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Israel’s “beautiful resistance” to suicide bombers: A response to Lucy Winkett


A guest post by Richard Millett

St James’s Church’s Rector Lucy Winkett’s defence of her church’s installation of a replica of Israel’s security fence in a piece for ‘Comment is Free’ is a legal and moral failure (Bethlehem Unwrapped is about ‘beautiful resistance’, not taking sides’, Jan. 2).

First the legal side. She states that Israel’s security fence is “illegal under international law”. It is incredible that so many non-lawyers (and a few actual lawyers) state this with such ease when there is little proper evidence of such “illegality”.  Rector Winkett is relying on the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. A frame repeatedly projected on to St James’s Church’s replica wall states “In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague stated the security fence was illegal and it should be dismantled.”

But an advisory opinion is just that; advisory and an opinion. It sets no legal precedent.

Moreover, it is undeniable that Israel’s security fence has stopped Palestinian suicide bombers from attacking Israeli civilians, saving countless lives.

There are legal opinions for and against Israel’s security fence, but for Rector Winkett to declare the fence “illegal under international law” makes a mockery of her claim at ‘Comment is Free’ that “we are not ‘pro’ one side or another”.

On the moral side Rector Winkett derides as “irresponsible” those who claim “we are aligning ourselves with those who support the Holocaust, suicide bombings or that we are antisemitic”.

But Rector Winkett’s wish for Israel’s security fence to come down will encourage suicide bombers sent by the likes of Islamist terror group Hamas to resume their murder of Israeli civilians, including those living on the West Bank, which the fence has successfully disrupted.  (Indeed, the Hamas Charter specifically calls for the murder of Jews, and their leaders have explicitly called for the annihilation of the Jews.)

And then there are the organisations that St James’s Church has expressly aligned itself with for Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Rector Winkett writes that St James’s is supporting “a peaceful Palestinian principle known as ‘beautiful resistance’; expressed in theatres, music projects…”.

Sami Awad, director of the Holy Land Trust (a pro-Palestinian group with ties to Hamas and other terror groups), might believe in “beautiful resistance” but that doesn’t exclude a belief in violence. Awad is on record as saying that such non-violent resistance “is not a substitute for the armed struggle.

Incidentally, all net proceeds from Bethlehem Unwrapped go to the Holy Land Trust. (That is should there be any net proceeds, the cost of the 12 day replica security fence installation being an incredible £30,000.)

Meanwhile, recent news footage shows Interpal’s primary trustee Essam Mustafa with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

And War On Want and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions are part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a movement that campaigns for Israel’s destruction.

Rector Winkett writes in her ‘Comment is Free’ piece that all viewpoints are listened to without exception and that visitors have been allowed to write a prayer or message of peace on the wall and that anything offensive has been immediately removed. She also writes that most conversations have been respectful.

Sadly, many have not been. A woman going in to St James’s Church for Bethlehem Unwrapped’s comedy evening responded to a question about the Holocaust with “What Holocaust?” A supporter of Israel was called a “friggin Jew” and “quenelle4 ever” appeared on the replica security fence (see middle of replica fence below written in blue):

wallquenelle

Rector Winkett also writes that people have written “this wall saves lives”. However, this was subsequently changed to “this wall enslaves lives”.

Bethlehem Unwrapped is not a respectful project however much Rector Winkett is trying to convince us. It mocks Israel’s legitimate attempts to save precious lives.

And it fails to recognise even the possibility that the main problem for Bethlehem’s Christians is not the security fence at all but intimidation and violence by Hamas similar to that carried out by Islamists elsewhere.

Moreover, St James’s Church’s Bethlehem Unwrapped festival has attracted antisemites, Holocaust deniers, those campaigning for the destruction of Israel and those who condone violence to that end.

This may not have been St James’s Church’s intention but this is what has happened and for this Rector Winkett should apologise to Britain’s Jewish community which is bearing the main brunt of the backlash.

The biggest irony is that St James’s Church itself is protected by a security fence; a tall metal fence that contains a locked door. When the door is unlocked it is heavily guarded. Some may call this a checkpoint.

St James’s Church is, understandably, protecting itself from anyone harbouring ill feeling towards it and who may be inclined to carry out an atrocity similar to those carried out against Churches in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt by militant Islamists.

Israel is doing the same.

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38 replies »

  1. Brilliant.

    I was invited to speak at Bethlehem Unwrapped. The more I hear about it the more glad I am I declined.

    Great piece, Richard.

    • Outstanding piece–clear, incisive, and honest.

      Let’s face it–Winkett although having a “title” is just another dishonest and highly bigoted sack of shit–especially ironic given her pretense @ religious authority.

      We should not hesitate to call these phonies what they are.

  2. We had a tremendous show of support last night with a large contingent from Sussex Friends of Israel who made the journey immediately after seeing off the hate brigade outside Soda Stream in Brighton . Israeli flags were displayed along the perimeter of the church . After all if they believe it is right to politicise the church , they can have no objection to our assisting them .

    https://m.facebook.com/pages/Sussex-Friends-Of-Israel/521248807933259?id=521248807933259&_rdr

    Israel supporters were prevented from entering , including one young man , a Christian Friend of Israel who was wearing a Star of David Lapel clip . Scroll down the Sussex Friends Wall to see the video . Another Jewish student was turned away presumably identified by his Yarmulke . The miserable women from Jews for justice etc were outnumbered and out sung by us and they eventually gave up . I decided not to go to the debate although some did . The Embassy had correctly decided not to take part not wishing to give legitimacy to this festival of hate and Palestinian agit propaganda so why should I .

    Well done everyone who braved the elements to show their support and defiance of Rector Lucy Winketts week of ‘ Beautiful Resistance ‘ which has been nothing more than an outpouring of lies and propaganda attended by those who are committed to the dismantlement of the one Jewish nation state .

    • What happened last night is how we Palestinian Christians have been trying to exist for the last 70 years, too afraid to mention who we are, these Zionist supporters make sure our voices never come out.

      We’re trapped just like the holocaust times, our children are suffering everywhere, Zionists are NOT satisfied that they took our homes, country, schools, hospitals, bank accounts, slaughtered and kicked out our parents and families from Palestine, who’s left is buried alive, 70 years on, we’re not safe any where on this planet, and definitely not in London.

      • ‘Carol’. Well now, that’s a nice European name for a Palestinian woman. As you’re referring to the past 70 years, that brings us to pre-State of Israel. So maybe some of your ire should be directed at the British Mandate Authorities. And why aren’t you safe in London, I wonder? As a Palestinian why aren’t you back home, living under the tender ministrations of Hamas? It’s because you’re real enemy is not Jewish Israel but terrorist Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda et al, all of which are doing their evil damndest to oust everyone from the Middle East and beyond who is not fundamentalist, sea-green Islamist. Shame on you for blurring the lines. You should thank heaven that Israel treats its religious minorities so well and be proud that more and more Christian Arabs are joining the Israel Defence Forces and so helping to protect the population from those who want to destroy it.

      • they took our homes, country, schools, hospitals, bank accounts

        Someone’s a little confused.

        Are you sure you’re not a Jew who escaped from Baghdad?

      • You’re 70+ years old? How can you spend practically your entire denying a reality (Israel’s existence) while simultaneously expecting to be taken seriously in the modern world? Just why the hell should I listen to somebody who has spent her entire life bashing the State (and soon-to-be State) of Israel?

        That’s the part you don’t get, Toots. You mean nothing to me. Your hate mongering bullshit only solidifies that your voice on my computer is completely deranged. You are not special, unless by special you mean stupid.

        • When recently someone explained the Big Bang theory to Mahmoud Abbas, telling him that there was a Big Bang after which first hydrogen and then helium were formed, he exclaimed, “Hydrogenites and heliumites, those were my ancestors.”

      • It appears that “Carol” also posts as “Parissa” on Disqus threads. Here’s what she wrote on the Douglas Murray article
        http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/douglas-murray/2014/01/absolute-moral-squalor-on-display-at-a-london-church/#comment-1187869541

        What
        happened last night is how we Palestinian have been trying to exist for
        the last 70 years, too afraid to mention who we are, these Zionist
        supporters make sure our voices never come out.

        We’re trapped
        just like the holocaust times, our children are suffering everywhere,
        Zionists are NOT satisfied that they took our homes, country, culture,
        heritage, schools, literature, hospitals, bank accounts, slaughtered and
        kicked out our parents and families from Palestine, who’s left is
        buried alive behind 700 km wall, 70 years on, we’re not safe any where
        on this planet, and definitely not in London.

        • cba, from your link:

          “Such as the occasion in 2002 when Islamist gunmen holed themselves up in the Church of the Nativity, desecrated it, defiled it and damaged it in ways which can still be seen today.”

          Most of those were not Islamist gunman at all but the “moderate partner” we have in the WB i.e. Fatah soldiers, Tanzim terrorist (Fatah affiliated) and of course Hamas and PIJ…

          As for the Churches in the UK behaving like this, they were used to do so before so why let facts interfere,,,
          This is their response for the way the Palestinians “fighters” took monks as hostages, firing from within the church using the holy site as a shield:

          “On April 20, the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem called upon Christians worldwide to make the upcoming Sunday a “solidarity day” for the people in the church and the church itself, and called for immediate intervention to stop what it referred to as the “inhuman measures against the people and the stone of the church”. It also asked Christians, Muslims and Jews to gather at the main entrance to Bethlehem and march to the church…
          A spokesman for Catholic monks in the Holy Land accused the Israelis of “indescribable act of barbarity”. Pope John Paul II urged people to pray for peace in the Middle East and described the violence as having reached “unimaginable and intolerable” levels. Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said the Israeli soldiers would not “defile the holiness of the site as the [Palestinians] have”. He also said that the troops would remain in place until the militants inside were captured. British Foreign Office Minister, Ben Bradshaw described Israeli actions in the area as “totally unacceptable”.”

          And let’s not forget our friends from the ISM:

          “On May 2, ten international activists, including members of the International Solidarity Movement, were successful in their attempts to bypass soldiers and enter the church, where they announced they intended to remain until the IDF lifted the siege. The next day, another group of international activists delivered food and water, which were in short supply among those inside.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_the_Church_of_the_Nativity_in_Bethlehem

      • Hey Carol: Tell Hamas and tell the Palestinian Authority to declare a permanent peace with the state of Israel.

        Tell them to stop trying to erase the world’s only Jewish state from existence.

        Until then, nothing will change.

  3. ” Moreover, St James’s Church’s Bethlehem Unwrapped festival has attracted antisemites,”

    Weak. Such a ghastly accusation should be backed up. I would like to see evidence .And not some watery “someone was there who is affiliated to a group which has a friend who is almost certainly an anti semite why I am pretty certain they are driven by hate etc etc .” Exactly who were these ” anti semites? ”

    This site is trying to pin down a news paper and single words being wrong can get several articles printed yet such a shoddy statement is allowed.This article is below standard for this site which recently had shown some professional integrity

    • Eh? What about “quenelle 4 ever”, “frigin Jew”, “What Holocaust?” for starters?

      • Harvey don’t argue with berchmans – he knows much better what is antisemitism than you and he doesn’t hesitate to teach us stupid Jews the lesson. According to him antisemitism is the unreasonable hate of the Jews certainly the “frigging Jew”, “quenelle 4 ever” and “What Auschwitz” are in the reasonable hate category.
        And you know the “frigging Jew” was said on a political protest by an infuriated professor who has been goaded to say this by the same frigging Jews – it was perfectly reasonable.

      • Richard, not to mention some of the disgusting comments on their Facebook site–some of it was simply undisguised Jew-hatred.

      • I was really interested to know this obsessed asshole who after watching Jonathan Hoffmann – now suddenly found a new to be watched Jew, so I clicked on the link and I was really surprised to see that apart from only one lonely standard far leftist crap the blogger – who is the process of choking from hate – is a very frank person. The blog’s slogan:
        The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!
        The only flaw is the author’s bad spelling…

    • Who are the antisemites ? Apart from the ones caught on camera , just about everyone taking part in this circus who seek the dismantlement of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian state .
      Jointly and severally it includes those attending who call for the removal of the wall knowing full well that would mean a resumption of the Intifada and the murder and maiming of Israelis .
      So yes those are the antisemites . Same in fact as a single brain cell footballer but just a bit less obvious to the general public .
      Finally let me remind you it is not for you the perpetrator to define what Jews recognise as being antisemitic . Not here anyway . Try it on over at Mondoweiss . They like your sort .

    • Funny, you didn’t ask for any backup material with the accusations that Israel killed an 85 year old man with tear gas. But then you’re Webshit. Everything you touch…. well, you know the rest.

  4. Something that should be added is that the opinion was based on the premise that UNGA had given them. They weren’t asked “is the wall legal?” They were given the premise that the wall is constructed on “occupied Palestinian territory” and they cannot rule on what they weren’t given.

  5. It is about “beautiful resistance”. Well, you can´t argue with a complete idiot who aestheticises terror, only immediately remove her from office.

  6. Wasn’t St. James’s that church where they started to sing Jew-hate carols a couple of years back? Well, here is a new carol to an old tune composed by Duvidl for them:

    To the tune of “Once in Royal David’s City.”

    St.James’s have the Jew-hate gall
    To build a thirty-thousand hate-wall.
    Drummed out of the old and poor
    To pay that Jew-hate rector boor.
    Jewish shrinks for Lucy Winkett,
    Should take her Jew-hate head and shrink it.

    DS Al Coda

  7. *Yasser Arafat defied the Christian tradition in Bethlehem, which had been respected and upheld under Israeli authority, by appointing a Muslim
    governor and engineered a Muslim takeover of the city council. He then put
    his stamp on this town by converting the Greek Orthodox monastery, next to
    the Church of the Nativity, into his official Bethlehem residence.*

    *The Church of the Nativity was desecrated and vandalized by Palestinian
    Muslim gunmen (terrorists) who kept priests and nuns as hostages between
    April 2 and May 10 in 2002.*

    *At great risk to his life, Pastor Naim Khoury, of the Bethlehem Baptists
    Church, exposed the developing threats to Christians within the territories
    controlled by the Palestinian Authority. “People are always telling
    Christians to convert to Islam.”*

    *His ministry is based on love and non-violence. He is also a strong advocate for Zionism based on God’s land covenant with Israel through Abraham.*

    *Because of his views, his church has been bombed fourteen times, and he
    has been shot three times. He has been threatened by the Palestinian
    Authority to close the doors of his church which they consider as “illegitimate.”*

    *This brave Christian priest needs and deserves the active support of
    church leaders worldwide. Instead, they turn their back on him, selecting
    only Israel for their wrath, ignoring the human rights crimes of the
    Palestinian leadership whom they openly support. How twisted is that?*

    *Elias Freij, the Christian mayor of Bethlehem at the time of the Oslo
    Accords in 1993, warned Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to maintain
    control over his town. “Bethlehem will become a town of churches devoid of
    Christians if you transfer control to the Palestinian Authority.” *

    *Israel caved in to international pressure, handed over Bethlehem to the
    Palestinian Authority and, for the middle class Christian residents, their
    lives became threatened. They fled, and the mayor’s warning became the
    current Christian nightmare in Bethlehem.*

    *The St. James’s Church Christmas charade failed to mention the fear that
    pervades the shrinking Christian population. The fear of attack by Muslim
    Palestinians is personified by Joseph Canawati whose sister, her husband,
    and three children have fled to America. *

    *”I want to leave but nobody will buy my business. I feel trapped. We are
    isolated,” he complained. But the Piccadilly church leaders turn a deaf ear
    to his plea. *

    *What of the fear of death at the hands of non-Christian Palestinians in
    Bethlehem, such as that felt by Jeriez Moussa Amaro whose two sisters, Rada
    aged 24 and Dunya aged 18, were gunned down by Palestinian Muslims in their
    own home. Their crime was to be young, attractive, and wear Western clothes
    and no veil.*

    *Sami Qumsieh, the general manager of “The Nativity,” the only Christian
    television station in Bethlehem, has received death threats and visits from
    armed gunmen. He is now ready to leave.
    “As Christians, we have no future here.”

    *How sad it is that this church, the British Methodist Church, and many
    Christian leaders are blindsided in their pursuit of a perceived
    Jewish enemy that they fail to come to the rescue of, or campaign for,
    protest, make expensive exhibitions, for their co-religionists, persecuted
    by those who they actively and expensively support.*

    *The church exhibition in the heart of London is a perverted, untruthful,
    and twisted rendering that says more about a Christianity in the cause of
    evil than a Christianity in search of love, peace, and truth. It says more
    about the lost soul of St.James’s Church and its leaders than it does about
    Israel.