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Spin Doctor at "Christian" Conference

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (Photo: flickr/inthe-arena)

Every other year, Bethlehem plays host to the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference. And, despite the fact that these events claim to be made up of Christians promoting peace in the Holy Land, CAMERA's intrepid Dexter Van Zile notes that it has "proven to be a font of anti-Israel propaganda over the years." This year's conference is in session, and Van Zile is there reporting on the anti-Israel bias on display, notably in a presentation that denies the sway of jihadist incitement while still trying to blame Israel for the very real violence being perpetrated against it:

To address the issue, conference organizers invited a well-known Muslim scholar, Mustafa Abu Sway, to speak about the issue of Islamic extremism. The title of his talk as it appeared in the conference schedule prior to the conference was “Is Islam a Violent Religion? A dialogue with a Muslim Leader.”

Abu Sway is a professor of Islamic Studies at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. He is also a member of the Islamic Waqf Council which oversees the management of the Haram Al-Sharif, or the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, which includes the Al Aqsa Mosque, a regular scene of antisemitic incitement.

Abu Sway did not appear in person at the conference, but participated in a pre-recorded interview with CATC director Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac. During the interview that was shown today, Isaac asked Abu Sway if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was mainly a political or religious conflict. In response the scholar stated the conflict was caused by Palestinians not enjoying freedom of movement, not being able to access their holy sites in Jerusalem and because of Israel confiscating land. The way to achieve an end to the conflict, Abu Sway stated was to end the occupation which in turn will restore the humanity of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Isaac pressed the issue by stating that “some will still argue that the problem is that Palestinians are taught to hate the Jews.” Isaac also quoted an unnamed Israeli figure who asserted that the Palestinians “have been trained from the time their children to hate the Jewish people.”

Abu Sway dismissed this out of hand. “I know that you have spin doctors from the Israeli side who shift the blame,’ he said. "They say that there are no partners for peace even though President Mahmoud Abbas has adopted non-violence, said 'No more armed struggle, this is it. The venue for us is the United Nations.' He adopted this peaceful way and nevertheless he has been described as a non-partner. It’s shifting the blame.”

“We never, we never, I can tell you we never taught our kids to hate,” Abu Sway said, adding that the deaths of Palestinians as the hands of Israelis, home demolitions “feed [Palestinian] anger."

Abu Sway’s response is evasive and dishonest. In particular, his defense of Mahmoud Abbas as a peace partner who has chosen the way of peace and non-violence ignores the Palestinian Authority President’s campaign of incitement against Israeli Jews.

And Abu Sway’s assertion that the Palestinians "never"taught their kids to hate flies in the face of mountains of evidence proving otherwise. Palestinian television shows regularly encourage children to hate Jews. Antisemitic incitement is a huge problem in Palestinian society...

Read more of Dexter Van Ziles report from the Christ at the Checkpoint conference.

Tags: Anti-Israel Bias

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