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‘Little Town of Bethlehem’ Big on Anti-Zionism

An evangelical film leans on a talk with Nasrallah and shows the “Holy Family” on the security wall. ‘Tis the Season to be Anti-Zionist
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/6/2011, 12:09 PM

IDF protects film director Hanon
IDF protects film director Hanon
Israel News photo: Little Town of Bethlehem

An evangelical Christian movie, released last year, leans on an interview with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and shows a picture of Jesus on the security wall.

The “Little Town of Bethlehem" movie, financed by a U.S. Christian millionaire, links the Arab-Israeli struggle with the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s to show Israel as a racist country. The film has been screened on hundreds of American college campuses.

World Net Daily’s Jim Fletcher reported that the film was financed by Matt Green, founder and CEO of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply and an heir to the Hobby Lobby retail empire

American evangelical Christians are known to be strongly supportive of Israel’s right to all of its land, including Judea and Samaria, where the Christian community has dwindled since the Intifada. Muslim fanaticism has emerged in the region, including Bethlehem.

"I was raised in a Pentecostal home and drawn first to the 'toughest issues' of the day," Green told Fletcher. "A couple of years ago I felt that the Middle East was one of those tough issues.”

Sources for the movie are decidedly against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria but do not relate at all to Arab terror nor to the plight of Christians, which the Palestinian Authority blames on Israel.

Jim Hanon, the director of the movie, went to Jordan and Lebanon for perspectives and even interviewed Nasrallah, supreme leader of the Hizbullah terrorist organization. He did not include the interview in the film but said, “We used insight it gave us, access to information that we found helpful and credible.”

He added that he found Nasrallah to be a “remarkable” person.

The movie ostensibly provides balance by presenting the personal experiences of a Christian Arab evangelical, a Muslim and an Israeli Jew. However, the Israeli is none other than Yonatan Shapira, who refused to serve in the IDF and who is one of the beloved symbols of Israel’s diminishing radical left-wing population.

The Muslim is none other than Sami Awad of the Bethlehem-based Holy Land Trust advocacy group, which works hand in hand with anarchists from the International Solitary Movement

Dexter van Zile, Christian media analyst for the CAMERA media watchdog group, also watched the film and noted the imbalance, World News Daily reported:

"The movie uses the teachings of Martin Luther King and Gandhi to assess or judge Israeli actions, but does not use these teachings to cast a light of judgment on the actions of groups like Hamas or Hizbullah…

"One disturbing aspect of the film is the manner in which it uses computer generated graphics to inject the nativity story into the Arab-Israeli conflict. The images of the Holy Family are placed onto concrete sections of the security barrier in a manner that casts Israel in the role of the Roman occupiers at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. The conflict is bad enough without having to cast it as a cosmological affront to Christian sensibilities."

JoAnn Magnuson, curator of the Jewish-Christian Library & Learning Center in Minneapolis, told Fletcher that the film is "very well-made" but doesn't present the conflict accurately.

"The linkage between the U.S. civil rights movement and 1987 Palestinian 'Intifada' – without making it clear that Israeli control over Bethlehem and the 'disputed territories' is not about racial differences but involves an existential threat to the existence of the state of Israel –  is unfair and dishonest."