The Bible and Settler Colonialism in Palestine and Beyond

January 27, 2024, 9:30am Eastern Time

In this international, online consultation, Rev. Prof. Mitri Raheb addressed how the recent escalation of violence in Palestine/Israel is part of a much longer settler colonialist project that relies on a weaponization of the Bible for its public support, giving highlights of his recent book Decolonizing Palestine: The Land, The People, The Bible (2023). Along with our respondents Atalia Omer and Revelation Velunta, he delved into the history of advocacy for settler colonial takeover of Palestine and the role of the Bible, especially the book of Joshua, in this process. Texts addressed included the siege of Jericho in Joshua 6, and the judgment on Amalek in 1 Samuel 15.

This event was co-organized with the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice, and was endorsed by:
-Alternative Seminary
-Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries
-Bible Remixed
-Ecumenical Bishop’s Forum
-Friends of Sabeel–North America (FOSNA)
-Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council
-Mindanao Bishops’ Conference of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente
-National Council of Churches in the Philippines
-Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
-Promotion of Church People’s Response
-Samahan ng Teolohikal na Edukasyon sa Pilipinas (STEP)
-Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
-Tzedek Chicago
-Union Theological Seminary–Philippines

The session will begin at 4:30pm in Palestine-Israel (EET), which is:

  • 6:30am in Los Angeles (PST)
  • 8:30am in Nashville (CST)
  • 9:30am in New York (EST)
  • 2:30pm in Belfast (GMT)
  • 3:30pm in Oslo (CET)
  • 10:30pm in Manila (PHST)
  • 11:30pm in Seoul (KST)

Click here to see and calculate additional time zones.

Main Speaker:

Rev. Prof. Mitri Raheb is the Founder and President of Dar al-Kalima University in Bethlehem. The most widely published Palestinian theologian to date, Dr. Raheb is the author and editor of 50 books including: Decolonizing Palestine: The Land, The People, The Bible (2023) and The Cross in Contexts: Suffering and Redemption in Palestine (2017). His books and numerous articles have been translated so far into thirteen languages. Rev. Raheb served as the senior pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem from June 1987 to May 2017 and as the President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land from 2011-2016. A social entrepreneur, Rev. Raheb has founded several NGOs including the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW). He is a founding and board member of the National Library of Palestine, and a founding member of Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a US 501c3 non-for-profit organization. He is an elected member to the Palestinian National Council as well as the Palestinian Central Council. Read full bio at


Atalia Omer is a Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. She is also a senior fellow and Dermot TJ Dunphy Visiting Professor at the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University’s Religion and Public Life program. She earned her PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. Her research focuses on religion, violence, and peacebuilding as well as theories and methods in the study of religion and Palestine/Israel studies. Omer was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2017, resulting in the publication of Decolonizing Religion and Peacebuilding (Oxford University Press, 2023). Among other publications, Omer is the author of When Peace is Not Enough: How the Israeli Peace Camp Thinks about Religion, Nationalism, and Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Days of Awe: Reimagining Jewishness in Solidarity with Palestinians (University of Chicago Press, 2019). She is also a co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Revelation Enriquez Velunta is Professor of New Testament and Cultural Studies at Union Theological Seminary, Philippines. He also serves as Director of UTS’s Master of Theology Program and supervises the seminary’s TEEL (Theological Education for an Economy of Life) partnership with the Council for World Mission. He has taught at the School on Intersectional Ecotheology and Ecojustice Witness (SIEEW in Zambia), Global Institute of Theology at Pacific Theological College (Fiji), Lutheran Theological Seminary (Hong Kong), Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary (Taiwan), Vanderbilt University (USA), Teologiska Hogskolan Stockholm (Sweden), Philippine Women’s University, Philippine Christian University (Manila and Dasmarinas campuses), and Southern Christian College. Velunta has graduate degrees from Union Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Vanderbilt University. He is part of the International Scholars Program of the Society of Biblical Literature. Many of his works are available on Amazon and via his blog at Velunta has also served as Pastor of the Cainta UCCP Disciples and as Student Chaplain at the Church of the Risen Lord at UP Diliman, and he is a Certified Public Accountant.