"Welcome to the State of Palestine. The only state whose land is still under occupation by another country, the State of Israel," declared Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki (pictured) in his keynote address on the opening night of Christ at the Checkpoint 2018.
No mention of Tibet, or that before Israel, his "country" was occupied by Jordan, and before that by the Ottoman Turks, and before that…oh, wait, there never has been a State of Palestine to occupy. But we are already getting way off track.
A couple of small remarks at the start of al-Maliki's address should have raised major red flags for any Christian who believes in the validity and infallibility of the Bible.
"Christ at the Checkpoint…[Christ] unable to cross simply because he was a Palestinian… Palestine, the birthplace of Jesus…"
In this revisionist approach to Scripture, which was repeatedly applauded by those Christians hosting (Bethlehem Bible College) and attending Christ at the Checkpoint, all those many New Testament passages confirming that this land is the homeland of the Jewish people are ignored, or completely tossed out. Modern Israel is labeled a "colonialist" project, so it's not possible to recognize the Jews' forefathers as having inhabited this land long before any Arabs were present, just as it is not possible to openly acknowledge that Jesus himself was a Jew, born in the Jewish town of Bethlehem.
In my Bible, the second chapter of Matthew begins thus (emphasis mine):
"Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews?…'"
Perhaps al-Maliki was citing a wildly different translation of the New Testament, one provided to him by Bethlehem Bible College, because I just can't seem to find the terms "Palestine" or "Palestinian" even once in the story of Jesus. At the same time, these passages sure do reference the Jews an awful lot, considering that the Palestinian Authority that al-Maliki was there to represent rejects any historical Jewish connection to Bethlehem and the rest of the Holy Land.
If you are willing to toss out such foundational content, then all of the New Testament and its teachings must be placed under a question mark.
Welcome to post-biblical Christianity.
Now, I understand that al-Maliki is himself a Muslim, and as such we cannot expect him to accept the biblical narrative as it's written. We can, however, expect that of Bethlehem Bible College. But, instead of trying to set the biblical record straight, the hosts of Christ at the Checkpoint not only applauded al-Maliki's adaptation of Scripture, they buffeted it with their own "scholarly" Christian doctrines.
The rest of al-Maliki's address was the typical polemic against Israel as the source of all Arab woes, with the typical omission of Arab hostility toward and terrorism against the Jews.
To go line-by-line in debunking the same tired old claims would be an exercise in futility. Suffice it to say that the very brand of dehumanization al-Maliki accused Israel of wielding against the Palestinians was on full display in his own verbal assault on Israel's Jewish majority.
PHOTO: Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki during meetings with a visiting Dutch delegation earlier this year. (Flash90)