The BBC World Service radio program Heart and Soul aired a program titled “Black Jesus” on December 18, in which presenter Robert Beckford claimed that Jesus was a “Palestinian,” despite the term only coming into use some 100 years after the crucifixion.
Throughout the program, Beckford noted accurately that artistic depictions of Jesus as blonde and European are historically inaccurate. But when discussing his national identity, the presenter referred to Jesus numerous times as a “first-century Palestinian Jew,” whereby the term “Palestinian” only came into common use 100 years after his death following the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Roman Empire.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) highlighted the inaccuracy in a report earlier this year criticizing The New York Times, noting that, “during the time of Jesus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem were in what was commonly called Judea and Nazareth [which were] in what was commonly called the Galilee. The land where Jesus lived did not take on the name Palestine until the second century, well after his death. Thus, the notion of “first-century Palestine”… is totally fictional.
“In 132 CE, approximately 100 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jews fought against Roman rule for a second time in what is known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt,” the report continued. “After the Romans defeated the rebellious Jews in 135, they renamed the land of the Jews Palestina to punish the Jews and to make an example of them to other peoples considering rebellion. The Romans took away the Jewish name, Judea, and replaced it with the name of an ancient enemy the Jews despised. The Philistines were an extinct Aegean people whom the Jews had historically loathed as uncultured and barbaric.”
References to Jesus as “Palestinian” were also made on the December 13th edition of BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Morning, without any explicit mention of Jesus’ Jewish identity, according to CAMERA. The organization said it intends to ask the BBC to clarify the historical inaccuracies with a formal request.