In the latest rendition of "how not to coexist with Israel," they took full advantage of Pope Francis’ visit to again misrepresent the truth. Simply put, they promoted lies.
Tragically they’ve been given a huge boost of credibility since the pope has now provided his blessing.
How so? Let me explain.
Prior to the papal visit, numerous banners were put up showing him with Mahmoud Abbas. While such banners wouldn’t be unexpected, one exemplifies the lie. Placed on the wall outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, it shows Abbas and the pope, along with the Greek patriarch of Jerusalem under the heading "State of Palestine, May 2014." This is a flagrant attempt to promote Palestine as a sovereign state and associate the visit of the pope as de-facto recognition of their statehood.
If the Vatican objected to it, which they should have, they had plenty of time to request the banner be removed. Yet instead of objecting, the pope, while in Bethlehem, publicly endorsed "the state of Palestine."
While he purports to desire improved relations with Israel, giving such a public blessing not only endorses something factually incorrect, it lends support to unilateral moves of the Palestinians, in spite of being on record opposing such diplomatic moves by either side. His endorsement is a black mark against his integrity, and a slap in the face against Israel.
However, the chutzpah doesn’t end there.
Desecration of the facts
The papal visit to the Church of the Nativity included a special "art" exhibit which was not mentioned in the itineraries of most media. It took place at what the Vatican describes as "a private visit to the grotto of the nativity of Bethlehem." It was referenced in an article published in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jaddida.
The exhibit was a collection of photos which consist of a blending of some classic paintings with modern photography. Yet in reality it’s an example of what can only be described as a desecration of the facts by the Palestinians.
The photos include paintings of renowned European artists meshed with pieces of photographs portraying Palestinian’s suffering under the "occupation." They are presented in a split screen manner – the painting on one side and the photo on the other side.
One photo, for example, has Raphael’s "The Deposition" on the left side, showing the upper torso of Jesus' body being carried to his tomb after the crucifixion. The lower part of what is supposed to be Jesus' torso is on the right side of the split/screen. Only instead of showing his torso, it's a bloody lower torso of a Palestinian being carried as an IDF soldier looks on. The message is clear: Jesus is portrayed not as a Jew, but as a "Palestinian" who was executed at the hands of the Jews.
Another photo desecrates "The Sacrifice of Isaac" by Rembrandt. In this case, the painting side shows Isaac lying down with his hands bound, being prepared for sacrifice. However, instead of the hand of Abraham holding him down, the split screen edit has a photo of an Israeli soldier holding Isaac’s head in preparation for sacrifice. Once again a flagrant violation of the truth.
Such examples of "art" put a dagger in the heart of reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. They also attempt to link the suffering of the Palestinians to that of Jesus. Moreover, they are designed to portray the Jews are responsible for his death. This view which has been long held by many has been at the root of anti-Semitism for centuries. Such displays of "art" only add fuel to this fire.
According to the article in Al-Hayat Al-Jaddida, the "artwork" was supplied by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which runs schools in Gaza and Judea/Samaria. UNRWA has been criticized for promoting jihad in the schools it runs, and has shown itself to be virulently anti-Israel.
At the conclusion of his visit in Bethlehem, the Pope could have taken the five-minute drive to Jerusalem to begin the Israeli leg of his visit. Yet he chose to take a helicopter to Ben-Gurion International Airport, which is a full 35-40 minutes from Jerusalem. Why would he go so far out of his way, when Jerusalem was merely five minutes from Bethlehem? To demonstrate to the world he was leaving one "state" and arriving in another, which is a clear endorsement of "the state of Palestine."
We've been used to incessant reversal of reality for quite some time by the Palestinians. This papal visit confirms the head of the Catholic Church has become complicit.
If anyone believes this visit was strictly religious and not political in nature, said person also likely believes the security barrier was built to steal land rather than save Israeli lives. Since the pope made an unscheduled stop at the barrier to pray, which delighted Palestinians, it appears its true purpose is lost on him as well.
Dan Calic is a writer, history student and speaker. See additional articles on his Facebook page .