The “little town of Bethlehem” that we sing about at this time of year is far different from what many of us imagine it to be.
Millions of travelers to Bethlehem believe the hasbara: Jews Good, Palestinians Bad; Jews victims, Palestinians perpetrators; because of the Holocaust, the world owes us, and must condone what we’re doing to Palestinians; those who criticize our racist policies are outright anti-Semites; we are God’s Chosen, therefore we can do no wrong.
Israel announces it will not allow Gaza’s Christians to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas this year
The International Middle East Media Center reports on the ongoing acts of Israeli injustice and violence that most other media don’t bother with. Not a day goes by – including holidays – without abductions, settler brutality, shootings, and often even deaths.
For the 11th year, Gaza’s Christian minority celebrates Christmas under Israeli siege, unable to join family in West Bank. Travel requests are mostly denied or ignored from an occupying country that claims to promote freedom of religion and worship.
Why do many Hasidic Jews abstain from studying the Torah at Christmas? The mythology is that back in the day, Christians liked to persecute Jews during the holiday But according to an authority on the subject, the practice was originally based on a superstition that on Christmas, Jesus had to spend the day “wander[ing] in all pits of excrement or latrines throughout the world” – and studying Torah gave him respite from this torture.
A Palestinian woman who now lives in the US recalls growing up in simpler times, without an awareness of the differences in religions. Christmastime – and Santa – were for everyone. But times have changed, and Jerusalem has changed, especially since Trump’s announcement.
A Palestinian in Jerusalem describes the impact of Trump’s announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel: “Prior to this announcement, we were in the first week of a joyous Christmas… Christmas trees in every shop and restaurant, Santa hats in cars and Christmas carols sung everywhere. Giant Christmas trees lit in the main squares of the cities with tens of thousands of Christians and Muslims celebrating together…”