BY VICTOR SHARPE—
No, the title of this article does not refer to W.B. Yeat’s poem or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, nor to the foul and evil figure of the Antichrist found in the Book of Revelation. But it does refer to a wicked presence soon to be found in the ancient Jewish village of Bethlehem in the territory of Judea – or what the world prefers to now call by the name given to it during the illegal 19 year old Jordanian occupation of the Jewish biblical and ancestral heartland of Judea and Samaria: The West Bank.
As Mark Tooley writes in FRONTPAGEMAG.COM, Christians who embrace the Left and who have named their anti-Israel organization – ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ – are planning to hold a “jamboree at the birthplace of Jesus” on March 5th to the 8th. Their object is to identify Jesus with the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians in Bethlehem, even as that once mostly Christian Arab town endures Muslim domination under the Palestinian Authority; a domination decidedly onerous towards the followers of Christ.
Mr. Toomey refers to a spokesman for ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ who, “promises it will challenge the “theology of the land” and the “end times” beliefs of pro-Israel Christians, while advocating a “theology of peace.” But, Toomey asks, “will this theology of peace also challenge Islamists and Palestinian nationalists who reject Israel’s existence or any future for Jews or Christians outside of subjugation?”
And how supremely ironic that these same Christian clerics and assorted activists while beating up the Jewish state, in which the Christian community alone in the Middle East is growing, ignore the horrific and ongoing persecution of Christians throughout the Muslim world, yet utter not a word in protest. Oh, and let us not forget that the checkpoints are there purely to prevent Palestinian Arab terrorists from bringing bombs to deliberately kill Jewish civilians in Israeli towns and villages.
According to John Toomey, among those attending the anti-Israel hate-fest (for that is what it clearly is despite all deceitful denials from the organizers and attendees) will be, “evangelist Tony Campolo (former spiritual counselor to Bill Clinton), Florida mega-church pastor Joel Hunter (board member of National Association of Evangelicals and spiritual counselor to President Obama), Chicago mega-church co-founder Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek Community, and popular religious campus anti-war activist Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way in Philadelphia.”
Alex Awad, of Bethlehem Bible College, a missionary supported by the United Methodist Church, responding to accusations that the ‘jamboree’ is not only anti-Zionist but anti-Jewish said: “I totally and absolutely reject this accusation,” insisting that, “Christ at the Checkpoint merely wants Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and harmony. We are not anti-Semitic – we are not against Jewish people.” But Awad did admit that, “there may be some criticism of Israel. No doubt”
Well, no doubt indeed. The obsession of attacking the Jewish state reveals how hollow the claims are of these leftwing Christian participants in their murkily named, ‘Christ at the Checkpoint.’ For it is Israel which has demonstrated over and over again an overwhelming yearning for peace and has made endless one sided concessions to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians but has in return received from those same Arabs, murder, endless aggression, and crimes against humanity.
Explaining how Israel’s repeated concessions and desire for peace has been relentlessly rebuffed by the overwhelmingly Muslim Palestinian Authority and the PLO will, alas, fall upon deaf ears. The fact is that the obsessive attacks upon the embattled Jewish state by the jamboree’s participants do indeed mark them as anti-Semitic.
Perhaps they would do well to harken to the words of none other than Martin Luther King. He saw the thin veneer of anti-Jewish prejudice wrapped in criticism of the Zionist cause for what it is. He explicitly said that: “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”
In other words, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel bias is an elitist way of masking intolerance, even genocidal intolerance towards Jews, while making it socially acceptable to seek annihilation of the Jewish state and its people. And this is the precise function that the term anti-Zionism serves today.
Mr. Toomey suggests in his article that within the warped mindset of many of those attending the jamboree in PA occupied Bethlehem they would believe that, “a Texas Baptist who believes God blesses the Jews is more culpable for the Middle East conflict than a Hamas supporting Islamist or Hezbollah’s Nasrallah who believes Allah wants to drive the Jews into the sea.” Such a shameful belief must make the very angels in heaven weep.
There are, indeed, many highly unpleasant and hateful participants who will be slouching towards Bethlehem while employing the name of the Jewish Jesus to demonize the Jews and the Jewish state.
Perhaps it is most apt to characterize their arrival and attendance at the event in the words of Shakespeare: “Something wicked this way comes.”
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of the trilogy, Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.