A photo exhibition by a group of Norwegian churches featured images from Judea and Samaria accompanied by the proclamation that “the Palestinians are Jesus,” and “the Jews are the horrible criminals who not only crucified Jesus but who crucify him again. Daily.”
Held from September 19-26, the exhibition held in Bergen was organized by the Interchurch Council of the Church of Norway, Norwegian Church Aid, YWCA-YMCA Global, Norwegian YWCA-YMCA, Quaker Aid, Norwegian Church Academies, Quaker Aid, the Norwegian Christian Student Union, the Karibu Foundation, Sabeel’s Friends and the Church of Sweden in Oslo as part of the annual Church Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel with many churches from around the world taking part.
The description of the exhibition by photographer Håvard Bjelland states: “For the land has divine protection over it. Not least, this becomes clear when we look at [the Palestinian] people. Those who live with daily ‘crucifixions’, but who still stay. “
Israel for Peace (MIFF), a pro-Israel Norwegian organization with 11,000 members, reacted to the exhibit, stating on their website, “There you have it. The Palestinians are Jesus. The Jews are the horrible criminals who not only crucified Jesus but who crucified him again. Daily.”
Ervin Kohn, the head of the Jewish Community in Oslo, criticized the event.
“The church week of peace in Israel and Palestine has been problematic with its unanimity on the conflict and demonization of one party,” Kohn post on Facebook on Thursday. “This year’s church week is breaking new barriers.”
“The church week attracts unwanted international attention to Norway,” Kohn later posted. “Now I have to repeat myself and accept phone calls from foreign journalists and organizations and explain that Norway is not an anti-Semitic country.”
In 2015, the theme for the church week was “The Wall”. The event featured a prayer composed by Michel Sabbah for the fall of Israel’s security barrier, which the priest who led the prayer called “a wall used for murder.” In 1987, Sabbah became the first Palestinian archbishop and patriarch of the Catholic Church in Jerusalem. Sabbah is an outspoken critic of Israel, referring to the Jewish state as “the occupation.”
Sabbah, like Norwegian Church Aid, signed the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”