Palestinian Christians attacked for challenging Christian Zionism

Here is a fragment from this article published on the Electronic Intifada website:

Conference attacked

The aims of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference did not go unnoticed. For months before the conference, Christian Zionists and Israeli Messianic Jews waged a campaign against the conference and its organizers, labeling them “anti-Semitic” in an attempt to have the conference canceled.

“You wouldn’t believe the negative stuff that was written about us — sometimes [it] was nasty, some was personal,” said Isaac. “Major Christian media stations have spread lies about Bethlehem Bible College, just because of this conference. I never expected it to get this nasty and this personal.”

These critics suggested the conference was one-sided, biased and anti-Semitic, and speakers were attacked individually and accused of being anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. One op-ed in The Huffington Post even asserted that Stephen Sizer had “joined hands with the Iranian regime” (“Christ at the Checkpoint Conference will only breed more Theological Extremism,” 9 November 2011).

Meanwhile, Guilio Meotti wrote in an op-ed for Israeli online publication Ynet, “Their Intifada from Heaven is breathing new life into a kind of demonology that bans Israel from the family of nations,” (“Christians who Hate the Jews,” 19 February 2012).

The attacks intensified in the days leading up to the conference, culminating in a hysterical treatise in The Jerusalem Post which equated the conference with Haman’s genocide plot against the Jews in the Old Testament (“This Bethlehem Conference is no Purimshpiel,” 29 February 2012).

As well as attacking the conference aims and individual speakers, critics were also unhappy both with the choice of the name, “Christ at the Checkpoint,” and the logo, which depicted a church surrounded by Israel’s wall, an image based on a photo of a church in Bethlehem. Some conference organizers were even targeted by the Israeli authorities.

“The Israeli officials and military leaders summoned me and Dr. Bishara [Awad, founder of Bethlehem Bible College] to interview about the conference,” said Isaac. “They tried to intimidate us and protested the logo and the name of the conference. We said, ‘you don’t like the wall and checkpoint? Remove them, then we’ll change the name of the conference.’”

Christ at the Checkpoint organizers responded to these attacks both personally, by writing to their critics, and publicly, by publishing statements on their website.

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Read the entire article at the link above.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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