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The Indigenous Lives of Jesus and Mohammed By: Seth Frantzman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 16, 2008


A new study of American elementary school text books by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research has found that the history of ancient and modern Israel has been politicized by modern interpretations of the ‘conflict’ in the Middle East (Haviv Rettig ‘U.S Textbooks misrepresent Jews, Israel’ Sept. 25, 2008).  Thus, in numerous text books, Jesus has become an indigenous ‘young Palestinian.’ In addition, many modern textbooks present the story of Islam as if it were a true story, discussing the ‘Prophet Mohammed’ and his life story.  Whereas the story of the Jews is always prefaced with ‘Jews believe,’ the story of Mohammed is presented as if were lifted from a classic Saudi Arabian religious textbook, which it probably was.  This new revelation that Jesus has become an indigenous Palestinian reminds us of Jane Kramer’s April 2008 article entitled ‘The Petition’ in the New Yorker in which she claimed that the history of Israel is really one of “1400 years of indigenous Islam.”

But if Jesus were a Palestinian and Islam indigenous to the land of Israel, then who are the Jews?  The problem with raising up Jesus as a ‘Palestinian’ and creating an indigenous notion of Islam and the Arab connection to the land of Israel is that it ignores the very reason that Islam and Christianity have a connection to the land in the first place.  If Jesus were really an indigenous Palestinian Arab then shouldn’t he have been born in Arabia, since there were no Palestinian Arabs in Palestine in 30 A.D?

But Jesus wasn’t born in Arabia.  He was born in Bethlehem to a Jewish family from Nazareth.  If Jesus was a Palestinian Arab then what was he doing in Jerusalem ‘cleansing the Temple’?  He was in Jerusalem because he was a Jew and there was a Jewish temple there.  But the Palestinian Jesus wouldn’t have needed to go to Jerusalem, for as an indigenous Palestinian living in a land that has no Jewish history there would have been no Jewish Temple.  School children who are taught to believe that Jesus was a ‘young Palestinian’ are thus subconsciously forced to believe that he was ‘killed by the Jews’ just as the modern young Palestinians are being ‘killed by the Jews.’  But any Christian whose children are taught this anti-Semitic nonsense must find the rest of the Christian bible hard to fathom, with all its Jewish references, quotes from the prophets and attempts to reform the Jewish tradition.

The claim, moreover, that Islam is indigenous to Israel is as perplexing as the notion of a Palestinian Jesus.  No Muslim confuses himself by believing Mohammed was a ‘Palestinian’ because the center of Islam is Mecca, not Jerusalem. But every Muslim knows that Mohammed chose Mecca after first considering Jerusalem and turned away from Jerusalem because the Jews rejected Mohammed, something they are cursed for time and again in the Koran.  The notion of the indigenous Palestinian Islam stems from the Temple Mount Dome of the Rock where anti-Israel Muslim rhetoric now claims no Temple ever existed.  If there were no Temple and no Jews, then why did Mohammed make a ‘night journey’ to the ‘far mosque’ of Jerusalem.  As with the Palestinian Jesus, without the Jews there would be no reason for Mohammed to be in Jerusalem, for it would not have been a holy city. 

Muslims that confuse this history and claim that Mohammed journeyed to Jerusalem because it was already holy to Christianity then forget that it was only holy to Christianity because Jesus the Jew had gone their to cleanse the Temple.  Elementary students who are today being brainwashed to believe in an indigenous Islam in Palestine and a Palestinian Jesus are being done a great disservice by those who predicate the teaching of history on the present.  People reject the existence of Israel and thus want to reject the history of Jews in the Holy Land.  But there can be no Palestinian Jesus without first having a Jewish Jesus and there can be no Dome of the Rock without first having a Jewish Temple Mount or ‘far mosque’ to build it upon.


Seth Frantzman is doing his doctorate in Jerusalem at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His articles have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Middle East Quarterly and the Tucson Weekly. He lives in Jerusalem.


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