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When Christmas is Politicized to Target Israel

Marina Rosenberg
Providence, Feb. 6, 2024

“A recent poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute found that among Arab Israeli Christians, 73 percent shared a sense of belonging to the State of Israel, and over 90 percent responded that their relations with Jews were not impacted following Hamas’ October 7 massacre and Israel’s retaliation.”

During Christmas last year, there was a concerted effort by some Palestinian factions and their supporters worldwide to gaslight public opinion into believing the current Israel-Hamas war is in fact a Jewish-Christian issue. In the Arab press and across social media, there were invocations of the age-old antisemitic trope of deicide – the accusation that Jews killed Jesus – by depicting baby Jesus being targeted by the Israeli army, including when he was born.

It was particularly ironic to see that Israel’s detractors, who often hailed from countries where Christians are on the brink of extinction after centuries of violent persecution, attack the Jewish state, which is the only country in the Middle East where the population of the Christian community has remained relatively stable. These voices have been completely silent over the years in the face of reports of Hamas and its allies persecuting Christian communities in Gaza and the West Bank, including through a ban on Christmas celebrations

Some references were more subtle in their attempt to impose a religious term of reference on the current Israel-Hamas war.  Jesus was used to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians, including through displaying baby Jesus inside an incubator to equate him with premature babies born in Gaza during the war, and depictions of him in the backdrop of Gaza being bombed. These depictions of Jesus also carry the deeper message that as a Palestinian, Jesus was not a Jew.

. … [To read the full article, click here]

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