Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 is hosting many well-known Christian speakers, including several Palestinians and a couple of Messianic Jews. One invite that I find particularly odd, is the invite given to Ben White.
As far as I know, Ben White is not theologically trained. Neither is he a pastor, but simply a one-issue campaigner who occasionally aligns his work with nominally-Christian organisations.
How does Ben White understand the role of Palestinian Christians, in Palestine?
A few years back, Ben White wrote an article in the Al Aqsa journal (edited by Islamist antisemite Ismail Patel, who shares with Ben White an apparent admiration for French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy), entitled ‘Palestinian-Christian/Muslim Relations: Myths, Propaganda and Realities.’
What is most interesting is that White frames Muslim-Christian co-operation amongst Palestinians by focusing on their response to Zionism, writing:
‘I will look at how Christian and Muslim Palestinians have traditionally lived and worked alongside each other, with a focus on their united front against the Zionist movement.’
White informs readers that:
‘From the Arab Revolt in 1936, to the flourishing of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in the mid-1960s, Christian Palestinians played a significant role in the resistance to Israel.’
White even quotes the founder of the Islamic Jihad movement as having said:
‘in our movement we accept the participation of our Christian brothers in our struggle without them having to change their religious beliefs.’
White, seeking to break down ‘Zionist propaganda’ that Palestinian Muslims persecute Palestinian Christians, even lays the blame with Israel for inter-Palestinian honour killings, writing:
‘Israel’s territorial fragmentation of Palestine has always threatened to affect Palestinian society on a wider-level and indeed, there are worrying signs that the “sociocide” being practised by Israel has gradually pressurized Palestinian society to breaking point. One such indication is the increase in so-called ‘honour killings’ in recent years, a phenomenon that has sometimes been presented as part of a Muslim-Christian conflict within Palestine.’
The impression gained by these articles is that Ben White defines his form of Christianity as a response to Zionism.
Ben White’s equation appears to go like this:
The legitimate Palestinian credentials of Palestinian Christians can be judged by their participation in ‘resistance’ against Zionism.
We see here how Ben White encouages Palestinian Christians to be authentically Palestinian.by showing ‘resistance’ against Zionism. Resistance which means, in practise, killing Israeli Jews. By contrast, consider what White has to say about Palestinians who pursue peace with Israel, ie. those who have given up on “resistance”.
All of which raises a disturbing question:
If this is how Ben White envisages the role of a Palestinian Christian, then why did the Bethlehem Bible College invite him to Christ at the Checkpoint?