Rev. Bruce Shipman resigned from his post as priest-in-charge of the Episcopal Church at Yale on Thursday — two weeks after his remarks in a New York Times letter garnered national media attention for their alleged anti-Semitism.

In an Aug. 21 letter responding to Emory professor Deborah Lipstadt’s Aug. 20 New York Times essay titled “Why Jews Are Worried,” Shipman put forth his idea that Israel’s actions in Gaza contributed to growing anti-Semitism in Europe. He added that stalled peace negotiations and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank were also factors. As a result of the piece, Shipman faced a wave of criticism from those who accused him of making anti-Semitic statements. In an email to the News, Shipman said he resigned because he could not garner sufficient support from his board to survive the adverse publicity.

“Within hours of the publication of my letter … there was an avalanche of angry email that continued for several days,” Shipman wrote. “It was ugly and accompanied by harassing telephone calls to my home … The message to many will be that bullying tactics succeed.”

But Ian Douglas, bishop of Connecticut and president of the board of governors for the Episcopal Church at Yale, said Shipman’s resignation had little to do with the controversy surrounding his writing. Rather, Douglas said Shipman told him it was the result of preexisting challenges within the leadership dynamic of the church.

“It’s not as glamorous a story to hear that Priest-in-Charge Bruce Shipman resigned because of institutional dynamics within the Episcopal Church at Yale and not the debates related to Israel and Palestine — but it’s the truth,” Douglas said.

Douglas added that he is personally “dismayed” that some individuals and organizations have tried to politicize Shipman’s resignation instead of accepting it as a decision made because of challenging relationships between Shipman and certain members of the board.

Much of Shipman’s work this year involved institutional changes and revisions in the church’s goals and directions, Douglas said. He contributed positively to the Episcopal community at Yale, Douglas added — but some of Shipman’s strategic ideas conflicted with those of others.

Douglas said he did not feel that Shipman was forced out of his position as priest-in-charge. However, Douglas acknowledged that the events of the past two weeks indeed “sharpened the dynamics” of the interactions between Douglas and board members.

Still, Shipman disagreed, saying that the lack of support from the board surrounding the recent controversy directly led to his resignation.

The controversy surrounding Shipman’s remarks has generated disapproval from other religious figures on Yale’s campus. Last month, Leah Cohen, director of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life, said in a statement to the Washington Post that the Slifka Center is against anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind, adding that those who spread these ideas stands in the way of the Center’s mission.

University Chaplain Sharon Kugler said in an email that Shipman’s opinions have been “a source of concern and pain for many, both within and outside of our campus community.” She added that the recent controversy has distracted from Yale Religious Ministries’ work to foster respect and mutual understanding among people of different faiths and cultures.

“Our primary focus now is to move forward with renewed and reanimated resolve to nurture a truly welcoming and supportive community for faculty, staff and students of all faiths,” she said.

Regarding his initial statements in the Times, Shipman told the News in August that he simply believes there is a correlation between increased anti-Semitic violence and the events taking place in Israel, Palestine and Gaza.

He added that he should have mentioned these views in his original letter to the Times.

“My patriotism runs deep, as does my love for Israel and Palestine and for the two peoples locked in a tragic fight over the land,” he said. “If I seemed to suggest in my letter that only Jews who actively oppose present Israeli policies have a right to feel safe, that was not my intention nor is it my belief … Nothing done in Israel or Palestine justifies the disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in Europe or elsewhere.”

Yale sent a statement to the Washington Post last week that noted that Shipman was not employed by the University or the Chaplain’s office, effectively distancing itself from the situation.

Of 30 students interviewed on Monday, only nine knew of Shipman’s resignation. Eli Feldman ’16 said he thinks that David Bernstein, a professor at the George Mason University School of Law who first attacked Shipman’s statements in a blog post on the Washington Post, had overstated his case. Still, Feldman believes Shipman had to leave his post, either through firing or resignation.

Simon Brewer ’16 said he did not find Shipman’s statements in the New York Times to be anti-Semitic, while Cole Aronson ’18 said Shipman’s initial statements were “classic anti-Semitism.”

Scott Remer ’16 said he questions whether Shipman intended to be anti-Semitic. He added that the fact that Shipman resigned reflects negatively on the University’s policy towards free speech.

Students recognize that “the Yale name” brings with it some responsibility, said Zach Young ’17. Young said that while he believes in free speech, Shipman should not have used his position of power to endorse his own views.

Shipman holds degrees from Carleton College and Oxford and served 14 months of his appointment as temporary leader of the Episcopal Church at Yale.

  • theantiyale

    A pound of flesh.
    PK

    • mirabelle18

      Not anti-semitic at all to reference Shylock in this context.

      • Goldie ’08

        Seriously. And his comment on another article “being labeled an “anti-Semite” in our PC world is the new anti-Semitism.”
        Is there something you’d like to say, PK?

  • JCvPnew

    Those with the courage to lead the way in speaking out against the death-by-slow-strangulation colonialist-apartheid policies of the current Israeli regime will be remembered with the same reverence with which we remember those who led the way in other such struggles arising from spurious claims based on ethnicity mixed with cruelty and greed. Reverend Shipman is one of those few who deserves his title.
    If Israel is to be saved from itself, more of us must do the same.
    And if antisemitism literally means enmity toward all those of semitic descent, which includes the Palestinians, then who are the ones most actively practicing anti-semitism today?

    • LJreader

      Only it doesn’t. “Antisemitismus” was coined in Germany as a replacement for “Judenhass” (Jew-hatred) and that has been its commonly accepted meaning ever since. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/on-the-semantics-of-semitics-2/ and http://antisemitism.org.il/eng/Anti-Semitism%20with%20a%20hyphen%20or%20Antisemitism

    • TR!

      Actually, anti-Semitism means “hatred of Jews.” If you prefer, just substitute “anti-Jewish racism” for “anti-Semitism.” To say, as Shipman did, racism is the fault of anyone besides the racists is appalling. Exactly the rhetorical trick you pull, trying to turn a discussion of anti-Jewish racism into a discussion of Israeli policies, is the precise problem with Shipman’s letter. Any decent cleric condemns racism, period, without turning into a hobby horse for his political views.

    • BklynBirny

      “if antisemitism literally means enmity toward all those of semitic descent”… It doesn’t. It means hatred of JEWS. So says Websters, American Heritage, and Oxford dictionaries. You have heard of a dictionary? You should try using it.

      I can guarantee you that not only will the reverend not be “remembered with the same reverence” blah, blah, blah. In 3 months he won’t be remembered AT ALL. His dismissal/resignation was richly deserved and if he resigned on his own accord, then he did the Episcopal Church in New Haven a big favor, to no longer have to be associated with such a hateful creature.

    • LJreader

      Only it doesn’t, and never has. “Antisemitismus” was coined by Willhelm Marr in the 19th century as a replacement for “Judenhaas,” or “Jew-hatred,” and that has been its commonly accepted meaning ever since. See the Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, etc.

  • mxm123

    The McCarthyism of American ideals continues.

  • E. Ness Fellenz

    There was nothing anti-Semitic in telling the truth about a reason for growing anti-Semitism, and that reason is the growing racism, bigotry, hatred and genocide practiced by Jews. In this country alone, you have to be appalled at the number of high profile instances of racism involving Jews as the wrong-doers. Whether it be Donald Sterling (a Jew), or Bruce Levenson (a Jew), or Gene Simmons (a Jew and of KISS fame) and Mark Cuban (a Jew), you have a rash of Jews involved in racist comments or actions (e.g., the housing discrimination practices of Sterling that resulted in the court assessed penalties of literally millions of dollars he’s had to pay for his racial hatred and the harm he visited upon peoples of color) against people who are already historically oppressed.

    And how can that be from people who themselves have been immorally and systematically stereotyped virtually everyplace their diaspora has taken them? These are not isolated incidents, but part of a larger pattern of racism and bigotry that has been practiced by Jews. And not just here of course, but in Israel. It’s not just the continuing effort by Israeli Jews to steal more land from the Palestinians, it’s the original mid-twentieth century invasion and theft of land in Palestine after a 2000 year absence that is revisited when you’re caused to examine the entire historic relationship between the Palestinians and Jews. And the genocide the Israeli Jews practice or their indifference to genocide and racial hatred becomes even clearer when one recalls that the Jews of Israel supported genocide and racial hatred practiced by apartheid South Africa when the Afrikaner illegally and cruelly kept Mandela and tens of thousands of other innocents imprisoned for decades for simply fighting against severe oppression and genocide there. Israel opened and maintained diplomatic and trade relations with apartheid South Africa although it knew the consequences of South Africa’s official policies for every black and brown person born or otherwise living there. The genocide and indifference to the rights of a brown skinned people such as the Palestinian people becomes more prominent then in the context of this plain pattern, and so does the corresponding and reciprocating indifference for legitimate Jewish concerns such as anti-Semitism, albeit of an obviously different origin and basis than traditional anti-Semitism animated by historically false stereotypes.

    I know that blacks will become more indifferent and uncaring of Jewish existential and bigotry concerns if Jews continue to exhibit hostile and discriminatory words and actions against blacks. It’s just a natural reaction after awhile — how long can you hate me before I start to hate you or become indifferent to your needs or the hate directed at you. Jews rightfully stress that we must not forget the lessons of history lest the horrors of history repeat themselves. Somewhat selfishly they have stridently pushed virtually only the Holocaust as a history lesson to be prominently taught and remembered as sacred history in America despite the fact that that sad and horrific episode of history took place entirely on foreign soil and involved foreign actors and therefore has nothing to do with American history. This occurs at the same time that the far longer history of slavery and genocide here in America has been largely ignored and otherwise downplayed by white America with Jews certainly not pushing for a much more prominent, fuller, and truthful telling and remembrance of those stories that continue to adversely affect the interests of the two main groups affected by that genocide — African Americans and Native Americans. The problem then is a perception that all that matters to Jews are Jews, and that there exists at minimum an indifference if not downright disrespect for the legitimate needs and rights of others in the context of racism and bigotry. Couple that truth with the words and deeds of Sterling, Levenson, Cuban and other bigoted Jews as well as the Palestinian issue and what Israel did with apartheid South Africa, and you have a basis for great distrust and antipathy by blacks and others relative to Jews and the need for all of us to work together to solve the perfidy of racial and ethnic hatred.

    An even bigger problem is indeed the reaction of those who are directly affected by Jewish racism, bigotry or indifference. What do they do; what will be their response, or even that of people of good will who sympathize with their plight? If dislike of Jews because of their attitudes and policies that are just as hateful and harmful as anti-Semitism is the result, is that anti-Semitism too? Or is it a consequence of what Jews themselves have done and are doing? You can’t ask me not to forget those very important lessons of history, to stand with you against what surely will repeat itself again as the pogroms of Eastern Europe that preceded the holocaust were nothing less than a repetition of anti-Semitic behavior that was before that carried on continuously for hundreds of years, when you seem to have forgotten those lessons yourselves, at least when it comes to black and brown or other historically mistreated people.

    I want Jews to wake up and practice what they preach. I don’t want another holocaust or episodes of anti-Semitism to occur and see my neighbors participating in support of it not because of a traditional false belief that Jews are inherently evil and act humanely solely in relation to their own causes or when they’re in distress, but because of discriminatory and disparaging words and practices Jews make and do, an unneeded and entirely undesirable reaction to mistreatment of my neighbors. I don’t want to be caused to become indifferent to anti-Semitism with my previously unshakable belief for what is right and my compassion and empathy for Jewish suffering to dissipate because of a realization that the people I care about don’t care about me. That would be a horrible end for me, and even a worst end for a people who are increasingly forgetting that they need me and everyone else as much if not more than we need them. Yep, they would do well to heed the truth as expressed in the words of this Anglican prelate, and note the historical folly of killing the messenger just to suppress the truth.

  • E. Ness Fellenz

    There was nothing anti-Semitic in telling the truth about a reason for growing anti-Semitism, and that reason is the growing racism, bigotry, hatred and genocide practiced by Jews. In this country alone, you have to be appalled at the number of high profile instances of racism involving Jews as the wrong-doers. Whether it be Donald Sterling (a Jew), or Bruce Levenson (a Jew), or Gene Simmons (a Jew and of KISS fame) and Mark Cuban (a Jew), you have a rash of Jews involved in racist comments or actions (e.g., the housing discrimination practices of Sterling that resulted in the court assessed penalties of literally millions of dollars he’s had to pay for his racial hatred and the harm he visited upon peoples of color) against people who are already historically oppressed.

    And how can that be from people who themselves have been immorally and systematically stereotyped virtually everyplace their diaspora has taken them? These are not isolated incidents, but part of a larger pattern of racism and bigotry that has been practiced by Jews. And not just here of course, but in Israel. It’s not just the continuing effort by Israeli Jews to steal more land from the Palestinians, it’s the original mid-twentieth century invasion and theft of land in Palestine after a 2000 year absence that is revisited when you’re caused to examine the entire historic relationship between the Palestinians and Jews. And the genocide the Israeli Jews practice or their indifference to genocide and racial hatred becomes even clearer when one recalls that the Jews of Israel supported genocide and racial hatred practiced by apartheid South Africa when the Afrikaner illegally and cruelly kept Mandela and tens of thousands of other innocents imprisoned for decades for simply fighting against severe oppression and genocide there. Israel opened and maintained diplomatic and trade relations with apartheid South Africa although it knew the consequences of South Africa’s official policies for every black and brown person born or otherwise living there. The genocide and indifference to the rights of a brown skinned people such as the Palestinian people becomes more prominent then in the context of this plain pattern, and so does the corresponding and reciprocating indifference for legitimate Jewish concerns such as anti-Semitism, albeit of an obviously different origin and basis than traditional anti-Semitism animated by historically false stereotypes.

    I know that blacks will become more indifferent and uncaring of Jewish existential and bigotry concerns if Jews continue to exhibit hostile and discriminatory words and actions against blacks. It’s just a natural reaction after awhile — how long can you hate me before I start to hate you or become indifferent to your needs or the hate directed at you. Jews rightfully stress that we must not forget the lessons of history lest the horrors of history repeat themselves. Somewhat selfishly they have stridently pushed virtually only the Holocaust as a history lesson to be prominently taught and remembered as sacred history in America despite the fact that that sad and horrific episode of history took place entirely on foreign soil and involved foreign actors and therefore has nothing to do with American history. This occurs at the same time that the far longer history of slavery and genocide here in America has been largely ignored and otherwise downplayed by white America with Jews certainly not pushing for a much more prominent, fuller, and truthful telling and remembrance of those stories that continue to adversely affect the interests of the two main groups affected by that genocide — African Americans and Native Americans. The problem then is a perception that all that matters to Jews are Jews, and that there exists at minimum an indifference if not downright disrespect for the legitimate needs and rights of others in the context of racism and bigotry. Couple that truth with the words and deeds of Sterling, Levenson, Cuban and other bigoted Jews as well as the Palestinian issue and what Israel did with apartheid South Africa, and you have a basis for great distrust and antipathy by blacks and others relative to Jews and the need for all of us to work together to solve the perfidy of racial and ethnic hatred.

    An even bigger problem is indeed the reaction of those who are directly affected by Jewish racism, bigotry or indifference. What do they do; what will be their response, or even that of people of good will who sympathize with their plight? If dislike of Jews because of their attitudes and policies that are just as hateful and harmful as anti-Semitism is the result, is that anti-Semitism too? Or is it a consequence of what Jews themselves have done and are doing? You can’t ask me not to forget those very important lessons of history, to stand with you against what surely will repeat itself again as the pogroms of Eastern Europe that preceded the holocaust were nothing less than a repetition of anti-Semitic behavior that was before that carried on continuously for hundreds of years, when you seem to have forgotten those lessons yourselves, at least when it comes to black and brown or other historically mistreated people.

    I want Jews to wake up and practice what they preach. I don’t want another holocaust or episodes of anti-Semitism to occur and see my neighbors participating in support of it not because of a traditional false belief that Jews are inherently evil and act humanely solely in relation to their own causes or when they’re in distress, but because of discriminatory and disparaging words and practices Jews make and do, an unneeded and entirely undesirable reaction to mistreatment of my neighbors. I don’t want to be caused to become indifferent to anti-Semitism with my previously unshakable belief for what is right and my compassion and empathy for Jewish suffering to dissipate because of a realization that the people I care about don’t care about me. That would be a horrible end for me, and even a worst end for a people who are increasingly forgetting that they need me and everyone else as much if not more than we need them. Yep, they would do well to heed the truth as expressed in the words of this Anglican prelate, and note the historical folly of killing the messenger just to suppress the truth.

    • Flash

      But… do you understand that you’re making big sweeping statements about “Jews”, and not permitting individual Jewish people to have their own opinions and practices that define how they’re treated? Your rant implicitly sweeps Jews who are Palestinian/Native American/African American/civil rights activists into a big pile of “it’s okay to hate Jews because they do bad things to Palestinians”, when in fact it isn’t “Jews” who do bad things to Palestinians, but certain individuals who happen to be Jewish. And that’s the problem with racism in general, and antisemitism in particular.

      • E. Ness Fellenz

        But Flash …. do you understand that Israel is a “Jewish” nation that expressly states that it is a land for Jews, and that the government is essentially “Jewish”? Therefore …. do you understand that it is only reasonable to find that many people will ascribe to “Jews” a penchant for or at least an indifference to genocide when their plainly “Jewish” government is responsible for practicing or supporting genocide? Is their view any different than you and I ascribing anti-Semitism to German people generally given the scope and magnitude of the holocaust and the direct or indirect, knowing complicity of so many Germans in that horror? You seem to confuse the traditional, loathsome claims of anti-Semites born solely of racial hatred with an anti-Semitism that Rev. Shipman was attempting to address that is not at all traditional but premised in the actions of Jews, at least as perceived by those who are becoming anti-Semitic in Europe and previously had no anti-Semitic bent. Because …. you do understand that he’s not suggesting that people amongst whom anti-Semitism may be finding some roots is premised in those false, traditional anti-Semitic “Christ-killer” and international conspiracy theories? He and I are both talking about a perception with some palpable basis resulting from the magnitude and frequency of offensive behavior that is being carried out by people who identify themselves as Jews. We know that not every German was complicit in the evils of the holocaust, and that not every Jew in Israel is complicit in the land grab and other excesses inflicted by their government that is nevertheless supported by a majority of Jews there. In fact, just as there were many Germans who were anti-Nazi and heroic in fighting the Nazis and in making efforts to protect the victims of the Nazis…… you do know that there is also a large, vocal minority in Israel presently that is battling what they too agree are questionable policies of Israel relative to the Palestinians if not genocide. Nevertheless, the German people were rightly before defeat identified generally with being a brute people, reprehensible in character. Indeed, when the Allies unmercifully bombed their cities they didn’t distinguish between the good and the bad. And when they were defeated, the Allies went through an intensive deNazification effort that started with making many Germans, good and bad, walk through the concentration camps to see what they as a people had wrought. So …. do you understand that neither Shipman or I are in any way excusing anti-Semitism, we’re just noting an obvious truth. We all need to make ourselves aware of how bigotry can slowly and sometimes imperceptibly creep into our views, especially those who by their horrible historic experiences should be their example and lives teachers of that principle and not become susceptible. That’s what we’re talking about here — a perception of collective responsibility that is best handled by being addressed, in fact as stridently as instances of anti-Semitism are addressed and should be addressed by Jews and non-Jews alike.

        • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

          It would be nice if you could provide a thoughtful, well reasoned and cogent response here but you didn’t and perhaps it is because you can’t.

          Israel is the Jewish homeland but it doesn’t mean that non Jews are unwelcome or unable to participate in society. There are non Jewish members of government who were elected into office. There are non Jewish citizens in the army too.

          In fact non Jews are part of the fabric of Israeli society.

          There is no systematic attempt to round up Palestinians and murder them and never has been. There is no genocide but people like yourself who misuse the word could be accused of having blood on your hands.

          The simple truth is that Shipman made a dumb remark that cannot be supported. As has been pointed out if you try to use his logic than every African American male is guilty of domestic violence, just like Ray Rice. Or every Latino is guilty of murder just like Aaron Hernandez. Or maybe every White guy is a cannibal just like Jefferey Dahmer.

          There is no basis for collective responsibility. There is no single entity that represents every Jew any more than one body represents every other group and the suggestion that Israel is accountable for antisemitism is just asinine.

    • Trish94903

      Riiiight……so if a Black football player brutalizes dogs to death, or beats his girlfriend unconsconscious, or deals drugs…..then the world can permissibly tag ALL Black people around the world with these acts? You go to Yale? Doesn’t speak well for the intellectual clarity of Yale.

      • mxm123

        A single Black football player speaks for an entire race is the same as a country, Israel, that states emphatically that it speaks for a religion ?

        Trying to make an apple into an orange are we ?

    • teachitagain

      If you are a student at Yale you should question Yale’s entrance standard. In any case, you are a lost soul in the bowels of racism and stupidity.

  • eness fellenz

    I can only wonder why Yale Daily News hasn’t posted my comment today in support of Bruce Shipman. Wonder if it has to do with censorship, suppression of ideals that Yale Daily just doesn’t agree with, especially since I posted it thrice? I wonder why?

    • kevin24

      dude, they posted it each time, I just wish that at least once they would have edited it for clarity and context.

  • teachitagain

    Sad but nevertheless true that most who suffer from a lack of ability to think clearly too often say things which are over the top. This indecent speaker, and a recent rejection from consideration as a professor by the president of UI, has no significant ability to rise above his childhood exposure to non-Jewish middle Eastern culture and ideas, many politically motivated and bigoted, and present himself as a sufficiently informed, adult professional. Hiding behind his priestly garment and his facade of a right to say anything- “free speech”- he has exposed himself as a moral and intellectual coward and a poor example of Christian morality.