Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas

By Nadia W. Awad – The West Bank
Palestine Chronicle

".....It is also heart-warming to see Jews around the world defy ruthless criticism and accusations of betrayal by supporting the Palestinians in their demands for an independent state of their own. Just this week, we read about Adalah-NY, who joined forces with Jews against the Occupation NYC to sing Christmas carols in freezing weather while handing out leaflets informing passersby of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s financing of illegal settlement construction and land theft in Palestine. Together, Adalah and Jews against the Occupation have convinced UNICEF, Oxfam, and a number of Hollywood stars to distance themselves from Leviev’s company and money. As Ethan Heitner from Adalah-NY explained, “Their actions show that Leviev’s wealth and diamonds can’t buy impunity.”

In London, another group, the Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, along with the Palestinian group Open Bethlehem, organized a Christmas service in one of London’s largest churches, with the surprise blessing of the Church of England. The service, entitled “Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons and Carols”, included a reworking of traditional Christmas carols. Instead of singing about tidings of comfort and joy, the participants sang about war crimes, assassinations and the oppression of Palestinians. The reworked carols included favorites such as ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘The Holly And the Ivy’, and ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’. The’ Twelve Days of Christmas’ lyrics were most poignant:

Twelve assassinations/ Eleven homes demolished/ Ten wells obstructed/ Nine sniper towers/ Eight gunships firing/ Seven checkpoints blocking/ Six tanks a-rolling/ Five settlement rings/ Four falling bombs/ Three trench guns/ Two trampled doves/ And an uprooted olive tree.

Despite being accused of hijacking Christmas for hatred, of being self-hating Jews, anti-Semitic and the usual array of insults that follow such an event, the service was deemed a huge success and is likely to become an annual occurrence.

The reworked lyrics were in fact scarily accurate in their description of Israeli atrocities. Back in Palestine, Israel, in a fit of ‘generosity’ perhaps due to the Christmas season of cheer, announced that it would be issuing permits to ‘approved’ West Bank Christians, allowing them to enter Jerusalem this year for Christmas. In an annual tradition, Israel ‘permits’ the approved Christians to pass through one of the two main checkpoints into Jerusalem for a limited time each Christmas, providing they receive approval from the Israeli military beforehand and submit a biometric scan of one hand for tracking purposes......"

No comments: