TB Joshua is the latest in a wave of pro-Zionist preachers taking an active interest in Israel - and Palestinians will pay the price - Jonathan Cook writes from Nazareth.
The recent arrival of Africa's most popular televangelist preacher, TB Joshua, to address thousands of foreign pilgrims in Nazareth, produced a mix of consternation and anger in the city of Jesus's childhood.
There was widespread opposition from Nazareth's political movements, as well as from community groups and church leaders, who called for a boycott of his two rallies. They were joined by the council of muftis, which described the events as "a red line for faith in religious values."
Joshua's gatherings, which included public exorcisms, took place in an open-air amphitheatre on a hill above Nazareth that was originally built for Papal Masses. The site was used by Pope Benedict in 2009.
The Nigerian pastor, who has millions of followers worldwide and calls himself a prophet, aroused local hostility not only because his brand of Christianity strays far from the more traditional doctrines of Middle Eastern churches. He also represents a trend of foreign Christians, driven by apocalyptic readings of the Bible, interfering ever more explicitly in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories - and in ways that directly aid the policies of Israel's far-right government.
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