TEL AVIV – Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour was branded “stupid” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair over her claim that Jesus of Nazareth was a “brown copper skinned” Palestinian.
“Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth and is described in the Quran as being brown copper skinned with wooly hair,” Sarsour tweeted Saturday.
Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth and is described in the Quran as being brown copper skinned with wooly hair.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) July 6, 2019
Sarsour was swiftly bashed on Twitter, with users pointing out that Jesus was a Jew from Judea, that the term Palestinian did not exist until the 1960s and that even the term Palestine was only coined after Jesus’ death.
Yair Netanyahu asked Sarsour rhetorically, “Are you that stupid?”
“On the cross above Jesus’ head was the sign ‘INRI’ … which means in Latin ‘Jesus of Nazareth king of the Jews.’”
“The Bible say that Jesus was born and raised in Judea!”
Are you that stupid? On the cross above Jesus’ head was the sign “INRI”- “Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm”, which means in Latin- Jesus of Nazareth king of the Jews! The Bible say that Jesus was born and raised in Judea! pic.twitter.com/oHPWk3vXRX
— Yair Netanyahu 🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) July 6, 2019
Sarsour later defended her tweet, posting: “Palestinian is a nationality not a religion. Your point is not negated. Jews lived with Palestinians in peaceful co-existence before there was a state of Israel.”
“Folks reported my tweet that Jesus was a Palestinian. Twitter was obviously like, this doesn’t violate our standards. It’s also true. Jesus was born in Bethlehem which is in Palestine. Move on,” she said.
“Why so upset by the truth?” she asked. “Jesus was born in Bethlehem aka بيت لحم in Arabic. Bethlehem is in Palestine. It’s currently militarily occupied by Israel and home to a predominately beautiful Palestinian Christian community. Yes, the birthplace of Jesus is under military occupation.”
Sarsour rehashed her previous tweet by writing, “Palestine is not a religion. Palestinian is someone born in Palestine or a descendant of Palestinians. Palestinian is a nationality. So when someone says Jesus was born in modern day Palestine that doesn’t negate that he was a Jew. The hate is real. It breeds ignorance.”
Yair Netanyahu noted in response that the term as it would have been known then was Philistines.
“The Romans changed the name of the province of Judea to province of Palestine on 130 ad as a punishment to the Jews for their revolt. They named it after the ancient philistines that were Greeks and were already extinct at the time.”
Sarsour isn’t the only Palestinian to make the claim that Jesus shares her heritage. In a 2014 Christmas message, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Jesus “a Palestinian messenger of love.”
“We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace, which has guided millions from the moment that his message came out from a small grotto in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago,” he said.
In April, Rep. Ilhan Omar retweeted a New York Times op-ed by Eric V. Copage that claimed that “Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin.”
The Times later issued a correction, blaming an “editing error,” and added, “While he lived in an area that later came to be known as Palestine, Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem.”
Copage’s original claim was changed to: “Jesus, a Jew born in Bethlehem, presumably had the complexion of a Middle Eastern man.”
According to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, branding Jesus a Palestinian is part of a bid to conjure a historical narrative for the Palestinians.
“For people who have no theological or historical rooting, the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian creates a new narrative for Palestinian history, which otherwise does not date back very far,” Cooper told the Jerusalem Post. “If one can say that Jesus was Palestinian 2,000 years ago, then that means the Jews are occupying Palestinian land.”