Hillsong United features Palestinian Christians in Music Video
As Christians from the same town where Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was born, we couldn’t be happier to see our own brothers and sisters being featured in Hillsong’s latest music video. This summer the band toured the Holy Land and Lebanon in partnership with World Vision where they met many weary victims of war and conflict. Among them were Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and as you’ll see one minute and thirteen seconds into the video, our very own brother Daher Nassar.
Aside from being the relative of Nisreen Nassar, the executive assistant of our president, Daher is a well-known friend and role model in Bethlehem’s Christian community. Hillsong paid him a visit to bear witness to the problems he faces in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For 25 years he and his family have been battling Israeli Courts to maintain ownership of their farm, the “Tent of Nations.” When Israel invaded the West Bank in 1967, settlements began appearing on all sides, eventually completely surrounding them. Governing authorities were bent on acquiring the property to continue settlement expansion but the Nassar family stood their ground. With his official deed to the property dating back to the Ottoman Period, Daher has tried to defend against legal affronts but many of his neighbors have resorted to intimidation tactics. The farm is cut off from the local water and electricity supplies and is refused access to building permits. Daher and his family are forced to use primitive tools and live in old derelict buildings. And to further intensify these problems, settlers have been known to raid their property and cut down olive trees, all of which is documented by major news organizations like BBC World News and Haaretz.
Despite of all these trials and difficulties, Daher is one of the most peaceful men in the region. One minute and eighteen seconds into the video you’ll see a stone decorating the entrance of the farm. It writes: “we refuse to be enemies” in various languages. Now, this globally recognized worship band—known for their songs “Hosanna”, “Lead me to the Cross”, “From the Inside Out”, and “Oceans”—featured him in their music video. The millions of Evangelical Christians around the world who follow their work have been given an opportunity to see what is happening to Daher and his family.
Unfortunately, no mention of the Tent of Nations, Daher, or even the word “Palestine” is made. Perhaps this was done to avoid the political fallout, but we hope the band will speak up. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
There is no doubt that Hillsong sings in the tongues of angels. We have enjoyed their music and even sung their songs in our churches. But without love—especially towards fellow believers—they fall short of the calling of the Prince of Peace to boldly and honestly bear witness to the truth. We hope and pray Hillsong United will speak openly about their experience.
In the meantime, we recommend taking several minutes to watch this video. Put on some headphones and allow it to be a time of worship.
Amira is the Communications Coordinator of Bethlehem Bible College. She is a committed Palestinian Christian who has a passion for writing about the intersection of faith and seeking justice for her fellow countrymen. To read more of her writings sign up for Bethlehem Bible College’s monthly newsletter.