Letter Published in the Globe
Dennis Hale, Associate Professor of political science at Boston College
As a member of an Episcopal congregation in the Boston area, I write to express my dismay at the conduct of my Bishops outside the Israeli Consulate last month.
The Bishops are undoubtedly kind souls who feel they are drawing attention to a grave injustice. But by holding photos showing the "destruction in Bethlehem," and not the bodies of Israelis killed by suicide bombers, they imply that peace in the Middle East is Israel's responsibility - that Israel is "destroying" Bethlehem for some sinister purpose of its own, instead of defending itself against killers.
This is ignorance disguised as benevolence, and it should remind us that there is no deadlier combination in this dangerous world than warm hearts and empty heads.
Israel has already accepted, in principle, the idea of a Palestinian state, and the Israeli government was engaged in the very peace talks the Bishops are demanding when Palestinian radicals ignited the intifidah last September.
Since then scores of Jewish civilians have been murdered in Israel, the latest (as I write) a cabinet minister. This sorry record - which the Bishops have a responsibility to know - reinforces what has been clear for the past 50 years. There will be peace in the Middle East only when the Palestinians give up their mad dream of destroying Israel. The Bishops are aiming their righteous indignation at the wrong target - in the process saddening America's friends and stiffening the resolve of the true enemies of peace.
Associate Professor of Political Science