26 May '14..
Downplaying the significance of a Palestinian photomontage exhibit in Bethlehem's Manger Square, erected in time for Pope Francis' visit there yesterday, The New York Times reports:
The pope offered a spirited Mass in a crowded Manger Square, which was bedecked with photomontages blending Christian iconography with images of Palestinians’ difficult daily reality.
Palestinian Media Watch provides more information on the art exhibit commissioned by the Palestinian Authority:
The exhibit consists of visual displays merging classical paintings of biblical scenes with photos of Palestinians and have been "designed by the Palestinian Museum at the request of the Presidential Higher Committee for Church Affairs." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 20, 2014]
As Palestinian Media Watch has documented, the PA has misrepresented Jesus for years, claiming he was not a Judean as in Christian tradition, but rather a "Palestinian," thereby claiming a Palestinian history dating back to the time of Jesus. Mahmoud Abbas recently said Jesus was “a Palestinian messenger.” This exhibit reinforces the pretense that Jesus was a Palestinian by visually merging the image of Jesus in classical art with pictures of Palestinians.
Some of the displays at the exhibit also reiterate another PA message - that Palestinians suffer as Jesus did.
Moreover, as our colleagues at CiF Watch, a CAMERA affiliate, noted:
. . . .one work in the exhibit even evokes the decide charge (that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus) by using Raphael’s The Deposition (1507) which shows the dead Jesus being carried to his tomb.
Here’s the original by Raphael:
Here’s the Palestinian version from the current Palestine Museum exhibit:
As you can see, “Jesus’ legs have been replaced by a photo of the wounded legs of a Palestinian, which are being carried away by a man as an Israeli soldier looks on”. This image likely represents an attempt to draw a historical line from the crucifixion of the ‘Palestinian’ Christ two thousand years ago to the violence committed today against modern day Palestinians by Israeli Jews.
Of course, the Roman Catholic Church repudiated the deicide charge in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Pope John XXIII, who initiated the first session of the Council, declared more broadly that “the sacred events of the Bible and, in particular, its account of the crucifixion, cannot give rise to disdain or hatred or persecution of the Jews”.
As CAMERA’s Christian Media Analysis Dexter Van Zile argued, in the context of Christian-Jewish relations, visual language which plays upon the decide charge (which has preceded and justified the killing of Jews for nearly two millennia) “is the [moral] equivalent of a noose hanging from a tree in the Old South”.
But, then again, only those journalists who take modern-day antisemitism seriously would consider addressing the moral and political significance of such supremely cynical efforts by Palestinian leaders to undermine Christian-Jewish relations by evoking such historically toxic themes within the long history of Christian anti-Judaism.