Saturday, October 31, 2020 -
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Cultural appropriation

Talk about cultural appropriation. We’re sure you’ve heard this one before: “Jesus was a Palestinian.”

Never mind that a Palestinian national identity didn’t exist until the 1960s CE and Jesus lived around 30CE. Never mind that Jesus was an ethnic Israelite, descended from the tribe of Judah, and Palestinians are ethnic Arabs. Never mind that Jesus was Jewish and that Palestinians are Muslims or Christians — two religions that did not even exist in Jesus’ lifetime.

“Jesus was a Palestinian.” According to Palestinian PR, if one repeats something enough times people cease questioning its veracity. It’s the same tactic behind attempting to erase the Jewish people’s connection to the Holy Land. It’s so outrageously false, people believe it must be true — it’s a tactic outlined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf. He called it “the Big Lie.” In his case it was that Jews were responsible for Germany’s loss in WW I. And it worked.

Golriz Ghahraman’s since deleted tweet.

This appropriation took an even more absurd (if that’s possible) turn recently. Last week, New Zealand MP Golriz Ghahraman tweeted (since deleted): “They [Mary and Joseph] were literally Palestinian refugees. And she normally had her hair covered because that’s what modestly looked like in her culture . . .”

Are we the only ones seeing an attempt to connect Mary to Islamic culture? By calling Mary Palestinian, and invoking her modest head covering, there’s an attempt to imply that Mary was a good Muslim — when in fact it was about another 600 years until Islam was founded.

Her tweet, were it to be accurate and respectful of the religion of which Mary was a member, would have read:

“They were in Bethlehem because Joseph was reporting for the census. And she normally had her hair covered because that’s what modesty looked like in Jewish practice . . .”

The part that really makes us chuckle is the inclusion of the adverb “normally.” What is Ghahraman’s source for including this adverb? Is she aware of times when Mary went about immodestly, with her head uncovered?

There’s a concept in television called retroactive continuity, or retcon. It’s when facts about the past — that never took place in a show’s episodes — are inserted to create a thread to the character’s current storyline or character development.

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