Home » Articles » What?! Jesus was a “Palestinian freedom fighter”!?

What?! Jesus was a “Palestinian freedom fighter”!?

by Dr. Eitan Bar
5 minutes read

If you lived in a bunker for a while and didn’t know, a new narrative emerged claiming “Jesus was a Palestinian freedom fighter,” suggesting He led an armed revolt against – guess who? – the Jews!

Some Muslims and even radical liberal Christians1 now publicly and loudly call Jesus a “Palestinian refugee.”

Who started this (false) idea?

The rumor dates back to 2018 when Hamid Dabashi, a Professor of Islam and Iranian Studies at Columbia University with a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the University of Pennsylvania, began a Muslim propaganda campaign claiming Jesus was Palestinian.

Hamid Dabashi, CNN.
Hamid Dabashi, CNN.

Significantly, his article was published on December 2018, Christmas day, titled “Remember: Christ was a Palestinian refugee.2 (Aljazeera News, December 25th, 2018)

Initially, only a few took him seriously, with most ignoring or mocking him. However, this falsehood rapidly spread among young liberals in America who were largely ignorant of Jewish history, not understanding they were being spoon-fed with Muslim antisemitic propaganda against the Jewish people.

Antisemitism is nothing new. It has been widespread in Christianity for 2,000 years now—even antisemitism in the name of Jesus, which is one reason why Jews reject Jesus.

Dabashi’s article starts by quoting the Muslim Quran, not the Hebrew or Christian Bible:

And when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah].

The Quran 3:45

In an article meant to “reconcile” Muslims and Christians, he states,

The dark days of Zionism laying a false claim on Judaism and Palestine alike are happily over. The lies of a gang of European settler colonialists trying to rob Jews of their ancestral faith and Palestinians of their historical homeland have finally come to a crushing defeat when Jews and Palestinians, and Jews as Palestinians, have come together to lay a post-Zionist claim on their ancestral faith and homeland alike.3

Hamid Dabashi

Ironically, the land where Yeshua was born was not called Palestine until much much much much after His death, named so by the pagan Romans who conquered Jerusalem, killed many Jews, and expelled the rest from Israel (the very actions Palestinians claim Jews are allegedly now doing to them.)

Yes, conquest and displacement have been historical norms. But, long before Muslim Palestinians came to Gaza and the West Bank from Egypt and Jordan, Jews had lived there. Don’t trust history books? Then consider the Bible, which states Jews have been in Israel on and off for 3,500 years, having first conquered it from the Canaanites under the direct command of Army General Moses, who was sent by…………….God:

The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.”

Numbers 13:1

Returning to the topic, this is essentially a Muslim effort to detach Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus, the name He was born with…) the Jew from both the Jewish people and His ancient Jewish homeland……………Israel!

This propaganda also serves as a political statement, resonating with many young, naive Americans. It draws a parallel between first-century Roman occupiers of Judea and modern Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza, labeling both as evil oppressors with no legitimate claim to the land. This is ironic once again because the Romans occupied the land of Israel from whom? Muslim Palestinans? No. Jews!

The ease of manipulating public opinion is evident; one only needs to use the magical terms “occupation” and “colonization.”

Dabashi wasn’t alone in this propaganda. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, in 2020, published a similar statement:

The birthday of our lord Jesus, peace be upon him – the first Palestinian self-sacrificing fighter from whom we learned Martyrdom-death, and who paid for his mission with his life – coincides with the anniversary of the Palestinian revolution [i.e., the anniversary of “the Launch” of Fatah, counted from its first terror attack against Israel!], for which thousands of Martyrs have sacrificed their lives so we will live and our children will dream of a better future.4

Interestingly, Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh is a Sunni Muslim, not Christian, yet he knows the power of invoking “lord Jesus” to influence Western minds.

Yeshua undoubtedly empathizes with all oppressed and suffering people, Palestinians included. The situation in our region is complex and tragic, exacerbated by groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who have committed acts of violence against Jewish Israelis. The radical Islamic worldview, which justifies extreme violence such as rape, burning people alive, and torture-to-death in the name of Allah, is a significant factor in the conflict, often overlooked by Westerners who fail to see Israel’s struggle is against radical Islam, not some peaceful “freedom fighters.” But people nowadays believe any fake news available, even when it comes from Muslims with a clear radical antisemitic agenda.

Palestinian children in Gaza being brainwashed and indoctrinated to hate Jews (Israel’s flag) and Christians (American flag) from a very young age. You won’t see this on CNN, BBC, etc.

Jesus, an Israelite Jew or a Palestinian Mulsim?

The depiction of Jesus as a Palestinian refugee and as a figure akin to an Islamic jihadist “martyr” is a deliberate, evil, and insidious attempt to mislead.

To address the questions: (1) Was Jesus a Jew or a Muslim Palestinian (noting that 99.5% of Palestinians are Muslim Sunnis, a denomination known for their hatred for Jews and Christians)? (2) Did he live in Israel or Palestine?

Regardless of religious belief or if you only view the Bible as a historical document, these two verses provide clear answers:

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus [Yeshua], the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the [Jewish] purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

Luke 2:21-22

After Jesus’ birth, His parents took Him to Jerusalem, following Jewish customs, further emphasizing His Jewish heritage and life in Israel. Likewise, Paul, a Jewish Rabbi himself, notes:

The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Romans 9:5

To summarize, Jesus and His followers weren’t Palestinian Sunni Muslims. Yeshua was a Jew living in Israel. His followers were Israeli Jews as well. Deal with it. 🇮🇱

An Israeli-Jewish-Christian, holding a BA, two MAs, and a doctorate in Bible and Theology, wrote this short article. This individual believes in the Jews’ right to their own (one and only vs. 50 Muslim countries) land and maintains that true peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through the Prince of Peace, Yeshua.

Recommended Reading:

Hamas 101 for the Perplexed Westerner

The Foundations of Antisemitism in the Quran

The Nazi-Islamic connection

Feel free to share this article and check out Dr. Bar’s books here!

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhO3EYSBnhQ ↩︎
  2. https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2018/12/25/remember-christ-was-a-palestinian-refugee/ ↩︎
  3. https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2018/12/25/remember-christ-was-a-palestinian-refugee ↩︎
  4. Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 28, 2020 ↩︎

You may also like:

Dr. Eitan Bar
Author, Theologian, Activist