A lawmaker for New Zealand’s Greens Party said Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her husband Joseph, were Palestinian refugees.
Golriz Ghahraman on Thursday wrote on Twitter: “They were literally Palestinian refugees. And she (Mary) normally had her hair covered because that’s what modesty looked like in her culture…”
She had been answering a tweet suggesting that by the New Testament, the parents of Christ were refugees.
Ghahraman’s tweet, which has since been deleted without explanation, prompted criticism from Jewish community representatives.
A clear example of @golrizghahraman’s ignorant, antisemitic and historically revisionist views. This NZ Green Party list MP’s attempt to de-judaize Jesus (& by implication the land of Israel) and conflate his family with modern Palestinian refugees, is infantile and embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/h83H1kP4fx
— ShalomKiwi (@ShalomKiwi) July 11, 2019
A spokesperson of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Juliet Moses, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Ms Ghahraman, by refusing to acknowledge that Jesus was Jewish, including when many people pointed out her error, is continuing to erase that connection, a favorite tactic of those who aim to delegitimize the modern day Jewish presence in the land.”
She also said that, “Calling Mary and Joseph Palestinian refugees is ahistorical and disrespectful to the Jewish community, and no doubt the Christian community too.”
Judea was renamed Palestine by the Roman Empire, long after Jesus’ death.
Media reports that a spokesperson for Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson said Ghahraman was going to work with Jewish communities to improve dialogue. “Golriz has unreservedly apologized for her poorly worded remarks and we support her.” But Moses said: “There has been no apology from Ghahraman that I’m aware of.”
Ghahraman was born in Iran and her family sought asylum in New Zealand when she was a child. In 2017, she became the first refugee to be elected to the New Zealand parliament.