By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Bishop versus Israel

I find it inexplicable that Episcopalian Bishop Thomas Shaw will once again protest outside the Israeli Consulate.

Never mind whether Israel’s response to the kidnapping of its soldiers could be considered disproportionate. That’s just part of a larger picture in which Palestinians elected a terrorist-led government dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Now Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, has gotten into the act.

Unless Shaw believes that Israel ought to hand over all of its territory to Hamas, then it’s hard to understand precisely what it is he’s protesting. And, well, what about it, Bishop Shaw: Is that what you believe?

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Worse and worse


  1. Ron Newman

    But isn’t bombing the the Gazans’ only electrical generating plant a wildly disproportionate response to the kidnapping of one combatant soldier?

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Ron — You can do better than that. Try responding to:”Never mind whether Israel’s response to the kidnapping of its soldiers could be considered disproportionate. That’s just part of a larger picture in which Palestinians elected a terrorist-led government dedicated to the destruction of Israel.”Thanks.

  3. RichC

    Look like instead of the usual annual pledge to my Episcopal parish next year, it’s going to have to be some sort of restricted gift, so as to make sure none of my money goes to support diocesan-level idiocy like this.

  4. Anonymous

    ah, the hell with israel. who needs em?

  5. callieischatty

    If the kidnapped soilder was your son how would you feel?He was on Israeli soil, he was doing his job.What would you say if the Mexican army came here and tried to kidnap Americans?How many people does Hamas have to kidnap? They fire rockets at civilians targets and even hit a school last week.What response would you suggest if your kid went to that school?

  6. whispers

    Dan, how about:”That’s just part of a larger picture in which Israel visits violence upon Palestinians via air strikes and seizure of land. Israel doesn’t merely have a government ‘intent’ on the destruction of Palestine. They actively attack Palestine via air strikes, and have been doing so for decades.”You won’t get far unless you concede the point that Israel’s own actions are a huge part of the mess that they have been in for decades now. It seems to be a legitimate point to say that Israel always escalates the level of violence. That doesn’t mean that the Palestinians are innocent. But it’s certainly not the case that the Israelis are innocent, either.

  7. Charles Foster Kane

    Perhaps Shaw is protesting the indiscriminate killing. That would be the Christian thing to do.

  8. Anonymous

    Dan, I don’t think Shaw is condoning the actions of Hamas. I’d like to echo Kane’s comment, above – if Israel expects us to see them as better than the terrorists, don’t they need to be above inflicting so much indiscriminate suffering on a civilian population?Hamas has been atrocious, as could be expected. I expect Israel to do better. I don’t expect passivism, but I expect better than knocking out power to hospitals and hundreds of thousands of people.

  9. Jim Bowen

    Dan, It seems that you are implying that the Palestinians should only elect the governments that you want them to elect. From another angle, it not only makes some sense that the Palestinians elected Hamas, but it could be a good thing in the long run.First, it makes some sense because while the Israel domination of the West Bank and Gaza has destroyed any semblance of infrastructure and civil society, Hamas has been the only institution building schools and providing public services to Palestinians. If they have created the only semblance of a “government” while the Western preferred Fatah is corrupt and useless, then perhaps it is reasonable for a Palestinian to let Hamas have formal control of the government. Keep in mind too that Hamas used the democratic process to come to power and did not do so through revolution or usurping power.It may be a good thing in the long run because it will force Hamas to deal with Israel and the West as a governmental actor instead of a street-level instigator. Similar to how the IRA’s entry into formal politics moderated their hard line approach, I think that participation in the democratic political process can have a desired moderating affect on these types of “terrorist” groups. When the Hamas leaders find themselves at a table with Israeli leaders or at the UN, they will need to take a more diplomatic approach to their cause. And further, this is a good sign that Hamas wants to work through the political process to achieve their objectives instead of the Hezbollah approach of an instigator military group within a sovereign nation. Although one may disagree with Hamas policy, it is better to have those that disagree with you playing on the same field than hiding on the outskirts and not participating in the accepted democratic process for enacting policy change.

  10. Bill Baar

    Bishop Shaw isn’t the first Christian Bishop to give back handed support to folks who think the world would be better off without Israel and its people.There is a long sorry history of this among Christians.Ratzinger interestingly one who’s spoken out against a long Christian theological tradition.

  11. Anonymous

    Bill Baar, that is an extremely distorted and dishonest way of characterizing what Shaw is saying.

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