I learned more than 20 years ago that the Palestinian leadership discovered an effective, if bizarre, method of prying Christians away from Israel.
Since Yasser Arafat began describing Jesus as a Palestinian—perhaps the most absurd assertion in all of history—I assume he learned this kind of technique from his Soviet and East German handlers. They had used almost supernaturally effective propaganda techniques to great success for decades.
In Islam, there are such distortions of the person of Jesus Christ, one struggles to understand why. According to an article by Raymond Ibrahim (one of the very best experts on Islam) in one of the hadith’s (collection of Muhammad’s stories and sayings):
“But it is only when he returns in Islam’s version of the ‘end times’ that the Muslim Jesus truly shines. According to Islamic teaching, he will return to ‘break the crosses, slaughter the pigs, end the jizya tax on non-Muslims, making warfare against the People of the Book (e.g. Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, etc.) and others licit.’ In the midst of the final showdown between the forces of Allah and the forces of Antichrist (al-Dajjal), Jesus will first appear ‘praying behind’ an Islamic leader. Then, ‘after Jesus finishes his prayer, he will take his lance, go toward the Antichrist and kill him. Then Jesus will die and the Muslims will wash him and bury him.’
“In such a manner is he a ‘martyr’—no different, for many Muslims, than his supposed Palestinian kinsmen who blow themselves up in the service of Islam.”
This then is a theological distortion of who Jesus really is, but it plays out in practical ways, such as the motivations of Palestinian leaders to routinely try to influence “infidels” to believe their version of biblical history. Arafat used to use the “Jesus as Palestinian” line, at the same time he was not only meeting with Clintonistas in the White House, but also cleverly meeting with religious dupes. Like the leadership of the United Methodist Church in Washington.
Over time, I have heard even influential Pentecostals (Paul Alexander) call Jesus a Palestinian. I’ve written many times about Philip Yancey, the famous Christian author, referring to Jesus as a “Palestinian rabbi.” Even after I wrote to him challenging that lie, he refused to recant.
Ibrahim understands all this very well:
“Here, then, is yet another stark reminder that Islam’s appropriation and subsequent mutilation of biblical figures is not a source of ‘commonalities’ and ‘bridges’ between Islam on the one hand and Judaism and Christianity on the other, as the ‘ecumenists’ insist. Rather, it is Islam’s way of manipulating the figures of Judaism and Christianity for its own agenda and precisely against Jews and Christians.”
By the way, one more way Muslim leaders muddy the waters, in order to fool uninformed Christians lies in their presentation of Jesus as a very holy man, a great prophet. Notice though: not the Son of God. Islam does not believe Allah has a son. Specifically, even though they acknowledge Jesus was on the cross, Islam claims that at the last minute, he was “replaced” on the cross by someone else.
Thus, no resurrection of Jesus.
As part of our advocacy for Israel and the Jewish state, we have to first be informed about our own faith, so that we can spot the counterfeits. And boy, is the Muslim “Jesus” a counterfeit!