A YouTube video by a Palestinian Christian woman from Bethlehem named Christy Anastas is sparking controversy over her avowedly pro-Israel views as well as her criticism of the Palestinian leadership, which she blames for driving Christians out of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
In the video posted by the small pro-Christian and pro-Jewish activist group Emmaus Group, titled “Christy a Palestinian Christian's plea to Dr. Saeb Erekat,” Anastas introduces herself as a Palestinian Christian who then challenges Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat to protect her family from threats that they have been receiving due to her views.
The introduction is followed by a lecture at Sweden’s Uppsala University, where Anastas expressed her strong support for Israel, while also condemning the Palestinian leadership for persecuting Christians and promoting martyrdom.
“I believe God has given this land to the Jews as an everlasting covenant,” Anastas says at one point in the video.
Ironically, Anastas was also part of a controversial CBS “60 Minutes” segment on Palestinian Christians by Bob Simon. In that segment, Anastas’s mother Claire speaks to Simon about the decline of Christians in Bethlehem, blaming the Israeli separation barrier for their plight.
Adding to the fallout from the video, in statements to a local Bethlehem radio station Radio Mawwal, the Anastas family expressed their “surprise” at the video by Christy, “deploring and condemning” her words. The family believes that Christy is being held under duress in the United Kingdom, where she went to study about a year and a half ago, by the Emmanus Group.