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The Hidden Agenda of Christ at the Checkpoint

Tourists in Bethlehem, March 5, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma.

Once again, Bethlehem Bible College will host its bi-annual conference, Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC), on May 21-26, 2024, in Bethlehem. CATC is an evangelical organization established in 2010 that is known for its anti-Israel views and advocacy. NGO Monitor exposed the anti-Zionist activities of the organization when it reported that:

CATC seeks to advance the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Evangelical Christian churches while simultaneously reviving theological antisemitic themes such as replacement theology.

… Other anti-Jewish themes promoted at CATC conferences include the de-Judaizing of Jesus and the promotion of a racial theory of Jewish origins.

The language in the online promotional ad for this year’s conference seems balanced, almost benign. It includes words and phrases like “Evangelical spirit, peace, justice, and reconciliation.” But something is troubling, and it begins with the name Christ at the Checkpoint, which creates the absurd optic of Jesus as a Palestinian attempting to enter Israel through an Israeli border checkpoint. This evokes the image of Jesus as a non-Jewish Christian Palestinian blocked from entering his homeland because of the evil Jewish occupation.

The obvious problem with this narrative is that Palestine did not exist in Jesus’ day. In 135 CE, the Romans — in attempting to erase any Jewish existence in, or connection to, the land of their ancestors, spitefully renamed Judea as “Syria Palestina” or “Philistia” in honor of Israel’s ancient extinct enemy, the Philistines (think David vs. Goliath).

By naming their organization Christ at the Checkpoint, the leaders seek to portray Jesus as culturally connected to modern Palestinians — and, in so doing, distort and erase the longstanding Jewish connection to the land of Israel.

Anglican priest Naim Ateek was one of the speakers at the first CATC conference in 2010. Ateek is the founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. In his April 10, 2001, Easter message to his followers, “An Easter Message from Sabeel,” Ateek wrote:
Jesus is the powerless Palestinian humiliated at a checkpoint. …  It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. … Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified.

Another speaker at the upcoming CATC conference is Rev. Munther Isaac, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, dean of Bethlehem Bible College, and director of CATC. In 2023, his church featured a nativity scene made not with a wooden manger, but with bricks and rubble that encased a baby Jesus doll dressed in a Palestinian keffiyeh. During his Christmas message , he proclaimed: “If Jesus were born today, he would be born under the rubble in Gaza.” Rev. Isaac creates the perfect non-Jewish Palestinian Jesus, while ignoring the Hamas murder of 1,200 people that led to the Gaza war.

Christ at the Checkpoint is clearly trying to erase and undermine the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. The Romans attempted something similar and failed, and their contempt for Jews consigned them to the dustbin of history.

Aaron David Fruh is a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at the Woolf Institute at Cambridge University, in the UK, and President of Israel Team Advocates, an Evangelical nonprofit organization dedicated to combating the growing Antisemitism on Evangelical college campuses.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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