Christmas trees and lights always add a festive feel to Sydney. It is also an opportunity for the Israel bashers to make some Bethlehem related anti-Israel statement – as noted in Honest Reporting here.
A good reply (as expressed in Blank pages of the Age) which somehow escapes the Fairfax brigade, is that Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus, as Jews, would not have a very happy time in Palestinian-authority administered, and now Muslim-majority Bethelehem.
One criticism that could be leveled at Israel is that it did not include Bethlehem within the Israel related Jerusalem borders, despite being implored to by the Christian leaders of Bethlehem at the time. But that’s water under the bridge. The Christians are now a minority in Bethlehem, and reduced to blaming Israel for all their woes (after all its safer than blaming the Muslims, and it’s what is expected of them). to anyone who pays any attention, its pretty obvious that Christians all over the Middle East are having a hard time, with the Nigerian Christians the latest victims. Too bad the Western cognescenti don’t care about them. Even though the crowds continue to be good at Bethlehem (the bashers have ignored that point), Nazareth is also getting an increasing billing.
As a last point, it’s small comfort that there is one tiny country, Israel, where Chanukah gets primary billing – in contrast to all the Christian predominant countries, where Christmas has primary; and to all the Muslim countries where Islamic religious rites are paramount.