One week after publishing a column saying Jesus likely was Palestinian, The New York Times admitted it made a mistake.
The Times posted a correction April 27, blaming the mistake on an edit.
“Because of an editing error, an article last Saturday referred incorrectly to Jesus’s background,” the correction said. “While he lived in an area that later came to be known as Palestine, Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem.”
A week earlier, The Times ran a column by journalist Eric V Copage about Jesus’ color and heritage. The column included this sentence: “Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin.” That line has been changed to read: “But Jesus, a Jew born in Bethlehem, presumably had the complexion of a Middle Eastern man.”
The flub in The New York Times column occurred the day before Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota re-tweeted a tweet claiming Jesus was Palestinian. Omar is Muslim.
The tweet by Islamic scholar Omar Suleiman she re-tweeted read, “I was once asked by a relative who is a Palestinian Christian why the Christian right in America largely supports their oppression. ‘Don't they know we're Christian too? Do they even consider us human? Don't they know Jesus was a Palestinian?’”
Omar’s re-tweet sparked a backlash on social media. That included a response from Michael Dickson, executive director of StandWithUs-Israel.
“No, @Ilhan Omar, Jesus was not a 'Palestinian', he was a Jew born in Israel under Roman occupation and your need to misrepresent history and misappropriate his background to further a political cause says more about you than it does about anything else,” Dickson wrote.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.