“[Pastor Raheb’s]words correspond to half-truths or no truths at all.” While on the one hand many of these churches have issued official statements deploring the Christian history of denigration and demonization of Jews, on the other hand they foster and fawn upon Protestant clerics who denigrate and demonize the State of Israel.
When the German concern Media Control announced the four winners of its 2011 German Media Prize (Deutscher Medienpreis) on January 13, 2012, the choice of the fourth, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb of Bethlehem, provoked a storm of hundreds of protests.
Why such a fuss? After all, even the Nobel Peace Prize is a nonsense prize if you can get it for giving a speech in Cairo. There is a website in Germany, Kulturpreise.de, that catalogues hundreds of such awards; Raheb already held some of them.
The primary cause of the protests was that a former federal German president, Prof. Roman Herzog, had agreed to come and laud the prize winners on February 24. More generally, the affair brought into the open the seething conflict between two contradictory tendencies in churches worldwide, but especially in German Protestant churches.
While on the one hand, many of these churches have issued official statements deploring the Christian history of denigration and demonization of Jews, on the other, they foster and fawn upon Palestinian clerics who denigrate and demonize the State of Israel.
Often, of course, it is distinct groups within a church that promote the one tendency or the other. When the same individual does both, it requires a considerable measure of cognitive dissonance or hypocrisy. The Raheb-Herzog Affair has provided a defining moment in this struggle.