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An Unholy Christmas Carol Alliance

To the tune of "We Three Kings" ...

Palestinian martyrs we are,

Wearing bombs we travel afar.

Jews we hate, we don't discriminate

Blowing up yonder bar

I've been moved to song by the news that a group of anti-Israel British Jews teamed up with a Church of England vicar to stage a Christmas carol concert with a difference: the words of the songs were replaced with lyrics critical of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians. So, for example, "While Shepherds Watched" becomes:

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground,

Some occupying soldiers came and bulldozed all around.

You get the idea. Somehow I don't think my little ditty would have made it on to the order of service.

The concert was organized by a group calling itself Jews For Boycotting Israeli Goods, or J-BIG for short, and held at St James's Church in Piccadilly, central London -- a church with a rich history (it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren), but which has over the years adopted an increasingly "progressive" and "radical" approach to preaching the Gospels.

In addition to various rag-tag activist groups, the carolers included the Liberal Democrat politician Baroness Tonge, who caused a storm in 2004 when she said that if she were Palestinian she would consider becoming a suicide bomber, and who's notorious for holding forth on the power of the "Jewish lobby." Also there was Bruce Kent, a former Catholic priest who, having failed to deliver Western Europe to the Soviet Union in the 1980s in his capacity as head of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, left the priesthood so he could devote himself more fully to political activism.

Defending the concert, Kent said: "I am fed up with sugary religion -- the baby Jesus sitting in his stable and all that stuff." Perhaps he prefers the more "in your face" religion of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose terrorists Israel's "oppressive" security measures are designed to thwart, and whose fellow believers were deeply immersed in their latest act of worship in Bombay even as Kent and his companions sang mockingly about checkpoints and security barriers on the West Bank.