Jesus was not Palestinian, said the Uniting Church of Australia in a statement following an Australian news story which called Palestinians “the living descendants of Christ.”
Last week, the leftist Australian political publication New Matilda published an article, written by two Palestinian Arab members of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, which stated that an Australian delegation in Israel was “applauding proven human rights violators and insulting the living descendants of Christ in his home of birth in Palestine.”
The Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network has ties to the Uniting Church of Australia. Following the publication of the article, Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, wrote a letter of protest to the Uniting Church in which he said that “the proposition that Jesus was a Palestinian and that the Palestinian Arab population of today are his ‘living descendants’ was “so absurd and offensive that it deserves an immediate and substantive rebuttal.”
In response, the president of the Uniting Church, Stuart McMillan, released a statement saying, “I would like to assure you and the Jewish community that the Uniting Church does not accept the view that Jesus was Palestinian.” He added that Jesus and most of his early followers were Jewish, and that they resided in “neither in Israel nor in Palestine, but in the Roman-occupied province of Judea”.
His statement concluded by saying that it was “entirely inappropriate for anybody to attempt to claim political capital from the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to bolster claims of either ‘side’ of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.”