Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Today's Melbourne Age carries a report on the gathering of "pilgrims in Bethlehem for a Christmas mass promoted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Western powers as a chance to highlight the benefits of peacemaking." THOUSANDS OF PILGRIMS GATHER IN THE HOPE OF PEACE TO COME.

No mention there of the ethnic cleansing of Bethlehem's Christians or that in years to come they might have to provide cardboard cut outs of the Christians in attendance so as to fill up manger square at Christmas mass. Still, we all should hope and pray for peace in the region as a result of the peace process that was put in place last month at Annapolis.

The tragic side of the story is that which has been clumsily appended to the article, namely a report on a statement made by nine Australian Christian leaders who visited Israel and Palestine earlier this month. The statement was issued exactly two weeks ago but unlike most newspapers which prefer to publish fresh news, the Age doesn't appear to care if a story is as stale as last week's bread when it can report on a group of clerics who say they feel "compelled" to speak out about the suffering of Palestinians under occupation; who say that their visit showed "there were signs of hope, but obstacles imposed by Israel stood in the way of a just peace."


These Christian leaders tell of what they say they saw and heard which they describe as "evidence of systematic harassment, physical and psychological oppression, widespread unemployment, poverty and economic deprivation, resulting directly or indirectly from Israeli military occupation of the West Bank." They do not say whether and what steps if any were taken to test the evidence or their conclusions (which to many observers are patently false and misleading), whether they considered the probity of their "evidence" or that it might have come from those who bear false witness either directly or by deliberate omission to assist them in reaching their conclusions. And it would not surprise if they were influenced by these Palestinian Christians from Sabeel who have a penchant for propagating anti-Israel sentiment and are considered by some as being serial liars who use antisemitic rhetoric.

The leaders add, almost by way of an afterthought (but rather significant in view of the reality of the situation in the region) that they "also heard of Israeli pain and grief resulting from terrorism, and assured both sides of their compassion and concern".

Thank the Lord for that insightful concession!

The fact that Israel is held to blame for taking security measures to protect its citizens from the terrorists is outrageous. The Age is constantly telling us that conditions for Palestinians in non occupied Gaza are much worse since Israel ended its military occupation of that territory in 2005 (and of almost half of the Palestinian population previously living under the dreadful occupation). When the occupation of Gaza came to an end there was one thing that remained constant - Palestinian terrorism and incitement against the Jews!

These leaders know full well the implications of bearing false witness against others. Yet, it seems that it did not even enter into their thoughts that perhaps the unemployment, poverty and economic deprivation which they saw might directly result from the efforts of Palestinian terrorism which seeks to prevent peace and would rather thwart all efforts to end the occupation. This is precisely because they are aware that there is no shortage of useful idiots to support such causes who know nothing of the consequences of accepting at face value those who bear false witness.


The President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert M Goot AM SC, issued the following statement in response to that of the Australian Church Leaders, following their recent visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank:

"The goodwill expressed by the Australian Church delegation to Israelis and Palestinians, and their prayers for a comprehensive peace, are appreciated and to be welcomed. We also welcome their condemnation of terrorism and acknowledge that people of goodwill strive for peace and justice and recognise that religion should be promoted as a force against extremism. However peace will not be achieved by directing criticisms essentially against one side only.

"In this respect it is regrettable that following their very brief visit to the region, the Church Leaders overlooked fundamental aspects of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and notably failed to mention Hamas let alone its refusal to disavow murderous attacks aimed specifically at Israeli civilians. Hamas’ Charter in calling for the violent destruction of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish majority from the entire Holy Land, is a program for genocide. It would have been helpful if the Church Leaders could have called upon the Hamas government in Gaza to recognise Israel, repudiate terrorism and honour existing agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinians.

"Against that background, the Church Leaders’ criticisms of the measures taken by Israel to defend its citizens are one-sided and unfair. Those criticisms imply that other options are open to Israel, but the delegation has not attempted to spell out what they might be. Nor has the delegation acknowledged that Israel itself is mindful of the effect of its measures on the innocent, and has attempted to alleviate their severity.

"The restrictions on Palestinian movements which the Church Leaders criticise, have also successfully put an end to the wave of terrorist bombings that had killed and maimed thousands of Israeli civilians. If these restrictions were lifted in response to the Church Leaders’ criticisms, and the attacks on innocent Israeli civilians resumed, would the Church Leaders accept moral responsibility?

"Indeed in August 2005, when Israel withdrew all its forces and dismantled all the settlements in the Gaza Strip, within 24 hours Palestinian terror groups in Gaza began firing rockets and mortars directed at civilian population centres in Israel itself. Israel has had to take restrictive measures to protect its citizens from these armed cross-border attacks, the very measures that the delegation now appears to criticise.

"We look forward to our continuing dialogue with the Church Leaders and to learn from them precisely what viable alternatives they believe are available to Israel in the quest for a just and lasting peace for which we all hope and pray".

In other words, the message to the Church leaders in a nutshell was - "you guys are way out of your depth and demonstrating how gullible you are. Next time you go there, if someone offers you the title deeds to the Via Dellarosa, at least try to drive a hard bargain!"


Anonymous said...

It's not really about False Witness but about a group of people who came and didn't open up their eyes and ears except to see what they wanted to see and hear what they wanted to hear. The Age was the perfect vehicle for their "news" story because its a "news"paper that tells readers exactly what it wants them to think.

The good Christian soliders should read this sort of material for some balance - A Creche Without Christians

A religious survey, Freedom in the World produced by the Center for Religious Freedom shows that while some Muslim governments do respect religious freedom, none are to be found in the Middle East.

Israel is the only 'free' country in that region and the only one where Christian numbers are increasing.

Anonymous said...

And naturally, neither the Christian soldiers nor the Age would utter a single breath about this one - Gaza's Christians Keep Low Profile During Christmas

"Gaza's tiny Christian community is keeping a low profile during Christmas this year, traumatized by the killing of Rami Ayyad, 32, a prominent Christian activist, after the Hamas takeover. At the Baptist Church on Sunday, just 10 people attended the regular weekly prayer service, down from an average of 70. There was no Christmas tree in sight. The church's full-time pastor, along with his family, have relocated to the West Bank. 'Whole families are leaving, selling their cars, homes and all their properties,' said Rev. Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza's Roman Catholic church. Israeli security officials said they were permitting 400 Gaza Christians to travel through Israel to Bethlehem for Christmas." (AP/International Herald Tribune)

Can't blame the Jews?

Wilbur Post said...

Is there any truth in the rumour that O'Loughlin has been replaced as the Age Jerusalem Bureu chief to set up its Gaza Bureau?

He's reporting from there again today and is in his element with the ratbag thugs who smuggle stuff into blockaded Gaza under the watchful eyes of the Egyptians and Israelis.

This is of much more interest to readers of Al Age than the slaughters in Darfur by Arab militias, isn't it?

Gulliver_on_tour said...

Dora McPhee the peripathetic anti-Israel letter writer is at it again whinging on about justice in this letter in today's Age:-

THERE will be no charges over Israeli cluster bombs (The Age, 26/12). This comes as no surprise when the inquiry has all the hallmarks of a whitewash by a nation monitoring itself. Even before the inquiry began, after worldwide protest, the United Nations reported that its work was being hampered by Israel's refusal to provide details of where it dropped cluster bombs and how many. A Lebanese mine clearance expert was killed and four people were injured during operations to clear unexploded munitions in Lebanon and still many more civilians are being killed by unexploded mines.

But Israel's hands are clean. No one will be prosecuted, Israel will not be held to account despite 4 million cluster bomblets being dropped on Lebanon — 90% of which were dropped in the last 72 hours as a ceasefire resolution was already known to be coming into effect. This immoral act is apparently justifiable when Israel is concerned.

Madame McPhee didn't really read the article which said that the Israelis dropped their cluster bombs in battle zones. On the other hand the Age article also mentioned that Hezbollah fired thousands of cluster bombs at Israel. What the Age didn't say (as it is wont to do) was that the cluster bombs fired by Hezbollah were fired with the specific aim of causing harm to civilians (Jews and Arabs alike - at least the bastards don't discriminate). Hypocrites like McPhee wouldn't understand the distinction but the Age keeps on publishing their bile (along with that of Peter Kartsounis of Footscray who doesn't understand that the Palestinians need to wait for their state because they're not prepared to honour their own agreements such as the Road Map).

Anonymous said...

The Christian leaders have been sold a crock. If the leaders are so gullible, then what about the followers? What about the journalists/

Numbskulls at the Wall Street Journal by Aaron Klein

Earlier this week I pointed out the annual Christmas tradition of distortions by my "colleagues" in the media, who descend upon Bethlehem to ignore rampant Muslim intimidation of Christians and instead blast Israel – often with completely inaccurate information – for ruining Bethlehem's Christmas and for the drastic decline of Christianity in one of the holiest cities for that religion.

I highlighted well-circulated articles the past few days that paint misleading pictures of life in Bethlehem, disseminate discredited anti-Israel Palestinian propaganda as fact and fail to tell readers one of the main reasons Christians are fleeing.

Now an opinion piece published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal has taken the cake as the most defamatory piece of disinformation written about Bethlehem this season.

Titled "The Plight of Bethlehem: Why Christians can't visit the holy shrines in Jerusalem," Newsweek editor and contributing Journal writer Kenneth L. Woodward starts off by stating Israel has been barring Bethlehem's Palestinian Christians from visiting holy shrines in neighboring Jerusalem during this month's holiday.

"Israel's security wall, its restrictive exit permit system, roadblocks and military checkpoints now make it impossible for most Holy Land Christians to visit the shrines that, for all Christians, make the Holy Land holy," begins Woodward.

"Temporary exit visas to go from one to the other to worship – or see a doctor or even visit relatives – are hard to come by, of brief duration even when granted, and always subject to the whims of Israeli soldiers," Woodward states.

This is false.