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Christ at the Checkpoint

Profile

Country/TerritoryIsrael
Websitehttp://www.christatthecheckpoint.com/
Founded2010 by the Bethlehem Bible College, an evangelical institution established by Palestinian Christian clerics.
In their own words“Challenge Evangelicals To Take Responsibility To Help Resolve the Conflicts in Israel-Palestine By Engaging With the Teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God.”

Funding

  • Christ at the Checkpoint does not publish donors or financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • Christ at the Checkpoint was founded by Bethlehem Bible College.  Bethlehem Bible College is funded indirectly by the Dutch government through Kerk in Actie (€25,000 in 2016)

Activities

  • The Christ at the Checkpoint is a biannual conference that takes place in Bethlehem. These conferences have featured speakers from politicized NGOs, including Sami Awad (Holy Land Trust) and Naim Ateek (Sabeel Ecunemical Liberation Theology Center).
  • Seeks to advance the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Evangelical Christian churches, while simultaneously revives theological antisemitic themes such as replacement theology.
  • The Christ at the Checkpoint Manifesto states that the “suffering of the Palestinian people can no longer be ignored” and that “Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.”
  • In December 2016, CATC released a video telling “the story of Christmas from Bethlehem.” The video claims that Mary and Joseph would not be able to enter Bethlehem today “because the big wall is close to Bethlehem. He’ll want a permit from Israel.” Jesus is also compared to modern-day refugees.
  • The 2016 CATC conference focused on “The Gospel in the Face of Religious Extremism.”
    • The conference was featured on the Kairos Palestine website. The Kairos Palestine Document was drafted in 2009 by a group of thirteen Palestinian Christian clergy. It calls for BDS against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and blames Israel solely for the continuation of the conflict. Its purpose is to rally churches globally to support BDS, delegitimization, and demonization directed at the State of Israel.
  • The 2012 conference coincided with “Israel Apartheid Week” and included representatives of World Vision, Christian Aid, and World Council of Churches (WCC); the latter two play key roles in mobilizing the church BDS effort globally.
  • Employs rhetoric accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” erecting an “apartheid wall,” and enacting a “crucifixion system” against the Palestinians.
  • CATC regularly features and interviews Micha Kurz in its videos and promotional materials; Kurz was a co-founder of Breaking the Silence as well as Grassroots Jerusalem, and is active in other groups including ICAHD and Ta’ayush.
  • Partners with pro-Palestinian activists within mainline churches promoting BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns, “one-state” frameworks, and the Palestinian claim to a “right of return,” meaning the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Examples of Antisemitism at Christ at the Checkpoint conferences:

  • “If God wanted the Jews to have the land (the land that belongs to my family) over my people’s dead bodies, destroyed homes and uprooted olive trees, I didn’t want that God anymore! I was confused between my Christianity and my feelings of patriotism–until Christ at the Checkpoint conference came to life.” ( “A young Palestinian Christian’s voice,” 2016)
    “Jewish extremism is alive and well in two ways, [] through Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. First, Judaism is not unique in the idea that ‘God is on my side,’……. Israeli Zionism is an iteration of extremist ideology that blends human exclusivism with divine approval.” (David Neuhaus, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel and Coordinator of the Pastoral among Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Israel, 2016)
  • “The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are therefore now fulfilled only through those who follow Jesus Christ since they alone are designated the true children of Abraham and Sarah. Jews who reject Jesus Christ are outside the covenant of grace and are to be regarded as children of Hagar.” (Rev Stephen Sizer, 2010)
  • “I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlehemite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.” (Mitri Raheb, 2010)
  • “Jesus was a Palestinian who lived in Palestine… Jesus was a Palestinian who was born under occupation. Jesus lived under occupation. Everything he taught, everything he said was done under occupation, exactly the way we live today.” (Naim Ateek, founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, 2010)

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