'Jesus and Mary have become weapons in hands of Israel-haters'

Sunday, December 23, 2012 |  Yossi Aloni

Anti-Israel activists in Ireland have printed and distributed Christmas greeting cards that claim if Mary, the mother of Jesus, was alive today, she would be unable to give birth to Jesus as documented in the New Testament because Israeli soldier would hold her up at the Bethlehem checkpoint as they do all Palestinian women.   These new greeting cards were announced the same weekend that the Israeli embassy in Ireland caused a storm by posting to its official Facebook page that if Mary and her baby, Jesus, were in Bethlehem today, they would likely be lynched as Jews. Shortly after, the embassy deleted the post and issued an apology.

Several days later, Nurit Tinari Modai, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy, explained the affair thus:

"The use of the symbols of Christianity in a political context is considered acceptable as part of anti-Israel campaigns, Ireland! These symbols have been used in such a way many times in the past decade. Jesus and Mary have become a weapon in the hands of those who hate Israel in Ireland, and our post on Facebook should be seen in the context of this local discourse and as a response to the anti-Israel Christmas cards."

According to Modai, it has become clear from the debate surrounding the Facebook post that many in Ireland do not know the realities on the ground in and around Bethlehem.

The Israeli embassy gave as an example a number of hypocritical Christmas cards that depict Christian icons in a political context. One in particular shows Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by pictures of violence and suffering among which is a photo of what looks like an Israeli soldier aiming his rifle a Palestinian mother and child.

That particular postcard comes with a letter the publisher, the UCC Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the perpetuates the popular Irish myth that were Mary alive in our days, she would be unable to deliver Jesus as recorded in the New Testament because Israeli soldiers would have detained her at the Bethlehem checkpoint, because Mary was a Palestinian! As such, Mary would have been forced to give birth at the checkpoint, as all Palestinian women are apparently forced to do...

Another card shows the three wise men on the way to visit Jesus after his birth,but they are unable to reach Bethlehem because of the Israeli security wall.

"The identification of Mary and Jesus as Palestinians is clear, and is quite pervasive," wrote Modai. "Not a few of the Irish actually believe that Jesus was an Arab Palestinian! In a Christian country like Ireland, it shouldn't be a sin for us to occasionally point out the historical fact that Jesus was a Jew."

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