You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.

The follwoing article was written by the Rabbis of Neturei Karta. They challenge the Zionist understanding of the meaning of the Holocaust and reject the Zionists efforts to use the Holocaust as a means to further Israel’s political goals and oppression of the Arabs of Palestine.

Tragic Irony: 60 Israeli Knesset Members Coming to Auschwitz to Push Their Agenda

On January 27, 2014, the largest ever delegation of Knesset members will convene on the grounds of Auschwitz together with Holocaust survivors, for a gathering on combating anti-Semitism. The Israeli delegation will include senior representatives of the IDF and the Chief Rabbis of the State of Israel. They will be joined by a large number of elected officials from around the world, including Europe and a senior bi-partisan group of leaders from the U.S. Congress.

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein said, “Anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, has reached a level unprecedented since the end of the Holocaust.” Noting the “importance and urgency” of combatting global anti-Semitism, he warns “we must not wait until the trains start going to Auschwitz-Birkenau once again.”

Once again, the Zionists are using the Holocaust to justify and gain support for their state. The blood of the six million cries out to us from the earth, and we are outraged. Who gave the Zionists the right to use our grandparents’ blood for their political purposes?

The irony deepens when we look back at history and see that while the Holocaust was happening, it was the Zionists who refused to lift a finger to rescue Jews. With the infamous slogan “Only through blood will the land be ours,” they passed up rescue opportunities in the hopes that if the Jewish people suffered enough, the post-war world would grant them the state they so desired.

Today’s Zionists are no better. Publicly they bemoan rising anti-Semitism in Europe, but privately they rub their hands and think of all the new immigrants to the State of Israel this will produce.

Furthermore, it is they who are most responsible for causing today’s European anti-Semitism. The false stereotypes of the Jew propagated by the Nazis are long gone, but new hatred has been aroused by the Israelis’ stealing the Palestinian people’s land and not allowing them to return to their homes or enjoy basic rights. This might well have remained only anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism, had the Zionists not insisted on claiming to be the representatives of the Jewish people. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the current memorial ceremony at Auschwitz, where the Jewish people – who suffered in the Holocaust – is represented by the Knesset and the Israeli army.

This is not to mention the new anti-Semitism in the Middle East, which is completely a product of Zionism. Prior to Zionism, Jews lived for centuries alongside Muslims and Arabs throughout the Middle East, including Palestine, in complete harmony.

The Torah teaches that Jews are in exile and must respect the nations among whom they live. The Torah forbids Jews to have their own state. It goes without saying that Jews are forbidden by the Torah to steal land, kill or expel anyone. And precisely because we the experienced of the Holocaust, our tolerance and respect for others should be enhanced – not use our suffering as an excuse to oppress others as the Zionists do. We firmly believe that following the path of the Torah is the only and best way to prevent future anti-Semitism.

With all of the above in mind, the current Zionist ceremony is nothing less than a brutal affront to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.
May the Almighty protect His creations from any future genocide.
May G-d bring about a speedy and peaceful end to the Zionist state, and may Jews and non-Jews live peacefully together everywhere in the world.

The following article was written by one of the Rabbis at Neturei Karta. Neturei Karta is an Orthodox Jewish movement that rejects Zionism and does not recognise the Zionist State of Israel as a legitimate heir to the promises of G-d to the Jewish people. While they are a fairly small group at the moment, their views on the subject corespond to what was until recently the majority mainstream Orthodox position. I beleive their ideas concerning Zionism and Judaism are correctly reflective of the true teachings of the Old Testament. Their testimony desperately needs to be heard by the Western World.

Why do Orthodox Jews refuse to serve in the Israeli army?
Dec. 20, 2013

Opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel is not just our position; it’s the position of all traditionally Orthodox Jews today. Nowhere is this fact more prominent than in the battle going on right now in the State of Israel over the military draft.

For hundreds of years before the Zionists created their state, there existed an Orthodox Jewish community in Palestine. These Jews had no political aspirations; their only goal was to live out their days on the holy soil, studying the Torah and worshipping the Almighty. When the ideology of Zionism was born, they wanted no part in the new movement, because the Torah teaches that the Holy Land was given to the Jews by G-d and was taken away from them 2000 years ago by G-d. Since G-d sent the Jews into exile, only He can redeem them from exile. The Torah forbids us to fight wars or to have our own state.

Needless to say, this small but longstanding Orthodox community in Palestine lived on the best of terms with its Palestinian neighbors. This peaceful coexistence was typical of Jews living throughout the Middle East in Muslim countries prior to Zionism.

When the state was founded in 1948 through massive land theft, murder and expulsion of the Palestinian people, the Orthodox community was repulsed by the Zionists’ immoral conduct and refused to serve in their lawless army, the deceptively named “Israel Defense Force.”

The Zionists, in order to uphold the facade of full control over the Holy Land and representing the whole of Jewry, decided that rather than confront the Orthodox Jewish community, they would simply exempt them under the pretext that they were students in school. And so a deal was worked out in 1948 under which Orthodox Jews, who all studied in Torah academies, would be granted a students’ exemption. Although this was far from ideal, since it effectively made it impossible for an Orthodox man to leave school and support his family, the community has managed to survive until now.
By 2012, the number of students receiving exemptions had grown to almost 50,000.

Of course, there are untold numbers of others who due to the fact that they do not want to give any recognition to the State of Israel, therefore they simply do not obtain any government papers and are not registered. Again, for the most part, the Zionists have turned a blind eye, fearing that the world would become aware of the ugly truth, that they are not the “Jewish” state they claim to be – that the Jews true to Judaism totally reject their states existence.

Last year, after the Israeli Supreme Court struck down the law granting students exemption, the Orthodox community was left without a legal means of avoiding service. The government is now giving them the choice of army service or prison. And for the highly principled Orthodox community, the choice is clear. Orthodox young men have already begun going to prison.

As one member of the Jerusalem Jewish community commented: “For all these years we have suffered indescribably under Israeli rule, yet persevered by insulating our communities and preserving our way of life. Now they want to take us away and force us to fight in their army. They want us to rebel against the Almighty, oppress and massacre another people, help them make enemies in the world and portray us as partners in their military campaigns.”

Clearly, the Zionists are embarrassed by the Orthodox Jews’ refusal to join them, and that is why they are trying to force them into the army. The Zionist goal is clearly to oppress or be rid of all who stand in their way, whether non-Jewish or Jewish. It should be clear to the world that they don’t represent Jews or Judaism.

The Orthodox Jews of the Holy Land, with the help of the Almighty, will continue to go to jail and submit to whatever punishments the state can devise, but they will not succumb to this decree of forced conscription. And we, their brethren in America and throughout the world, support them all the way.

We pray to the Almighty for a speedy, peaceful and total dismantlement of the Zionist State of Israel.


Thousands of Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews protesting outside the Israeli military Prison Six, where Jews are held for their refusal to serve in the IDF, December 9, 2013

Banner reads: We are all ready to go to prison!

Banner reads: Right – The entire history of the Zionists is one long chain of bloodshed, may G-d spare us. Zionism is the source of all suffering in the world, whether spiritual or physical. Left – We will fill up all the prisons, both military and civilian, but we will never betray our true ideals.

Some of the most prominent anti-Zionist religious Jewish leaders of Jerusalem

The NY Times Non-Story of 2013: Israeli abuse of child prisoners
Jan 13, 2014 03:39 pm | Barbara Erickson

The reports came in throughout the year, all pointing to a singular problem in Israel: Palestinian children in military custody were routinely mistreated, traumatized and denied their rights.
In March UNICEF released “Children in Israeli Military Detention,” a 22-page document declaring that abuse was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” The situation was also unique. “In no other country,” it said, “are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees.”

The report cited terrifying night time arrests; physical and verbal abuse; painful restraints; denial of access to food, water and toilet facilities; solitary confinement; coerced confessions; lack of access to lawyers and family members; shackling during court appearances; and transfer to prisons outside Palestine. It noted that these practices violate international law
New York Times readers were granted one paragraph on this important report from a major UN agency, fewer than 100 words in the World Briefing section on page 11 of the March 7 news section. The closing sentence said that the foreign ministry had cooperated with UNICEF and “would study the report closely.”

Apparently neither the foreign ministry nor the army took action, however. Seven months later UNICEF published a follow-up bulletin revealing that the situation for child prisoners had worsened since the original document was released.

Meanwhile, other reports were adding to the chorus of voices about child prisoner abuse in Israel: a US State Department country report on human rights in Israel released in April, a report by the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child published in June, and an August report by the Israeli monitoring group B’Tselem titled “Abuse and torture in interrogations of dozens of Palestinian minors in the Israel Police Etzion Facility.”
All these buttressed similar releases of the year before: a Defense for Children International report by distinguished British jurists, a collection of testimonies by Israeli soldiers compiled by Breaking the Silence, and a Save the Children report with a focus on rehabilitation of traumatized former child prisoners. The British investigation led to parliamentary debate and a challenge to Israel from the foreign office of the UK.

A number of reports noted that this abuse is only meted out to Palestinians. Israeli children never come into contact with the military court system.

The Times apparently felt compelled to neutralize these insistent and damning reports. In August the paper ran a prominent first page story about youthful resistance in one West Bank village. In the print edition it was titled “My Hobby is Throwing Stones: In a West Bank Culture of Conflict, Boys Wield the Weapon at Hand” and written by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren.
The story would have you believe that in the village of Beit Ommar challenging the occupation is all in play, an extension of the “Arabs and Army” game boys play in the streets. “They throw because there is little else to do,” Rudoren writes. They throw at certain hot spots, which are described like markings on a sports field and presented by their nicknames: “the duo,” “the triangle,” “the stage.”

In this scenario, boys and men have been arrested often, they been in and out of prison, but no one is traumatized. They remain upbeat and ready for more. There are no bruises, no cigarette burns, no coerced confessions, no real provocations by settlers or soldiers, and all the former prisoners are actually guilty as charged, which aid workers say is often not the case at all.
The opening paragraph sets the tone—a 17-year-old village boy is arrested at 4 a.m. and as the soldiers lead him away, his mother “rushed after with a long-sleeved shirt: they both knew it would be cold in the interrogation room.” What could be more benign? Here’s an anxious mother urging her son to put on warm clothes.

The article mentions the UN report but only to give the number of arrests over the years. Towards the end of this lengthy piece, Rudoren includes a paragraph with Defense for Children International statistics and charges of abuse. It notes that 90 percent of Palestinian children taken into custody received jail sentences compared with 6.5 percent of Israeli children and it notes that Israeli children are “prosecuted in a civil system.”
But the full impact of this article is to make light of Israeli army incursions, to present the settlers as beleaguered by stone throwing kids, and to show the stone throwers as unrepentant petty criminals with little motivation for their actions. Readers are unlikely to remember the Defense for Children charges of mistreatment or grasp the import of a two-tiered system for Israelis and Palestinians.
(Also see a critique of the article by Bekah Wolf, an American who lives in Beit Ommar and was present while Rudoren was doing her research. The critique shows that significant information was deliberately omitted.)

While the Times has kept silent on the issue or attempted to defuse the charges of abuse, Israeli media have been more forthcoming. Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post have written about the charges, and the online magazine 972 ran a series of articles on the subject in November, with videos showing arrests of children as young as 5.

Most recently, as 2013 came to an end, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel revealed that children had been held outdoors in iron cages while awaiting court hearings. Israeli news articles stated that this took place during the recent freezing winter storm and that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni brought it to an end when she was informed of the practice.
The Times, as before, has remained silent on this latest news about Israel’s abuse of children in custody.

The following article was posted on Kim Bullimore’s blog at

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Butcher of Beirut: On the death of Ariel Sharon – War Criminal, Ethnic Cleanser and Mass Murderer.


Dear friends, 
as you will no doubt be aware, Ariel Sharon – the Butcher of Beirut – has died.  In the wake of his death, we are now seeing widespread attempts both in Israel and internationally to rehabilitate and whitewash his actions and legacy.  Sharon has been described by various mainstream media outlets as “flawed”, “controversial”, “complicated” and even a “peacemaker” and “hero”.   Ariel Sharon, however, was none of these things. 

Ariel Sharon was a mass murder, who was responsible for the death of up to 3000 Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon in 1982. He was a mass murder, who was responsible for the death of 70 Palestinians in Qibya in 1953 and many more in Jenin and across the West Bank in 2002. Sharon was a mass murder who was responsible for the death of thousands of Palestinians over several decades. He was a racist, an ethnic cleanser, genocidist and war criminal. 

While Israeli politicians, mainstream media (both in Israel and internationally) attempt to whitewash his legacy, Human Rights Watch has correctly noted that:

Ariel Sharon died without facing justice for his role in the massacres of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians by Lebanese militias in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The killings constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.

While Sharon’s human rights abuses and war crimes are legion, it is the massacre of unarmed Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp which he is most infamous for.  In 1982, supposedly in retaliation for the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London, Israel invade Lebanon. The assassination attempt, however, was not carried out by Arafat’s PLO but by a rival militant group. Israel, who wanted to oust the PLO from Lebanon, used the attempted assassination to launch an invasion supposedly in the name of destroying the PLO. On 6 June 1982, under the direction Israel’s Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, the Zionist state began its invasion and occupation of Lebanon, sending in more than 60,000 troops. 

In the wake of the assassination of Lebanese President, Bashir Gemayel, who was killed by a member of the Syrian Nationalist Party, Israeli troops surrounded the twin refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila on September 15. Commanding officers from Israel’s Occupation Forces (IOF) were stationed in a number of highrise buildings, allowing them a panoramic view of the two camps for the next three days. From September 15 through to September 16, Israel carried out non-stop shelling of the two camps, which was home to 20,000 unarmed Palestinian refugees. On the afternoon of September 16, 150 Christian Phalangists, trained by and under the direction and control of the Israeli forces, entered the camps. The Israeli military cordoned off the camps ensuring no-one could escape. For the next 40 hours, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Israel military, the Phalangist forces tortured, brutalised, raped and massacred the unarmed inhabitants of Sabra and Shatila.

On September 18, the first western journalists were able enter the camps. They saw first hand the tortured and mutilated bodies of the refugees. Robert Fisk, one of the first foreign journalists to enter Sabra and Shatila wrote that what he and his fellow journalists found what could only described as “a war crime”

In his book, Pity the Nation, Fisk recalled that:

“Jenkins and Tveit [fellow journalists] were so overwhelmed by what we found in Chatila that at first we were unable to register our own shock. Bill Foley of AP had come with us. All he could say as he walked round was “Jesus Christ” over and over again. We might have accepted evidence of a few murders; even dozens of bodies, killed in the heat of combat. But there were women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. There were babies – blackened babies because they had been slaughtered more than 24-hours earlier and their small bodies were already in a state of decomposition – tossed into rubbish heaps alongside discarded US army ration tins, Israeli army equipment and empty bottles of whiskey”.

Images of the Shatila and Sabra massacre

Images of the Shatila and Sabra massacre

ShatilaFisk went on to recounted how:

“Down a laneway to our right, no more than 50 yards from the entrance, there lay a pile of corpses. There were more than a dozen of them, young men whose arms and legs had been wrapped around each other in the agony of death. All had been shot point-blank range through the cheek, the bullet tearing away a line of flesh up to the ear and entering the brain. Some had vivid crimson or black scars down the left side of their throats. One had been castrated, his trousers torn open and a settlement of flies throbbing over his torn intestines”.

“The eyes of these young men were all open. The youngest was only 12 or 13 years old. They were dressed in jeans and coloured shirts, the material absurdly tight over their flesh now that their bodies had begun to bloat in the heat. They had not been robbed. On one blackened wrist a Swiss watch recorded the correct time, the second hand still ticking round uselessly, expending the last energies of its dead owner”.

“On the other side of the main road, up a track through the debris, we found the bodies of five women and several children. The women were middle-aged and their corpses lay draped over a pile of rubble. One lay on her back, her dress torn open and the head of a little girl emerging from behind her. The girl had short dark curly hair, her eyes were staring at us and there was a frown on her face. She was dead”.

“Another child lay on the roadway like a discarded doll, her white dress stained with mud and dust. She could have been no more than three years old. The back of her head had been blown away by a bullet fired into her brain. One of the women also held a tiny baby to her body. The bullet that had passed into her breast had killed the baby too. Someone had slit open the woman’s stomach, cutting sideways and then upwards, perhaps trying to kill her unborn child. Her eyes were wide open, her dark face frozen in horror”.

The massacre shocked the world. Israel’s Prime Minister Menachim Begin was forced to resign. In December 1982, the UN declared the massacre to be an act of genocide (despite the fact that all Western democracies abstained on the vote). An Israeli judicial commission found that the Israeli military had abandon its duty of care and that Ariel Sharon was “personally responsible” for the massacre. However, neither Sharon or any member of the Israeli military or the Christian Phalange were every punished for the war crimes they facilitated and carried out. In 2001, the Butcher of Sabra and Shatila, Ariel Sharon became the Prime Minister of Israel.

During his time as Prime Minister of Israel, Israel’s Occupation Forces killed more than 1,430 Palestinian civilians and illegally demolished.hundreds of Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.  Sharon’s decision to unilaterally “disengage” from Gaza was not an act of peace, as Israeli politicians and much of the mainstream media have argued. Instead, it was simply an attempt to sure up Israel’s control of the Occupied West Bank and facilitate Israel’s ongoing colonisation of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the region. 

As Human Rights Watch has noted:

In 2005 he ordered Israel’s withdrawal of nearly 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of four West Bank settlements, but during his term as prime minister, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, increased from roughly 388,000 to 461,000. The transfer by an occupying power of its civilians into an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and a potential war crime.
Israel’s disengagement from Gaza did not end the occupation of Gaza, it just changed how Israel facilitated the occupation.  Rather than carrying out an occupation by stationing troops on the ground inside Gaza, Sharon withdraw Israeli troops and turned Gaza into an open air prison controlled by Israel from the outside.

As Robert Fisk has noted in the wake of Sharon’s death that the main stream toadying journalists have rushed to “remake history” and whitewash Sharon’s image, actions and legacy (to read Fisk’s full article, please click here  and to read his 30th anniversary report on the massacre, click here

Sharon’s brutality, cruelty and legacy, however, can not be whitewashed no matter how much Israel’s apologist try.   

In the wake of Sharon’s death, it is important that we remember and mourn  Sabra, Shatila and Qibya and the thousands of others of who died at Sharon’s hands.  However, even more importantly, in the wake of Sharon’s death, our resolve should be to take a stand and organise against Netanyahu and all those who continue Sharon’s legacy today.  One way we can do this is by joining and actively getting involved in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. 

Demand justice, human rights and self-determination for the people of Palestine and boycott Israel.

In solidarity, Kim

Growing up in Australia, as I have, gives a person a unique insight into how the historical narratives of a nation are created to hide the crimes committed by the colonial power on the indigenous inhabitants of the land that occurred in the creation of that nation. I found Australia to be a really great place to grow up in. Visitors to my home country often fall in love with Australia. Australians in the main enjoy a high level of prosperity, good medical care, good education and a good deal of political freedom compared to other nations. As a young person I struggled with people who criticised Australia with particular regard to the plight of the Aboriginal population.

To my way of thinking back then, Aboriginals were very often just lazy, drunken dole bludgers who had no desire to achieve anything in life. They received government handouts by the tonne and seemed to have privileges that whites could never have. The liberal supporters of Aboriginal rights where just as much to blame (if not more) than the Aboriginal people themselves for this deplorable state of affairs.

I well remember my Gallipoli veteran uncle commenting about the apparent injustice of the land of Australia being taken away from Aboriginals by the British Empire. According to my dear Uncle Wally, the British were entitled to take the land from the indigenous population because the Aboriginals “did nothing with it”. It seems that the inability of Aboriginals to make any headway into the industrial age was reason enough for them to be dispossessed. As years went by I also heard, from a Christian perspective, that British colonialism was justified because how else could Aboriginals get to have the Bible and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and find salvation. Nowadays I hear from people (mostly, but not exclusively, on the political right) that Aboriginals should be grateful that it was the British that colonised the nation rather than other countries. Imagine if the Japanese had gotten hold of them?!

I’m embarrassed to say that it took quite a few years for me to see through all of this nonsense and come to some type understanding of the Aboriginal perspective of white settlement in Australia. I believe that the failure to achieve reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal society in this country lies in great part to the failure of white society to officially admit to the crime of colonialism that was perpetrated in the founding of this nation and the theft of this land by the British Empire. To admit and to apologise. Trying to achieve reconciliation, while at the same time justifying British colonialism, is fundamentally self-defeating. Any attempt at reconciliation must be seen to be genuine by the injured party. This is simply not possible when the major beneficiaries of British colonialism are trying to justify it.

Imagine the case of a woman being raped, and her assailant trying (when apprehended by the law) to show his sorrow and remorse for the harm that he had done, while at the same time telling his victim that she should be grateful that he wore a condom during the attack and that it could have been much worse for her if other less civilised men had violated her! I doubt that anyone would be impressed by such a display of remorse! So it is with attempts to justify British colonialism by comparing its brutality favourably with the colonialism of other empires. It just doesn’t make sense in the spirit of reconciliation. It’s like someone bragging how humble they are: a basic contradiction in terms.

In terms of the spread of Christianity: it seems ridiculous to imagine that colonialism is the only way to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ! The words of the apostle Paul spring to mind when he deals with those who claim that he has taught people to say…”Let us do evil that good may come of it? Their condemnation is deserved.” Rom 3:8. Scripture allows no justification for the spread of the gospel by evil means.

I liken the situation to slavery. Not all slave owners were as brutal as each other. Some even showed benevolent tendencies towards their slaves. Without doubt slavery brought positive advantages to American society (like wealth for example) and it could even be said that slavery ultimately brought advantages to some slaves and many of their descendants. But all this is not the point. It is the institution of slavery itself that is abhorrent regardless of the fact that some slave owners were better than others or that some ultimate benefits may have been given to the slaves themselves. Slavery is fundamentally about violation of ones rights no matter how nicely it is dressed up and colonialism is just the same. It is a violation no matter who the colonialist power is.

The Christian faith was introduced to many slaves in the U.S. where they would have otherwise not have been able to hear the gospel, yet no Christian tries to justify slavery on the basis that it is a means to spread the good news about Jesus to savages! International Law has declared colonialism to be illegal and a violation of human rights. It is no surprise to me that countries like the U.S., Australia and, up until recently, apartheid South Africa have all vigorously supported the colonialist project of Zionist Israel in Palestine. These countries were all founded on the blood of indigenous peoples and hence have shown a great indifference to giving a voice to the cries for justice by the people of Palestine.

With God and International Law going against colonialism in our world, it’s hard to imagine why any Christian would still be supporting it in Israel/Palestine.




Bourj al-Barajneh Refugee Camp in Beirut

In January/February of last year I spent three weeks travelling around Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Territories trying to see for myself what conditions are like for Palestininans living under the occupation as well as hearing for myself attitudes of Israelis towards the Palestinian people and their plight.

My first stop was  the Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. This camp was created in 1948 as a result of the mass expulsion of Palestinian people by Zionist militias and terror gangs in that year. Initially most of the people who came to the camp were from the Galilee area. In the early days and months, most of the refugees believed they would be back home in a few years. Some 66 years have passed and now this liitle camp of only about one square kilometre has been forced to build upward by whatever means possible to house between 25,000 and 30,000 people, with new refugees from Syria coming in all the time. 

The camp itself has been built using whatever materials the refugees have been able to get their hands on. Refugees who live in the camp are not Lebanese citizens and are banded from obtaining work in Beirut in about 17 different areas of employment. The refugees are highly stigmatised by the Lebanese community outside the camp. The houses they live in defy reason; looking like gravity will win the battle with them at any minute. The walls of every room we went into were water damaged and the electical wiring in the camp still gives me nightmares. Electrical power is obtained from a combination of car batteries, diesel generators and shunting power from outside cables. We experienced power cuts in the camp about four or five times an hour The streets of the camp are tiny with not the slightest room for the thousands of children who live in the camp to even kick a soccer ball.

The childrens schooling is provided by the UN from years 6 and above. Any pre-school education is provided by NGO’s like APHEDA in Australia. I have personally seen the work APHEDA is doing for the Palestinian  people in the refugee camps and in the Occupied Territories.  APHEDA,  Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad  was created in 1984 as the overseas aid agency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. They are doing wonderful work in these areas. It’s worth noting that the Liberal Party in Australia has done just about everything they possibly can to try and stop APHEDA’s work with Palestinian refugees. No doubt those like Alexander Downer and Christopher Pyne would be at the head of the list of people trying to stop this important humanitarian work.

The hopelessness of their situation was incredibly depressing to us foreigners but the resiliance of the Palestinian people was amazing. They warmly embraced us; giving us presents and feeding us from the little they had. I found no sense of hatred towards Jews or even just westerners. They see that the conflict is neither religiously nor racially based. On many occassions, they told me, many groups of Jewish people from all around the world and many groups of people from the U.S. had come and visited them and they had all been warmly recieved.

With so many problems in the camp, the leaders of the community are flat out dealing with everyday life yet the one wish they all had in common was that they should one day go home. They feel forgotten by the Palestinian Authority (who never visit them) and the rest of the world. I told them we would not forget them. God will not forget them either.




Over the last 4 or 5 years of talking with Christian Zionists I have discovered that they have not the remotest objection to racism, barring anti-Semitism, that is. Of course the very anti-Semitic nature of much of the theology behind Christian Zionism seems to go unscrutinised by the vast majority of those who hold to this novel and unbiblical idea.

In general Christian Zionists are not interested in large scale conversions of Jews in Israel to the Christian faith. This is because by becoming Christian, Jewish people are no-longer Jewish and if this occurred at a magnitude anything close to a national level; it would mean the end of the Jewish State. Christian Zionists abhor this concept. Without a Jewish state their end-times prophecy schedule lies in tatters!

Christian Zionists require that Israel be a non-Christian, Jewish state. This is somewhat ironic since the theologians of history who did predict a literal revival of the nation of Israel held to a belief that Jews must first convert to Christianity before reclaiming the Holy Land. They did this because they recognised (unlike todays Christian Zionists) that Jewish reclamation of Israel was not unconditional and that a rebellious Jewish people could never retake Israel on account of the covenant they made with God as described clearly in the Old Testament. They understood that the Jewish people were in exile because of their sins and I guess, in the minds of those Christian teachers who believed in a revival of literal Israel back then, they thought that mass conversion to Christianity was the necessary act of repentance required for it to be ok for the Jews to retake Israel as a nation.

All of these arguments are ignored by Christian Zionists today. Christian Zionist also believe that when Christ does return, the Jews in Israel will have to decide whether or not they will accept Him as the Messiah. If they do not, they will be cast into the lake of fire, if they do accept Him they will be saved. It is generally assumed that the vast majority of Jews will not accept Christ and hence will be cast into Hell. Somehow the Jews alive at the coming of Christ will at least get a chance to choose, those who have persihed before the final return will not get this privilege. Seems it pays to be born in the right part of history!

Getting back to the racism issue, I believe the position I hold to is ethically far sounder than the Christian Zionist belief system. I consider ALL racism to be equally abhorrent regardless of the circumstances pertaining to who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. A state where Arabs discriminate against Jews is equally repugnant to a state where Jews discriminate against Arabs. The ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine will not be justly dealt with by the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel. Such a situation will only inflame conflict in the world.

Martin Luther King’s vision of a world of equality where a man is judged on his character, and not on his ethnic background, is not a vision shared by Christian Zionists. In their way of thinking, if Arabs are displaced and dispossessed in order to make a Jewish state a reality, then bring it on! This twisted ethic is not shared by God and is explicitly condemned in the Old Testament Scriptures in dozens of places.

The ethical bankruptcy of Christian Zionism with regard to its attitude to racism is a major stumbling block for me. The Zionist dream of an Israeli state that is both owned by Jews and democratic for all its inhabitants, is a contradiction in terms. If the fact of Jewish ownership of Israel were not a source of discrimination against non-Jews living in Israel, then why do the Zionists so passionately demand that Israel be a Jewish state? What purpose does it serve for Israel to be a Jewish state if it conveys no advantage to Jews over non-Jews living in Israel? If Israel did not discriminate against non-Jews in Israel in any way at all, then why the determination for Israel to be a Jewish state?

When I visited Israel last year, I spoke to a representative from the Israeli trade union Histadrut. She told me the reason that Israel must be a Zionist state was that Israel was the only way to protect Jewish culture and way of life. How Jews had managed to keep their culture and way of life intact for the last two thousand years (even surviving the Holocaust) and how the 50% of Jews outside of Israel today have managed without a Zionist state, was not explained to me. I doubt that it can be explained.


Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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January 2014