His preaching arouses passions
Re "Palestinian priest's views spur criticism," March 1
As much as Ateek tries to deny it, he speaks about the modern state of Israel the way Christians in medieval Europe spoke about Jews. He has compared modern Israelis to Herod, who, according to the Gospel of Matthew, murdered all the infants of Bethlehem in an effort to kill the baby Jesus. He also has compared the occupation to the stone blocking Christ's tomb.
This is all reminiscent of polemic in the New Testament that portrays Jesus' opponents as embodying all that is wrong with humanity. This imagery, coupled with Ateek's failure to honestly address the failings of Palestinian leaders, serves to demonize Israel.
If Ateek's approach to peacemaking is "theologically correct," as he asserts, then we must be living in the Middle Ages.
Dexter Van Zile
The writer is a media analyst with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.