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Jesus the Palestinian
Amer Zahr
by Amer Zahr
April 20th, 2014 (15 Comments)
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I’m not a religious guy. I might talk about Jesus in a different way that priests, ministers, and popes do. I do not see him as the divine incarnate, and I’m not completely sure he saw himself that way either. But I do share one thing with my more religious friends. Jesus still lives for me today.

Jesus was one of us. We Palestinians are pretty proud of that. I’ve been to Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Jerusalem many times, and Palestinians, Muslim and Christian, are looking after Jesus’ stuff pretty well.

And we see ourselves in his light.

Like us, he was told that he does not belong in Palestine. Like him, we remain.

Like us, he was told that his stories have no place there. Like him, we keep telling them, no matter the consequences.

Like us, he fought against unbridled power. Like him, we tell those who oppress us the hard truths they don’t want to hear.

Like us, he gained supporters little by little. The most powerful shunned him at first. At the outset, only a few stood by him. But it won’t take us 300 years to get an empire to agree with us, and it definitely shouldn’t take us 2000 years to get 1.2 billion followers either. We have Facebook, Twitter, and everything else. Jesus never had those things. I mean, can you imagine Jesus’ statuses?

- Got kicked out of Jerusalem again today. Ugh.
- No justice, no peace!
- Hey guys, this pic is for everyone who said I couldn’t walk on water.
- Could everyone please stop tagging me everywhere? The cops are looking for me!
- This was a rough week, I’m gonna be turning a lot of water into wine tonight, if you know what I mean.

And let’s get something straight here. Jesus did visit Lebanon, Jordan, and maybe even Egypt. But he never went to Rome or Greece, and he definitely never stepped foot in Britain. And I can say, unequivocally, unambiguously, and undeniably, that Jesus never visited America, no matter what anyone at Fox News might think.  Jesus didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes. Jesus was a Jew, but he wasn’t from Poland, Russia, or New York City. He was from Nazareth, as I am, so he probably looked like me. Ok, he had flowing hair, and by all accounts, he was in really good shape, but you know what I mean.

So to everyone else out there in the world, we understand why you love Jesus too. You can borrow him, but you can’t have him. He belongs to us.

I am not sure if Jesus arose from the dead after his execution. I am sure, however, that he had nothing to do with bunnies or eggs. And I’m also sure that we Palestinians today are preserving his message. The present-day natives of his land carry upon their shoulders Jesus’ legacy of truth, rebellion, justice, suffering, abandonment, and, eventually, vindication. I am not certain if he was physically resurrected. But I am certain that he is alive today. Every Palestinian walking the earth today reminds me of that.

Jesus started it all. Like us, he walked the streets of Palestine, in constant persecution. And we say today the same words Jesus said 2000 years ago: Beware of our Truth.

I have always said that, as a Palestinian, I sleep well at night. And this Easter is no different. Yes, we struggle, we battle, we labor, we agonize, and we even die. But we have the truth. We have the guy who once said, “Remember that I am always with you, until the end of time.” You see, Jesus is our secret weapon. And along with everything else that makes it awesome to be a Palestinian, that makes me feel pretty good.

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* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."

Comments (15)
  1. Halina Minadeo ... April 20th, 2014 - 23:55

    Yes, indeed, the world needs to be reminded, especially the numerous followers of Issa who follow him in numerous ways. If Issa landed in Palestine today, he would immediately relate to the Palestinians, the dark haired, dark eyed, dark complected natives of the land, not the Central European natives like Binyamin Mileikowsky, now Netanyahy, or Avigdor Lieberman, whose mother tongue is Russian and who could easily pass for a KGBer. Not Ethiopians or Chinese or Peruvians, just good old Palestinians. Thank you for a stirring Easter message.

  2. Cristiana Dumitrescu ... April 21st, 2014 - 01:42

    I am christian,but love all religion,and for sure i respect all.Islam is a great religion,i learn so many beautifull verset from Quran. I adore Palestine,and i support with pride the palestinian cause.
    Allah Amanet.
    sincerely
    Cristiana

  3. Carolyn Quffa ... April 21st, 2014 - 05:51

    Great message!

  4. Good job Amer! Years ago there was a huge billboard on I-75. I believe it was near Flint. The billboard was a portrait of Jesus (pbuh) from the chest up. Long flowing, almost blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, the typical view of Jesus (pbuh) we often see portrayed. The model for that portrait was a homeless person from the Bowery of New York. Quite appropriate I would say. I always cringed when I drove past the billboard because I was quite certain that he bore no resemblance to the portrait Muslims revere our Prophet Jesus (pbuh) as we do all the messengers of Allah beginning with Adam.

    • Hakim Jararah ... April 29th, 2014 - 21:19

      This is to Ron, I ran into that guy on the Bowery in NY many times and always addressed him greetings Jesus and he always replied bless you my son. Didn’t know he ended up on a cross in Flint. :)

  5. Mr.Zaher….Jesus was NOT a Jew….Western culture collapsee Judaism onto the Children of Israel. ……nor even were the children of Israel Jews…only a tiny minority of priests and vested interests loyal to Persia and Later to Rome were Jews…Jesus as well as the entire Palestinian population was part of the Abrahamic tradition which culminated in Islam….Your entire article is based upon :’as then as now’ logic…the same applies to definitions…Jews are NOT nor have ever been then or now PALESTINIAN…except as a tiny minority…then and now…of which Jesus was not a part.

    • Hebrew was not a language and Hebrews speaks Arabic. The language today named as Hebrew was only formed in the Egyptian captivity.

  6. Jesus ( the son of God), is us indeed, we are the sons of God. he is in every religion. His perfection was his poverty, humility and love to human kind.
    I’m proud for being a Lebanese women :)

  7. Jesus was a Jew, a rabbi, born in the Province of Judea, a student of Gamaliel a pharisee sage, and was not an Arab and spoke no Arabic. The practice of the Muslim Arabs stealing Jewish land and culture has to stop. The false narrative has to stop.

    • Doug Benson ... May 27th, 2014 - 02:40

      @jgarbuz.

      Here’s what needs to stop:

      1) “Jew” doesn’t refer to ethnicity. So stop it. A Jew is one how practices Judaism and Jesus was not a practicing Jew. Palestinian is however an ethnicity. So it is not impossible for one to be a Palestinian and a Jew (did I just blow your mind?).

      2. Arabs are the indigenous people of the MENA region. As they were all born and raised in the Middle East, the Virgin Mary was an Arab, Joseph was an Arab and Jesus was an Arab.

      3. If you read the Koran, you’d know that Islam recognizes Christianity and Judaism. It does not preach “stealing Jewish land and culture.” It seems like its going the other way around. Zionists stealing Palestinian lands.

  8. Also, the Israelites were a mixed multitude. Moses married a Cushite. A Jew is defined under Halacha (Jewish Law) as a person born to a Jewish mother and so Jesus is a Jew having been born to Miriam (Mary) a Jewish maiden. Who the father was is debatable.

  9. Mario Marwan ... June 6th, 2014 - 06:54

    Jesus the son Mary the virgin…. Palestinian from Nazareth (an Arabic name) born in Bethlehem (also an Arabic name) went to Jerusalem (then named Kodesh ) during the Roman occupation which they called Pilistina (in their maps). Most of the Palestinians at that time were Jews, Palestinian Jews, then most converted to Christianity after Christ’s birth. He was sent by God to the Children of Israel (Jacob, the grandson of Abraham who was born in Urr, Ancient Iraq). Jesus never practiced the Jewish religion directly as he is a Christian, but Christianity as well as Islam are based on the Judeo-Christian belief, and recognizes all prophets. God sent those religions and messengers not to divide, but to bring peace and love to humanity, as did all prophets. Moses died poor, as did Jesus, as did Mohammad. And all of them are the seed of Abraham. even his name is Arabic (meaning that he proved God’s presence – Yubarhim) his son Isaac (Izhaq – meaning that conquered or crushed -from Yass-haq), Ishamael (meaning the one who listened – Ismaeel – from bible and quran story: when his dad Abraham dreamt that God ordered him to kill him and sent a goat), Sarah means happy in Arabic, Hajer – Ishmael’s mom means Immigrant (she came from Egypt). Even Jacob who was born in Beersheba (Beer al-Sabe’ means Well of the Lion) has an Arabic name – Ya’qoub means the follower which he was born the second of twin brother Ees, his daughter was named Dinar. Hebron where Abraham was buried was originally called in Arabic – Habaroon where ink was created – Hibr. Nazareth is Arabic for al-Nasserah …….People during Jesus’ time during the Roman empire either spoke Arabic (and not Arameic) or Latin. Even the word “Hebrew” is Arabic which means ‘Abaroo – referring to Moses and his people “crossing”. I could go on ……. Jesus is Palestinian and so was Mary and spoke early Palestinian Arabic, the Kaballah was written in Palestinian Arabic too during David’s time, his name is also Arabic by the way Dawood – from Wadood – means amiable or friendly. So did the Jews have a different writing? Moses spoke Pharoah language because he was raised by them and the writing is extremely similar to Egyptian Demotic writing, with the same alphabet as well. Jesus would not approve of Zionism as he was a prince of peace and love. Zionists fail at every command of the Ten commandments they supposedly base: Thou shall not steal (they stole Palestine), Thou shall not lie (they’re lying about the history), thou shall not Kill (how many killed Palestinians, and American soldiers died for Israel’s causes)……Peace and love to humanity.

  10. How is being Jewish not an ethnicity? It’s not as if Hitler exterminated people for denying the deity of Christ. European Jews frequently carry genetic predispositions for diseases that are nonexistent in the gentile populations of those same nations. Of course it is an ethnicity as well as a religion.

  11. Beautiful message & words Christiana Dumitrescu


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