O Little Town of Bethlehem

Israel, Palestine, and American Christian Hypocrites

It was December of 1991 and I was serving as Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in Washington DC. The Israelis were stalling,not even negotiating in bad faith, and the Americans under Baker and Ross were doing nothing to get the negotiations started.

This had been going on for 3 weeks and Christmas was fast approaching. Those of us on the Palestinian Team who were Christian were wondering if we were going to be able to get home for Christmas–many Palestinians are Christian, the original Christians, going back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles themselves. I would periodically check in with my wife and 2 sons at the time–little boys. My poor, sweet wife had to do all the Christmas preparations by herself without me.

So the weekend before Christmas I called her up to say I still did not know if or when I would be coming home. My oldest son who had just turned 5 talked to me on the phone:

“Daddy why aren’t you home for Christmas?”

“Well son, I’m trying to help the Palestinians.”

“Daddy, why are you doing that?”

Hard to explain the entire Middle East conflict to a 5 year old, so I put it into terms he could understand:

“Son, you know that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem don’t you?”

“Yes Daddy.”

“Well I am here with the Mayor of Bethlehem and some other Palestinian leaders. They are my friends and I am their lawyer. I am working with the Mayor of Bethlehem to help all the Palestinian Children have a merry Christmas.”

“Ok Daddy.”

We got the word we could go home for Christmas on December 23 and I got on the first flight out of DC. getting home just on time for Christmas Eve with my family.

Periodically I had attended UCC Christmas Season Church Services in town with my family. When it came time for prayers from the congregation, I always got up and asked everyone to help the Palestinians along the following lines: “…Bethlehem is cut-off and surrounded by the Israeli army–the Church of the Nativity too. The Israelis are inflicting ethnic cleansing upon all the Palestinian, both Muslims and Christians. They are also pursuing a policy of deliberately forcing Palestinian Christians out of Palestine as part of a perverse strategy to turn a war of national liberation into a religious crusade, figuring it would play better in the United States. And these are the original Christians, going back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Meanwhile, the United States government is financing it all to the tune of $5 billion per year. Everyone in this Congregation has gifts given to them by God. So go out and do something to help the Palestinians!”

Despite my best efforts over several years, that UCC Congregation refused to lift one finger to help the Palestinians. So about 18 months ago, I quit their Congregation and severed all ties with them. They are just a gang of moral cowards and hypocrites. They have nothing to teach me or anyone else about Christianity, let alone about peace, justice and human rights.

University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence; to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993; and to H.E. Chairman and President Yasser Arafat. The story is told in his book Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (Clarity Press: 2003). He can be reached at: FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU. Read other articles by Francis A..

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  1. mary said on December 6th, 2008 at 10:06am #

    I first saw this piece by Professor Boyle on Counterpunch and believe he wrote it in 2004. My brother has just returned from Bethlehem and on this latest, his tenth, visit to the Occupied Territories reports that the torment is worse than ever. In spite of the fact that he set up a humanitarian charity in Gaza in 2003, he and 16 other British medics who wished to observe and teach there were not allowed entry into the ‘prison camp’.

    I read today that the Israelis have perfected a system of remote automatic firing of weapons from control domes on the border with Gaza and seem to be boasting in this how easily they can destroy humans. The Seer Shoots on You Tube in this link

    These are the poignant words of O Little Town of Bethlehem set to photos of the evidence of its Occupation.

    How can we wish each other Happy Christmas when this inhumanity is still ongoing?

  2. eileen fleming said on December 6th, 2008 at 10:56am #

    In solidarity with FAB re: the institutional church.

    I once was a church lady-taught Sunday School 5th -8th grade for 7 years.

    My last day for the very last time in a USA church-

    [but i love to go while in occupied Palestine]

    Was the Sunday before my FIRST trip to Israel Palestine,

    I just returned from my 6th.

    But, when i returned from that first trip,

    i knew i could never go back

    i saw i was beating my head on a wall

    trying to wake up comfortable Christians.

  3. N. Friedman said on December 6th, 2008 at 2:50pm #

    According to Professor Boyle, “many Palestinians are Christian, the original Christians, going back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles themselves.”

    Well, that would come as a surprise if one picks up the Gospels, where the original Christians were all Jews. Replacing Jews with Arabs is a nice attempt at Replacement Theology propaganda but, in the world of fact, an untrue assertion.

  4. mass said on December 6th, 2008 at 4:34pm #

    N. Friedman you have overlooked the possibility that Palestinians might be ancient Jews who remained and converted to Islam.

  5. michael said on December 7th, 2008 at 7:13am #

    I recently read of a recent DNA study of Jews, Christians and Arabs in the region that proved they are all related by bloodlines and DNA. Seems dogma is the only reason to kill each other over there. Unlike western civilizations who kill for oil and cash rights. Interesting.

  6. joed said on December 7th, 2008 at 9:47am #

    “I recently read of a recent DNA study of Jews, Christians and Arabs in the region that proved they are all related by bloodlines and DNA.”

    seems that dna study claimed the palistenians actually were the ancient inhabitants of modern israel. certainly, we don’t need any sort of test to know the modern state of israel is inhabited mostly by misplaced hatefilled european zio-nazi blood.

  7. bozh said on December 7th, 2008 at 1:17pm #

    joed, one caveat,
    khazaro-europeans, not being semitic, cannot be called zionists.
    they have nothing to do w. zion; the r thieves. thnx

  8. jan said on December 8th, 2008 at 10:16am #

    Ya know, I vaguely remember being taught that Abraham was the father of Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac’s son Jacob became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Ishmael went and dwelt in the land later called Arabia. Hence, Jews-Arabs = same father. (Think it is the book of Genesis, toward the end.)

    Also – Palestine didn’t exist in name until the 20th century. The Hebrew nation left Egypt and headed for the land of Canaan. We all remember from the movie that their God had promised that land to them subject to conditions that were later broken and they were removed from the land. In historic times it was called the land of Canaan. It was populated with many different tribes. Palestinian is a political identification. Cannanite, Jebusite, etc etc etc. Book of Exodus.

    Final conclusion just proved by DNA; they really did have the same father or at least come from the same family.

    Curious such enmity could last 4000 years.

  9. mary said on December 9th, 2008 at 7:29am #

    This boy from Bethlehem, Mohammad Balbol, will be in an Israeli jail named Ofer Prison whilst we have our Christmas holidays. He will not have been ableto celebrate Eid as his detention order has been renewed today. Note that his father was assassinated in March.

    Torment? Yes. Torture? Yes.

    Administrative detention – no charge and renewable at 4 monthly intervals, is a convenient and inhumane hangover from the British mandate. 5 children imprisoned under this, 569 Palestinians altogether, out of a total prison population of >11,000. He is one of nearly 600 Palestinians at present incarcerated without charge or trial.




  10. mebosa ritchie said on December 9th, 2008 at 10:04am #

    francis boyle makes up the story to suit his anti-israel opinion.
    in lebanon,the christian population is decreasing due to islamic persecution
    in iraq the christian population is decreasing due to islamic persecution
    in syria the christian population is decreasing due to islamic persecution
    in egypt the christian population is decreasing due to islamic persecution
    the problem of decreasing christians in the middle east is due to islam not judaism,but the facts may not suit francis boyle’s belief

  11. bozh said on December 9th, 2008 at 11:22am #

    even if it is true that christian pops r decreasing because of muslim persecution, this persecution pales in comparison to what judeo-christian alliance is doing to afghans, iraqis, syrians, iranians, and palestinians.
    and u, too, may be pulling that information from ur hat. a person who tacitly approbates enormous crimes by the judeo-christian bloc in the lands i just cited, cannot be trusted even a bit. thnx

  12. mebosa ritchie said on December 9th, 2008 at 2:33pm #

    well bozh
    there’s the truth and what you want to believe. the judeo christian bloc???
    what is it?
    jews persecuting muslims in afghanistan,iran,iraq,syris
    i don’t think so all the jews were kicked out of these countries by the muslims running the states
    islam allows no other religion to prosper in an islamic country and that is the truth the real truth and nothing but the truth

  13. Hue Longer said on December 10th, 2008 at 7:16am #


    The Jews living in Iran would be amused by your truth truth truth

  14. mebosa ritchie said on December 10th, 2008 at 2:09pm #

    some more truth

    The Jewish exodus from Arab lands refers to the 20th century expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Islamic countries. The migration started in the late 19th century, but accelerated after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. According to official Arab statistics, 856,000 Jews left their homes in Arab countries from 1948 until the early 1970s. Some 600,000 resettled in Israel. Their descendants, and those of Iranian and Turkish Jews, now number 3.06 million of Israel’s 5.4 to 5.8 million Jewish citizens. [1][not in citation given] The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) estimates that Jewish property in Arab countries would be valued today at more than $300 billion[2][3] and Jewish-owned real-estate left behind in Arab lands at 100,000 square kilometers (four times the size of the State of Israel).

  15. bozh said on December 10th, 2008 at 2:50pm #

    as far as i know, zionism (theft of land) arose in europe and not in africa/asia.
    in add’n, not enough study, as far as i know, has been done find out whether mizrahic and sephardic peoples r of jewish descent.
    these peoples may be shemites just like arabs.
    surely, shemitic peoples were not that stupid not know at least that much.
    they were not that stupid to have expelled shemites of judaic faith to expalestine and thus fulfilled dreams of ashkenazic(and master) folk.
    it makes no sense to expel shemites and thus supply ashkenazic volk w. cannon fodder to be used against very people who expelled them.
    there is no doubt that euro-khazars r not shemitic- they r judaists.
    they have latched onto zionism because they knew christians wld one day help them to take palestine by sword.
    we all know how much christian covet all of expallestine +.
    but whatever the facts may be regarding expulsion of the shemites from shemitic lands, the fact is that the judeo-christian alliance wanted and actually did wage wars against pals and took their land.
    in fact, the euros of nonshemitic ancestry cannot be zionists since they have never lived in excanaan.
    the true zionists were hebrews; however, israelites evanesced and nobody knows what happened to them.
    as for judeans, not much is known ab them.perhaps they settled among arabs after rome defeated them in AD 70 and 15o.
    again, to me all this matters only a little; it is just a curioso.
    but ashkenazic/mizrahic crimes r well know and i fervently hope they pay for them. thnx

  16. mebosa ritchie said on December 12th, 2008 at 5:14am #

    i think it’s fair to assume from your posting that you are mental,off your head,looppy,not in touch with reality—so that kinda rules you out of a rational argument
    so to make it simple for bozh and his ilk
    there are 22 arab states and 57 muslim states on earth where all the arabs /muslims can live happily knowing that their countries will not be contaminated by non believers.

  17. bozh said on December 12th, 2008 at 7:37am #

    u’r almost right ab my nervous system.
    i still say, israel, as a state for people of the book, will vanish. it is, to me, nigh impossible that 6bn people will accept such a state.
    israel as a state solely for people of judaic faith will cease to exist as soon as world plutos find israel an impediment to their neverending greed/quest for gain of wealth/power.
    russians, chinese, nearly all other asians, some s. amers, know what is in store for them.
    thus they r uniting like never before in order to keep what they have.
    the enormous hatred/anger against the nonshemitic thieves of palestine cannot forever endure.
    s’mthing’s gotta give. the word “jewish” applied to europeans was an invention by the ashkenazic voelken.
    it can be proven that chomsky, lieberman, einstein, peres, rabin, et al r not shemitic as their blue eyes, white skin, skills; their angular faces; tendency to be too large around hips, etc., clearly show.
    shemites r darker. actually pals look more like their possible jewish/canaanite ancestors.
    so the euros may be actually killing also jews along w. the canaanites. thnx