In response to Israel’s military action in Gaza, Alex Awad of the Bethlehem Bible College has strongly criticised Israel. Despite the fact that Hamas has already admitted that most of the dead are Hamas combatants, Awad nevertheless claims:
What troubles me most in this current war is that most of the victims of this Israeli incursion on Gaza are average people-men, women and children–who are struggling to just to survive under the extreme and harsh conditions that the Israeli siege has created.
Yet Awad has a track record of preaching anti-Zionism around the world. Most notoriously, in May 2008, Awad attended the Voice of Palestine 60th Nakba Conference hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia.
You can read conference-attendee and Holocaust-denier Fred Tobin’s account of events in Jakarta here. You can see the aims of the Voice Of Palestine conference here. According to Tobin’s report, Awad advocated a one-state solution, as did others at the event.
You can see a list of speakers, including representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah, here. You can see photos of Awad at the conference here and here alongside, among others, Neturei Karta Jews Dovid Weiss and Aharon Cohen.
According to the Voice of Palestine website, Awad was representing the Bethlehem Bible College at this event.
The website Kesher Talk has previously highlighted the controversy surrounding Bethlehem Bible College and the Awad family, and cites Alex Awad and brother Bishara (himself President of the college) as having said:
“Palestinian Christians view Israel, and not Arafat, as the problem.”
And here for more about the Awad family’s views on Arafat.
Interestingly, a colleague of Alex and Bishara Awad, Yohanna Katanacho, has this week published an open letter against Messianic Jews in Israel, in response to the war in Gaza, in which he asks:
will you look me in the eyes next time we meet and shake my hands while the hands of your army are still wet with the blood of my people!?
It is worth reading the comments in response to Katanacho.
Whilst Katanacho seems to blame Israel for the current violence, it is worth noting that Alex Awad blames Israel for suicide bombings, and claims:
“When we fight for a piece of land, we use religion to rally people, to excite people to build zeal among the people so they will help accomplish a goal. Religion is used in the conflict, but it’s about land. The Muslim is fighting the Jew because of what the Jew took by force.”
One blogger reviewing Alex Awad’s book Palestinian Memories wrote:
“While Alex Awad has no problem detailing many instances of injustice committed by Israelis against Christians, he completely denies that there are any injustices committed by Muslims. Alex Awad has allowed his hate of Israelis to affect biblical worldview.”
Awad’s writing is used approvingly by the Amos Trust, who were recently criticised in the press for manipulating Christmas to advance a political agenda. Awad himself frequently writes articles critical of Israel and Zionism.
Whilst the faculty at Bethlehem Bible College are busy asking questions of Israel and Israeli Christians, it seems they have a lot to answer to themselves.