Freedom of expression is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, unless of course one criticizes our best ally in the world … Israel.
(TIME) – Yale University Episcopal chaplain Bruce Shipman says three sentences cost him his job.
Some highlights of this hasbara rant in the New York Times:
- “I am unpersuaded by those who try to dismiss what is happening as “just rhetoric.” It is language, after all, that’s at the heart of the ubiquitous slippage from anger at Israeli military action to hatred of Jews.
Nor am I comforted by the explanation that these actions are being taken by “disgruntled Muslim youth.” (By one estimate, 95 percent of anti-Semitic actions in France are committed by youths of Arab or African descent.) Many of these Muslims were born in Europe, and many of those who weren’t are the parents of a new generation of Europeans.
It’s true that this is not the anti-Semitism of the 1930s, which came from the right and was rooted in longstanding Christian views that demonized the Jews. Traditionally, Islam did not treat Jews this way. But in the past century a distinct strain of Muslim anti-Semitism has emerged. Built on a foundation of antipathy toward non-Muslims, it mixes Christian anti-Semitism — imported to the Middle East by European missionaries — and a more leftist, secular form of anti-Semitism. It is evident in political cartoons, editorials, television shows and newspaper articles.
Seventy years after the Holocaust, many Jews in Europe no longer feel safe. Hiring an armed guard to protect people coming for weekly prayer is not the action of a secure people. In too many cities worldwide, directions to the local synagogue conclude with, “You will recognize it by the police car in front of the building.” France has seen a sharp rise in the number of Jews who have decided to emigrate (though the figures are still fairly small).”
The op-ed is filled with Islamophobic ramnifications blaming all ills of Israel and the western world on the inevitable clash of civilizations. The author quite remarkable inverts cause and effect on the I-P issue.
Here’s what he [Shipman] wrote:
“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.”
Within hours of the letter’s publication, Shipman says, people on and off campus began calling for his ouster. Two weeks later, he resigned. Why this happened–and what’s at stake–depends on who you ask.
Shipman has a long history of sympathy for the plight of Palestinians. As a teenager, he lived in Egypt while his father worked for World Health Organization and was there when Israel invaded during the 1956 Suez War. “Among my friends were Palestinian refugees and their children who were my age, so I heard their stories of dispossession and loss, people who had lost their homes and their farms and cut off from their land living in Jaffa and in the area which is now known as Israel,” he says.
Continued below the fold …
I keep reading outraged comments from Jewish organizations and media condemning those (like me) who believe and say that the Gaza war is resulting in a spike in anti-Semitism. (They agree that incidents of anti-Semitism are increasing but reject the idea that it has anything to do with Israeli actions.)
In my own community of Washington, D.C., almost every synagogue is adorned with a big permanent sign that features an Israeli flag and the words: “We Stand With Israel In Its Struggle For Peace and Security.” No mosques in this area proclaim their one-ness with Palestine, understanding as the synagogues choose not to that houses of worship are for prayer not politics. (If a mosque in this area did announce its solidarity with Palestine on a sign out front, the Jewish organizations here would go ballistic and the sign would not last a week.)
Over and over again Jewish organizations insist that those of Jewish faith “stand as one” with the State of Israel. In fact, those who question that bond are themselves criticized as “anti-Israel,” “self-hating Jews,” or worse.
Is it then any wonder that those who don’t quite grasp the nuances of Jewish identity react negatively when Israel behaves terribly, as it is doing right now? This does not excuse repulsive and violent instances of anti-Semitism which, like hate crimes against any group, must be condemned and, where possible, prosecuted.
But it’s a lie to say that Israel’s behavior does not affect attitudes toward both Israelis and Jews.
Today Binyamin Netanyahu is perhaps the most reviled leader of any country in the world and Israel, as a country, isn’t doing much better. Jews in diaspora are themselves feeling the ugliness growing.
If, however, none of this had anything to do with Israel’s behavior, the level of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel feelings would be constant, unaffected by the horrors in Gaza. To accept the logic of the various Jewish organizations (like the ADL) requires believing that the hate is always out there, unattached to anything except the anti-Semite’s psychosis.
If that was true, then why was it that apparently both anti-Semitism and anti-Israel fervor dropped dramatically during the period that Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister of Israel and was pursuing peace with the Palestinians.
The “world” may hate Netanyahu but it revered Rabin. Poll after poll showed that he was admired throughout the world, approaching levels achieved by Nelson Mandela. When he was murdered more foreign leaders (including Muslim and Arab leaders) gathered in Israel for his funeral than had gathered for any such event since President Kennedy’s funeral in 1963. And Jews benefited from the high regard in which Rabin was held.
All “Stand With Israel” guns came out blazing …
That same day (Aug. 26) the headline in the Washington Post read, “Episcopal chaplain at Yale: Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism for not making peace with genocidal enemy.”
“Speaking of moral obtuseness (or how “Palestine makes you dumb [WSJ – Brett Stephens],”) I reprint for you in full Rev. Shipman’s letter …”
“Next on Rev. Shipman’s bucket list: blaming women who dress provocatively for rape, blaming blacks for racism because of high crime rates, and blaming gays for homophobia for being ‘flamboyant,'” blasts the Post’s David Bernstein in The Volokh Conspiracy blog at the Post.
“If Rev. Shipman had made analogous comments about any other ‘ism,’ he’d be out of a job,” noted Bernstein who is the George Mason University Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. “And if it were any group but Jews, their student organization would be occupying his office and demanding it.”
The Chabad of Yale (a Jewish student center) was quick to respond to Shipman’s New York Times letter. “Reverend Bruce Shipman’s justification of anti-Semitism by blaming it on Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza is frankly quite disturbing. His argument attempts to justify racism and hate of innocent people, in Israel and around the world. One can and should study the Israeli policies regarding human rights, and the honest student will realize the painstaking efforts undertaken by Israel to protect innocent civilians. Hamas, ISIS and other radical groups make it their mission to torture, rape and kill as many civilians as possible. Yet, no moral person however, would attempt to justify blatant global anti-Moslem hatred in light of these atrocities,” writes Rabbi Shua Rosenstein at the Chabad at Yale University. “I call upon Bruce Shipman to retract and apologize for his unfortunate and misguided assertion. Instead of excusing bias and hatred against others, he should use his position to promote dialogue, understanding, and tolerance.”