehem, more than 200 years ago, Jesus Christ was born, a Palestinian messenger who could become a guiding light for millions around the world. As we Palestinians strive for our freedom, two millenia later, we do our best to follow his example,” Abbas says.
Ignoring the fact that Jesus was not a Palestinian messenger, what examples are the Palestinians following? Bus bombings, suicide bombers, rockets against civilians, plane hijackings? He goes on: “Our prayers are with the churches and mosques of Jerusalem which remind the world of the Arab identity of our occupied capital.”
Now that is an interesting statement well worth examining. Mahmoud Abbas has publicly stated that any Palestinian state will be ‘Judenrein’ clear of Jews. Is this the nature of the ‘Palestine’ that many Christian leaders are supporting? Abbas mentions the churches and mosques, but what of the synagogues? He forgot to mention them, as he failed to mention the Jewish Temple to which Jesus came each year to pray. For him they do not exist. To acknowledge this would be to acknowledge Jesus the Jew that he was when he made his pilgrimage to the Jewish capital on the Jewish holy days. When was it ever a Palestinian capital? Never!
It is amazing to me that certain strands of Christianity share and thrive on this falsehood. Previously, during the British Methodists attempt to turn their anti-Israel boycott campaign into a consumer product questionnaire, I questioned just how far the Methodists had strayed from the guiding principles of their founding fathers, John and Charles Wesley. These brothers deeply believed in the Old Testament commitment to the return of the Jews to the Holy Land. It was enshrined in several of their hymns:
“O that the chosen band might now their brethren bringAnd gathered out of every land present to Zion’s King.
Of all the ancient race not one be left behindBut each impelled by secret grace his way to Canaan find!
We know it must be done for God hath spoke the wordAll Israel shall their Saviour own to their first state restored.
Rebuilt by His command Jerusalem shall riseHer temple on Moriah stand again, and touch the skies.”
How far they have drifted from these sentiments to the dogma of today says more about the Methodists than it does about the Jewish state, just as the hateful actions of certain church leaders says more about them than it does about Israel, the one nation in the Middle East where the Christian population has risen in number.
Here is the open letter I wrote in response to Catholic preacher Stephen Pritchard, who endorsed the anti-Israel Christmas exhibition in Liverpool and who refused to allow an Israeli perspective into this event:Someone sent me your email regarding the refusal of Stephen Pritchard to have an Israeli perspective on the exhibition in Liverpool that demonizes Israel.
It is particularly hurtful and troubling that he does so during the Christmas period.
I am not a Christian. I am a Jewish Israeli, but I would have thought that any caring and practicing Christian would have adopted an open heart, especially at this spiritual time.
If you are able to bring my message to Mr. Pritchard, and to others, it would be one of my role as founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organization, and my personal experience of Palestinian terror in helping the victims of those who have, and are still, suffering from the handiwork of Palestinian terrorists in my hometown.
Netanya is a small coastal town perched on the clifftops of the Mediterranean Sea. Pritchard may recall the horrendous Passover Massacre. This took place at the Park Hotel, which is on those clifftops, when a Palestinian suicide bomber destroyed the lives of people, including two Holocaust survivors, who had gathered to celebrate the Jewish Passover.
We are located exactly 8 miles from the Arab town of Tulkarm. This is a 14 minute car ride due east from the main shopping mall that experienced two separate suicide bombings, one of which almost killed my wife.
These were just three of the many deadly attacks on innocent civilians perpetrated by Palestinians from Tulkarm and other Palestinian-controlled areas.
Tulkarm was a place where Israelis, including my family, used to buy groceries, household materials and goods. The Arabs from Tulkarm used to work in Netanya in our hotels, markets, shops, motor repair shops, and on our building site.
That was until they turned Tulkarm into a hotbed of Palestinian terror.
Netanya suffered over 50 murdered and more than 300 badly injured in a wave of Palestinian terror designed to eradicate the Jewish state in stages.
That was when Israel built a security fence. Since the erection of this fence, Palestinian suicide bombing has been reduced to zero. No Israelis have been killed by Palestinian suicide bombers since we were forced to build this security barrier.
98% of that barrier is fence. There are small sections of high concrete wall. One such section is east of Netanya by Tulkarm. The reason for this high wall is to prevent Palestinians from shooting at the vehicles driving up and down Israel’s main 6 highway, as they used to do from the rooftops of their homes and mosques in Tulkarm, which is located next to this road.
So to have Pritchard support the notion that our security barrier, upon which we are dependent for our lives, is somehow a brutal act is shamefully wrong. And to have Pritchard refuse to hear the truth is troubling.
What is it in Pritchard that he will not allow the voice of truth to filter into his public exhibition?
Sadly, it says more about him than it does about Israel.
May I wish reasonable and open-minded Christians a very Happy Christmas, and may people like Pritchard use this season to do some much needed soul searching.
Barry ShawFounder of Netanya Terror Victims Organization,Netanya,Israel.
Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College, Israel. He is also the author of Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.