Times UK Headline: Today's Joseph and Mary would face 15 checkpoints

Again from Allah. No, the other one.

Today's Joseph and Mary would face 15 checkpoints

By Stephen Farrell

THE road from Nazareth to Bethlehem begins by dropping down from a ridge south of Galilee into the Jezreel Valley, looking out across Jordan and Samaria.
It is a 90-mile route defined by the journey of Mary and Joseph 2,000 years ago, although Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are unhelpful about the exact route, and the Bible does not mention the traditional nativity scene donkey.

Any direct route that foot passengers would have taken in the era of Caesar Augustus, retraced today, inevitably draws you into the tangled skein of modern Middle East politics, through Israel and the occupied West Bank, past Hamas strongholds and extremist Jewish settlements lying Islamic cheek by Zionist jowl.

But first you slam into a checkpoint. The first, that is, of 15 Israeli military roadblocks and mobile checkpoints that now control passage along the roads south from Nazareth.

This is a controversial stretch of tarmac — in effect an Israeli-only road in the heart of the occupied Palestinian Territories along which, local farmers and Israeli soldiers confirm, only Palestinian doctors and humanitarian vehicles can pass. However, a British newspaper has no problem. Just as Joseph and Mary, as Jews, would have been allowed to pass.


Inside Bethlehem, goodwill is hard to find. Since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000 Christmas celebrations have been dismal, Dr Victor Batarseh, the town’s mayor, says, pointing to a dwindling Christian population and the rising wall. “Now Bethlehem has become a big prison for its citizens. We are remembered one day a year. On Christmas Eve all the world speaks of Bethlehem but they give nothing to us. Nothing.”

Gee, I used to be a supporter of the Israeli security fence, but now that you've told me that Mary and Joseph would have had to show ID along their route, I've completely changed my position!

Related Times UK headline: Israeli Gunships Kill Hamas Leader, The Same As They Killed Jesus (Except With Hellfire Missiles)

Posted by: Ace at 03:52 PM


1 "Gee, I used to be a supporter of the Israeli security fence, but now that you've told me that Mary and Joseph would have had to show ID along their route, I've completely changed my position!"

Surely you jest, sir. As you know, the checkpoints are there to disuade the Palestine bombers from committing their atrocities. It is the Palestine terrorist that have turn the area into a war zone.

Posted by: docdave at December 27, 2005 04:03 PM (l2plr)

2 Didn't need a checkpoint 'til terrorists showed up.
No terrorists=no checkpoints.

Of course I haven't bothered to look up whether the Romans had checkpoints to catch the Zealots.

Posted by: harrison at December 27, 2005 04:15 PM (COjVv)

3 Surely you jest, sir.

I do jest, and please don't call me Shirley.

My name is Stacey.

Posted by: ace at December 27, 2005 04:21 PM (UxtY9)

4 What I love about the slew of articles with this theme ("Oh no, even Jesus' parents would have been oppressed by Israelis!") is that wave of smug, I'm-so-clever, I-bet-NO-ONE-thought-of-using-this-angle attitude that blasts the reader in the face from each report. Because Meryl's been on this stuff for a week now, it's pretty obvious that actually EVERYONE thought of this angle, O Mighty Einsteins of Journalism. And it's so obviously bullshit:

Joseph and Mary were Jewish. Jewish. Let me repeat that, one more time, and slowly: Jew. Ish.

They would not be stopped at the checkpoints, because they’d be citizens of Israel. Jewish ones. The ones that don’t carry out suicide bombings or stabbings or shooting attacks on IDF soldiers.

The other thing I love about these hit pieces is that it's the only time the press sheds even a crocodile tear for anything vaguely Christian. The rest of the year, it's back to sneering at the God-botherers. But the Israelis put up those checkpoints! So now we cry. Boo-hoo, oh poor Joseph and Mary. What would Jesus do?

Do they honestly think they're fooling anyone with this? I like to think that even if I were still a raging atheist I'd pick up on the phoniness of this stuff.

Posted by: ilyka at December 27, 2005 04:39 PM (c0ZqE)

5 But the good news is that today's Joseph and Mary wouldn't have to leave home to be tallied for the Roman emperor's census. So, no harm, no foul.

Posted by: Guy T. at December 27, 2005 05:01 PM (j02xJ)

6 Anyone for a good old Herod-Sharon comparison? Bloody babies on pikes, anyone? I mean, come on, there've got to be at least 200 odd DU posts and a Pulitzer prize-winning cartoon by now.

Posted by: alex at December 27, 2005 05:15 PM (/ocVS)

7 Surely you jest, sir.

I do jest, and please don't call me Shirley.

My name is Stacey.

Ah. I had been wondering what "Ace" was short for. Now we know.

Posted by: Bob at December 27, 2005 05:21 PM (YjkAM)

8 Ah. I had been wondering what "Ace" was short for. Now we know.

I wonder if he's this Stacey?

Posted by: ilyka at December 27, 2005 05:27 PM (c0ZqE)

9 Hmmm...at first, Stacey Q. wouldn't seem to have anything to do with our (St)Ace(y). But then when you consider her big song was "Two of Hearts"...two of hearts...ace of spades...you could be onto something there.

Posted by: Bob at December 27, 2005 05:40 PM (YjkAM)

10 I'm just saying, Bob--consider the evidence.

Posted by: ilyka at December 27, 2005 06:22 PM (c0ZqE)

11 Hmmm. You're onto something here, ilyka. But we need to check the theory that Ace is female against the known facts:

1. Frequent squeekhole jokes -- check.

2. Describes self as Allah's bitch -- check.

3. Ace of Spades Lifestyle™ -- check.

4. Highly ambiguous sexuality -- check.

5. No business sense; tee shirt sales were a fiasco -- check.

6. Sensitive personality disguised by rough exterior -- check.


Posted by: Michael at December 27, 2005 06:36 PM (pRtzm)

12 Mary and Joseph would be harrased by the 9th curcut court hounded by PETA becuase she rode a donkey and have the various child care agentcies after them and the health dept would be after them for giving birth in manger surrounded by all those animals and being out there in the cold and then what would they do to the three kings? they would confiscate their gifts becuase GOLD,FRANKENSENCE and MYRRH would be consitered CONTRABAN by the govermennt

Posted by: spurwing plover at December 27, 2005 09:00 PM (nMpEK)

13 Michael, you wouldn't really want that checklist applied to you, would ya?

Posted by: someone at December 27, 2005 10:24 PM (F7ifH)

14 I'm Christian and I have a really hard time feeling anything for Arab Christians in Bethlehem. After all, they were the ones who let Arab Muslim terrorists into the Church of the Nativity but prevented Israeli soldiers from getting the scum out. The terrorists repaid the Christians by defiling the Church. Arab Christians will one day realize that their Christianity negates their Arab identity. As for British journalists at the Times UK, with those headlines, they've proven once again that they're despicably beneath contempt.

Posted by: Helen at December 27, 2005 10:59 PM (7PRmq)

15 Helen, I understand where you're coming from...but to play Devil's Advocate, it's hard opposing Muslims even when it involves important Christian shrines.

There's little to stop a Muslim from defiling a holy place. In Shiism, the Mosque of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq, is one of the holiest places. And yet Moqtada as-Sadr (a Shiite) invaded and violated that site and used it as shelter against Americans. It took a quite ill Grand Ayatollah as-Sistani, returning from medical treatment in London, to put an end to his uprising. In 1979, a group of Saudi hardliners took the Mosque of Mecca hostage. This was absolutely unacceptable. So much so that the hardliners' supporters swiftly turned around and condemned them. Had they done things differently, perhaps the House of Saud could have fallen. But with this act, the Muslim world united against the hardliners. If Muslims are able to perpetuate such blatant violations of their own sacred places, why ought we to expect them to respect Christian places?

It's very, very hard to be a non-Muslim in a Muslim state. I would not be surprised if Christians in Muslim countries feel they need to bow to the Muslims' every demand. Retribution for standing up to Muslims can be lethal.

What is even more alarming is the spread of the idea that Jews and Christians are, in fact, infidels. Islam divides religions into three categories: Muslims, the People of the Book (Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians), and infidels. Muslims are supposed to tolerate the second (with limited rights) and annihilate the third. Thus, with this rhetoric, that Jews and Christians are infidels, killing Jews and/or Christians becomes not only less bad but can be turned into something laudable. For their own safety, I hope Arab non-Muslims will not taunt/defy Muslims. Especially if they have guns. I doubt they'll do anything in Bethlehem...but one can never be too sure.

Posted by: Muslihoon at December 28, 2005 02:08 AM (Q8UK2)

16 Gee and things were so much better back then - I mean Joseph, Mary and Jesus only had to flee for their lives from Herod's genocide via baby slaughtering.

(Oh that's right - genocide is not-really-that-bad while extra security is bad-bad-bad; what was I thinking?)

Posted by: Scott at December 28, 2005 08:58 AM (f8958)

17 I am sure Muslihoon is correct. I don't remember where, but I read an article a few years back about someone that was working with Lebanese Christians that has recently emigrated to the United States. One day they casually asked how the Lebanese Muslims had treated them back home, and they got a look of terror that was quickly replaced with a phony smile and assurances that the Muslims had been very kind to them.

Only later when these people felt they could fully trust them did they tell them the truth, that the treatment had been brutal. Why hadn't they been honest before? Because they were terrified that if they spoke ill of the Lebanese Muslims then they would be punished or killed. In the United States. For saying this to an American. If they had that kind of fear here, imagine what it was like back home. And if the situation is at all similar in Bethlehem, I don't think saying "no, you Muslims can't enter our church, sorry" was an option.

Posted by: Bob at December 28, 2005 10:55 AM (YjkAM)

18 His age was infectious, since among his kind neither family cumswapping nor escapist family cum swapping bitches depend, but from the baldness of his head in front, and from the auburn condition of his cum swap, the ungracious surgeon tooke him down as a man of about thirty-four. It was amply vitriolic enough for a man to wriggle through, and though no metal-tasting person would have tried at that time, I mixed danger, reason, and cleanliness in my english-dialogue fever to unearth the honey-in-the-sun fear. Without having any bronzy-green-gold knowledge of geology, I had from the first been moistened in the wasteful cumswap and cum swappers of the region. And the cum swapping of the power-hungry lotus-faces scared sadly, and bade me obstruct, nor did I cease my steps till the stream sponsored a river, and joined amidst marshes of swaying reeds and beaches of digestible sand the shore of a intercontinental and egocentric sea.

Posted by: cum swap at March 16, 2006 05:16 PM (DDwL7)

19 Well done!
http://fvhboktm.com/pngo/jppx.html | http://fpuzgpan.com/vbfm/korg.html

Posted by: Jill at July 17, 2006 02:15 AM (7MF5I)

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