Father Bruce, could you get a message to the Queen for me?
I know you can. For on Monday, The New York Times ran a letter to the editor by you, Father Bruce M. Shipman, Yale’s chaplain to Episcopal students, in response to an Aug. 21 op-ed about rising anti-Semitism. The op-ed, by Tablet contributor Deborah E. Lipstadt, focused on the troubling incidence of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe—to which you replied:
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.
[. . .]
This assumption of guilt by consanguinity got me wondering if Japanese Americans were responsible for Pearl Harbor—many intelligent Americans, including the president, thought so at the time. He was convinced enough to imprison American citizens in their own country.
And perhaps Irish-Americans were responsible for the blood spilt by the Irish Republican Army—why, we know that some of the IRA’s funding indeed came from Irish Americans.
And despite what John F. Kennedy pled during his presidential run, we have strong reason to believe that Catholics take orders from the Pope. Don’t we?
And then we arrive at you, an Episcopal priest, and thus a subordinate of Queen Elizabeth II, who is not only head of state of England but also the supreme governor of the Church of England, whose worldwide communion you yourself, as an Episcopal priest, belong to and serve at the pleasure of. She appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is something like your pope. So it seems that you are doubly implicated in Brits’ decisions. First, you are (I presume) of English ancestry—and we know what it means to be of Jewish ancestry, that one is a “patron” of Israel, and can influence Israeli policy. And, second, you are a clergyperson who works for the church led by Her Royal Highness.
So let’s make a deal. Next time an innocent Jewish man or woman is shot in Brussels, rather than complain about anti-Semites, I will ring up Prime Minister Netanyahu and complain about his war policy. And next time 1,400 children are abducted, beaten, raped, and sex-trafficked in England, rather than decry sex-trafficking and child-rape, I will demand that you ring up the Queen.