Thus editorialised that staunch friend Down Under of Israel, The Australian newspaper, last month.
Bigotry dies hard, and in Sydney, where not so long ago the Greens-led Marrickville council brought well-deserved opprobrium upon itself for resolving to boycott Israeli products, the group Friends of Bethlehem has resolved to do likewise.
It appears that former ABC current affairs presenter Peter Manning, a veteran critic of Israel, played a leading part in this initiative against the world's only Jewish state.
We read on the group's website:
'Friends of Bethlehem held a Special General Meeting of its membership last Tuesday, July 2, in the Tom Foster Hall in Newtown and voted overwhelmingly to join the BDS movement.
“We still want to support the sister city relationship between Marrickville Council and Bethlehem Council (signed in 2006)” said Mr Manning, “but the way the Israelis are going there won’t be the ancient city of Bethlehem anymore soon. It will be swallowed up by Jewish-only settlements.”
Mr Manning said the Palestinian people decided in 2005 to ask the people of the world to use the non-violent method of BDS to get Israel to acknowledge Palestinian rights to self-determination and to abide by international law. Many churches, trade unions and artists, university academics and film-makers have joined the movement in response. They have banned Israeli goods, services and companies and other companies which profit from Israel’s illegal 45-year occupation of Palestine.
“It’s time for bodies like Marrickville Council to look at its goods and services and see if their practices help breach human rights. So should local businesses, churches, and civil society groups generally” said Mr Manning. “Only then will change begin.” .'Hat tip: reader Shirlee
I wonder whether Manning and his cohorts are at all bothered by the plight of Christian Arabs in Bethlehem, who have been leaving in droves, not owing to the actions of Israelis, but to persecution from their fellow Palestinian Arabs.
As a report revealed last year:
'It could be described as a modern day exodus: Christians are leaving Palestinian Arab-controlled areas like Bethlehem in great numbers.
"It's my prediction that if the remaining Christians in the West Bank and Gaza -- Gaza only has maybe a thousand, two thousand Christians," human rights lawyer Justus Weiner told CBN News. "If their needs are not addressed in 10 or 15 or at most 20 years, there won't be any Christians in the cradle of Christianity. This will be a kind of memorial, a museum."
Weiner said the threat of persecution, including beatings and forced marriages between Christian women and Muslim men, are some of the reasons Christians have left.
Although tourism and the economy picked up last year, uncertainty still prevails....'
"I know if you just look deep within their hearts, I know many people have fear and doubt in the unknown and unseen," Pastor Steve Khoury told CBN News.Pastor Khoury leads churches in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem....
Pastor Khoury has seen church members attacked and discriminated against because of their faith. Several believers under his ministry have been martyred, including his own uncle. The church in Bethlehem has been firebombed 14 times, and Dr. Naim Khoury has been shot at several times in the last 10 years.'