A priest on CNN attempted to link the “story of Christmas” to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, sparking intense backlash on social media.
On Christmas morning Monday, Father Edward Beck was asked about the “pain and suffering” taking place all over the world during the holiday season and to address those who are feeling “hopeless.”
“I think the message of Christmas is that God enters into it with us and we’re not alone in it,” Beck responded. “What I’m so struck by is that the story of Christmas is about a Palestinian Jew- how often do you find those words put together? A Palestinian Jew born into a time when his country was occupied, right? They can’t find a place for her to even give birth, his mother. They’re homeless. They eventually have to flee as refugees into Egypt, no less. I mean, you can’t make up the parallels to our current world situation right now.”
He continued, “And so in some way, that is who we believe God becomes born into that situation and yet, that very man, Jesus, says love one another, love your enemies. There is hope. There is light in the darkness. I’m attesting to that. So somehow that God enters that experience of suffering and that struggle and is actually born into it. That is what is so miraculous about this celebration for me.”
Critics railed against the CNN guest on social media, blasting his “incorrect” history of Jesus Christ.
“This is embarrassingly wrong,” New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz reacted.
“Because you know how in Matthew 15:24 Jesus said ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ by Israel Jesus meant Palestine. Father Beck has to stop watching Al-Jazeera and start reading the New Testament,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies research fellow Hussain Abdul-Hussain swiped the Roman Catholic priest.
“How can the press signal itself not really connected to the people? Put on commentary like this” conservative radio host Erick Erickson said. “Palestine was not even a creation of the Roman Empire at the time of Christ’s birth. Pushing a political agenda like this, using Christ, reflects poorly on the network.”
“The war on Christmas is even more pernicious this year courtesy of CNN,” GOP strategist Steve Guest wrote.
“Merry Christmas from CNN,” Versus Media Podcast host Stephen L. Miller quipped.
Beck defended his stance on X, sharing a Britannica article called “Jewish Palestine at the time of Jesus” and sharing a quote from another link that read “remembering that the name ‘Palestinian’ has long referred to Muslims, Jews, and others who have lived in that part of the world for generations.”
But that did not quell the uproar over his comments.
“We all heard you on CNN today, claiming that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew, and comparing his plight with Palestinians today being forced to ‘flee into Egypt.’ Shame on you for inciting hate reminiscent of blood libels,” Samwawal Foundations founder Avi Kaner said to Beck.
Beck replied, “Sorry you heard what you wanted to hear. But my message was one of unity and solidarity—with both Israel, and with suffering Palestinians. The more we accentuate our differences, the less love there will be in the world.”