(JTA) — Discontent is brewing in New Haven after Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, an Episcopal chaplain at Yale, wrote a letter to the New York Times that some have deemed deeply offensive to Jews.
On Aug. 20, Deborah E. Lipstadt, an author and Jewish history professor at Emory University, published an editorial in the New York Times entitled “Why Jews Are Worried,” detailing a rise in European anti-Semitic incidents.
Shipman responded by tying rising anti-Semitism to “the carnage in Gaza over the last five years” – and encouraging “Israel’s patrons abroad” to push the Israeli government for peace as a means to stop similar attacks.
On Twitter, Lipstadt called Shipman’s response “beneath contempt” and accused him of victim-blaming.
Rabbi Leah Cohen, executive director of Yale’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life, strongly condemned Shipman’s sentiments:
“We are adamantly against any justifications of anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind,” she wrote.
Shipman issued an apology Friday in the student newspaper, stating that “Nothing done in Israel or Palestine justifies the disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in Europe or elsewhere,” but reiterating his belief in the “correlation between the uptick in anti-Semitic violence in the world and the events taking place in Israel/Palestine and Gaza.”
Talia Lavin is a fact checker for the New Yorker and a Forward columnist writing about Jews in American politics.