STEVE APFELצילום: עצמי

"Jesus was a Palestinian." Yasser Arafat’s PR, Hannan Ashrawi, relayed the astounding ‘discovery’ on February 22, 2001 to the Washington Jewish Week. At the time of going to press, giving Jesus an alter ego seemed a raucous curiosity.

Ten years later my feature articles for the Jerusalem Post, Christian Edition, November 2013 (‘A Bias thicker than Faith’ and ‘Borrowing Jesus) again treated such make believe as a gimmick, a dud bomb in the propaganda war.

Not any longer. Not since the transformative event on October 7, 2023 in the Gaza envelope which clarified many wrong perceptions. Now the different versions of Jesus as a Palestinian Arab refugee can be seen for what they are: adjunct to the gung-ho warcries that are raising hell from Times Square to Piccadilly Circus:

"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!"

"By any means necessary!"

"Globalize the intifada!"

Like the shriek of the Nazgûl-birds in “Lord of the Rings” the rallying cries of the pro-Hamas are eerie portents of a darkness we are hesitant to name. Forget their meaning and focus on what the slogans mean. ‘Death to the Jews’ is the glaring upshot.

How did we come to this moment? And how can ‘Jesus the Palestinian’ aid and abet the war on the Jews?

The brainchild was incubated in 1939 when Hitler’s top echelon cut the ribbon on a project to remake the story of Jesus. Protestant theologians got the command to create an Aryan Jesus and write him into a Nazi Bible, not based on the Old Testament; Hitler had no use for a Bible wherein the seed of Abraham is God’s preferred choice. So it was that Protestant clerics repurposed the Son of Man into an Aryan hero fighting Jewish evil. Susannah Heschel recounts the episode in, “The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany.”

Thus armed spiritually, the Third Reich went to war with Judaism.

“In every generation,” warns the Passover Haggadah, “they rise up against (the Jews) to destroy (them).” From a blue eyed and blond Aryan to a brown Palestinian, the Jesus of our time is a continuum of the mania to exterminate the nation. Robbing Israel of its biblical roots and giving them to rootless Palestinian Arabs is the precursor to robbing Israel of the right to exist. The message of the new Jesus conveys to Israel, ‘You don’t belong in ‘Palestine’, you don’t belong anywhere’.

In her classic, “The Origins of Totalitarianism” Hannah Arendt writes of,

“The experience of not belonging to the world at all” as “among the most radical and desperate of experiences. It is the preparation of executioners and victims…..To be uprooted means to have no place in the world, recognized and guaranteed by others, to be superfluous. ”

Hitler’s death factories and superfluity were the terrible twins. If Jews were superfluous they could be exterminated like pests.

Crude attempts to erase Jewish history are therefore no light matter. Even so, parody can explain them where a treatise would gather dust. The WOKE may seem an odd bedfellow for the Church, yet vendettas can bring together the unlikeliest cohabitors. Not to be outdone the WOKE tried its hand at rewriting the Bible. A neat parody portraying baby Jesus born to Palestinian Arab parents may be the equal of a thousand detailed rebuttals.

Brainwashed to the point of idiocy, the WOKE get caught in the web of their deceit, and the joke is on the WOKE.

Elements in the Church made a better job of rewriting the Bible. Taking a blond Aryan Jesus fighting the Jews as the starting point, progressive clerics recreated the Son of God into a grievance warrior if you don’t mind. An inspired choice; nothing could be more versatile in a world filled with grievances. The Palestine Liberation Organization, composed of Muslims, can now invoke Jesus at the drop of a Santa Claus beanie or an Easter bonnet. “Every Christmas, Palestine celebrates the birth of one of its own, Jesus Christ,” proclaimed the PLO statement for Christmas 2013. I am not aware of a claim that Jesus was Muslim, but the PLO seems to leave that possibility wide open.

For their part, some Church denominations have not upgraded Jesus but degraded him. Instead of beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, they made Jesus try the everyday toils of a downtrodden Palestinian Arab. For one thing, Jesus queues up at an Israeli checkpoint in the 'West Bank'. “How would Jesus deal with the same feelings of anger and bitterness daily experienced by Palestinian people,” asks Munther Isaac from the Bethlehem Bible College.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu never speculated about Jesus. Tutu, in the role of a ventriloquist’s dummy, relayed words from the heavenly lips of Jesus. “Jesus was angry that they (the Jews) could shut out other human beings," Tutu announced.

Then again, some Christians go the full hog and assert that Jesus was not a Jew. The Lebanese statistician, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, recently set the record straight.

“Jesus is genetically closer to Palestinians than to Israelis. Jesus was Galilean, not Judean. . .There was [sic] no ‘Jews’ but Judeans.”

Making Palestinian Arabs the real Jews is the clearest case of using identity-stripping to make the Jews superfluous and ripe for eradication.

The fictional Palestinian Jesus meets a pair of practical objectives.

1. One, it takes the Palestinian Arabs’ record way back. From 20th century origin (1968 seems to be the year the nation was unwrapped) the new Jesus can stake their origins to Biblical times.

2. Second, it draws Christians into the Muslim camp. If Israel treats Palestinian Arabs badly, and if Jesus was a Palestinian, it’s all the more reason for a Christian to hate Israel.

Perhaps many Christians won’t stop to ponder the theological absurdity of a Palestinian Christ.

For one thing, how to hook up the clay figure to the gospel narrative of the Jewish couple, Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary?

And how to explain Jesus celebrating the Jewish Passover – the Last Supper?

And what of the awkward fact that nowhere in the Gospels does the name ‘Palestine’ crop up, while Gospel references to ‘Judaea’, meaning the land of the Jews, are plentiful.

Jesus-modifiers dig themselves into a deeper hole when they follow the star to Bethlehem, to the Palestinian Arab victim in its cradle.

Branding Jews as colonial occupiers and stealers of Arab land can be a double-edged sword. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

“It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. The Israeli government’s crucifixion system is operating daily.”

In full fury Naim Ateek, a Palestinian cleric, can’t help writing Jews into his calumnies.

More suave clerics, conscious of the hole they dig for themselves by touting a Palestinian Jesus, try a different tack. Mitri Raheb, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, concedes that the Jews were there in the time of Jesus. But Raheb insists that the Jews of the Bible and today’s Israeli Jews are two different people.

“I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, Jesus and I Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born...the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu together you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.”

Making nonsense of Raheb’s argument is quite simple.. If Jesus really was a Palestinian Arab, how come the Palestinian Authority chose Sharia law for its constitution? And why did Yasser Arafat defy tradition by appointing a Muslim governor of Bethlehem? Why did Arafat engineer a Muslim takeover of Bethlehem’s City Council? And why did Arafat convert the Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity into his Bethlehem residence?

Among so many anomalies, perhaps the most anomalous is the New Testament itself.

-The disciple of Jesus, Luke, writes that Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21) and that he attended synagogue (Luke 4:16).

-The disciple, Mark, writes that Jesus was referred to as a rabbi (Mark 10:51).

-Not to omit Matthew, the Last Supper was Jesus celebrating a Passover Seder (Matthew 26:17)

The myths and madness of hate are conducive to idiocy. But then Hitler’s Mein Kampf is filled with that perfidious commodity.

Steve Apfel is a veteran authority on anti-Zionism and a prolific author in general. After “Hadrian’s Echo: The why’s and wherefores of Israel’s critics,” his latest book, "Hitlers at Heart: anti-Zionism and its Believers” will be out in 2024. Selections of his work can be accessed at and at