CaPitalisM – by hjkuiw354

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									  BEACON
the                                                                                   Journal of the
                                                                                Melbourne Unitarian
                                                                                    Peace Memorial
                                                                                                                      March 2009
                                                                                                                        Price /$2

                                                                                            Church

                           Seek the truth and Serve humanity



                 CaPitalisM –




                                                                                                                                           editorial
                siCk, deCayed and
                   disCredited
                                                                    Demonstrations against Israel have taken place in almost
                                                                    every country in the world.

                                                                    The reasons for this act of aggression have nothing to do
                                                                    with the primitive Hamas missiles fired into Israel, despite all
                                                                    attempts to convince us so. There are considerable political
                                                                    reasons for this war as there are indeed with most wars, and
                                                                    we need to look for these so we can really seek the truth
                                                                    regarding what has occurred. Like most wars, the basis is
                                                                    generally power, profit and greed.

                                                                    It is this greed and demand for power and profit that
                                                                    provides the hideous nightly pictures we see on the news,
                                                                    graphic pictures of hunger, poverty, disease, lack of water,
                                                                    unemployment, homelessness and hopelessness among the
                                                                    people of the world, while at the same time we witness
                                                                    obscene profiteering and wealth accumulation among a
Capitalism is a sick, decayed, discredited                          small number of capitalists.

system which we can no longer afford to                             We see governments justifying the use of taxpayers’ funds to
tolerate. It is indeed an obscenity.                                compensate those whose greed has plunged the world into
                                                                    such catastrophic poverty. Some of these funds, we know,
Unitarians can take pride in the role of our church in              have already been used for huge payouts to the criminals
speaking out against injustice and war and in support of            who created the crisis.
truth, democratic rights and peace. No other church speaks
out so freely or with such honesty, although within every           Capitalism has failed and will continue to fail, despite the
church, mosque, synagogue or chapel there are those who             world’s leaders trying to prop it up. Our prime minister says
share our views and look on with despair at the state of            we must build ‘creative capitalism’. There is no such thing.
our world. Along with the acute economic meltdown of                Capitalism is a sick, decayed, discredited system which we
capitalism, no other issue has polarised the world like the         can no longer afford to tolerate. It is indeed an obscenity.
savage and totally despicable destruction of Gaza by the
Israelis. Nor can there be any ethical justification for this act   Only a planned economy based on the needs of the people
of savagery.                                                        and not the greed of a few can solve the world’s problems.
                                                                    No current world leader will suggest such a system. It
Israel’s air and ground attack on the Gaza strip, the tiny area     will only come from the united demands of the people of
of land left to the Palestinian people, has left over 1000 dead     the world. In almost every country, outrage and action is
including many women and children, thousands wounded                growing and will continue to grow against any attempt to
and an estimated 90,000 homeless with little infrastructure         rebuild the same system that condemns millions to slow and
left to rebuild.                                                    impoverished death so that a few can live in lavish comfort.
                                                                    Capitalism has failed and it must be thrown on the scrap
Israel’s action in Gaza has been denounced by the Red               heap of history. The role of a genuine church must be to call
Cross, a majority of countries and the United Nations.              for a new society.

                                                                                                                      the BEACON       1
    Gaza Crisis: an address
    to a rally in Perth


                                                            sent in by F. Waddington via email

    If you are just passing by this rally please don’t assume
     this has nothing to do with you, or worse still, that
    Palestinians are all to blame so you don’t want to join in.
                                                                     We all witnessed the response of the majority when
                                                                     asylum seekers from the other side of the world tried to
                                                                     make a home here. Most were afraid of them and didn’t
                                                                     want them here.
    It is understandable you may think the latter. After all,
    Israel is a United States outpost in the Middle East and         The Palestinians back then probably thought to themselves
    we, as a United States ally are only given their side of the     that the Germans visited the holocaust upon the Jews so
    story, but there are always two sides to every story.            give them 56% of Germany to make the Zionist state of
                                                                     Israel.
    Listen a minute to the Palestinian narrative because it has
    everything to do with you.                                       Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Christians, Palestinian Muslims
                                                                     and Palestinian everything else besides had been cohabiting
    The unresolved Israel/Palestine conflict is a festering sore
                                                                     for ‘yonks’. Tensions only started to arise in historic
    for Muslims worldwide and maybe if that sore had been
                                                                     Palestine with the birth and growth of Zionism in the late
    attended to properly 60 years ago, there may not have
                                                                     1800s and early 1900s and a rapid rise in immigration of
    been a Twin Towers attack or the Bali bombings or the
                                                                     Jews from Europe to Palestine.
    London and Madrid train bombings.
                                                                     I must differentiate here between Zionists and Jews.
    I don’t have to go back in history much further than 1947
                                                                     There were many Jews back then in 1947, as there are
    when the world was coming out of a dreadful war. The
                                                                     many now who totally disagree with the concept of the
    United Nations was set up in an endeavour to prevent
                                                                     Zionist state of Israel. I admire those people greatly for I
    that ever happening again.
                                                                     think they pay dearly for their stance amongst their family
    One of the earliest decisions of the United Nations was          and community.
    to allow for the creation of the state of Israel. Zionists
                                                                     So Palestinians understandably decided to fight back in
    had been lobbying hard for the creation of THEIR
                                                                     1947 but back then, as now, they didn’t have the military
    Israel for quite a long time and the world guilt over the
                                                                     might of the Zionists. Back in those days I understand the
    holocaust put lots of pressure on all the member nations
                                                                     Zionists were provided with much superior weaponry by
    to comply.
                                                                     the Russians and there was plenty of money coming into
    But because we can’t create more land we have to take            the Zionist coffers through mega-rich Hollywood movie
    if from someone else. So the UN decided that 56% of              producers and their business associates.
    historic Palestine would be set aside for the Zionist state of
                                                                     Israel’s first prime minister, Ben Gurion, who himself
    Israel, with a further 2% for an internationalised Jerusalem
                                                                     was part of the fighting force which massacred entire
    (because everyone, even back then, acknowledged that
                                                                     Palestinian villages to ensure they fled their homes
    Jerusalem was so important to too many religions for it to
                                                                     and land to make it available for the Zionist state of
    be in control of just one).
                                                                     Israel, said the following words: ‘THE DESTRUCTION
    That left just 42% of historic Palestine for the new state       OF PALESTINE IS A PRE-CONDITION FOR THE
    of Palestine. That decision was made without consultation        FOUNDATION OF ISRAEL’.
    with Palestinians, and they were naturally not overjoyed
                                                                     That is the Zionist philosophy that remains today, passed
    about it. Would you be?
                                                                     down to successive prime ministers, most of who came
    Would you be happy about a UN decision to give away              from an army background. Although they cleverly play the
    more than half of Australia as a homeland for people from        ‘we want peace game’, they don’t want peace, they want
    the other side of the world, many of who spoke different         land without the existing occupants – the Palestinians.
    languages and had different customs?
                                                                     Anyway, the bottom line is that by the time an armistice
    You don’t even have to answer that question!                     was reached in 1949, the Zionist state of Israel occupied

2       the BEACON
NOT 56% of historic Palestine but 77% and there were             How many sonic booms from over-flying planes, helicopter
750,000 refugees from Palestine, many carrying the key           noise or the sneer of surveillance drones can you expose a
to their home because they believed the international            people (especially children) to before they go mental?
community would be fair and see them returned in a
                                                                 How quickly do diseases spread if people surviving in
short time. They now number millions who have been
                                                                 close quarters are forced to walk around in excrement
surviving for decades in squalid camps, sometimes in
                                                                 because there is no power to run the sewerage treatment
binocular view of what used to be THEIR land.
                                                                 plant?
A 6-day war with its neighbours in 1967 saw the
                                                                 How resourceful can people be in making bread if you
Zionists take the remainder of the Palestinian’s homeland,
                                                                 eliminate flour from the recipe and electricity for most
INCLUDING JERUSALEM, plus a bit of a few neighbouring
                                                                 of the time?
countries for good measure. These bits are now referred
to as the occupied territories.                                  How long can people survive without the dignity of having
                                                                 a job to support their families?
UN resolution 242 states that the acquisition of territory
by war is inadmissible. UN resolutions have never                How long before people ‘crack up’ when you cage them
concerned the Zionist state of Israel too much, like             like lab rats, denying them contact with their family
Resolution194, which affirms the right of Palestinians to        outside the cage?
return to their homes or be compensated.
                                                                 How long can people survive without hope before
So what I am telling you is that Palestinians are an             they turn on themselves or their handlers or become
occupied people with very few in the international               collaborators with their handlers?
community making a serious effort to redress the injustice
                                                                 Some resourceful Palestinians in Gaza have built tunnels
of their dispossession. They are the victims in this ongoing
                                                                 into Egypt so that they can bring in food and medical
struggle, not Israel, as you would think from the media
                                                                 supplies. Can you imagine how difficult that would be
and politicians of all persuasions.
                                                                 with their limited equipment? Many have died in tunnel
AND why are Palestinians always depicted in the media            collapses in the process.
as radical religious fundamentalists, but you never find any
                                                                 If I am not mistaken, the last truce between lab rats and
stories about the radical religious Jewish fundamentalists
                                                                 handlers was broken by Zionist Israel when it bombed
who make life a living hell for Palestinians in the occupied
                                                                 some of these tunnels. Zionist Israel said it was necessary
territories by violently attacking Palestinians as they
                                                                 because lab rats were using them to bring in weapons.
harvest their olives and plant their crops or as their
                                                                 You can hardly bring a helicopter or a tank through a
children try to attend schools?
                                                                 tunnel that size, so even if they were bringing in the odd
Now I move onto the current genocide being perpetrated,          AK47, it is hardly comparable to the arsenal Israel has at
as I speak, against Palestinians in Gaza. Hundreds now           its disposal courtesy of the United States (not to mention
dead … many of them children. Worse than that,                   the nuclear weapons they don’t talk about).
hundreds injured who will die a slow, painful death due to
                                                                 So that, in a nutshell, is the version of the Israel Palestine
lack of drugs, medical supplies and medical staff.
                                                                 conflict you don’t hear from your friendly neighborhood
You may remember news reports back in 2005 about the             news service or politician.
Zionist state of Israel moving its illegal settlements out of
                                                                 So what can we do about it?
Gaza. They were portrayed once again on that occasion
as the ‘good guys’ trying to do the right thing by giving up     Well, despite all the rhetoric about peace talks, there is
Gaza to Palestinians. Well, that was a lot of bullshit.          never going to be meaningful dialogue whilst one side in
                                                                 the talks holds a machine gun and the other a slingshot.
By moving out their own people they ended up with the
                                                                 We have to ensure the guy with the machine gun doesn’t
situation of Gazans being nothing more than laboratory
                                                                 get any more ammunition and the guy with the slingshot
rats in a giant cage.
                                                                 has back-up from the international community along the
In the past I referred to Gaza as an open-air prison, but if     lines of unless you come to the table sincerely to reach a
it were a prison, at least the inmates would be guaranteed       fair solution, we will not trade with you, give you visas to
a meager meal of bread and water a day, medical                  visit us, let our academics or orchestras lecture or play to
attention if they were sick, and visitation by family. This is   you … in summary, you will be treated like the lepers of
not necessary with laboratory rats. Having been taught by        the world.
experts when they themselves were the victims under the
                                                                 To get to that position we need to all network to spread
Nazis, Zionists are perfecting the Nazi techniques in their
                                                                 the word to others who are misinformed. We need to
experiments on the lab rats of Gaza. Experiments like:
                                                                 jump on the media every time they show unfair bias
How much food do you allow people access to, to                  towards Israel. We need to let politicians know they
keep them on the brink of starvation? Of course some             will lose votes if they don’t act. It is all about a volume
do starve, but it doesn’t matter. It is all in the name of       of committed people who don’t have to write literary
research!                                                        masterpieces to news outlets or politicians – just to write
                                                                 a continual volume of vigilant pressure.
How resourceful can doctors be if they have no medical
supplies or equipment to work with?                              Let’s rise to the challenge, starting today.

      By moving out their own people they ended up with the situation of Gazans being
                     nothing more than laboratory rats in a giant cage.

                                                                                                                 the BEACON       3
    Bill oF riGHts to
    ProteCt PoWerless
    Julian Burnside QC delivered the 2008 International Human
    Rights Day lecture at the University of SA on 13 November 2008.
    The following is an edited version of the lecture.

      by Julian Burnside QC         Source: Adelaide Voices Dec. 08–Feb. 09


                                                             of public speeches and papers as Cardinal Pell, Bob
                                                             Carr and others raised their voices against a Bill of
                                                             Rights.
                                                             The rights protected by a modern Bill of Rights are
                                                             – broadly speaking – the sort of rights addressed in
                                                             the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which
                                                             Australia adopted in 1948.
                                                             It would be difficult to find any serious disagreement
                                                             about the nature of those rights – freedom from
                                                             arbitrary detention, freedom from torture, freedom
                                                                     of thought and belief and equality before the
                                                                      law.
                                                                      The disagreement arises when the means
                                                                      of protecting those rights is in issue.


                     L OF
                                                                   Statutory bills of rights can be disregarded


                  BIL TS
                                                                 or repealed if the Parliament so wishes. A
                                                               constitutional Bill of Rights, on the other


                    IGH
                                                             hand, cannot be repealed or altered except by
                                                             referendum.

                   R                                         A strong model charter creates rights of action: if a
                                                             person’s rights are breached, they may be able to
                                                             sue for damages. A strong model may also forbid
                                                             Parliament to do certain things and thereby directly
                                                             limit the power of the Parliament.
                                                             It is usual to see a range of arguments put up against


    I
       n 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human            adoption of a Bill of Rights.
       Rights opened a new era in human rights thinking.     An interesting, but uncommon, argument is that
       The Declaration articulated the essential values of   human rights cannot be created by a parliamentary
    a dignified human existence.                             act: they derive from moral truth. Moral truth is a
    Subsequently, the International Covenant on Civil and    product of natural law. But, an appeal to natural law
    Political Rights embodied as binding commitments,        does not work. Legal positivism has displaced natural
    most of the ideals of the Universal Declaration. It      law. Laws made by parliament are valid laws, subject
    makes great promises. Its signatories – almost every     to constitutional constraints.
    country in the world – promise each other to secure      A right that is not recognised by law is nothing but
    for their citizens the essentials of a dignified human   a pious hope. If rights are to be any use at all, they
    existence.                                               must be recognised in law.
    At the 2020 Summit in Canberra earlier this year a       Another argument is that our rights are already
    view emerged strongly that Australia should have         protected by the courts. But within the scope of
    a Federal Bill of Rights. That call triggered a series   its legislative competence, Parliament’s power is

4    the BEACON
unlimited. The classic example of this is that if           all the more surprising when you consider that many
Parliament has power to make laws with respect              of those who advance it proclaim themselves to be
to children, it could validly pass a law that required      devout Christians.
all blue-eyed babies to be killed at birth. The law,        I had thought that much of Christ’s teaching was
although terrible, would be valid.                          concerned with the protection of the weak, the
One response to this is that a democratic system            unpopular, the despised and the oppressed. It seems
allows that government to be thrown out at the              a curious thing then that practising Christians should
next election. This is not much comfort for the blue-       object to a law that achieves that result.
eyed babies born in the meantime. And even this             This complaint has a darker side. Broadly speaking,
democratic correction may not be enough: if blue-           Australians have a fairly respectful attitude to human
eyed people are an unpopular minority, the majority         rights. If most Australians were asked what they
may prefer to return the government to power.               thought of human rights they would say that human
Generally, Parliament’s powers are defined                  rights matter.
by reference to subject matter. Thus, the                   The question then arises: How is it that those same
Commonwealth’s power to make laws with respect              people watched with unconcern as David Hicks
to immigration has in fact been interpreted by              languished for years in Guantanamo Bay without
the High Court as justifying a law that permits an          charge and without trial?
innocent person to be held in immigration detention
                                                            How is it that they watched with unconcern for years
for life, in the worst conditions human malevolence
                                                            as innocent men, women and children were locked
can devise. The High Court also held that the same
                                                            up indefinitely in desert jails merely because they
principles apply even if the detainee is a child.
                                                            were fleeing the Taliban or Saddam Hussein?
These cases are a clear illustration of the problem
                                                            How is it that we have managed such enduring
that, if Parliament decides to make a law that
                                                            complacency to the plight of the Aborigines whose
destroys basic rights, the common law (the courts) is
                                                            land was taken and whose children were stolen?
unable to prevent that result.
                                                            How is it that we are so indifferent to the draconian
In one sense, it is true that a Bill of Rights gives
                                                            effects of the anti-terror laws as they are applied
power to judges. A Bill of Rights limits the power of
                                                            to Muslims in the Australian community, when we
Parliament but not by reference to subject matter. A
                                                            would not tolerate similar intrusions on our own
modern Bill of Rights introduces, or records, a set of
                                                            rights?
basic values that should be observed by Parliament
when making laws on matters over which it has               The answer I think is this: Australians subconsciously
legislative power. It sets the baseline of human rights     divide human beings into two categories – Us and
standards on which society has agreed.                      Other. We think, perhaps subconsciously, that my
                                                            rights matter, and so do those of my family and
Because this is so, it is wrong to say that a Bill of
                                                            friends and neighbours, but the human rights of
Rights abdicates democratic power in favour of
                                                            others do not matter in quite the same way because,
unelected judges. Judges simply apply the law passed
                                                            (without quite saying it) the Others are not human in
by the Parliament. That is their role. Many cases raise
                                                            quite the same way we are. It is dangerous thinking
questions about Parliament’s powers. Judges are the
                                                            and profoundly wrong.
umpires who decide whether Parliament has gone
beyond the bounds of its power. A Bill of Rights is a       We have human rights not because we are nice or
democratically created document, like other statutes.       because we are white or because we are Christian
Enforcing it is not undemocratic at all.                    but because we are human. That’s the sticking point
                                                            that makes it possible for people to acknowledge that
One of the most surprising objections to a Bill of
                                                            human rights matter and yet resist the possibility of
Rights is that it gives disproportionate power to
                                                            those rights being protected by law.
minority groups. At one level, the complaint is
accurate. In Australia today, the people whose human        The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was
rights are at risk are not members of the comfortable       entered into force on the 10th December 1948 –
majority, but members of minority groups who are            sixty years ago this year. Doc Evatt presided over the
typically powerless and often unpopular and almost          General Assembly that day.
always politically irrelevant.                              Australia now is the only Western democracy that
Whilst, in terms, a Bill of Rights protects the rights of   does not have a Bill of Rights. The last decade at least
all, its primary use is to protect the rights of the weak   has shown that we need one.
because the strong are already safe. The criticism is       It’s time we had one.


      WHILST, IN TERMS, a Bill oF riGHts ProteCts tHe riGHts oF all,
      ITS PRIMARY USE IS TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE WEAK BECAUSE THE
      STRONG ARE ALREADY SAFE.



                                                                                                        the BEACON     5
      rejoice in our differences
      – but what about the Palestinians?

    by Peter abrehart                                                     Address given at the church on 25 January 2009




    T
           he title of my address today was determined            In this church, and with Unitarianism in general, we
           last year and was intended to be a look at the         have a long and proud history of interfaith work and
           broad application of one of my favourite sayings,      toleration, but we also have an obligation to speak the
    ‘Rejoice in our differences but never forget our common       truth wherever that may lead.
    humanity’. However, the recent events in Gaza have
                                                                  The policies of the government of Israel are propagated
    caused me to temporarily put aside much of what I was
                                                                  through an interwoven cloak of religious fanaticism,
    to say and concentrate on the plight of the Palestinian
                                                                  imperial designs and increasingly overt racism – a ‘spin
    people at the hands of the state of Israel – very much
                                                                  war’ that is wearing thinner with each passing day.
    the antithesis of that saying.
    The latter part of the saying is really a caveat, for if we   israel, the great unmentionable
    lose sight of our common humanity our differences can         Rev. Peter Laarman, executive director of Progressive
    lead to insularity and intolerance that in turn can lead      Christians Uniting, a network of activist individuals
    to fascism and similar extreme philosophies. The                       and congregations headquartered in Los
    people that Nazis considered inferior                                          Angeles, had this to say in an article
    were labelled ‘undermensch’, the                                                    headed ‘Israel, The Great
    German word for sub-human.                                                              Unmentionable’:
    Many, including courageous
    Israeli journalists and                                                                      ‘Here then is a matter of
    peace activists argue                                                                           conscience that never
    that the policy of the                                                                            leaves the minds and
    Israeli government                                                                                  hearts of liberal
    toward         the                                                                                   Christian leaders
    Palestinians                                                                                          like me and
    is very much                                                                                            that positively
    in line with                                                                                            torments     us
    ‘undermensch’.                                                                                          when, as now,
                                                                                                            the heat is on
    There can be a                                                                                          in the Middle
    problem in even                                                                                         East: What, if
    questioning the                                                                                         anything,    to
    role of Israel in                                                                                      say about the
    the Middle East,                                                                                      application of
    as most of us have                                                                                  Israel’s immense
    seen in the media                                                                                  military might in
    and in the letters                                                                              what are manifestly
    to the editor. To be                                                                          inhumane ways?
    labelled anti-semitic or at
    best naïve and an apologist                                                                 During the Israel-Hezbollah
    for corrupt Arab governments                                                            war of 2006 I made the mistake
    can lead to many people deciding                                                   of sticking my neck out just a tiny
    to ‘pull their heads in’ or adopting an ‘even-                             bit on the question of proportionality. I
    handed’ approach similar to Julia Gillard who said            did not say that the recovery of the captured Israeli
    ‘Hamas has broken the ceasefire and engaged in a act of       soldiers (Israel’s stated casus belli) was a ruse; what I
    aggression against Israel. Israel has responded’.             said was that the IDF’s devastating attack in Lebanon
                                                                  could not be justified as self-defense. And in my


6    the BEACON
organization’s weekly e-blast to our constituents we          becomes after so many children have been burned and/
advertised a protest rally that one of the American           or buried. As to the question of the national security
Muslim organizations was about to sponsor.                    of our own nation – defending ourselves by limiting
                                                              terrorism – here Christians really do need to step out
In short order I was stunned to see one of my rabbi
                                                              of the media bubble for long enough to recognize the
friends quoted in the Los angeles times to the effect
                                                              incalculable damage done to our long-term security
that I and my organization were out of line for issuing a
                                                              by our uncritical alliance with the State of Israel …
statement on Lebanon without first consulting him; that
                                                              Our deep and dangerous involvement in supporting
the essence of interfaith work is that we should always
                                                              brutality around the world must also be reformed, even
speak and act in concert, and that I had violated his trust
                                                              transformed. No better place to start than in the blood-
by violating this principle. A bit later I took a call from
                                                              soaked Middle East, and no better time for progressive
another colleague, also a rabbi, who was distraught and
                                                              Christians to find their voices and start speaking’.
in tears over the idea that someone she trusted and
with whom she had worked in the cause of workplace
justice would be joining with Israel’s enemies at such a
                                                              truth tellers in israel
time.                                                         When Rev. Laarman speaks of truth tellers within Israel
                                                              itself he could be speaking of Victoria Buch, an Israeli
So here we are again, only this time the IDF-wrought
                                                              academic and anti-occupation activist who said in an
carnage is greater by far than in 2006. And this time I
                                                              article headed ‘The History and “Morals” of Ethnic
have not said a word about it, except to participate in
                                                              Cleansing’, the following (in part):
drafting one of those very broad “Stop the Violence—
Let’s Be Friends!” interfaith declarations. Better than       ‘... a truce with Hamas was negotiated. Since the
nothing, I suppose. But my colleagues in the Muslim           beginning of the truce defense minister Barak
community were legitimately grieved by the joint              commenced preparations for a massive attack on
statement’s lack of specificity and by my declining to        Gaza[8]. On November 14th the working truce with
sign a Muslim-drafted open letter to the new American         Hamas was deliberately broken on Barak’s orders,
president that names some difficult but necessary truths      by killing several Hamas fighters. A totally predictable
he will need to confront in relation to Israel’s behavior.    Palestinian response ensued – cancellation of the truce
                                                              and a barrage of rockets. The barrage was used by Barak
A friend who until recently led the Progressive Jewish
                                                              as a pretext for that large-scale operation, including the
Alliance in Los Angeles once told me that his outfit
                                                              slaughter of hundreds of people in Gaza with missiles
was not in the business of changing Jewish views on
                                                              deployed from airplanes. This muscle flexing is an
Israel/the Holocaust/anti-Semitism (which he correctly
                                                              obvious part of Barak’s and Livni’s forthcoming election
lumped together as essentially one thing – and a Third
                                                              campaign, at the price of hundreds of Palestinian
Rail); rather, he said, his goal and his group’s goal was
                                                              casualties, and several Israeli ones (as meanwhile
to build up an awareness that American Jews could best
                                                              Palestinians have improved their aim). In a forthcoming
honor their tradition by recalling some other things that
                                                              ground operation Israeli soldiers are also likely to pay
Jews might care about: worker rights, criminal justice
                                                              with their lives for this form of electioneering.
reform, universal health care, clean elections, etc. He
theorized that bringing focus to these domestic justice       Do you know what mainstream Israelis make of the
concerns might filter back and gradually mollify the          above? ‘We, Israelis, in an act of self-sacrifice, removed
militancy of American Jewry vis-à-vis the plight of the       poor Jewish settlers from their “homes” in the Gaza
Palestinians, the spirit of doing justice (tzedekah) being    Strip and gave Palestinians a chance for a free and
hard to contain.                                              happy existence. But the Palestinians spurned our peace
                                                              efforts and preferred instead to pursue their addiction
... Here the progressive Christians who wish to be
                                                              to “throwing Jews to the sea.” Gaza could have become
more courageous could well take their cue from
                                                              a new Singapore, but the Gazans chose instead to shoot
the many courageous truth tellers within Israel itself:
                                                              rockets at Israelis.’
the activists associated with groups like B’Tselem,
Rabbis for Human Rights, Gush Shalom, ICAHD, etc.             The disengagement was thus an act of brilliance on the
They see at close range the devastation rendered by           part of that evil genius, Sharon. He provided mainstream
US-supplied arms. They understand how much more               Israelis with a sweeping moral absolution. Palestinians
difficult the challenge of achieving a long-term peace        “disappointed” them. Now the Israeli leaders can do


    ‘HERE THEN IS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE THAT NEVER LEAVES THE MINDS
    AND HEARTS OF LIBERAL CHRISTIAN LEADERS LIKE ME AND THAT POSITIVELY
    TORMENTS US WHEN, AS NOW, THE HEAT IS ON IN THE MIDDLE EAST: WHat,
    iF anytHinG, to say aBout tHe aPPliCation oF israel’s iMMense
    Military MiGHt in WHat are ManiFestly inHuMane Ways?



                                                                                                           the BEACON      7
    anything they wish to Palestinians. Do not expect a            We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally
    squeak of public protest from the Israeli Jewish public,       end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West
    except for a tiny minority of “self-hating Jews” like yours    Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control
    truly.                                                         territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British
                                                                   government and the British people to take all feasible
    Believe me, these Jewish-Israeli mainstreamers are
                                                                   steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands,
    not natural-born monsters. They just do not know any
                                                                   starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and
    better. Alas, I used to be one of them. Then one day I
                                                                   sanctions’.
    stumbled, more or less by chance, into the West Bank
    with a group of activists. I acquired some Palestinian         In a similar vein, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, President of
    friends and finally understood the criminality of the          International Movement for a Just World (JUST) called
    treatment of the Palestinians by my country. And I             for us to look at the Gaza massacre in perspective. On
    learned to ignore the daily portion of preposterous            the 31 December 2008 he said:
    propaganda that is provided to my compatriots by
                                                                   ‘One, even after the so-called Israeli “withdrawal” from
    the media in lieu of “news”. But how to convince my
                                                                   Gaza in August 2005, the Israeli army has conducted
    compatriots not to listen to this propaganda? I do not
                                                                   numerous raids and air strikes in Gaza in the name
    know.
                                                                   of fighting “terrorism” which have killed hundreds
    For the sake of both nations living in this country,           of civilians including women and children. These
    this outrage must be stopped. It must be stopped by            assaults intensified after Hamas captured the Palestinian
    pressure from outside, because at present within Israel        Legislative Council in a free and fair election in January
    there are no significant political forces to oppose it.        2006. When Hamas ousted its rival Fatah from Gaza in
    Please do something, my friends, and do it urgently. And       June 2007, Israel went all out to destroy Hamas through
    kindly ignore the endless “negotiations” between our           military and non-military means.
    government and the powerless Palestinian Authority,
                                                                   Two, in spite of Israeli attacks, Hamas, a few violations
    they are just a cover for more ethnic cleansing. If you do
                                                                   notwithstanding, observed its June 2008 truce with
    not believe me, come and see the massive settlement
                                                                   Israel. Not a single Israeli was killed by Hamas rocket
    construction in East Jerusalem and West Bank. And the
                                                                   fire during the six-month period of the truce. The
    walls of the Palestinian ghettos’.
                                                                   Hamas leadership even proposed a 10-year truce to
    Sometimes one sees words that tie all the ‘loose ends’         Israel in April 2008. There was no response from Israel.
    together and encapsulate a principle in a few words.           It was because of continuous Israeli military strikes, the
    Such was the letter that appeared in the UK Guardian           closure of border crossings and a suffocating blockade
    on 16 January 2009, signed by hundreds of university           of Gaza imposed by Israel, that Hamas was forced to
    professors and Ph D’s. It read:                                end the truce on 19 December.
    ‘The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that      Three, in juxtaposing Hamas rockets with the Israeli
    Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine         arsenal, the media seldom mentions the tremendous
    for more than 60 years. The goal of this war has               asymmetry in military power between the two sides.
    never changed: to use overwhelming military power to           What are Hamas’s homemade rockets compared to
    eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable   the wide range of sophisticated lethal weaponry at the
    of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land      command of the world’s fourth most powerful army?
    and resources. Israel’s war against the Palestinians has       The death toll from the present assault tells the whole
    turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic          story: 375 Palestinians to 5 Israelis as of 30 December
    political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about          after 4 days of air bombardment.
    this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences.
                                                                   Four, to grasp the significance of this asymmetry one has
    Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and
                                                                   to place it in the context of the Israeli blockade of Gaza
    for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.
                                                                   that we have alluded to that began soon after Hamas
    Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another         won the 2006 election. By punishing the people of Gaza
    ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is              for voting Hamas through the imposition of a blockade
    not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and                 that has increased poverty and destitution and denies
    to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both              life-saving drugs to the critically ill, Israel has made the
    sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-      victims of its cruel and callous siege even angrier and
    determination, if we affirm the right to resist military       more desperate. The media has made no attempt to
    aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged        link Hamas rocket attacks to the siege.
    to take sides ... against Israel, and with the people of
                                                                   Five, neither has the media explained to the people
    Gaza and the West Bank.
                                                                   that at the root of this longstanding conflict that goes
    We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning             back to the beginning of the twentieth century is
    its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on       the occupation, annexation and oppression of the
    justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbors, and       Palestinians. Within a year of the unjust partition of the
    not upon the criminal use of force.                            land in 1948, 78 percent of Palestine was in the hands
                                                                   of the Zionists. Gaza is part of the 22 percent that


8    the BEACON
was annexed in 1967. Since 1948, Israel, argues Israeli       The Sabra and Chatila massacre was committed by
historian Illan Pappe, has embarked upon a policy of          Israel’s right-wing Lebanese Phalangist allies while Israeli
“ethnic cleansing” that seeks to eliminate the indigenous     troops, as Israel’s own commission of inquiry revealed,
Palestinians from their land. None of these facts and         watched for 48 hours and did nothing. When Israel was
opinions is given any ventilation in the mainstream           blamed, Menachem Begin’s government accused the
international media’.                                         world of a blood libel. After Israeli artillery had fired
                                                              shells into the UN base at Qana in 1996, the Israelis
As journalist Robert Fisk said ‘... watching the news
                                                              claimed that Hizbollah gunmen were also sheltering in
shows, you’d think that history began yesterday, that a
                                                              the base. It was a lie. The more than 1,000 dead of 2006
bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly
                                                              – a war started when Hizbollah captured two Israeli
popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of
                                                              soldiers on the border – were simply dismissed as the
destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles
                                                              responsibility of the Hizbollah. Israel claimed the bodies
into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet
                                                              of children killed in a second Qana massacre may have
with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force.
                                                              been taken from a graveyard. It was another lie. The
The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had
                                                              Marwahin massacre was never excused. The people of
grandparents who came from the very land whose
                                                              the village were ordered to flee, obeyed Israeli orders
more recent owners have now bombed them to death
                                                              and were then attacked by an Israeli gunship. The
simply does not appear in the story’.
                                                              refugees took their children and stood them around
In another dispatch he says:                                  the truck in which they were travelling so that Israeli
‘Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all               pilots would see they were innocents. Then the Israeli
civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel’s      helicopter mowed them down at close range. Only two
1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian      survived, by playing dead. Israel didn’t even apologise.
dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana             Twelve years earlier, another Israeli helicopter attacked
massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than         an ambulance carrying civilians from a neighbouring
half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of          village – again after they were ordered to leave by
the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their             Israel – and killed three children and two women.
homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an          The Israelis claimed that a Hizbollah fighter was in the
Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same          ambulance. It was untrue. I covered all these atrocities;
2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all            I investigated them all, talked to the survivors. So did a
of them civilians?                                            number of my colleagues. Our fate, of course, was that
What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so           most slanderous of libels: we were accused of being
many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so           anti-Semitic.
many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that        And I write the following without the slightest doubt:
Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties.   we’ll hear all these scandalous fabrications again. We’ll
“Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian         have the Hamas-to-blame lie – heaven knows, there is
casualties,” yet another Israeli ambassador said only         enough to blame them for without adding this crime –
hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president           and we may well have the bodies-from-the-cemetery
and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an          lie and we’ll almost certainly have the Hamas-was-in-
excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night’s     the-UN-school lie and we will very definitely have the
butchery on their hands.                                      anti-Semitism lie. And our leaders will huff and puff
I’ve reported the excuses the Israeli army has served up      and remind the world that Hamas originally broke the
in the past for these outrages. Since they may well be        ceasefire. It didn’t. Israel broke it, first on 4 November
reheated in the coming hours, here are some of them:          when its bombardment killed six Palestinians in Gaza and
that the Palestinians killed their own refugees, that the     again on 17 November when another bombardment
Palestinians dug up bodies from cemeteries and planted        killed four more Palestinians.
them in the ruins, that ultimately the Palestinians are       Yes, Israelis deserve security. Twenty Israelis dead in
to blame because they supported an armed faction,             10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed. But 600
or because armed Palestinians deliberately used the           Palestinians dead in just over a week, thousands over
innocent refugees as cover.                                   the years since 1948 – when the Israeli massacre at Deir




      WE BELIEVE israel SHOULD IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY end
      its assault on Gaza, END THE OCCUPATION OF THE WEST BANK,
      AND aBandon all ClaiMs TO POSSESS OR CONTROL TERRITORY
      BEYOND ITS 1967 BORDERS.



                                                                                                             the BEACON      9
     Yassin helped to kick-start the flight of Palestinians from   On 15 Oct. 1987, the UN General Assembly passed
     that part of Palestine that was to become Israel – is on      Res. 42/5 On Cooperation Between the United Nations
     a quite different scale. This recalls not a normal Middle     and the League of Arab States. This was approved with
     East bloodletting but an atrocity on the level of the         153 YES votes as against two NO votes by Israel and
     Balkan wars of the 1990s. And of course, when an Arab         the United States.
     bestirs himself with unrestrained fury and takes out his
                                                                   On 12 Nov. 1987, the UN General Assembly approved
     incendiary, blind anger on the West, we will say it has
                                                                   Resolution 42/18 On the Need for Compliance in the
     nothing to do with us. Why do they hate us, we will ask?
                                                                   International Court of Justice Concerning Military and
     But let us not say we do not know the answer’.
                                                                   Paramilitary Activities Against Nicaragua, which was
     A good indication of where the Israeli and US                 approved by 94 YES votes, as against two NO votes by
     governments stand on related issues can be seen from          Israel and the United States.
     voting in the UN. Some examples of the US and Israel
                                                                   Finally, on 17 Dec. 1987, the UN General Assembly
     voting together in isolation are as follows:
                                                                   approved Resolution 42/159 Measures to Prevent
     On 18 Dec. 1978, the United Nations General Assembly          International Terrorism, Study the Underlying Political
     passed Resolution 33/75, On the Living Conditions of          and Economic Causes of Imperialism, Convene a
     the Palestinian People, with 110 YES votes. There were        Conference to Define Terrorism and to Differentiate
     only two NO votes, by Israel and the United States.           it from the Struggle of People for National Liberation,
                                                                   which was approved with 153 YES votes as against two
     On 14 Dec. 1979, the United Nations General
                                                                   NO votes by Israel and the United States.
     Assembly passed Resolution 34/100, Against Support
     for Intervention in the Internal or External Affairs of       I want to leave you this morning on a relatively optimistic
     States, with 104 YES votes; There were only two votes         note. Lovers of Robbie Burns will know that today is
     NO by Israel and the United States.                           the 250th anniversary of his birth. His composition a
                                                                   man’s a man for a’ that has been called the Marseillaise
     On 17 Dec. 1979, the United Nations General Assembly
                                                                   for common humanity, which calls for sweeping away
     passed Resolution 34/158, Preparations and Carrying
                                                                   the divisions that continue to plague mankind. The last
     Out of the UN Conference on Women, with 121 YES
                                                                   verse reads:
     votes; only two voted NO, the United States and Israel,
     because they did not want the Palestinian people to be        then let us pray that come it may,
     represented in the UN Conference.                             as come it will for a’ that
     On 18 Dec. 1983, the General Assembly approved                that sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
     Resolution 39/232, Support for the UN Industrial
     Development Organization, with 118 YES votes; and             May bear the gree and a’ that. (supremacy)
     two NO votes by the United States and Israel.                 For a’ that, and a’ that,
     On 13 Dec. 1985, the UN General Assembly passed               it’s comin’ yet for a’ that,
     Resolution 40/48 Measures to be Taken against Nazi,           that Man to Man, the world o’er,
     Fascist and Neo-Fascist Activities, with 121 YES votes,
     as against two NO votes by Israel and the United              shall brothers be for a’ that!
     States.




        unitarians in CoMMuniCations
        Samuel Morse (1791–1872), the inventor of the electric telegraph and the famous
        Morse Code, was a Unitarian, as was Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922), who
        invented the telephone, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee (b1955), inventor of the World
        Wide Web – three of the most prominent figures in modern communication.
        From: The Elements of Unitarianism by Dr George Chryssides (University of Wolverhampton, UK).




          Our Church is a public and usable asset with portable seating and excellent conference, meeting
          and function facilities. We welcome its use by those who support our motto ‘Seek the truth and
          Serve humanity’. interested individuals or groups can contact the church office – we would be
          delighted to speak to you. no fees are payable, use is by voluntary donation.



10    the BEACON
from our readers
Dear friends                                                 Dear Editors
Best wishes to all at the church. Wonderful talk for         I have just bought a book entitled Peace, subtitled,
Radio 3CR by Marion Harper. I think it was called at         50 years of protest 1958–2008. It is mainly about
the Crossroads. We are looking forward to her next talk.     the Aldermaston/London marches for nuclear
Health problems prevent us from attending the church         disarmament. When reading it, it struck me that
unfortunately.                                               legislators, members of parliament, were not involved
                                                             in them and it’s the same now. How many of our MPs
                                         J. Phillips, Vic.
                                                             have you seen at any protests about nuclear weapons?
                                                             How many resolutions have been tabled in the Federal
                                                             Parliament calling for the scrapping of all of them? It’s
                                                             as though those elected to represent the people are
The Editor, The Beacon                                       not of the people. As soon as elected they become
The articles by Marion Harper are so accurate and            employees of their party and mustn’t speak for
reliable. I am now 91 years of age and witnessed so          themselves or us. The people are keeping watchdogs
many of the events she mentioned, as did my late             but are barking at themselves.
husband Sidney who was 20 years older than me and            Would the Federal Government endorse a
a war veteran and would be the first to say that we          parliamentary resolution condemning the USA’s
should never have been there and that ‘war is a crime        possession of thousands of nuclear warheads and the
against humanity’. I was born in 1917 when he was in         means of delivery? No, it would not. But that’s what
the trenches and we were married 43 years and he             the electorate would want it to do. A sane Australian
supported me in the peace movements. Thank you,              voice in an insane world?
Marion, for your contribution to society and world
                                                             Sincerely,
peace.
                                                                                                     J. Forward, NSW
The news in Iraq and Gaza, Afghanistan, etc., stuns me.
I have to turn off or go insane.
                                          U. Norris, Vic.    Dear Beacon
                                                             I write to congratulate Marion Harper on her article Let
                                                             us build a just society, in the Beacon, December/January
                                                             2008. Wonderful, wonderful! Certainly we need a
Dear Beacon                                                  socialist society – an internationalist socialist society.
I’m still waiting to hear our prime minister condemn                                                G. McCarthy, Vic.
the horrendous war being waged against the people
in the Gaza Strip where children are being killed and
terrorised by the Israeli military invasion in the middle
of their winter.
In my view, war is a crime against humanity and the                       tune into tHe
environment and adds to global warming and human
misery.
                                                                     unitarian Half Hour
The local newspaper seems pro-Israeli, propagating the
                                                                 EVERY SATURDAY AT 10.30 AM
myth that Hamas is to blame.                                  3cr • 855 am • community radio
The way to stop the violence is to end Israeli occupation
of the Palestinian Territories.
Best wishes to you at the Beacon for showing the way
to a better world.
                                                                    increase our Circulation:
Sincerely,                                                       Nominate potential subscribers for
                                        H. Williams Qld          three free monthly copies without
                                                                         ongoing obligation!
                                                                        (Try before you buy)



                                                                                                          the BEACON      11
      MelBourne unitarian PeaCe MeMorial CHurCH
                          “SEEK THE TRUTH AND SERVE HUMANITY”

        Tel: 03 9417 4178 (10 am to 3 pm weekdays) Fax and Answering machine: 03 9417 4178
                     110 Grey Street, East Melbourne (opposite the Mercy Hospital)
                                        Services, Sunday 11 am


in tHis issue:                                                                       Beacon editorial Board:                 opinions expressed
                                                                                     Peter Abrehart                          in articles and letters
Editorial                                                                            Marion Harper                           etc., in The Beacon are
Unitarians in Communication                                                          Jack Woodhams                           those of the writers
Rejoice in Our Differences                                                           Julie Stafford                          themselves and do
Gaza Crisis                                                                                                                  not necessarily reflect
Bill of Rights to Protect Powerless                                                  the editorial opinions                  the policy of the
Letters to the Editor                                                                expressed are those of                  Melbourne unitarian
                                                                                     the editorial Board.                    Church.




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