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  • Michael Dickson

An Open Letter to St. James's Church at Christmas

Originally published at The Times of Israel

St. James's Church, in Piccadilly, London, decided to celebrate Christmas by erecting a 26 foot replica of the wall section of the Israeli security barrier outside their church and project anti-Israel propaganda on it as part of their "Bethlehem Unwrapped" 'festival'.

Here is a letter I sent today to the pastoral and administrative staff of the church.

You can see the extent, planning and money that went into this stunt on this clip:

Dear Pastor Winkett and St. James Church staff,

What a mean-spirited, one-sided and divisive stunt you chose to politicise your church with this Christmas.

In an ideal world there would be no walls.

In an ideal world there would also be no suicide bombers – radical Islamist Palestinians who hate the Jews that live close to them so much that they are willing to indiscriminately kill them and others – be it in a shopping centre, disco, pizza restaurant or if they are sitting at their Passover Seder.

Be in no doubt that Israel built a security barrier only after enduring a wave of horrific terrorism that left thousands dead and maimed for life.

Your completely partial representation of the situation negates their loss of life and shows gross insensitivity to their families – and by extension to all Israelis and the Jewish community in the UK, none of whom were untouched by these murders.

Hadas Fogel, three months old, was killed by terrorists on March 11, 2011. The terrorists confessed that they left the Fogel home after murdering Hadas’ parents and two sleeping brothers but returned to murder Hadas when they heard her start crying.

Be in no doubt also that the only reason that this vicious terrorism has died down is not because the extremists stopped trying, but because they are prevented to get to their intended victims.

That includes, by the way, me and my children.

We are Brits who moved to Israel. We are only safe because we have security on our buses (an attempted bombing took place last week), our schools and public places.

London saw this kind of suffering on 7/7; similar attacks were occurring in Israel’s streets daily until the security barrier was built.

Sure, it causes inconvenience and Palestinians hate it, but which is worse: inconvenience or death?

Because that – plainly – is the choice.

The Bible I read says clearly: “Choose Life”.

The radicals, who abide by a charter that openly calls for the destruction of Israel and death to Jews, will not give up.

And if the terrorism does stop, the barrier can be dismantled; but people cannot be brought back to life.

Ask yourself this: if you lived in Israel and you knew that mere miles away from you there were people who wanted to blow up your family, or slaughter them in their beds as with the Fogel Family massacre – what would YOU do? As peace-loving as you or I may be, if you are honest you would consider that to protect your family, you would want your government to build a wall. And if they didn’t you might want to build one yourself.

I desperately want peace. I need peace, because I live here in Israel.

Therefore I educate my kids to want and pursue peace.

I wish that Palestinian children – who watch anti-Jewish rhetoric daily on Palestinian Authority-controlled TV – will be taught the same. Those children deserve more than the leadership they have and the terrorists and Islamists that are in their midst.

Hussam Abdo, a 16-year-old with mental disabilities, was armed with a suicide belt when the IDF stopped him at the Huwara checkpoint on March 24, 2004. Hussam reported that he had been recruited by Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which paid him 100 NIS (shekels) and promised him that he would have 72 virgins after he completed the bombing.

You should ask yourself: Is this act that we are promoting fair, honest? Does it represent the truth of the situation?

Can it really be that Israel – Israel alone, a tiny country – the world’s only Jewish country, surrounded by hostile countries – is to blame – solely, completely?

And most importantly – ask yourselves: Is this radical thing that we have chosen to do a step towards peace? Will it bring people together and pave the way for a more peaceful future? Or is it stunningly divisive at best and horribly offensive at worst? You know my view and I believe your act to be – as much as anything else – deeply unChristian.

Your staff may wish to read this interesting blog, which highlights just where you went wrong this Christmas.

Those who were murdered by terrorism before the security barrier was built cannot cry out.

So I hope in some small way to be their voice.

And I hope that those among you who regret this uncompassionate, one-sided, divisive act at Christmas taking place at St. James Church, will speak out too.

Merry Christmas,

Michael Dickson,


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