Elena BerezovckayaThe writer moved to Israel from Russia. 2.5 years ago. In Russia she was a university lecturer and computer programmer.
Dear Committee of “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference,
I recently read the written materials of your latest conference in March and was thunderstruck by the assumption (or, maybe it is not an assumption any more, but a dogma, in which everyone in your community has to believe) that Jewish people never lived here, and that the whole history of this land is Palestinian history.
Mitri Raheb, in his article, plays with the idea of DNA matching:
“I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlehemite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.”
Mr. Raheb didn’t perform an experiment with DNA, but dogmatic faith demands that he would believe in those speculations (without scientific evidence it is just speculation, and nothing else.)
Another member of your committee said that “Jesus established a church among Palestinians.”
So here we have Palestinians around for 3000 years in Israel and no Jew until the last century (except for some vague references in Mr. Raheb’s lecture to the “part of the Jewish people” who are “the continuation of the peoples of the land,” not repeated in his paper).
Wonderful! And it is not important that the same land was considered to be Jewish for centuries and Europeans told the Jews “It is time for you to recall that your land is Palestine. Get out of our countries!”
There is a Jewish joke: “When my grandfather visited Europe in 1937, there were graffiti everywhere 'Jews, go to Palestine!'. When I visit Europe now, there are graffiti everywhere 'Jews, get out of Palestine!' Funny people, the Europeans, aren’t they?!”
Jokes aside, I have several serious questions to ask you:
1. The name of your conference “Christ at the Checkpoint” means that Jesus was a Palestinian, for whom, you claim, it would be difficult (but not impossible) today to come and see his birthplace Bethlehem because of an Israeli Checkpoint.
But this problem is solved very easily: since he was, for all that, a Jew, it would be really impossible for him to come to and live in Bethlehem (his birthplace) anyway, since Jews are not allowed to live there. They would be murdered on the spot.
As your dear President has said, he doesn’t want any Jews to live in a future Palestinian state – he wants to make Palestine judenrein (do you know this word?)! So, poor Jesus wouldn’t be able to come to live near your nice college.
By the way, Jesus, as both a Jew and a Christian, wouldn’t be permitted to pray… do you guess where?.. on the Temple Mount! Muslims won’t allow it.
I have a proposal: why not call your next conference “Jesus, Praying on the Temple Mount”? I think the conference would become the hottest event in both the Christians and Muslim world.
As both a Jew and a Christian, he wouldn’t be permitted to pray… do you guess where?.. on the Temple Mount!
Some other plans for your activities: A conference on “Jesus in Sudan” (2 mlllion Christians and animalists were killed there), “Jesus in Nigeria” (5 churches were blown up during Christmas there), and “Jesus in many, many other places of that type” – just look at the globe!
2. When my mum was a little girl, she lived in a Ukrainian village. I cannot say that its inhabitants were too hostile. They could be very friendly to my mum’s family, but from time to time some of them would suddenly come to my mum and angrily ask “Why did you crucify Christ?!” What 10-year old girl could answer?
Now, according to your theory (or dogma), the question “Who Crucified Christ?” received a new significance! You see, it’s very simple: if Jews didn’t live here, and the history of this land is Palestinian history only, then Temple was Palestinian, the high priest, who may have wanted to crucify Jesus, was, naturally, a Palestinian, and people in the yard of Pontius Pilate'’s palace, whom you believe cried “Crucify him, crucify him!”, were really Palestinians.
As I wrote before, no Jews around!
So, my question is: if a Jewish girl, in a Ukrainian village, is asked “Why did you crucify Christ?!” can she answer that “Palestinians crucified him. Go to them and ask them why they did it!”
I would be very grateful to you if you'd take responsibility not only for Christ's birth, but also for his death – I am sick and tired of being blamed for his death again and again.
3. Some history - what are Jews: a faith or a nation? After 19 centuries of persecution, pogroms, massacres, blood libels and other “pleasant” things, enlightened Jews decided that the only way to be accepted by the surrounding world is assimilation. And they started to say: “we are not Jews, we are French people of Mosaic faith” or “we are Germans of Mosaic faith”. They really wanted to be accepted by countries where they lived (just as I wanted to be accepted by Russia as Russian, since I lived in Russia and loved Russia).
But those countries told to us – “No! You are JEWS, and Jews by race!” The culmination was WWII, when Jews were killed, irrespective of their belief or country of birth.
By the way, some words regarding the name of your conference: during WWII, Arabs organized such an impassable Checkpoint for Jews trying to escape to Palestine, that most of the Jews couldn’t come there in order to just survive and not to go to the gas chambers. It was a very strong checkpoint, much more impenetrable than the one in Bethlehem now.
WWII showed us that European countries don’t want to accept us as a part or their nations! Well, we understood that, yes, we are one nation and, as a nation, we have a right to self-determination and we need a country, a refuge, where we can flee in a case of.. you know, such “wonderful” things as pogroms, another Holocaust , etc.,etc.
And we have built such a state – Israel! In OUR ANCIENT LAND (if you love your Bible, as you tell everyone, you will meet Jews, Jews and more Jews there).
But now that we have returned to the realization that we are one nation and have our own country, the whole world has gone crazy – suddenly the international community has decided that we are… not a nation at all, and, hence, we don’t have a right to have a country!
Strange thing: 70 years ago they killed us as members of one nation – the Jewish nation, but now, when they want to take this small amount of land (our country) from us, we turned out to be… not a nation at all, but strangers, usurpers,
“Rome of the Bible, not the people of the land” (are words by the same Mitri Raheb). In short, Jews, go to your graves, we don’t want to see you neither in our lands, nor in your own land.
4. Mr. Raheb wrote:
“Actually, the Palestinian Christians are the only ones in the world who, when they speak about their forefathers, mean their actual forefathers.”
Where is the “part of the Jewish people” who is “the continuation of the peoples of the land” in this citation? Nowhere! Mr. Raheb came to where he wanted to come: only Palestinians are “people of the land”! It reminds one of the medieval Church, which wanted to take all our blessings from the Bible for herself, while leaving all the curses to us.
Nothing will come of it!
If you want to take our pride (all our profits, our Bible, our land, our Ten Commandments), so take all our woes too (accusations of causing Christ's Death, accusations of ruling the world, accusations of destroying Germany, France, Russia, etc., accusations of being both capitalists and communists, blood libels, pogroms, expulsions, and all other attributes of the “Chosen People”).
Our pride and our woes can be given only in one set (2 in 1), they are not given separately! Maybe, in this case you will understand that to be “the chosen ones” doesn’t mean happiness all the time. On the contrary, it means many, many misfortunes and woes.
There is a Jewish joke, in Fiddler on the Roof, “Oh, my God, I understand that we are a chosen people, but can't you choose somebody else?”
5. And don’t blame Zionism for being an “ethnocentric ideology” (as if the call for a Palestinian state - especially, without Jews - is not ethnocentric). Einstein once said “If we did not have to live among intolerant, narrow-minded, and violent people, I should be the first to throw over all nationalism in favor of universal humanity.” I can add nothing to or take nothing from those words.
That is why we Jews need our own state, since all those good people and countries, who blame us for ”ethnocentric ideology”, were so ethnocentrically violent toward us throughout the history.
When is your next conference? Perhaps I can explain the above to your audience.
Ed. Note: The writer wrote Arutz Sheva that she sent her questions to the conference organizers but has received no response.