Bethlehem Bible College President Tells Falsehood About Security Barrier

Bishara Awad, president of the Bethlehem Bible College, an interdenominational Christian school in the West Bank, has joined the ranks of people who have falsely reported that the security barrier Israel constructed to stop terror attacks emanating from the West Bank during the Second Intifada completely surrounds the city of Bethlehem.

He made the false statement in a fund raising video for Bethlehem Bible College, an interdenominational Christian College located in the West Bank. The school recently sponsored the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference.

The video, titled “Living Lights,” was directed by Anne Doll and produced by the school’s New Vision Media Center, which trains Palestinians to work in the radio and television industries. The video is not copyrighted but was apparently made in 2007-2008.

In the video, Bishara Awad who has led Bethlehem Bible College as its president since its founding in 1979, says “We have many problems in this land. We are under military occupation. The Israelis built a wall around us and this wall goes all around Bethlehem.”

No, it doesn’t.

As shown in this map provides by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the barrier does not completely surround or go “all around Bethlehem” but in fact passes by its northern and Western sides.

This falsehood has appeared in numerous newspaper articles that have subsequently been corrected. James M. Wall, columnist for Christian Century offered this falsehood in a piece he wrote for the magazine in December 2005. Christian Century did not correct the error.

Lutheran Bishop Margaret Payne offered this falsehood during a radio interview in 2009. When challenged by CAMERA, she refused to offer a retraction.

This falsehood was recently repeated by CBS correspondent Bob Simon in an episode about Christians in the Holy Land that appeared on 60 Minutes. CBS News has refused to correct.

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