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Christmas is a threat to Israel Cheap calls for peace prolong the agony

'How can we not call for peace at Christmas?' (LATIFEH ABDELLATIF/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

'How can we not call for peace at Christmas?' (LATIFEH ABDELLATIF/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)


December 25, 2023   4 mins

Our carol service this year was unusually sombre. We gathered to hear once again the message of the angels, of the cry for the redemption of Israel, of peace on earth and goodwill to all. And we sang:

“Beneath the angel-strain have rolled,
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song that they bring; –
Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!”

No one was unaware that the place we were singing about is now a place of war — of white phosphorus instead of Christmas lights, of terrified hostages hidden in dark tunnels, of starving civilians, where evil emanates from Hamas not Herod. We sang also of a little town called Bethlehem, “how still we see thee lie”. It felt both thoroughly disconnected from reality — and yet also disturbingly relevant. How can we not call for peace at Christmas? Or for a ceasefire, at least.

Having family over there, I know Israel as a place of ordinary life, a place like other places, domestic and everyday: a place of shopping and traffic jams, of offices and factories, of children making their way to school and parents thinking about what to cook for tea. Occasionally, I am so immersed in ordinary domestic life that it is sometimes just possible to forget that the names on the road signs are names that occur in my Bible. As a priest, it took me quite a long time to disaggregate the ordinariness of Israel from the sense of religious romance that I inevitably carried with me and attached to all these place names.

On one occasion we were navigating the way to a McDonald’s via the 77 road to Nazareth — and there are a surprising number of McDonalds dotted around the Galilee these days as it happens. And many Christian pilgrims, there for the first time, and travelling around on their air-conditioned coaches, wince as they see them. They don’t fit with the picture they have built up of the place in their prayers. Jesus didn’t eat hamburgers; he travelled along this road on a donkey.

For many, Israel is the playground of their religious fantasies, a kind of theological Disneyland. And because of this fantasy, we ask Israel to play a role in our cultural imagination that we wouldn’t expect of any other country. Where are the protests for one side to lay down its arms in Ethiopia or the Myanmar? Attacked again and again by neighbours absolutely and expressly dedicated to its elimination, with constant rocket and murderous terrorist attacks, Israel is expected to play the role of the suffering servant, the passive victim, the Jew who turns the other cheek. Particularly after the Holocaust, no one can expect that of Jews.

Some years ago, I sat in a boat on the sea of Galilee and sang another favourite Christian hymn, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, forgive our foolish ways.” It was a perfect summer’s day, the lake was calm, the sky was blue. The moment was beautiful, peaceful. The words “O calm of hills above” floated gently over the waters. That was when the disconnect between Israel as the religious fantasy and Israel the real place first struck me with force. In our minds, this was the place where Jesus was communing with the Almighty, the still small voice of calm.

But the “hills above” were the Golan Heights, lined with barbed wire and mine fields, littered with burnt-out Syrian tanks destroyed in 1967. The peace my congregation in the boat were singing about was more some inner sense of spiritual well-being, a warm feel-good glow of personal benevolence. And at no time is this sense of inner peace more powerful — and dangerous to real peace — than at Christmas. Real peace comes through a political process in which reality is faced head-on. There can be no peace in Israel and Palestine so long as Hamas exists. It is a part of the fantasy to think otherwise.

That is not to say that the current war is anything other than a tragedy — but the point about tragedy is that it is unavoidable. Cheap calls for peace can only perpetuate a conflict that will only ever be paused by a ceasefire, soon again to resurface once Hamas have regrouped. No good will come of the sort of ceasefire that is generated by the need for Christians and Christian society to sleep comfortably in their beds, content with their own sense of inner peace, awaiting the coming of the angels. To misquote the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who knew a thing or two about genocidal regimes, cheap peace is the deadly enemy of our church.

Traditionally, it is Easter that has been the greater threat to Jews. For it was the Jews who murdered Christ, it was said, and Easter was therefore the occasion for pogroms and revenge attacks upon them by Christians. And it was Christians (in this country) who invented the blood libel that Jews drank the blood of children with their Passover feast. A version of this calumny is now frequently proclaimed on protest banners alongside all that “from the river to the sea” garbage: Netanyahu with fangs, dripping blood. Of course, it was the Romans who murdered Christ but Christians of the early centuries were too busy cosying up to the Roman empire to admit that. The original sin of the church is its antisemitism — church-sponsored, theologically inspired.

But today, Christmas stands as another kind of threat. Just as the prophet Jeremiah warned, there is falsehood in crying for a quick and instant peace when there is no peace to be had. If Israel were to lay down its arms, there would be another massacre within hours. If Hamas were to surrender, the war would be over in days. This is the essential asymmetry of the situation.

Of course, we cry for peace. But when it comes, it will be because both sides will return to the kind of negotiation that came so close in the Nineties with the Oslo accords, a deal the Palestinians rejected. Sentimentally will have no place around this negotiating table. Peace will be made by the Kissingers of this world — hard people with a determination to withstand the avalanche of hostility with which both sides will inevitably respond.

The sort of hostility that got tough-guy-turned-peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin assassinated in 1995. No one will get what they want. No one will feel good about it. Peace feels terrible. As peace between Russia and Ukraine will do, one day. That’s not the sort of peace we imagine the angels to be singing about. But it will probably be the “men of strife” who bring it about in the end. And that’s what real peace looks like.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago

A good read. Unfortunately, I fear this article will just bring out the usual suspects eager to tear it down with their antisemitic diatribes.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I don’t believe I’ve read a single comment on this site that I would class as antisemitic, which to me means attacking Jewish people solely due to their choice of religion. I have seen numerous comments that are critical of a countries (Israel’s) actions and policies, but that’s not in itself antisemitic

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Antisemitism is not “attacking Jewish people solely due to their choice of religion”. It is not necessarily about Judaism, but always about Jews.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

So any criticism of the actions of a Jewish person is antisemitic, even if those criticisms are in no way related to their religion?
Criticism of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians is antisemitism even though nobody has mentioned the state religion in those criticisms?

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not necessarily.
Just correcting your definition of antisemitism, but it seems you remain uncorrected.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

So what is your definition of antisemitism then? If it’s not persecuting Jewish people because of their chosen religion then what does it mean?

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Being very vocal about the alleged crimes of the Jewish state, whilst having nothing to say about the far worse crimes happening within a few hundred miles, would be a good example of it. Does that help?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Which other state has killed 10,000 children in air strikes in the last two months? I’ll happily condemn their actions as well if you tell me

Peter Hill
Peter Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Read about ww2 and you will find out

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Hill

I’ll assume you’re referring to Dresden there, however the two are chalk and cheese. The allies were attempting to knock out the Germans industrial output that was arming the front line, as well as knocking out communications and railway lines to prevent the mass movement of troops to help the Soviet advance. They had to do so with incredibly rudimentary technology compared to today, simply flying near the target and dropping bombs in the general vicinity. The Allies intel was also lacking as to how weak the Germans actually were at that point, and even now military historians are split on whether the destruction was necessary to the war effort.
Hamas on the other hand has no factories building armaments, no large numbers of troops to move via the railways and no front lines that need regular restocking. Israel also has laser guided missiles and their military is one of the best equipped in the world. There’s simply no need for them to be flattening entire neighbourhoods in the manner they have been doing

Nick Toeman
Nick Toeman
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I thought Dresden suffered carpet bombing, a t*t-for-tat perhaps in response to the blitz. Something similar is happening in Ukraine, where are the marchers chanting their Russo-phobic slogans? The US indiscriminately napalmed Vietnam, some of us marched but we stopped when they stopped. It never stops for Israel and the Jewish diaspora and how can they feel safe when terrorists threaten to continue their savagery?
In wars accidents and crimes occur. Israeli soldiers shot men holding white flags not realising they were Israeli hostages, so we know such incidents happen in Gaza too. But unlike in Ukraine, Vietnam, Syria, Myanmar, etc. advance warnings were given.
How do you fight for your future and your lives against vicious enemies who hide amongst civilians to carry out their attacks without harming others? What are Israel’s options?

Peter Hill
Peter Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not dresden particularly, all of germany including berlin. Their parents chose war and many children were casualties. Hamas can surrender at any time

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I fear you are wasting your time BB, they will never here you. Netanyahu is evil, his religion has nothing to do with it, he has always wanted to flatten Gaza and Palestinians.

Iris C
Iris C
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This could very well be propaganda. it comes from within Hamas. Unfortunately the BBC quote what the say without seeking a statement from Israel or attempting impartiality.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

We also don’t know how many young teenage boys got killed, who are part of Hamas

jane baker
jane baker
4 months ago

Netenyahu is not targeting young men. He has decided to target where young men come from,future young men,ie wombs. He is out to eliminate Palestinian wombs. It’s as simple and horrific as that. You don’t believe me I know,but I’m right.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

No you’re not.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes she is.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

They’re the only figures we have. If they were that far inflated then the Israelis and Americans would be releasing their own as it’s not in their interests to see the high numbers killed

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

How can they?

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
4 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Exactly. They also don’t differentiate between troops or civilians.
Look at the hospital propaganda. What to believe.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billy Bob losing the debate
. Come on. You are anti Jewish.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

I don’t believe being critical of Israeli policy towards the occupied territories and those living there makes me anti Jewish. If I’m critical of the actions of Boko Haram in Africa (which I am) does that make me anti Islamic?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Lesley there are hundreds of miles of tunnels which are unreachable with bombs . Where do you think the Hamas leaders and the Hamas fighters are . Yes that’s right , in the tunnels .
So who is being killed by the bombs ?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wonder how many children were killed in Syria and Iraq? Problem is that Egypt didn‘t open the border to have a temporary refugee camp (by UN?) like Europe did in the Syrian/Iraq wars. There are also millions of Ukrainians living in neighbouring countries. Seems fellow Arabs give a toss about them.

Last edited 4 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Temporary ? So the refugees into Europe from Syria and Iraq have all gone home ??

P N
P N
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

10,000 children? Using Hamas as a source is a terrible look.

The deaths of those “10,000 children” are the fault of Hamas, not Israel. Hamas, not Israel, brought war to Gaza and put those children in the line of fire. Blaming Israel for the deaths of Arab civilians whilst fighting Hamas is like blaming Britain for the deaths of German civilians whilst fighting Nazi Germany.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in each of Yemen, Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan in the last 3 years. Have you been so vocal with your criticism of them?

Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

That argument always strikes me as disingenuous. People focus on Israel disproportionately because the media do so. The media do so partly because a disproportionate number of journalists and commentators are Jewish and partly because our politicians do so. Our politicians do so – in the US primarily, and consequently in the rest of the West – because of the influence of the Jewish lobby and their Christian sympathisers. And then there’s the awkward fact that Israel occupies territory that is holy not just to Jews but also to Christians and Muslims. All of this is obvious and none of it applies to any other country. And finally there’s the fact that Israel holds itself out to be a modern, Western-style democracy, so people expect it to behave like one.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

You have a point. We do not see many articles from Palestinian journalists

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
4 months ago

Except the BBC has more from Arab and Palestinian journalists than it does from Israeli journalists. I wonder why?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Because IDF have killed over 100 of them since October 7th.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

Are you having us on? This is a territory governed by terrorists.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago

On could ask the same of you. Most of the articles I see are from Jewish writers not based in Israel who seem plainly biased.
We could have articles from Palestinian writer based in the UK for a bit of balance

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago

So downvoters you are against balance reporting if it conflicts with your prejudices

jane baker
jane baker
4 months ago

Are there any? Or does our western media not publish them

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Al Jazeera tends to publish more from the Palestinian viewpoint, but then many on here then accuse it of being a mouthpiece for terrorism for doing so

Lindsey Thornton
Lindsey Thornton
4 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

You clearly haven’t been watching the BBC News channels and their regular updates from the Gaza Health Ministry.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Perhaps there aren’t many. Nada Bashir on CNN stands out as one who is British. I find it annoying that she wears a hijab and at the same time speaks of the persecution of women in Iran for not wearing one!.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
4 months ago

Check Al Jazeera, or the latest issue of the New Yorker on how an innocent American poet in Gaza was mistreated by the Israeli army.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

Remember Iraq. Remember Kuwait. Remember Afghanistan. Remember what our own countries did in these places while some cheered. Then say Israel is wrong. The USA and UK to namr but 2 are complicit in killing those people we dont understand for nefarious purpose. I dont believe in God, but I do believe that nobody in the USA or UK or their allies should be throwing stones st Israel.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
4 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Indeed and remember Vietnam. Your point is valid.

jane baker
jane baker
4 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

In early 2000s a huge vast oilfield was located at Gaza. Thats why the Israeli establishment want it back.
They put the word out to all the international oil companies not to touch it,not to work with the Palestinians to develop it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Not true.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

And if you’ll remember correctly there were hundreds of marches, protests and critical opinion of those conflicts in the countries you mentioned. So if the citizens there are happy to condemn their own governments actions why can’t they also criticise Israel’s?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

What did we do to Kuwait except liberate it from Saddam .
Overthrowing Saddam was a disaster and long term encouraged by Israel

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

And it so obviously doesnt. It is as far removed from a civilised Western style society as China or Russia is.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

Which Western democracy are you referring to? Switzerland? Certainly not the US. Western-style democracies are among the greatest killers of civilians in all of history.

jane baker
jane baker
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

As much suburban consumerism as you want but no real say in policy.

George Locke
George Locke
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

Ah, here we go – the old ‘Jews control the media and pull the strings of the West’ chestnut. Was waiting to see how long it would be until I heard it. You can dress it up however you like – as anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism, Palestinian sovereignty – the old-school antisemitism always seeps through the cracks.

M Harries
M Harries
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

Muslims have Mecca and Medina, the birth place of Mohamed and his place of rest. There is no Quranic claim to Jerusalem. The reference in Quran 17.1 mentions the ‘farthest mosque’ and in the context of the other content around it the implication is that the farthest mosque is in heaven, not Jerusalem.

Muslims should be satisfied with Mecca and Medina in which no other group has an interest. They should drop their insistence to also claim the holy place of the Jews and Christians. They do so, I feel, primarily out of spite. It was not as big a deal as it is now before the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

No, it doesn’t help at all. Reasonable people (including many Jews) are critical of the massacre of civilians currently taking place in Gaza at the behest of an extreme nationalist Israeli government. Those same people denounce Hamas and all that it stands for, as well as the brutality of the acts that took place on 7 November.
That does not make them anti-semitic.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Nobody of the “stop the War” lobby has any answers about how Israel could survive with the Hamas tunnels and Gaza’s murderous government. Should Israel just continue being a sitting duck, waiting every minute of the day to be terrorised by bombs and their people attacked daily. Who of the peace brigade runs around with placards, also stating “stop Hamas’ tunnels ”, “stop bombing Israel” , “bring back the hostages”. The opposite is true, many dance in the streets, delighted that Israel is getting bombed daily and “had it coming” on 7.10.
Recent interviews by a TV crew in Germany asked some of her new Muslim population, what they thought about Hamas’ attack. They all seemed delighted (in a country, who systematically killed 6 million Jews) and a young woman said, that she prepared a celebratory dinner for her family that very evening when Israelis got butchered, raped and kidnapped. This is what the Westen World opened their doors to, especially Germany. Obama at the time praised Merkel for opening Germany’s borders to millions of Muslims migrants. In retirement she seems to be strangely quiet about her plan to make Germany more “colourful” 


The cease fire, which is demanded by the UN, EU and all peaceniks in the world right now, forget, that there was a cease fire in place, which got interrupted by Hamas’ killing spree.

Last edited 4 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago

You have entirely missed my point. You seem to be saying that because antisemitism is widespread (which I do not deny), any and all criticism of Israel’s actions must be classed as antisemitism.
This is not helpful to Israel’s cause. It is losing worldwide support through the indiscriminate bombing of civilians and obstruction of humanitarian aid.
I’ve said elsewhere in this thread that Israel is creating the next generation of terrorists, who will replace Hamas with an even deeper hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. At the moment Israel is its own worst enemy.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Antisemitism is persecution of Jews. It manifests against atheist Jews and Jews who who have adopted Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or whatever. It has nothing to do with their “chosen religion”.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Exackle

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It is persecuting the Jewish people because of their race. Messianic Jews are also persecuted (although as Christianity is Jewish, that could have a religious basis).

John Solomon
John Solomon
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You are very fixated on the idea of judaism as a ‘chosen religion’. Many Jewish people are not religious, but are victims of antisemitism just the same.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

To me if you’re not religious then you’re not Jewish. Judaism is a religion, not a race. I’ve born and lived in Christian countries my entire life, but I don’t believe it to be true so I’d never class myself as a Christian as I believe that would be insulting to those that do go to Church

George Locke
George Locke
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Oh Billy Bob… you just don’t seem to get it do you? Unlike Christians, Jews are an ethnoreligious group (also with distinct ethnicities inside of that ethnoreligious group, like the Sephardim, Ashkenazim, etc) due to thousands of years of persecution and isolation. The comparison is not the same. Please read up on Jewish identity before spewing your smug “to me…” nonsense. It’s great that you personally can discard ethnic Jews as non-Jewish if Judaism is not their “chosen religion” to fit your narrow view of antisemitism – very kind of you – but that doesn’t reflect the reality.

Last edited 4 months ago by George Locke
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

To me if you’re not religious then you’re not Jewish.

Try telling that to an antisemite!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

Exactly.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

Jews are ‘chosen’ as the race within which the messiah was born. Chosen does not mean favourite.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Zechariah 2:8. For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: It sounds like they are favourites.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Se my comment above. Nazis didn’t care about which religion the Jews had.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Look at the nazi race laws . Religion had very little to do with it .

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There seems to be some disagreement on here about what constitutes antisemitism, so we’ll put it to a vote.

Thumbs Up: Antisemitism is when somebody is critical of a a Jewish person solely because of their religion.

Thumbs Down: Antisemitism is when somebody is critical of a Jewish person, even if the criticism is in no way related to their religion.

Personally I’ve always believed it to be the thumbs up option.

paul phillips
paul phillips
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It is fair to say you have zero understanding of what antisemitism is. It is anti Jewish racism pure and simple and has no relation to how religious someone is. That is the whole point of antisemitism – it demonises Jews period. When Jews were rounded up for mass murder the Nazis did not check if they ate bacon or kept the Sabbath. The essence of antisemitism is that Jews are a malign force who are only out to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. This fundamental lie has been propagated and endured for over 2 millenia.

Stephen Raftery Raftery
Stephen Raftery Raftery
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Antisemitism is hatred of Jews motivated by the fact that they are Jews

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

it is racism

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob
Doug Israel
Doug Israel
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Because he’s an anti-semite.

Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Then what is a Jew?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

It is the race descended from Abraham.

Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Not the only “race”. Abraham, or Ibrahim as he is called by Muslims, is regarded as the father of the Arab people too.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

That is because he also fathered Ishmael from whom the Arab people are descended.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
4 months ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

A Jew is a member of the Jewish ethnic group. S/he may or may not observe the religion. Like the Romani, for example – you don’t have to travel in a painted caravan to be Romani. It’s what you’re born into.

Last edited 4 months ago by Judy Englander
Paul Monahan
Paul Monahan
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Can you have a Jewish ethnic group, seeing as they complain about being largely nomadic for thousands of years?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Jews are followers of Judaism therefore Anti-Semitism is religious based. If a new becomes a Christian he is no longer a jew.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That was not how the nazis viewed it. Jewish converts like canonized saint Edith Stein were sent to the camps. Also, many Jews were atheists.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

I’m not going to base my worldview and opinions on those espoused by the Nazis personally

Lindsey Thornton
Lindsey Thornton
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I suggest you base your worldview on Reality then.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It appears then that, according to you own personal definition of anti-semitism, the Nazis were not anti-semitic. Does this not strike you as a problem for your definition?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well the vicar who wrote the above article is born a Jew despite being a Christian vicar . He is very aware of his family in Israel etc .

jane baker
jane baker
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

I thought it was his wife who is Jewish. I thought he got married after getting famous due to the Occupy movement camping outside St Paul’s and then met his wife.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Maybe you are right . I may have got it wrong . There was definitely a Jews for Jesus movement a while back .
He now defines himself as a conservative , of a very odd kind admittedly , but he was involved in letting St Paul’s be used by the anti -capitalists wasn’t he .
Probably he says what he thinks will go down well with his audience , bit like Boris .
Actually that’s not fair , on Boris .

Last edited 4 months ago by Alan Osband
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

We are both right . Wiki says his father was Jewish as well as his Israeli wife .

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Rubbish.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

I suspect that most anti-semites don’t actually know why they hate Jews, they’re just a convenient scapegoat.

Michael James
Michael James
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Holding all Jews everywhere responsible for Israel’s actions is the most common current manifestation of antisemitism.

Last edited 4 months ago by Michael James
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael James

I agree that would be antisemitic to do so, but I don’t think I’ve read any comment on here that says a Jewish person in Tottenham is in any way responsible for what’s going on in Gaza

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Antisemitism is racism more than about religion. Secular Jews also receive attacks.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

100%

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Their choice of religion didn’t matter at all to the most antisemitic regime ever. Jewish converts to Christianity (like Edith Stein) were carted off to extermination with other persons of Jewish descent. So you are way off the mark.

Christopher Darlington
Christopher Darlington
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed. Denouncing a nation state like Israel doesn’t make you Anti-Semitic. That’s ludicrous.

P N
P N
4 months ago

It is when you single out Israel. Have you denounced the killings of hundreds of thousands of people in Yemen, Syria and Sudan? Would you denounce the allies in WW2 for killing German and Japanese civilians?

Did you denounce Hamas?

What do you expect Israel to do? Suffer in silence? Flee the Middle East? Or most improbable of all, fight a “nice” war with no civilian casualties?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You may need to read a bit more carefully then.
*I agree the charge is too often and too freely made. But sometimes it fits.

Last edited 4 months ago by AJ Mac
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Jewishness is more than just a “choice of religion”.

Jill
Jill
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Jews don’t ‘choose’ to be Jewish, they just are.

0 0
0 0
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The “three Ds” or the “3D test” of antisemitism is a set of criteria formulated by Israeli human rights advocate and politician Natan Sharansky in order to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism. The three Ds stand for delegitimization, demonization, and double standards, each of which, according to the test, indicates antisemitism.The double standard is evident everywhere: criticizing Israel and only Israel on certain issues and ignoring similar situations by other countries. For ex., the BDS movement ignores the situation in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran making it hypocritical and antisemitic. Criticizing Israel is not antisemitic; singling out Israel for international sanction out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East IS antisemitic.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Antisemitism is racism against those ethnically descended from Abraham and David as Jesus was.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Antisemitism is racism against the semitic people.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_Don%27t_Count

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Precisely. What does it take to understand why Hamas exists in the first place. Idiotic article

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Agreed.

The whole article is repulsive genocide justification from start to finish.

iT wUz thE roMaNS wOt kiLLeD jeSUs aCKshULLy !

Cretinous dreck.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

The exceptionalism of the ongoing verbal and written attacks on Israel is what makes one think criticism of Israel is antisemitic. No matter what happens elsewhere, where even a hundred times as many people (and children) are killed in war, as in Congo, Israel is always considered the worst of the lot. Muslims killing each other (including children) in much larger numbers, or engaging in much greater ethnic cleansing, no problem, not worth worrying about. Just the way of the world. China has killed a million Tibetans, since 1959, not to mention ethnic cleansing – no problem. Instead, Tibet is now considered part of China. No questions asked. UN resolutions against Israel are always multiples greater than for any other country, than for all other countries combined, while cumulatively, millions are killed elsewhere. Why is that if not because Jews are seen as collectively worse, no matter what may justify their actions, than all the rest?

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

you are using accusations of antisemitism to shut down legitimate criticism of the Israeli govt illegal and murdurous campains against Palestinians. Shameful comment

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I won’t discount the presence of that ancient brand of bigotry on these pages. But this article seems far more likely to inspire pre-emptive justifications for anything the State of Israel could ever possibly do, or close to it.
I don’t say that about your post, but I wonder: What leads you to call Mr. Fraser’s article a “good read”?
I thought it was dark-hearted and too keen on bloodshed, wholly undeserving of the label “Christmas Essay”.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It reminds us how the Holy Lands have always been a contentious region and that freedom and peace are easy to lose if not fought for. No-one wants bloodshed. October 7 was totally avoidable.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Ok, thanks for the clarification. Sincerely.
Scorched earth obliteration is avoidable too. For some who are not Hamas militants or supporters, being stranded in Gaza is not avoidable.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Yeah but what do you mean saying the Israelis must continue till Hamas is destroyed . Hamas is a political movement with an extreme Islamist ideology . The people who actually did the massacres in Israel will be snug and safe inside the tunnels . It will be anyone but them getting killed by the bombs and artillery shells . How is that going to make the Arabs in Gaza more inclined to make peace ?

You yourself are happy to see illegals with similar beliefs to Hamas settle in the UK . You admit you offer public conversions to Christianity to allow them to claim it would be too dangerous for them to go home . One Muslim who was given one of these passport conversions later tried to set off a bomb outside a Liverpool hospital . One of your boys ?

As for calling Tommy Robinson ‘a horrible little man ‘ and gloating because the police mob handedly pepper sprayed him and carted him off from the pro -Israel demo , not very Christian was it.

Why do you hate him so much . He campaigned for the victims of the grooming gangs , teenage girls gang-raped by mainly married Muslim men in Rotherham ( and elsewhere) and whose suffering the MSM , local police and the political parties weren’t interested in (for obvious reasons ) Eventually a few others began to catch up ( one admits he was shamed into action by Tommy Robinson)

But middle class liberals are pro – migrants and the victims of the grooming gangs , like Tommy Robinson, are from a background that many middle class people think of as racist . Why does it feel natural for you to have fellow feeling with people from a similar background to yourself in Israel who are under under threat , but when working class people feel the same desire to look after ‘their own’ they’re dismissed by you as horrible little men ?

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago

If good faith Christians just tuned out of global affairs, you would have absolute catastrophe. Its bad now but there’s plenty of room to get worse. Christianity is the only concept capable of “inclusivity.” It’s clear that despite a constant claim to moral superiority, Materialists expect more out of Christians than they expect of themselves.

If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas and that’s your thing…Fine. But to act like the actual world oppressors are Christians is objectively ludicrous.

Last edited 4 months ago by T Bone
Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Thank you for calling out Materialism

Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago

The Christian Gospels make it perfectly clear Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus at the behest of the Pharisees. This fact is not raised in polite company. But let’s not turn all woke and proactively and performatively lie about it.

T Bone
T Bone
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Statements of Fact are inherently oppressive

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Which itself is an antisemitic trope. That the cabal of rabbis pulled the strings with the all-powerful Roman governor, thus absolving him of guilt and placing it on Jews for all eternity.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

What on earth is antisemitic about that? It is just a record of the historical facts. Pilate, one of the most important men in the Roman Empire*, had been Prefect of Judea for about seven years before Christ appeared before him.
Faced with the possibility of an ‘expensive’ rebellion provoked by various Jewish religious nutters he made an entirely pragmatic decision to sacrifice Christ, but was honest enough to demonstrate that he thought him an innocent man.

Perhaps this is why the actual crucifixion was a remarkably humane affair by contemporary standards, even allowing for burial which was NOT the normal form.

Incidentally and I am sure you are aware, sources such as Josephus tells that contemporary Judea was a hotbed of fractious Jews, writhing under rather indulgent Roman control. Ultimately a generation later this would lead to the almost total destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple and the inevitable and apposite enslavement of many of the population.

If you haven’t seen it, the 1977 Monty Python film “The Life Brian” is remarkably amusing and accurate portrayal of first century Judea.

(* A hierarchy of about 30 Provincial Governors, 30 Legionary Commanders and 20 Procurators, Pilate being towards the bottom of this ‘elite’.)

j watson
j watson
4 months ago

Some truth in that CH, but the main reference to Pilate’s supposed belief JC innocent is in Luke. And Gospel of Luke written in Rome just after Jewish uprising c66AD and inevitably written for Roman sentiments.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago

What “j watson” said. The gospels were written many years after the events, for Roman readers and with the nascent Christian theology in mind. Josephus also needs to be taken with a grain of salt (not only on this subject) as he was similarly writing for Romans.
As for Monty Python, The Life of Brian is work of genius. All the more so if you are familiar with the stories of the Roman occupation in the Talmud.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Well at least we can agree on MP’s LoB!

Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago

For some light relief, Cleese et al on the Right to have Babies:

https://youtu.be/R79yYo2aOZs?si=fwf3jPV6UfW-sVwi

Last edited 4 months ago by Simon S
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

Most important men? Sure? I thought he was a rather low man on the Governor’s totem pole.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Well as I said about number 77 out of the 80 ‘top dogs’.
However a vital member of what the Romans so modestly called the “Immensa Romanae pacis maiestas”.*

(* The boundless majesty of the Roman Peace.)

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Charles I love your identification with the Roman elite . Are you a senator or even a consul in your own mind and when would you like to have lived ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

I’d have been quite happy to follow the standard Equestrian career in say the early second century AD.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Pliny the younger , perhaps. Apparently his country house has been identified by his initials on the roof tiles

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Which one? He had several as you probably know.

Incidentally Pliny had a Senatorial career, it was his uncle who had an Equestrian one.

Last edited 4 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

So the Gospels are anti-semitic? Next you will be saying Jesus was a self-hating Jew.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

It may have become an antisemitic trope but in it’s own terms (in the bible narrative ) it makes sense . Jesus is shown as embarrassing the Jewish rabbis . When they tried to trick him into encouraging people to ignore Jewish law by bringing before him the woman taken in adultery he neatly saves the woman while staying within the rules . ‘Let he who is without sin ‘ etc ) Good story and you can see why the Jewish authorities were mad at him .
Yes it could be fiction .

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

On contrary. Pontius Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and he still had him crucified. Ergo, Pilate knew very well what he was doing and cannont be absolved.

j watson
j watson
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

It’s cobblers of course.
The first Gospels were written v aware of need not to antagonise Roman rulers and around the time of Jewish uprising. Thus apportion blame for crucifixion accordingly. The Romans had no qualms at all in killing a poor Jewish preacher. And we often forget JC was Jewish.
Paul created Christianity not old JC.

Last edited 4 months ago by j watson
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Compared with other contemporary events such as the suicide of Nero, the subsequent Year of the Four Emperors and the Batavian Revolt, I doubt if any Romans seriously gave a “toss” about what had been going on in some obscure little Province at the very end of the known (Roman) world.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago

Indeed. The disaster in Teutoberg forest (caused by a German trained in military warfare by the Romans, no less) was far more important to the Romans and the Roman empire.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Wasn’t that in the time of Augustus ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

AD 9.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

9AD. So about 20 odd years before. But the repercussions lasted decades.

Last edited 4 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

Titus had a stonking triumph and the gold menorah and other stuff from the Temple are still to be seen carved on the inside walls of his Arch in Rome.
Coins with the legend Judaea Capta were produced right through the period of Vespasian and Titus . It was a big deal .

Last edited 4 months ago by Alan Osband
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Yes it was deliberately made a ‘big deal’ to divert attention from the fact that a rather obscure family, the ‘Flavians’ had just highjacked the Imperial throne.
After all they were NOT not going to celebrate the short, sharp, Civil War they had just won, nor indeed the crushing of the very serious Batavian Revolt* which made the Judean Revolt look like an irrelevant sideshow.
The coins bearing the inscription’Judea Capta’ were part of this deceit in that the uninitiated might have thought Rome had conquered a new Province, rather that suppressed a revolt in an existing one. The Arch of Titus fulfilled the same function, as did the inscription on the Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum) stating that it was ‘a gift to the Roman people from Vespasian’ and had been paid for from HIS share of the loot from the sack of Jerusalem.
So all in all a rather good example of Roman propaganda at its very best.

(* In which at least two Legions had been destroyed.)

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago

But in that case the average Roman would have been impressed , if only because of the great propaganda .

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

As the late Bertrand Russell said “most people would rather die than think and MOST do”.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Paul was also Jewish, BTW.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

And also had the inestimable good fortune to be a Roman Citizen, thus winning ‘first prize’ in the ‘lottery of life’ that was the Roman world.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago

Yes, civis romanum sum, as I recall (probably incorrectly) from my schoolboy Latin days

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Duplication due to slovenly censorship.

Last edited 4 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Civis ROMANUS sum.

(1,000 lines before tea!)

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago

Oh dear! Well at least it shows I didn’t google it. I need to go back and decline the noun

John Solomon
John Solomon
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Neither Paul nor JC ‘created’ christianity. God did.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

Which one?

John Solomon
John Solomon
4 months ago

Well it wasn’t allah, that’s for sure !

Great reply, by the way.

Merry Christmas 🙂

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

And merry Christmas to you to 🙂

Last edited 4 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

And man created god.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Lots of them, in fact. We’ve been very inventive in the deity department, sadly.

John Solomon
John Solomon
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

And in his own image!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes, a false one. When humans use their inherited lights to deny any intelligence outside their own heads, in an act of attempted self-deification.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Jesus–inspired by his Source–created the Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, which are a foundational portion of Paul’s theology, despite the Romanized former persecutor’s love of abstract reflection and intricate Christology. There is power in some of Paul’s teachings too, but of a more institutional sort, as you point out. As a group his writings represent a popularization that is also watering down: a more institutionalized, less embodied message.
Of course Jesus himself was not a Christian. His offered prayer begins “Our Father” not “Dear me” nor “O my prophetic soul”.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Is Fraser really a priest ?

I’m beginning to wonder.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

For a man of the cloth I find his arguments rather superficial and one-dimensional.
So once Hamas is defeated (whatever that means), some sort of peace will miraculously break out. Until perhaps it is broken by the next generation of Israel-hating terrorists created by the brutal Israeli reaction to this lot?

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Quite correct. And on it goes. An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind, as Gandhi said.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Is it all, perhaps, a Vast Plot by the arms merchants? Consider: Bibi used to fund Hamas. Everyone knows and knew that Israel would respond in the way that it has. Bibi was asleep on the watch at The Fence, in spite of multiple serious reports of exactly what Hamas was planning, which is at least suspicious. From a distance, it looks like Bibi and Hamas are in this together. Yes, a few tens of thousands of innocents must die, but business is good. For the international jihadists, they just gained a million new recruits, so that’s nice. It really does seem that somebody wants the mayhem to continue.

jane baker
jane baker
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

It’s about money and profit same as Ukraine. Any Ukranians celebrating Christmas now not in January should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and of revealing themselves to the world to be American Shills

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Exactly. As if even the total elimination of every Hamas militant and sympathizer could dry the source of all this hatred! How could that be so?
The Israeli commanders are operating too much from a place of punishment and vengeance now. This is not a circumspect or sustainable “strategy”.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

And weren’t the Jewish public then offered a vote to choose one criminal to be let go , and they chose another convicted man , despite Pilate’s string encouragement to choose Jesus . By acclamation .
Of course we should not take the historical accuracy of the bible on trust

Last edited 4 months ago by Alan Osband
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Barabbas

Last edited 4 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Monica Wilde
Monica Wilde
4 months ago

While much of this Comments section disputes the exact meaning of antisemitism, and dissects the historical events leading up to the war today, the fact is that thousands of innocent people in Palestine and Israel have lost their lives. Both actual life itself and their homes, education, work, healthcare, family and friends. It is a massive tragedy – especially hard witnessing the slaughter of children – and it’s hard to see how it will get any better given the deep enmity and intransigence on both sides. The Russian-Ukraine war rumbles on, albeit no longer ‘news’, as do other wars in Africa, the Middle East, Asia
. It is hard to have hope for humanity sometimes.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Monica Wilde

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.’

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago
Reply to  Monica Wilde

> especially hard witnessing the slaughter of children – and it’s hard to see how it will get any better
It’s been estimated that for every Hamaser killed, ten will now be lining up to take his place. What’s the count as of today? ca. 10,000 children murdered. I’d bet that right now there are a million Muslims dedicating themselves to jihad who might otherwise have preferred to live in peace.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

But where are they? They don’t speak out because they’re afraid of other Muslims just like the rest of us!

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
4 months ago

And, right on cue, Giles’ big boss Justin Welby trundles out exactly what he writes about.
Probably the most spot-on quote is “If Israel were to lay down its arms there would be another massacre within hours. If Hamas were to surrender, the war would be over in days.”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

If Hamas were to surrender tomorrow would Israel give the Palestinians their own state along the Green line borders?

Amelia Melkinthorpe
Amelia Melkinthorpe
4 months ago

I hear the parishioners at St Anne’s in Kew are less than impressed with their vicar’s attitude towards the Christian faith, and I can’t say I blame them.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

This article does seem more at home in a West Bank synagogue than in a local British parish at Christmas time I must say

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Indeed. However, when I criticise the author I get lambasted, and you get upticks (including mine). What’s all that about?

John Tyler
John Tyler
4 months ago

I’m amazed by the number of comments based on the presumption that the true villain in all this is The West and The Capitalist System. It is as irrational as the Islamist presumption that the world will reach perfect harmony through the subjugation of non-believers and destruction of any who dare to stand up their bullying.

Gary Pigott
Gary Pigott
4 months ago

Surprising how many (so called) men of religion fail to see the value of peace these days.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Pigott

Giles Fraser has an identity problem, but has found an audience of right-wing Judeo-Christian bigots who make him feel better about himself by endorsing his “analyses”.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago

The different points of view being expressed make nonsense of your bigoted comment.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Fraser is the bigot, and also confused about his own identity. He needs to undertake therapy and in the meantime, put the keyboard away until he’s ready to write something worth reading.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago

Or, you could take that injunction unto yourself. Anyone who feels the need to identify with three forenames should beware of overuse of a keyboard.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

One forename, and two middle names, but I hardly see it as relevant.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago

That doesn’t surprise me, since relevance doesn’t appear to.be your strong point; and not just on this particular matter. It seems you have no qualms in applying epithets to others.

I’ve taken Giles Fraser to task on occasion, but never with bigoted language as you choose to do.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

What bigoted language? That he has an identity crisis?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

Why don’t you post under your own name and take ownership. I could say that for many others though.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Gary Pigott

Peace takes two to tango. Peace will only reign when the World is rid of evil people whose vision is death.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

On both sides.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
4 months ago

How sad that so much of the debate below is hair-splitting over the correct definition of antisemitism.
Now what about the author’s main points: that there is no room for Hamas and that conflict is ended by realists with skin like a rhino.

Paul Collyer
Paul Collyer
4 months ago

Would Jesus have approved of what is happening in Gaza, and indeed Bethlehem, today?

I think not.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Collyer

What would Muhammad say about October 7? Legions of his followers openly cheered that day. For some reason, you act as if it never occurred.

Paul Collyer
Paul Collyer
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Alex, Jesus would most definitely not have approved of 7th October nor would any decent human being.

That does not justify what we are seeing elsewhere.

Israel must surely know the more you humiliate a population the more evil you sow for the future?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Collyer

This cuts both ways. When your kids are taught to dehumanize those pesky Jews, it’s not going to work well.

Hamas is welcome to release the hostages and lay down its arms. Golda Meir’s words are as true today as when first uttered.

Paul Collyer
Paul Collyer
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You can dress it up as you want but the military attacks in Gaza are not different to those in Ukraine, etc.

It’s unpalatable to any decent person.

Hamas are a vile sect and their cause is being fed by the Israeli strategy.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Collyer

Let’s not forget Israel’s support of Hamas as an alternative to the Palestinian authority of Mahmoud Abbas. Those that live by the sword tend to die by it.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

This topic has been done to death.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago

Done to death is a somewhat inappropriate phrase, don’t you think?

Campbell P
Campbell P
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

And Jabotinsky’s? Remember him and his heirs before you try to take the moral high ground.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Collyer

Israelis are damned if they do or damned if they don’t, respond with violence.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

Reading right thru the comments I notice a shift. Yes, we have the usual howls of Antisemitism! Antisemitism! But it’s bankrupt. More and more people are refusing to be silenced by it. This is about Zionist crimes going on to this day and, yes, the mad-dog responses to it. I’m half Jewish. My dad was a Jew and he detested Zionism — as we currently have it, namely Zionism-via-theft. We don’t hear about the, yes, millions of Jews who believe in justice for the Palestinians. I saw a documentary a few days ago — former IDF special forces guy — no shrinking violet peacenik — in the WB defending Palestinians from murderous attacks by the Settlers — it’s not the Israel he was prepared to kill and die for.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Out of curiosity, do you hear from Muslims who condemn October 7 in particular and the likes of Hamas in general? If not, have you considered why that is?

On occasion, I see Arabs living in Israel and being quite happy about it. I never see the reverse for some reason. There were lots of scenes of Muslims openly cheering the attack and none condemning it. Even you see the reaction among Jews is not the same, yet you can’t or won’t recognize the difference.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I know that the reaction among my Jewish friends and colleagues, and my (Jewish) sister-in-law and family, has been quite varied. But then why should all Jews react the same? My Israeli friends are quite pro-war, as are my British/Jewish friends who spent any time in Israel, especially to serve in the military. My British/Jewish friends with no experience of Israel have more nuanced views, and talk of a ceasefire and lasting, peaceful two-state solution.

Last edited 4 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

I’m not Jewish but I do accept that Israel has a right to exist. But the international community needs to make sure that existence is not at the cost of others in the region. This incursion into Gaza, while a cathartic exercise in revenge and the destruction of the current Hamas fighters, is not an end to the problem. Moreover, the price being paid is falling very heavily on innocents. I don’t think Israel can be trusted to ensure its own safety or peace in the region until the Israeli government is changed for a less right-wing one. I suggest watching the film Israelism.

Last edited 4 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

I love reading Giles Fraser. As an atheist, he’s my kind of man of the cloth. He’s realistic and witty, “theological Disneyland” nails it for Jerusalem! How he manages to navigate reality with the supernatural, on a daily basis, is beyond me, but apparently he does it. A miracle indeed.

Campbell P
Campbell P
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Because he has studied the evidence objectively and with an open mind?

Anthony L
Anthony L
4 months ago

Perhaps it’s the political incompetence of your congregation which is ‘a threat to Israel’ (though I doubt they’ve got much sway with the UN) rather than the mostly secular festive period cherished by millions who couldn’t give a monkey’s about what’s happening in the Middle East.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
4 months ago
Reply to  Anthony L

Xmas is a capitalist holiday for the majority. The only thing worshipped is money. And the fact that “millions… cpuldnt give a monkey’s about what is happening in tbr Middle East” shows the lack of humanity that so many sing about just now. At least I know I am a heathen…

simon billing.simon@gmail.com
4 months ago

Oh boy Giles, have you ever gone over to the dark side. The same old “if HAMAS surrendered it would all be over”, “Palestinians turned down the Oslo offer”, etc.
The only asymmetry in this war is the one that pits a nuclear armed nation with one of the most powerful and technologically advanced militaries in the world, who are pretty much guaranteed an inexhaustible resupply of arms and materiel ad infinitum from the most powerful nation in the world versus some 25,000 terrorists who live in tunnels and receive highly contingent support from Iran.
The Israelis also have one of the most sophisticated PR machines in the world, one that has branded any and all criticism of the Netanyahu government or illegal settlers as anti-semitism, and HAMAS as an “existential threat” and mass slaughter of innocents as justified by the right to defend (a duty they failed in dismally on October 7). HAMAS would like to be an existential threat to Israel, but based on the asymmetry in military and technological sophistication there is little chance they ever will be. Unless of course the Netanyahu government once again chooses to ignore the intelligence services in order to focus on settler communities in the West Bank and the complicated project of keeping Bibi in power and out of jail.
And as for the Oslo Accords – well read ’em and weep for they in no way offered up anything close to a two state solution rather extremely limited and proscribed autonomy with a promise of looking at things again years on.

Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago

Thank you

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

Palestinians DID turn down the Oslo offer, as they have many others. And what if Hamas were to lay down arms? Since it’s never been done, maybe it’s worth a try. But that would mean the Jews live and Israel survives. Some folks can’t have that.

simon billing.simon@gmail.com
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes I acknowledged that the Palestinians turned down Oslo. They turned it down because it wasn’t a deal at all. It offered up some nugatory scraps of autonomy and kicked the real issues into the long grass. I am in no way suggesting that Israel should not exist, but that if a just solution to this problem is to happen the state of Israel must exist alongside an equally free and autonomous state of Palestine.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

A thief steals $100 from you and then, to make it right, he suggests giving perhaps $10 back to you, on the condition that you acknowledge his right to keep the $90.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

You also dismissed it as “the same old.” When have the Arabs proposed a viable answer? Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan were formed in the same 20th century as Israel and collectively occupy several times the land mass. Yet it’s always the Jewish state that is expected to compromise or capitulate, never the Muslims. Speaking of asymmetrical.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

BTW, the ‘peace process’ was so long and convoluted that I forget who agreed to what, when and where, but at one point Arafat had actually ‘signed’ — with Rabin — and, were it not for the murder of the latter (by a Jew) my understanding is that the deal would have gone thru.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

Yup. What the apologists for Bibi never want to talk about is the ongoing occupation of the WB, with more land thefts and murders of Palestinians every day.

dave dobbin
dave dobbin
4 months ago

May I suggest removing your email address, so it’s not scraped

simon billing.simon@gmail.com
4 months ago
Reply to  dave dobbin

Thanks.

Mark Griffin
Mark Griffin
4 months ago

I agree that as a Christian, an Anglican and a lapsed Catholic it is common for many sermons to will a vague peace for all! If you will, a spiritual pablum.
As a parent and not a lapsed one, I don’t wish to my children to know the evils of war. That said this situation is a tragedy that is in itself wrought by historys priorities and geopolitical fragmentation! If one considers ourselves Christian, we cannot throw Israel under the bus, especially as we are Jews ourselves, of a kind, and many of our ancestors have blood on our hands from those progroms, even Shakespeare has to answer for that. There is no easy answer, but the denigration of Palestine cannot be on our hands either. We have inherited an obligation to serve both peoples. Even fellow Arabs have used Palestinians as geopolitical cannon fodder. If we are to sincerely moralise, the actions must measure up. If the West is the best!? then both sides, require a Solution like that of King Solomon. Other wise keep our smug mouths shut and try not to add to the problem, in the most self aware way possible. Humility!

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
4 months ago

“If Israel were to lay down its arms, there would be another massacre within hours.”
Because that is what “the Christians” are demanding, right?

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
4 months ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

It’s tendentious dreck. Your point is one of a number I spotted throughout the article.
A bad faith framing from start to finish, in order to justify the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
If I was his bishop, I’d suspend him for teachings unworthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Peter Hill
Peter Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

Less than 1% of gaza’s population has been killed. Nazis killed 66% of the jewish population of europe. The word genocide is used for marketing not as a fact

Amelia Melkinthorpe
Amelia Melkinthorpe
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

Trouble is, his boss is Welby.

John Solomon
John Solomon
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

Would this be one of the bishops trying to promote gay relationship blessings by the back door? One heretic condemning another?

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

If Israel were to resort to international law and a settlement based on international law there could finally be peace; Instead, israel resorts to crushing the palestinians by military might, war on children, women, civilians, destruction of their infrastructure, starvation, stealing of their land. What other country has resorted to such unprecedented callous, brutal murder of a population. Unprecedented nbumber of journalists targeted and killed – at least 60 killed by Israel, in order to hide its massacre and what is really going on in Gaza.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago

No clue what you are talking about. How does the “settlement by international law” look like? What is “international law” anyway? Look who dictated the settlement in Europe after WWII. I give you a clue: the winners of that war. People who were “settled” in regions of Europe for centuries were uprooted and millions were killed on their way to safety. Does the UN still call these14 million people “Refugees” after 78 years? Did the WWII refugees plan terrorist attacks against the new owners of their land, towns and properties? Hmmm


Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
4 months ago

The Holocaust caused or was an opportunity for every non-Jew to stare unflinching into the darkness of the human soul. Maybe it’s time for Jews to do the same; this being a particularly Christian injunction.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Maybe it’s time for Hamas to abandon its desire to rid the world of Jews. Or are its members absolved from the part about staring into the darkness?

Paul Collyer
Paul Collyer
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Both are true.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Two wrongs.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Hamas is the mirror.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Alex Lekas (if you ever get to read this): I am troubled that my two previous attempts fell short of addressing your valid and important question, therefore: I agree that Hamas is not absolved from staring into the abyss, nor I, you, the author of this essay or the Jews. That is my understanding of what follows from a close or intimate reading of the gospel of Christ (vide: Matthew 5:38-40 and 7:1-5, inter alia).

Thomas Harrington
Thomas Harrington
4 months ago

How charming. A societally sanctioned interpreter of Christ’s message for the rest of us shamelessly shilling for war on behalf of an unabashedly racist and colonialist state. The Pharisees are alive and well in our midst.

Patricia Hardman
Patricia Hardman
4 months ago

“Peace feels terrible. As peace between Russia and Ukraine will do, one day. That’s not the sort of peace we imagine the angels to be singing about. But it will probably be the “men of strife” who bring it about in the end. And that’s what real peace looks like.”

No Giles, this is not what peace looks like.
Surely as a priest you should know that real peace will only be seen at the second coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I suggest you go back to your Bible.

‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Revelation‬ ‭21:4‬ ‭‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Last edited 4 months ago by Patricia Hardman
Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

The threat to isreal is israel: a state built on violence, and currently waging a brutal callous war on the whole population of Gaza, with unprecedented death toll, unimaginable horror, starvation, whole families wiped out. An unprededented number of journalists killed – around 60, specifically targeted so the world does not see the full horror of what is happening in Gaza. Instead of adopting the internationally agreed two state solution, netanyahu openly boast that he has prevented Palestinian statehood and will continue to do so. Settler militia brutality is escalating, pishing Palestinians off their land. Israel wants to take land based on agression and military might, to create ‘lebensraum’ for Israel

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

Every minute is a threat to Gazans, from bombing, from starvation….
In the midst of a butal murdurous war on Palestinian civilians, the Israeli government has approved $20 million towards illegal settlements in the West Bank, while armed settler militants continue their attacks on unarmed West Bank pastoralists and others fully backed by the Israeli government

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago

“But it will probably be the “men of strife” who bring it about in the end. And that’s what real peace looks like”.
Nonsense. But Merry Christmas to you anyway, Reverend Fraser, leader of the Church of Bad News.
Who would Jesus agree with: You and Netanyahu and Kissinger? You cannot kill your way to “real peace”. Tough negotiation? Sure, but never abandon discernment and mercy. You cannot kill away the source of hatred from which Hamas springs, for they are just one manifestation of a hatred that is far from one-sided. A brutal one, who must be defeated, true. But other such villains will emerge in their wake. While you cannot altogether plug the source of such hatred, you can alter the toxicity and volume of that violent wellspring, for good or ill.