Maybe Santa Claus is white, as Faux News claims, but Jesus was no Palestinian regardless of what Mahmoud Abbas claims. Don't forget the Palestinian Authority president is the same historical revisionist whose doctoral dissertation claimed the Holocaust was a conspiracy between the Nazis and the Zionists.
And speaking of Christmas, what's wrong with that schlemiel Yuli Edelstein, the Knesset speaker who nixed erecting a Christmas tree near the Knesset because in his infinite lack of wisdom he considered it inappropriate? That really tells the world a lot about Israeli tolerance, especially when the prime minister remains silent. Would they be so quiet if the giant menorah across from the White House were ordered removed? Or the one in London's Trafalgar Square, as inappropriate?
What is inappropriate is the message Edelstein sends.
As for Mr. Abbas, who called Jesus a "Palestinian messenger," someone should remind him the man was a Jew, a Hebrew, always was and always claimed to be. Only after he was killed did a new religion slowly emerge. A religion, by the way, regularly denounced and vilified -- along with Judaism -- in Palestinian mosques and throughout the West Bank and the rest of the Arab world.
“He should have read the Gospel before uttering such offensive nonsense, but we will forgive him because he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel on Monday. Abbas’s statement is an “outrageous rewriting of Christian history,” according to Palmor.
Abbas has a doctorate in history and he knows better, but he's not alone. I've been in Christian churches in dozens of countries and portraits of Jesus invariably portray him as a local, rarely if ever depicting a man who was probably a swarthy Semite from the eastern Mediterranean.
Abbas' view of history is in flux. As a doctoral student at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University 30 years ago he wrote his thesis about "The connection between the Nazis and the leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933-1945." Many critics say it is rife with Holocaust denial, particularly regarding the 6 million Jewish victims ("the fantastic lie") and charges that Zionist agitation provoked the Holocaust.
He's modified his views a bit, something he attributes to the fact that in the 1980s Palestinians were at war with Israel, and today they're talking peace.
Two years ago he said, "No, I do not deny the Holocaust" and "I can accept" the Israeli claim that six million Jews were killed.
His latest corruption of history was this week's charge that Israel is driving Christians out of the West Bank. He knows the biggest factor is the Islamists who are even driving away secular Muslims. The Israeli government responded, "The exodus of Christians from Bethlehem turned into a flood the moment the PA took control."
As far as celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land it is worth bearing in mind that Jesus celebrated Chanukah, not the pagan festival that was later adopted by Christians and turned into Christmas. As for Jesus' birthday, his mom may have made him a cake and invited some friends over but I doubt they decorated a pine tree. He may also have gone to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray with the other Jews, the same Temple that the Palestinians now deny ever existed.
Abbas rewriting of history reminds me of the story Texas Gov. Miriam A. Ferguson in the 1920s. She opposed teaching bilingualism in the state's schools. "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas," she declared. It's probably apocryphal but fitting.
Related & Recommended
Get The Jewish Week Newsletter
The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.