Yale Protestant chaplain says Americans must curb Israel so as to curb anti-Semitism

US Politics
on 84 Comments

Everyone is talking about this. Last week the New York Times ran an op-ed by Deborah Lipstadt saying that anti-Semitism is returning to Europe in ways reminiscent of the Nazi era, in which Lipstadt blurred the line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, citing protests of Israel’s slaughter in Gaza. Well, the Times has now run a simple and eloquent letter from the Episcopalian chaplain at Yale that many people have passed along.

To the Editor:

Deborah E. Lipstadt makes far too little of the relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.

The trend to which she alludes parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank.

As hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.

(Rev.) BRUCE M. SHIPMAN
Groton, Conn., Aug. 21, 2014

The writer is the Episcopal chaplain at Yale.

So Shipman is saying that American Jews have a responsibility to curb Israel’s war crimes because this is feeding anti-Semitism. The pushback against Shipman has already begun. David Bernstein (who ran me and Max Blumenthal down as no-accounts who would have no reputation were it not for the great career opportunity of Jewish anti-Zionism) smears Shipman, in the pages of the Washington Post. Yale has distanced itself from Shipman and Shipman has himself clarified his original statement, without neutering it. Writes a friend:

I read this in the NYT and immediately knew someone was going to call this poor man an anti-semite. But he doesn’t say that all Jews are responsible for Netanyahu and he doesn’t say anti-semitism is justified. What he says is that Israel’s behavior contributes to anti-semitism and the best way to fight this would be for Israel’s patrons to pressure Netanyahu.

Now in many cases the antisemitism is deeper than just what Israel does, but it’d be odd if Israel’s arrogance and brutality didn’t contribute to some of it. Obviously it contributes. And when people in the Jewish community make unquestioned support for Israel an integral part of being Jewish, that isn’t going to help. And anyway, even if the pastor is simply wrong it doesn’t mean he’s an anti-Semite.

Also, of course, nobody in his right mind denies that Muslim terrorism increases bigotry against Muslims. It doesn’t justify it, but in what universe would anyone deny that there is some connection? I’m a Christian and I despise the Christian Right for its support for various cruel policies.. I despise the knee-jerk pro-Israel Jewish religious community for the same reason. I wonder if it’s okay to say that in public? Probably not.

I know the way liberal Protestants think–I am one. It’s obvious that Shipman wasn’t justifying anti-semitic violence. In the Yale Daily News (linked at Bernstein’s site) he called acts of anti-semitic violence “deplorable” and he hoped that the two communities (Israeli Jews and Palestinians) would both flourish and said they both had claims to the land.   Sounds like a real Nazi, doesn’t he?

What really burns me is this–Bernstein quotes a Rabbi Rosenstein attacking Shipman, and it’s obvious that Rosenstein is someone who justifies Israeli war crimes. That’s within the range of respectable thought, while Shipman’s comment is supposed to be on the edge of Nazism.

This ties into my claim the other day that American Christians are going to overcome their fear of the anti-Semitism charge and start to criticize Israel– that Javier Bardem won’t suffer career damage for saying Israel committed genocide. Shipman’s challenge underlines my point. He has an elite appointment, and he looks into the barrel of the anti-Semitism paintgun and doesn’t blink. More and more Jews and non-Jews are going to express themselves over the Gaza horror show of 2014, that was a sequel to the Gaza horror show of 2009 and a sequel of 25 years of peace processing and colonizing more Palestinian land– a pattern demonstrating that Israel has not a clue about how to deal with its Jim Crow constitution except to marginalize, sequester, and kill brown people.

But the Lipstadt piece followed by the reaction against Shipman demonstrates that there is a bifurcated discourse in the U.S. on Israel that recalls the bifurcated consciousness of the O.J. trial. Those friendly to Israel look at the whole situation one way, and those on my side look at it another way. We are simply in different realities, and who is right? Well my side is right; I’ve been to the occupation. But what will it take to break down the epistemological walls of the other reality? Sadly, I think violence in Israel and Palestine and then the U.S. is what will do it. Though the media and BDS and the great young Jewish awakening can help to force a reckoning. The New Yorker has at last acted to marginalize AIPAC. Eight years after Walt and Mearsheimer did so in the LRB, twelve years after Michael Massing did so in the American Prospect, The New Yorker declared AIPAC a corrupting organization. And good for The New Yorker, I hope it keeps moving. And this same week Philip Giraldi writes in the Unz Review that a group of Jewish billionaires wants to take the U.S. to war in Iran. This is a far more sweeping view of the lobby’s role, and a correct one I believe. One of those billionaires is Thomas Kaplan of United Against Nuclear Iran, who is married to an Israeli and who helped appoint the neocon at the head of Harvard’s Belfer Center and is chairman of the 92d Street Y (which discriminates against Palestinian authors). Incredible, huh? The New Yorker’s piece and Giraldi’s are actually compatible, they speak to the same underlying reality, and in a few years these accounts will be reconciled. Yes I understand, it’s a delicate issue, but people have a right to talk about it.

Thanks to Scott McConnell.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

84 Responses

  1. just
    August 28, 2014, 11:38 am

    Well done and written, Philip!

    Reverend Shipman’s letter is so simply elegant and “eloquent” and, of course, correct. He’s certainly true to his faith– I knew about this from other Episcopalian friends who are very proud of his words and are in agreement.

    I did not get this from his letter, though: “So Shipman is saying that American Jews have a responsibility to curb Israel’s war crimes because this is feeding anti-Semitism.”

    There are many other “patrons” of Israel than American Jews…..

    In other news befitting this section of “US Politics”, I found this via the Cape Cod Times:

    “……But when the man in the green Hawaiian shirt stood up, Warren went from voicing her support for those local causes to defending her vote to send $225 million to Israel in its ongoing conflict with Hamas.

    “We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel,” said Harwich resident John Bangert, who identified himself as a Warren supporter but said the $225 million could have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central America.

    “The vote was wrong, I believe,” he added, drawing applause from several in the crowd.

    Warren told Bangert she appreciated his comments, but “we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.”

    “I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right,” she said. “America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”

    Warren said Hamas has attacked Israel “indiscriminately,” but with the Iron Dome defense system, the missiles have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.” When pressed by another member of the crowd about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren said she believes those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”

    “But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” Warren said, drawing applause.

    Noreen Thompsen, of Eastham, proposed that Israel should be prevented from building any more settlements as a condition of future U.S. funding, but Warren said, “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far…..””

    link to capecodonline.com

    (apologies if already posted!)

  2. Krauss
    August 28, 2014, 11:44 am

    The Lipstadt piece was really strange. In the article, she linked a NYT article from the previous month. The linked text said “right-wing parties”. Yet the image of the article was muslim immigrants in Paris, probably at a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

    She really wants to connect the past to the present, but no matter how much she tries, the so-called “anti-Semitism surge” of Europe isn’t really the 1930s. It’s really a strong anti-Zionist sentiment, and it is most often expressed by muslims in Europe. Yes, there is also real anti-Semitism, and this is also mostly carried out by muslims (physicals attacks, verbal/racial slurs on the street etc), but it is of a much lesser capacity.

    • Krauss
      August 28, 2014, 11:47 am

      By the way, the fact that we can openly talk about Jewish billionaires like Kaplan proves three things:

      1. Jews in America feel very safe. We can discuss this without hysteria.
      2. Jews in America are no longer as monolithic on Israel, which of course breaks down the old liberal-neocon alliance. This old alliance, which people like Goldberg & Chait still wants to revive, is doomed.
      3. Non-Jews in America, partly because how Jews have changed but also on their own volition(Mearsheimer/Walt) have added to this conversation.

      Finally, and this is unrelated to the three previous points but still related to the larger point: the political awakening of Arab-America shouldn’t be underestimated. After decades of sleeping, they finally came to life in the post-Cast Lead era. They are never going to sleep again. And they are bringing the progressive campus organizations under their umbrella, in defiance of those who support Apartheid full-stop.

    • globalconsciousness
      August 28, 2014, 5:47 pm

      Krauss, may I ask your sources for the assertions that anti-semitism is carried out by Muslims – from my reading of the Guardian and The Independent , it appeared that anti-semitism attacks in both England and Germany were predominantly from the far-right white youth. Perhaps you have better info on this?

      • Elisabeth
        August 28, 2014, 9:14 pm

        Far right white youth in Europe support Israel. They find it cool to see how Israel ‘shows the Muslims their place’. Hatred for Muslims among them is strong and alive, while hatred for Jews is marginal. (They do not really like anyone though.)
        In Amsterdam it seems to be true that yelling insults to men who wear yarmulke is something especially boys of Moroccan or Turkish descent engage in. This abuse is absolutely related to anger about Israeli actions.

  3. just
    August 28, 2014, 12:04 pm

    From ‘The Forward’, a professor’s ranting and ravings:

    ‘Moral Emptiness of Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel
    The True Face Behind a New York Times Ad’

    By Alvin H. Rosenfeld
    Published August 28, 2014.

    link to forward.com

    A thoroughly despicable smear for those that wish to read it.

    (My bet? He’ll keep his job.)

    • seafoid
      August 29, 2014, 4:30 am

      What a find. Thank you, just . A reference

      I’m going through the earlier July stuff now and here are the highlights so far

      link to theguardian.com
      “For Israelis, the nightmare of your son’s phone ringing, unanswered, wipes away all the self-confidence that citizens of the Jewish state have built for themselves. That fear burrows into a national psyche that defines what Israel is about for its Jewish majority – a country that was founded and its entire military force built up so that no Jewish child should ever be captured and spirited away again. No other political arguments or realities apply. As far as they are concerned, that is Israel’s core purpose.”

      A rare burst of Shavit clarity
      link to haaretz.com
      “What will be will be as the situation unfolds, but it’s already clear that the way things were until a few weeks ago is gone. The bubbles we’ve lived in have burst. The years of calm are over. ”

      link to theguardian.com
      “So we’re left with a one-state solution, operated on ethnically segregated apartheid-style lines, in which a large section of the population has no say in who rules over them, indefinitely. But it’s folly to imagine that this shameful injustice will continue without an escalating cost for those who enforce it.
      The conflict’s eruptions are certainly coming thicker and faster. Despite heroic Israeli efforts to fix the narrative, global opinion has never been more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. But the brutal reality is that there will be no end to Israel’s occupation until Palestinians and their supporters are able to raise its price to the occupier, in one way or another – and change the balance of power on the ground.”

      link to theguardian.com
      “Gaza air strikes are a necessary show of force for Israel
      Hamas, bankrupt and friendless, hopes to use violence to win support. Israel cannot do otherwise than act”

      PresidentPeres ✔ @PresidentPeres
      All approaches to #Hamas by the intl’ community to recognize #Israel and make #peace were denied
      We cannot accept death, there is no compromise with bombshells and no compromise when there’s danger above the head of mothers and children

      Dersh special
      link to haaretz.com
      Hamas, not Israel, is the real enemy of the Palestinians
      “To Gaza’s innocent civilians: Demand a ‘Gaza Spring’ and rid yourself of Hamas’ violent theocrats and kleptocrats, who love Palestinian children less than they hate Israel
      The real enemies of the Palestinians are those Hamas leaders who do in fact love Palestinian children less than they hate Israel. That’s why they are prepared to use these children as human sacrifices in their efforts to destroy the nation state of the Jewish people.

      There will be peace between Israel and the Palestinians only when the Palestinians overthrow or vote out the violent theocrats and kleptocrats of Hamas—or unless Hamas can be induced by the citizens of Gaza to change its destructive policies. The alternative will be a Gaza in which civilians continue to pay the heavy price for Hamas’ hatred of Israel and contempt for its own citizens. ”

      link to ft.com
      “Israeli policy has left the Palestinian Authority toothless and discredited, its land eaten away by the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem. But Israel’s reputation in the world is also eroding, and it is an illusion to think it can remain an oasis of peace and prosperity in a region on fire, so long as the Palestinians have no prospect of a viable state of their own.”

      The UK newspapers were way ahead of the curve. Zionism lost 66 soldiers, wasted much ammunition and, most of all, suffered unimaginable losses in the hasbara division.

      It is so interesting to see how many commentators underestimated Gaza and the will of the people there to take charge of their lives .

    • Citizen
      August 29, 2014, 7:49 am

      Algemeiner has an article up now characterizing the Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel as students of the “Sissy” school of Jews.

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 6:33 pm

        “Algemeiner has an article up now characterizing the Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel as students of the “Sissy” school of Jews.”

        It’s like it becomes performance art at some level. Do they really want people concluding that Zionism has more use for Holocaust victims than Holocaust survivors? But they couldn’t leave it alone, that ad, could they, nope they felt compelled to go there. Stunned.

  4. uh...clem
    August 28, 2014, 12:22 pm

    On the issue of anti-semitism returning to Europe my view is that the Israeli political elite just wants to keep the pot boiling, especially because of the increasing world-wide criticism of Israeli policies, domestic and foreign. They probably are remembering the (inverted) wisdom of Golda Meir’s admonition in the early 1970s: “Too much anti-semitism is not good because it leads to genocide. No anti-semitism is also not good because there would then be no immigration to Israel. What we need is a moderate anti-semitism”.

    • Philip Weiss
      August 28, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Your handle is a reference to the Firesign Theater, right? Does Mooser know this?

      • uh...clem
        August 28, 2014, 12:45 pm

        right you are, Phil. You must be ancient to remember that far back (1971). And it took a particular “head”-space to appreciate the brilliant political satire and comedy of The Firesign Theatre (NB). If Mooser doesn’t know this, I’d be surprised.

      • just
        August 28, 2014, 3:32 pm

        Firesign was great! I still giggle when I think of it.

        One of my favorites:

      • Philemon
        August 28, 2014, 8:12 pm

        “They probably are remembering the (inverted) wisdom of Golda Meir’s admonition in the early 1970s: ‘Too much anti-semitism is not good because it leads to genocide. No anti-semitism is also not good because there would then be no immigration to Israel. What we need is a moderate anti-semitism.'”

        Do you have a source for that quote? Not that I doubt it on its face; it has obviously been something of a modus operandi in Zionist circles from the get go. Just that it would be nice to have a well-documented quote to that effect from good old Golda Meir herself.

      • Citizen
        August 29, 2014, 8:15 am

        @ Philemon
        “Figl: Volksgerichte sollen mit Ende dieses Jahres eingestellt werden”, : Wiener Kurier (12 September 1949), p. 1

      • uh...clem
        August 29, 2014, 2:29 pm

        @Philemon: sorry—I misled you. after a little more digging I discovered that the reference to Meir’s quote comes from Michel Warschawski’s book, On The Border, p. 154. HE may have gotten it from the german source which Citizen points us to. I don’t german well enough to read his source. Link, Citizen? Or translation, at least.

      • Philemon
        August 29, 2014, 7:10 pm

        Thanks, uh, clem!

        Didn’t see your response before I responded to Citizen below.

    • Philemon
      August 28, 2014, 7:33 pm

      “They probably are remembering the (inverted) wisdom of Golda Meir’s admonition in the early 1970s: ‘Too much anti-semitism is not good because it leads to genocide. No anti-semitism is also not good because there would then be no immigration to Israel. What we need is a moderate anti-semitism.'”

      Do you have a source for that quote? Not that I doubt it on its face; it has obviously been something of a modus operandi in Zionist circles from the get go. Just that it would be nice to have a well-documented quote to that effect from good old Golda Meir herself.

      • uh...clem
        August 29, 2014, 12:31 am

        Philemon: I originally heard of Golda Meir’s “sage” advice from a zionist woman who had joined our local Palestine Study Group which I had formed in 2009 in my outrage over the Cast Lead attack on Gaza. I could only find one reference to it via a google search and that reference was not documented. Just google the first, second, or third sentence and it should come up on google.

      • Citizen
        August 29, 2014, 8:19 am

        @ uh…clem

        Mass Dictatorship and Memory as Ever Present Past
        books.google.com/books?isbn=113728983X
        Jie-Hyun Lim, ‎Barbara Walker, ‎Peter Lambert – 2014 – ‎History
        1. VHS/MRP, Nr. 114/3 (2. Juni 1948), AdR. ‘Figl: Volksgerichte sollen mit Ende dieses Jahres eingestellt werden’, : Wiener Kurier (12. September 1949), p. 1.

      • Philemon
        August 29, 2014, 7:04 pm

        Thanks, Citizen.

        Found the quote on p. 47 of above with footnotes attributing it to:

        Michel Warschawski, On the Border, English tran. Levi Laub (Cambridge, MA: South End Press 2005) p. 154. (isbn=0896087328, 9780896087323)

    • Philip Munger
      August 28, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Loosely reminds me of an old rule of thumb in Alaska commercial fishing: “It is better to owe the cannery a little bit of money than a lot of money, but it is better to owe them a little money than no money at all.”

  5. Marnie
    August 28, 2014, 12:26 pm

    I’m surprised this monster didn’t wish for their deaths. Shameless.

    • Marnie
      August 28, 2014, 12:27 pm

      I was talking about the nutty professor, not the Reverand Shipman, who is a breath of fresh air.

  6. Henry Norr
    August 28, 2014, 12:26 pm

    This is an interesting story, and it’s encouraging that someone like Shipman feels he can express what he did very openly. But I don’t think we can treat him as representative of mainstream American Christian opinion. I say that because I followed Phil’s link about him “clarifying” his original statement (in comments to the Yale Daily News), and I looked at the comments below that story, where I found a link to an op-ed Shipman wrote a couple of weeks back for The Day, apparently a newspaper or news site focused on southeastern Connecticut. There he explains that as a boy he lived in a suburb of Cairo, where many Palestinian refugees from 1948 also lived, and that Joyce Said, a sister of Edward, was a classmate, and that he recently took a walk through the remains of the Sabra and Shatila camps in Beirut.

    In other words, he had way more background about Israel and Palestine than most Americans, and, though he doesn’t say so explicitly, it sounds as though he was very critical of Israel long before this last onslaught or even before the siege of Gaza began in 2006 or so. He sounds like he comes out of the old tradition of elite Protestant Arabism.

    • richb
      August 28, 2014, 1:00 pm

      Clearly there is not greater awareness amongst mainstream American Christianity — even less so amongst evangelicals. Those who are clueless have remained clueless. What this marks is a different attitude amongst elite opinion and activists in mainline Protestantism. Marc Ellis was just a little ahead of the curve declaring the Interfaith Ecumenical Deal being dead.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      • Citizen
        August 29, 2014, 8:28 am

        @ richb
        One would never know it viewing the daily ads on Fox News channel, the one dramatically pleading with the audience to stop HAMAS, and support Israel’s poor–by the top interfaith organization and StopHAMAS.

    • Philip Weiss
      August 28, 2014, 3:59 pm

      Thanks Henry I didn’t know any of that. Next time I’m in New Haven maybe I should see if Rev. Shipman wants to talk…

      • Pixel
        August 29, 2014, 7:10 pm

        .
        “Next time I’m in New Haven maybe I should see if Rev. Shipman wants to talk…”

        I vote yes.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2014, 4:56 pm

      “He sounds like he comes out of the old tradition of elite Protestant Arabism. “

      Wasn’t that more of an English colonial thing, “The Arabists”?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2014, 5:09 pm

        not necessarily, it was initially primarily used in a scholarly context link to en.wikipedia.org

        and in an american political context link to en.wikipedia.org

        and then there was a lot of effort by zionists to transform it into a dirty word.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2014, 5:24 pm

        Thanks, Annie.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2014, 8:55 pm

        my pleasure mooser

      • irishmoses
        August 28, 2014, 8:19 pm

        At the top of the list of Arabists should be T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”). He had a huge influence after WWI. Gertrude Bell and the others were not in the same league as Lawrence. He was the one who drew the lines for the modern Middle East. He wanted to draw in a separate Kurdistan but was rebuffed. Ultimately, he couldn’t stomach what had been done to the “Arabs” and requested and received a secret appointment to the enlisted ranks of the what was to become the RAF. He never returned to public office and wrote only of his wartime exploits.

        A truly fascinating character and a rare Arabist who lived and fought with the Arabs.

      • Citizen
        August 29, 2014, 8:33 am

        Lawrence was shafted by the elite Brits in their own interest, including of Brit oil companies, and then Standard Oil. He wrote later in his life he deeply regretted how he let himself get bamboozled. He felt he had led the Arabs to their deaths by his promises, which the Brit elite ignored when the time was ripe.

      • Citizen
        August 29, 2014, 9:01 am

        A series of windows into how the various factions viewed the Zionists 1914-1918, including Lawrence’s idealistic view of the Zionist agenda:
        link to telstudies.org

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Ah, TE Lawrence! I saw him in a movie. So handsome, and so expressive.

      • Philemon
        August 29, 2014, 8:44 pm

        Now, now, Mooser, Peter O’Toole did his best, but Omar Sharif stole the show, and you know it.

        Citizen, your link was most interesting as well.

    • just
      August 28, 2014, 5:31 pm

      So Rev Shipman can do some real education among the American people.

      a good and necessary service.

  7. American
    August 28, 2014, 12:31 pm

    I do not know how any reasonably astute person could deny that Israel’s actions increase resentment of Jews around the world. The calls/rants against Jews appear in those periods when Israel is acting out—carrying out more assaults against Palestine. Its easy to chart.

    I also don’t think ‘anti semitism’ is the correct description for the current ‘feelings’ of the majority of those who are criticizing or attacking Israel. We can call anti Semitism on ‘some’ of those who attack random Jews.

    Something that has bugged me thru out the entire time I have been involved in following this is if you can define anti Semitism as having negative beliefs about the Jewish collective and those beliefs were brought on by generations of ‘canards’ or libels passed down about Jews then why for gawds sake have some Jews –seeming the ones who hurl the anti Semitism slur and claim they fear anti Semitism the most—signed up to Zionism which has literally brought the old canards to life on center stage right before our eyes.

    This is where and why it is impossible to treat Zionism or its followers as anything but a deceptive and destructive cult—–they are operating on those canards but calling it anti Semitism if anyone points it out—-demanding people not believe their own eyes and ears. This is one of the reasons gentiles and everyone else is totally done with their ridiculous accusations of anti Semitism being responsible for all the opposition to Israel…its the ‘don’t piss on my leg and tell me its raining’….. the world is fed up with that.
    Because this is the way Zionist operate you cannot communicate with, reason with or manage or control it, –its a lie and delusion factory—it has to be put out of business.

    • Citizen
      August 29, 2014, 9:08 am

      “its a lie and delusion factory”–and has been so at least since the days of Lawrence of Arabia. He believed during WW1 that the zionists would, on one hand, be as harmonious as the traditional Arabs and Arab Jews, and on the other hand, the new colonialist Jews from
      Europe (to paraphrase the thinking of the time, the least westernized of western people, the yiddish-speakers) would enhance both the Arab and Jewish cause by bringing in Jewish capital and Western know-how.

  8. seafoid
    August 28, 2014, 12:37 pm

    People are sick and tired of Israeli exceptionalism. Maybe it’s fine in Hebrew to class the Palestinians as Untermenschen but it looks dreadful in English. And BDS is not possible” because it’s too like the 1930s”. Well, guess what ? Gaza looks far too much like the 1940s to a lot of people outside the bubble.

    And Israel lost the celebrity war this time around. Seriously.

    Gorenberg has a good article in Ha’aretz about the failure of the Likud formula
    :
    link to haaretz.com
    “Netanyahu taps into two contradictory currents in the Israeli psyche: The Holocaust trauma of helplessness, and belief in force as the only solution.”

    Israel can’t kill over 500 kids and claim helplessness.

    Israel is entitled to tell itself that the Palestinians are Amalek but as a sovereign nation it has to live with the consequences.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2014, 8:15 pm

      “but as a sovereign nation”

      Hmmmm, most of the sovereign nations I know of know where their borders are, and which towns and cities are, or aren’t within its sovereign territory. So Israel might have trouble even claiming that designation.

  9. adele
    August 28, 2014, 12:41 pm

    Yes I understand, it’s a delicate issue, but people have a right to talk about it.

    That is my conclusion as well, not only because censoring our voice goes against our constitutionally-protected free speech, but also because no one has the right to regulate our conscience.

    I honestly hope that more and more of these cases (Shipman, Salaita, et al) come to the mainstream forefront, it will get discussed, it will get exposure, and more and more will weigh in on it, with the possible benefit of further destigmatising the discourse on Israel .

    PS: was away for a few days and came back to find the furniture all re-arranged here on the MW site! Getting used to the new lay-out but glad to see the content and commentary still as hard-hitting as ever :-)

  10. richb
    August 28, 2014, 12:44 pm

    The anti-Semitism emotional blackmail is definitely starting to backfire in my liberal Protestant circles. Before Protective Edge we balanced what we were hearing from our different ecumenical partners. After killing over 500 children and the same anti-Semitism trope was used any sense of (false) balance is gone. During the debate for Presbyterian divestment I engaged Zionist critics. Now I just block them.

    • just
      August 28, 2014, 12:54 pm

      What else is there to do, richb?

      “It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.”

      ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

    • American
      August 28, 2014, 3:31 pm

      All you can do is block them because trying to engage them only gets you a never ending hamster wheel run of zio delusions for replies.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2014, 4:38 pm

      “Now I just block them.”

      It is very, very difficult to listen to people demanding the most elite of privileges; to be ‘comfortable’ , to limit the terms and scope of discourse, to ignore facts, while others are pleading for their lives.

      The tone-deafness of Zionists never fails to amaze me.

      • irishmoses
        August 28, 2014, 8:41 pm

        Sorry, it’s not “tone-deafness” it’s more like clever lawyering; using any argument, no matter how specious, counter-factual, and counter-legal in the vain hope of turning around a losing case. Good judges get fed up with clever lawyering. I’d like to think that sometime soon the judgment of most people will tire of the cleverness of Zionist lawyering.

        I guess I’m speaking more of the hasbara crowd. It may be that mainstream Jews are just tone-deaf in their knee-jerk support of Zionist Israel but it seems like a self-imposed deafness. I get the sense that many avoid the argument because they know, deep-down, Israel, in the form of Likud Zionism, has created a real moral sewer. Best not take the lid off or you’ll gag at the stench.

      • uh...clem
        August 29, 2014, 12:39 am

        whenever I hear of ardent zionists wanting to feel comfortable on a campus or “feeling the hate” from pro-Palestinian speakers, it reminds me of that quip by Harry Truman (whose presidency I despise): “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”.

  11. Betsy
    August 28, 2014, 12:48 pm

    @ Henry Norr — a lot of mainline Christian denominations have multiple connections to the Middle East, through international work & partnerships going back in some cases two centuries. E.g., Presbyterian networks with schools & colleges in Egypt, Lebanon etc. have been conduits for communication that shape the thinking & knowledge base. I have argued for a while that these long historic connections are under-recognized. And the Israeli Lobby in US has systematically tried to undercut these other webs of international connection, by implying that international linkages between Israel & self-professed groups claiming to represent “the organized Jewish community” — should take precedence in US debates.

    While the average “mainstream American Christian” might not have these connections, they are, I believe, significant & underappreciated channels for diffusion of ideas.

    Also, re/ Shipman, he says that his dad worked for the World Health Organization & that was why he lived in Middle East. link to theday.com Unless you have some other info, I don’t know if one should leap to calling this part of “the old tradition of elite Protestant Arabism”

    • American
      August 28, 2014, 3:26 pm

      BetsyAugust 28, 2014, 12:48 pm
      @ Henry Norr — a lot of mainline Christian denominations have multiple connections to the Middle East, through international work & partnerships going back in some cases two centuries. E.g., Presbyterian networks with schools & colleges in Egypt, Lebanon etc. have been conduits for communication that shape the thinking & knowledge base. >>>>

      I dont think it is necessary or even advisable to get into who has what religious connections in the ME as a way to equate their religious interest or ties to the Jewish religious interest and ties to Israel.

      When you do that you for yourselves then you actually reinforce the ‘legitimacy’ of Jewish ties to ME/Israel which is not a ‘legitimate ‘ reason for US foreign policy..,,,,same way US church ties in the ME would not be a legitimate reason for US policy.

      All I see churches need to say …as religions….is that what Israel (and the US) are doing is immoral and a sin against humankind.

      • Betsy
        August 29, 2014, 9:04 am

        @American — to be clear. I wasn’t referring to official statements from a church. The public statements by the church *are* based on big principles regarding sin, humankind, and universal rights, etc. However, my point was that in fact there are multiple webs of connection between Americans & the Middle East. It is this webbiness & complexity that is suppressed by the mainstream framework. But, it is real & it does deepen & sharpen thinking. For instance, Gradye Parsons statement for the PC(USA) against bombing Syria, directly mentions the conversations with Syrian churches that shaped the PC(USA) stand. I agree that the official frameworks should be based on broad, universal values, but it is also important to nurture real-life webs of dialogue, exchange and solidarity among people on the ground. For instance, the peace movements in the 1980s were shaped by all the webs of connection that Catholic religious had in Central & South America. These kinds of particularistic webs can synergize with the broad universal moral principles, to help ground them & make them more empathic to lived complexities, rather than being only abstract.

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 12:21 pm

        ” The public statements by the church *are* based on big principles regarding sin, humankind, and universal rights, etc.”

        That is wonderful. The importance of basic princi[ples, and the process to attempt and act on consensus you have been telling us about is inspiring.
        I must say, it’s all very tempting, but I have a long-standing practice of not converting to any religion I can’t spell correctly.

      • Betsy
        August 29, 2014, 1:49 pm

        haha, Mooser! anyway, we seem to be dying out, so soon will be primarily of historical interest….:)

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 9:06 pm

        “anyway, we seem to be dying out, so soon will be primarily of historical interest”

        That’s too bad. And just when Spel-chek could have eliminated the problem, too. It isn’t fair.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2014, 4:50 pm

      ” I have argued for a while that these long historic connections are under-recognized.”

      Yes! Yes! Zionism has done such a good job of making people think Israel, and it’s support, is our only connection with the area!
      And if I am not mistaken, besides the German Irish, Italian, and other immigration groups who have assimilated, there was a wave of immigration, long assimilated now, from the countries of the expiring ‘Ottoman Empire’.

      • Pixel
        August 28, 2014, 10:13 pm

        @Mooser

        Ha!

  12. amigo
    August 28, 2014, 1:32 pm

    I can,t agree that antisemitism is returning to this part of Europe!!.

    ” The Republic’s Jewish population has experienced little or no hostility since the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza, the chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, Maurice Cohen, has said in an interview with The Irish Times.

    “There have been a few emails and messages but not very many. There have never been any major incidents of anti-Semitism in Ireland. Yes, there were those slogans along the [Dublin] quays and on hoardings last year but those involved just foolish people. Such are isolated incidents.”

    People make a distinction, he said: “They see us as Irish people of the Jewish faith.”

    link to irishtimes.com

    Most Irish people direct their distaste towards Israel and justifiably so.I don,t think Irish Europeans are that different from Other Europeans.

  13. JeffB
    August 28, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Obviously Liberal Christians are far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than their conservative counterparts. And obviously Christian denominations are not a place where Jews have a lot of pull. So we are going to continue to see some anti-Israel activity in Mainline denominations but I don’t see evidence of storm clouds. The membership is well to the right of the pastorate on Israel and while I suspect that Israel is not the sort of issue that will drive people to switch to evangelical churches strong support for anti-Israeli positions generally correlates with all sorts of other very liberal views.

    Here is the latest data: link to people-press.org

    Among Liberal/Mainline Christians (corresponding number for Palestinians in parenthesis)
    Total sympathize with Israel: 31% (7%)
    Somewhat sympathetic to Israel: 34% (32%)
    Not sympathetic to Israel 25% (52%)

    After Gaza is a low point for the last few years a few percent of the population has shifted their views so I’d expect those numbers to get more favorable over the next six months as the anti-Gaza violence is no longer in the headlines. Those numbers puts them to the right of political liberals on Israel / Palestine more like political independents which is consistent with the historical data. Those numbers are consistent with earlier polls that show numbers for Mainline Christians like:

    46% like Israel only
    29% like both
    13% like neither
    12% like Palestinians only

    What is striking in the last few years is a drop in support among liberal protestants for the 2SS. 40% no longer believe in it. Democrats consistently score pretty high on cooperating with the UN relative to Republicans and independents. It will be interesting how Mainline Christians resolve that issue.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2014, 4:41 pm

      Thanks for confirming that the fortunes of Israel are totally dependent on American’s religious whims. They change quite rapidly.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2014, 4:43 pm

        Oh, BTW, if anbody has any problem following JeffyB’s logic, it’s a “process of elimination”. I just wish he wouldn’t leave a mess for others to clean up.

      • Philemon
        August 28, 2014, 7:57 pm

        But don’t you remember, Mooser, JeffB strongly objected to Judaism becoming “just another denomination” because that would be horrible.

        In one or two generations, it could go to Calvinism, and from there to Unitarianism or something.

        The horror.

      • JeffB
        August 29, 2014, 12:22 am

        @Philemon

        But don’t you remember, Mooser, JeffB strongly objected to Judaism becoming “just another denomination” because that would be horrible.

        Please don’t put words in my mouth.

      • Philemon
        August 29, 2014, 8:54 am

        JeffB, Don’t you remember writing this?
        “The American Jewish community in 1967 was faced with a serious assimilation problem. Jews became white people in the 1950s. The ethnic neighborhoods across the United States that had existed in WWI were collapsing. Jews no longer went to Jewish schools (whether in practice or public schools so Jewish), they no longer grew up in all Jewish neighborhoods. Judaism had effectively become just another denomination.” [my emphasis to help JeffB's memory]

        Or this?

        “There is no plan-b for Judaism. Every 100 years or so half the cultures on the planet die. Do you want Judaism to be one of them that doesn’t make it this century or not?”

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 12:23 pm

        “Please don’t put words in my mouth.”

        Hey, don’t knock it, JeffyB! Having words in your mouth might be better than the stream of crap that comes out of it now.

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 12:27 pm

        “[my emphasis to help JeffB's memory]“

        Philemon, that’s very gewberous of you, but nobody has yet found any cure for Ziocaine Amnesia.
        And JeffyB sure is a perfect example of it. He wrote those words, what, about a week ago. And now they are being “put in his mouth” ROTFLMSJAO!!!

  14. gracie fr
    August 28, 2014, 4:14 pm

    As far back as August 2010, well after the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead had demolished Gaza, Hamas made it clear that its charter – like the PLO’s charter which Arafat famously dismissed in 1989 as “caduque” (obsolete, expired) well before it was formally annulled – no longer represented Hamas’ ideology. Its various proposals for a long-term hudna (ceasefire) with Israel, if it were to agree to a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, clearly contradict its charter’s mqin points. A more direct repudiation of the charter’s anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic diatribe came from Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, in an interview conducted by the Jordanian Arabic-language newspaper Al-Sabeel in July (translated into English by the Afro-Middle East Centre in South Africa).
    Meshal was asked whether Hamas’ resistance was directed “against Zionists as Jews or as occupiers.” Meshal replied, “resistance and military confrontation with the Israelis was caused by occupation, aggression, and crimes committed against the Palestinian people, not because of differences in religion or belief.” He said that although “religion is a cornerstone to our lives … we do not make of religion a force for engendering hatred, nor a cause or a pretext for harming or assaulting others, or grabbing what is not ours, or encroaching on the rights of others” – referring, of course, to the Israeli settlers’ invocation of the Bible to justify the theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank.
    Contrast this to the declarations of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the leader of the most important Orthodox political party in Israel, during a Sabbath sermon from about the same time: “Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from the world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.” In a previous sermon in 2001, he told his followers: “It is forbidden to be merciful to [the Arabs]. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.” Not a single member of Israel’s cabinet condemned Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for these pronouncements.
    Henry Siegman: link to peacebuilding.no

    Often we forget that anti-semitism and “islamophobia” are hand-in-glove reactions by both communities. The Bush Neocons ensconced in their think-tanks
    began a concerted effort to demonize Muslims across the globe prior to and during the Afghan campaign with all of the damagingly negative racial/religious epithets we have learned by heart and many still believe. More of the same for the duration of the War in Iraq, with the added horrors of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. In the United States proper, Islam was denigrated and Muslims expulsed after 9/11 and now we have ample evidence of ongoing racial profiling of Muslims by police departments across the country. Speaking as a European, these events and the incomparable “ in-your-face-violence” foisted on Palestinians, and particularly those residing in Gaza has been behind the slurs and hostility toward Jewish communities, particularly those in France and Belgium…..

  15. Mooser
    August 28, 2014, 5:17 pm

    “So Shipman is saying that American Jews have a responsibility to curb Israel’s war crimes because this is feeding anti-Semitism. “

    Say what? Who the hell does he think we are, Presbyterians?

    • Pixel
      August 28, 2014, 10:14 pm

      @M

      lol

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 12:28 pm

        OK, that was a good one. I’m proud of that one.

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2014, 7:42 pm

        And I admire the fact that the Presbyterians had a religious-administrative process which, by striving to utilize the ideals they espouse brought them to a consensus and an action more in line with those ideals. I don’t know that there is any comparable process in Judaism. Certainly Zionism didn’t bring it, more the opposite, given that Zionism appointed itself representative of Jewish aspirations without any intra-Jewish process at all.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2014, 7:50 pm

        That is funny. The Jewish religion, which some people are very eager to see as operating as an inner-directed whole, doesn’t have even a chimera, a vestige, a front, of internal cooperation or communication. (Except, of course, where it concerns Zionism.) The least we could do is have some kind of yearly all-Jewish Banquet.

  16. gracie fr
    August 28, 2014, 5:33 pm

    Anti-Israelism, not anti-Semitism, voiced in Europe

    link to al-monitor.com

  17. pgtl10
    August 28, 2014, 6:43 pm

    I find it hilarious how the Times all of sudden is concerned with anti-Semitism which is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to counter condemnation of Israel. Deborah Lipstadt gets mad at anybody who questions Zionism.

    Anybody else notice she singles out one race/religion for the cause of anti-Semitism and mentions pro-Palestinian?

    Anybody else notices that the Times picks for featured comments are nearly all super pro-Israeli. Guess someone at the Times is pushing hard to deflect criticism of Israel. Also the Times has a logo that Love is Peace using the Star of David. If that’s not Hasbra then I’m the queen of England.

  18. W.Jones
    August 28, 2014, 10:31 pm

    More and more Jews and non-Jews are going to express themselves over the Gaza horror show of 2014, that was a sequel to the Gaza horror show of 2009 and a sequel of 25 years of peace processing and colonizing more Palestinian land– a pattern demonstrating that Israel has not a clue about how to deal with its Jim Crow constitution except to marginalize, sequester, and kill brown people.

    My guess is that this latest attack is not just a sequel, but a prequel to more. Based on past experiences of mowing the lawn, it’s one more link in a long, indefinite series of small to mid-sized massacres of Gaza.

    I don’t understand why the Israeli State agreed to its ceasefire at all instead of just attacking indefinitely. With the Israeli public apparently now disfavoring Netanyahu for what they imagine to be some kind of defeat by not doing more, one might expect more and more repetitions of this.

    • Citizen
      August 29, 2014, 9:36 am

      @W.Jones
      Easy-peasy: Bad PR for Israel, those photos of destruction of homes and death of Palestinian civilians , especially children, all over the web.

  19. gracie fr
    August 30, 2014, 2:05 pm

    A STATEMENT FROM THE REV. BRUCE SHIPMAN

    Due to much unfavorable publicity surrounding my letter of August 26 to the New York Times, the board of the Episcopal Church at Yale has decided that it would be best to cancel the STAND WITH GAZA concert scheduled for Labor Day evening. It is of course a disappointment to me personally and to all who looked forward to this worthy event, but it is our expectation that checks for the Ahli Hospital in Gaza will continue to come in. The money they generate will be given to American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem for transmission to the hospital.

    Bruce M. Shipman, Chaplain
    The Episcopal Church at Yale
    August 28, 2014

    • Mooser
      August 31, 2014, 1:49 pm

      “Due to much unfavorable publicity surrounding my letter of August 26 to the New York Times, the board of the Episcopal Church at Yale has decided that it would be best to cancel the STAND WITH GAZA concert scheduled for Labor Day evening.”

      There’s a story there. Sure would like to know about it.

  20. Mooser
    August 31, 2014, 1:58 pm

    Gracie, do you have any more info? I found a little of the reaction on the web.

  21. Mooser
    August 31, 2014, 2:02 pm

    It would be this concert?

    link to tolef.org

    link to dabroski.com

    • gracie fr
      September 2, 2014, 2:04 pm

      Yes Mooser, the concert was indeed rescheduled to Bethesda Lutheran Church
      450 Whitney Avenue in New Haven, CT. The Tree of Life community has been operating in South Eastern CT since 2004 as an ecumenical forum to promote understanding of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. The list of invited speakers for the November conferences is long and impressive and now held in seven to eight locations . Spring trips to Israel/Palestine are also a yearly event with daily meetings with activists on the front lines of protest and non-violent actions across the West Bank. Bruce Shipman has been an unwavering advocate for the community’s activity!!!

  22. Mooser
    August 31, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Washington Post leading the charge against Rev. Shipman.

Leave a Reply