Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday 30 June 2014

David Singer: How Israel Could Be Jordan's Lifeline Against The ISIS Threat

Here is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.  It's titled  "Palestine – Jordan Faces Looming Crisis With ISIS".

Writes David Singer:

Jordan has mobilized its military forces along Jordan’s 180 kilometre border with Iraq – deploying rocket launchers, armored personnel carriers and tanks following the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) reportedly taking control of the Trebil crossing between Iraq and Jordan on 23 June.

Other reports said members of this Salafist jihadist group took over a number of Iraqi towns in Anbar – including al-Rutba – 40 kilometres from the Jordan-Iraq border.

Osama Al Sharif reports:
"Jordan maintains close ties with the Sunni tribes of Iraq, especially in Anbar. But these tribes provided sanctuary to ISIS founder, Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. It is believed that Jordanian intelligence and an anti-terrorist squad helped the Americans locate and liquidate Zarqawi. The spread of ISIS in Anbar will raise red flags in Amman."
Taylor Luck, an Amman-based political analyst specialized in jihadist movements, opines:
 “Jordan's greatest national security threat currently is neither the Syrian regime or the potential use of chemical weapons - it is the spread of the Islamic State’s ideology and the spillover of the jihadist civil war into Jordan."
Al-Monitor confirms these assessments:
“The quick takeover by ISIS and Sunni rebels of at least three Iraqi governorates in the past two weeks, including the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, has created unease in Jordan for a number of reasons. ISIS has in the past threatened the regime and video clips on YouTube by Jordanian members of the organization, vowing to march on the kingdom and burning their passports, have generated concern. No one really knows how many Jordanians have joined this radical Islamist group, but there are estimates that at least 2,000 jihadists have joined Jabhat al-Nusra, which is associated with al-Qaeda, and ISIS to fight in Syria.”
These developments followed Jordan’s King Abdullah’s surprise meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya last week.

Europe Online magazine explains:
“Jordan has a significant community of ethnic Chechens stemming from 19th century emigration from the Russian empire, while Chechens are thought to make up a significant proportion of Islamic State fighters, who are currently spreading unrest in Iraq.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – currently waging offensives in Syria and Iraq - claims that up to 2,000 fighters in both regions are from the Caucasus.
Kadyrov, who has been battling Islamist insurgents in Chechnya and neighbouring regions, has in the past vehemently denounced Chechen jihadists in the Middle East.”
Abdullah was obviously concerned about the extent to which Chechens already in Jordan might make common cause with ISIS Chechen militants outside it.

Paul Saunders assesses the help Kadyrov could give Jordan:
“While he likely has extremely limited influence over the extremists fighting in the Middle East, he does have a variety of tools at his disposal that go beyond those normally employed by states. One example has been Kadyrov’s apparent deployment of his pro-Russian Chechen fighters in eastern and southern Ukraine to support pro-Russian forces there; Crimea’s new leaders went so far as to award him a medal "For the Liberation of Crimea," a fact proudly reported on Chechnya’s official news website. In explaining the award, a Crimean official said that “at the request of Chechnya’s leader, the Chechen diaspora supported Crimeans in a difficult time.” Kadyrov may well have very useful channels into Jordan’s Chechen diaspora too.”
Abdullah’s visit to Kazyrov – his “brother and friend” – will not have earned him any brownie points with America or the West.

The US Department of State has described Kazyrov’s rule as "corrupt and brutal" and Western human rights organizations frequently condemn his government’s conduct.

Abdullah is desperately seeking to strengthen the protective umbrella afforded by Israel and the West that has shielded its Hashemite rulers against past PLO, Hamas and Moslem Brotherhood attempts to destabilize Jordan and overthrow the Monarchy.

The Hashemites are long time survivors – having astutely managed to retain 78 per cent of Mandatory Palestine under exclusive Arab sovereignty for the last 92 years.

Jordan has been a safe haven for millions of refugees from past conflicts in Kuwait and Iraq. It currently hosts 599,461 registered Syrian refugees – of whom approximately 27 per cent are aged between 0-17.

Osama Al Sharif warns:
“The possible collapse and partition of Iraq will also have grave geopolitical repercussions on Jordan. The creation of a Sunni enclave along Jordan’s eastern borders will have political, economic and social effects on the kingdom. Israel, too, is worried about such a possibility since Jordan has acted as a buffer zone between the Jewish state and Arab heartland. Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on June 23 that Jordan and Israel have increased their security consultations to deal with the latest ISIS advances in Iraq.”
Jordan badly blundered in ignoring Israel’s warning to stay out of the 1967 Six Day War – resulting in Israel capturing the West Bank and East Jerusalem – ending Jordan’s 19 years of uninterrupted occupation since 1948.

Direct negotiations with Israel to redress that fatal decision by redrawing the boundaries between Israel and Jordan within the framework of their 1994 Peace Treaty  should now become an increasingly attractive proposition for King Abdullah to seriously consider.

Article 4.5 provides for co-operation in combating terrorism of all kinds.

Jordan – facing its looming crisis with ISIS – risks suffering the same political and humanitarian disasters currently embroiling Syria and Iraq.

Israel could be Jordan’s lifeline in preventing this happening.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Isi Leibler's Insights Into European Antisemitism, Jewish Leadership Reactions, & Other Critical Current Issues (video)

Here's the highly articulate and characteristically forthright veteran international Jewish leader and Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler in conversation with Rabbi Mark Golub on Shalom TV.  The topics range from the kidnapping of the three teenage Israelis in the West Bank, to the New York Metropolitan Opera's planned restaging of the despicable opera "The Death of Klinghoffer", to the crisis of European antisemitism (on which Leibler wrote so perceptively recently here) and the head-in-the-sand attitude of what passes for the Anglo-Jewish leadership.

As Golub remarks, "Isi ... nobody says it like you do".

 And talking of European antisemitism, there is a disturbing report here

"BDS Activism Has Shifted Back To The Churches"


It might not be raw and ferociously in-yer-face like this recent blatant example of "Christian" antisemitism on Facebook , but it reeks of antisemitism nonetheless: the attitude of elements within the Presbyterian Church (USA) which has narrowly adopted a resolution instructing the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions of the PCUSA to “divest from Caterpillar, Inc, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.”

We learn of this antisemitism within the PCUSA from NGO Monitor, which has prepared a comprehensive report on the subject that can be accessed here and which includes examples of Facebook activity; summary here.
1. The Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA) is a main advocate within the church on behalf of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS), whose goal is to delegitimize the State of Israel leading to that country’s dissolution. The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is also an advocate for BDS. 
2. This report produces clear evidence of a strong undercurrent of overt anti-Jewish bigotry within the IPMN as expressed on the group’s Facebook page. 
3. Numerous postings uploaded to this site by IPMN members over a period of two years demonstrate an ongoing pattern of expressions of antisemitism, including:
a. a “Zionist controlled America [has a] desperate lust” for war with Iran
b. “Jewish interests” are “corrupting” the US government, and the media is “owned” and “operated” by these same “Jewish interests.”
c. the “Christian Holy Land” is “occupied” by the “zionist (sic) instigator”
d. Racial theories of Jewish origins claiming Ashkenazi Jews are not racially “Semitic,” are actually “Khazars,” and therefore should not be in the Middle East.
e. Israeli Jews should be ethnically cleansed: “Helen Thomas was right, ‘Go back to Russia, Germany…’ Just leave.”
f. “IRAN! Thank God for them! The only Zionist-free land left on earth.”
4. The site is administered by five IPMN leaders. Members include senior staff of the PCUSA, theologians, clergy, laity, and non-Presbyterian anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
5. At no point did any of these site administrators or any of the PCUSA staff take any overt action such as speaking out against the blatant antisemitism, rebuking members for their intolerant statements, or removing them from the site’s membership.
6. At no point did any of the members from non-Presbyterian NGOs speak out against this antisemitism, including members of the fringe group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
7. This overt antisemitism is the backdrop to the IPMN’s advocacy campaign within the PCUSA for divestment and boycotts against Israel, culminating in votes at the June 2014 PCUSA’s General Assembly in support of divestment and other anti-Israel resolutions.
8. In 2013 both IPMN and JVP were recipients of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s “top award” the “Peaceseeker Award.”
9. The bigotry expressed by IPMN members and tolerated by IPMN leaders and PCUSA staff is a moral failing of the church. Serious steps must be taken by the church to remedy this situation, including an apology to the Jewish community, for the church to be able to claim any moral standing on the Middle East.
 Observes the Board of Directors of the organisation Scholars for Peace in the Middles East (SPME). 

 'With the end of the academic year BDS activism has shifted back to the churches.
The language and tone of the [Presbyterian]resolution and the accompanying debate ... were strongly shaped by traditional Protestant supersessionism. The antisemitic basis of church-based BDS has become difficult to disguise and will shape coming debates over church-based divestment....
 ...In 2004 and 2005, as divestment resolutions in the guise of socially responsible investment were being debated within the PC-USA General Assembly, a controversy emerged when staff members organized a meeting of Presbyterian leaders with Hezbollah members in Lebanon.
 Engagement with the Muslim world, and especially with Palestinian Christians, has long been a PC-USA focus....The Kairos document is a Palestinian Christian implicit attack on the concepts of Jewish national identity and sovereignty in Israel and an explicit assault on Christian Zionism. It also describes “the occupation” as a sin, legitimizes violence as “resistance,” and calls for a South African style BDS campaign against Israel. It has gained enormous traction within left-leaning Protestant denominations including the Anglican and Methodist churches. The 2014 vote came after a protracted period of debate that was shaped by lobbying on both sides of the issue....  The pro-BDS/pro-one state group ‘Jewish Voices for Peace’ apparently also played an important role. Though tiny, the group gave PC-USA cover to claim Jewish support for the divestment resolution. The role of the PC-USA’s Middle East Issues Committee, Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus, and Israel/Palestine Mission Network in pushing BDS cannot be understated....
 The 2014 debate was also shaped by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network’s Zionism Unsettled document. The “congregational study guide” is distributed widely by PC-USA. Among other things the document promotes the ideas that Jews were well treated in Arab countries and that hostility is the result of Zionism, and that Israel, supported by the US, oppresses and brutalizes Palestinians. It also relies on strongly anti-Zionist sources and contains numerous misrepresentations of history. Opposition to the document has come not only from Jewish but Presbyterian sources....'
The Board continues, in the course of a cogent analysis which also goes on to mention certain other current  BDS initiatives in America:
'PC-USA’s Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns [ACREC], however, took the matter further and noted: For many worshipers today, the word “Israel” has taken on political and military connotations and the original scriptural meanings are almost lost. Just as PC(USA) adopted inclusive and expansive language for racial and gender justice, ACREC believes it is important and timely to be intentional and well-informed with language that has taken on political meanings beyond the walls of church and worship....
 Largely unnoticed in the controversy surrounding the PC-USA’s divestment vote was another resolution that called for the organization to undertake research toward “a recommendation about whether the General Assembly should continue to call for a two-state solution in Israel Palestine, or take a neutral stance that seeks not to determine for Israelis and Palestinians what the right “solution” should be.” Such a recommendation, to be debated at the 2016 General Assembly, would likely result in the PC-USA following the lead of Palestinian Christians in calling for a one state solution. In addition, another resolution was adopted that condemned Israel for human rights violations and pervasive racism. After the vote church leaders again took pains to publicly stress that the resolution did not mean the church backed the BDS movement and that Jews should not be offended by the move....
 [U]nlike historic “peace churches” such as the Quakers, which have long been on the left politically and strongly anti-Israel, but which lack well-developed theology, PC-USA appears to be reemphasizing traditional Protestant supersessionist attitudes and rhetoric. The elevation of the Palestinian Christian narrative of its own suffering and Israeli’s evil, the pains taken to distinguish modern Israel from Old and New Testament Israel, and efforts to expunge the term ‘Israel’ from both, meld traditional and modern antisemitism. The support given the church by David Duke and others also show again that the far left and the far right in America are converging on the issue of opposing Israel....'
Read the entire article here
See also here

In an eminently worthy editorial the National Review online points out, inter alia:
'The world’s organized hostility to Israel would be kind of funny if it didn’t have such serious consequences, or potential consequences. There are some 200 nations in the world. Many of them are very bad actors: dictatorships, terror states. And it is tiny, democratic Israel that is the focus of the world’s hostility.
The latest is that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — not to be confused with the Presbyterian Church in America — has voted to divest from Israel. Thus does a major American church join the worldwide BDS movement. (“BDS” stands for “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” — against one country, Israel.)
If Israel did not exist, the United Nations might not have much to do. Last year the General Assembly adopted 25 resolutions against particular countries. Twenty-one of those resolutions were against Israel; the other four were against Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Burma. Not since the apartheid regime in South Africa has a country been so stigmatized by the world. And foes of Israel, of course, promote the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state.”
Consider a few steps in the effort to delegitimize Israel. Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists in the world, joined the academic boycott of that country. He has been happy, however, to go to Iran and China....
One consequence of anti-Israel boycotts is that they harm Arabs. They do so by perpetuating two myths, related. The first is that the Arab–Israeli conflict is Israel’s fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to coexist. The second is that the Arabs’ lamentable condition is Israel’s fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to reform, liberalize, or democratize....
Mainly, the boycotts serve the delegitimization of Israel, and the dehumanization of Israelis. They call into question Israel’s right to exist. They make Israel a pariah state. They soften Israel up for . . .
Well, Iran and other enemies of Israel have pledged to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. It is true that Israel is backed by U.S. military might. It is further true that it has military might of its own: nuclear weapons. But its survival is no sure thing. These boycotts and other protests are not “freebies” — rebukes of a nation that is going to be fine no matter what. They are not mere acts of political correctness. They undermine a country whose very existence is threatened every day. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has now joined a nasty and growing mob.'
Read the rest here 
Rabbi John Rosove has an excellent indictment of the Presbyterians' action here

Meanwhile, our old mate the Vicar of Virginia Water has something noteworthy to add:

(For the article by David Fischler linked to there, see here)

Friday 27 June 2014

The Jewish Nakba (video)

Not a new video, but instructive, and worth a view.

(Hat tip: Jean Vercors)

Thursday 26 June 2014

Mark Regev on Bringing Back The Boys (video)

In this exclusive interview a few days ago, Bibi Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev talks of the Israeli government's certainty that Hamas is behind the kidnapping of the three missing Israeli teenagers, what needs to be done to bring the boys home, why Mahmoud Abbas's unity deal with Hamas is unconscionable, and what Israel expects from the international community.

Meanwhile, the British-based Islam Channel's Current Affairs show has presented a trio of talking heads to bash Israel's response to the current kidnapping crisis: three hardened anti-Israel warriors, namely freelance writer Ben White (his latest kick at the UK "Israel lobby" and Christian Zionists has just been posted, here), lawyer Toby Carman, and ex-MP Martin Linton (remember that "tentacles of Israel" speech of his a few years ago?).

The discussion, in the unlikely event that you should you care to watch it, follows some ten minutes of background footage.

 The studio anchor, John Rees, is described thus in his Wikipedia entry:
'Elected a member of the National Executive of the National Union of Students in the early 1980s, Rees is a former leading member of the Socialist Workers Party, and was for many years on its Central Committee. He was editor of the quarterly journal International Socialism for ten years and the organiser of the SWP's annual Marxism festival in 1982 and 1983 and again between 1992 and 2002.
A co-founder and a current national officer for the Stop the War Coalition, he has been a central organiser of all its marches including that of 15 February 2003. According to Rees: "Socialists should unconditionally stand with the oppressed against the oppressor, even if the people who run the oppressed country are undemocratic and persecute minorities, like Saddam Hussein." Rees is also vice president (Europe) of the Cairo Conference.
He was top of Respect – The Unity Coalition list in the West Midlands region for the 2004 European Election, and the Respect candidate for the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election. He also stood for Respect in the 2006 local elections in the Bethnal Green South ward of Tower Hamlets, East London where he came second to Labour. Rees was controversially not selected by the SWP Central Committee to be on the slate for re-election and did not stand independently at the January 2009 conference. Shortly after his partner Lindsey German [convenor of Stop The War Coalition] resigned from the SWP in 2010, Rees and 41 other members followed disenchanted with the party's direction, internal regime and approach to united fronts (18 others who had resigned in weeks prior also supported the resignations)....'
Yet another reminder of the distinctly curious alliance that exists these days between Islam and the hard Left.

A Pro-Israel Arab Londoner At A Palestine Solidarity Campaign Meeting (video)

Here's the indefatigable young Arab supporter of Israel who calls himself Orim Shimshon; he introduces the video thus: 
"I went to a meeting by Hamas/Palestinian supporters in a conference room in the British Library. No longer shall I wait for Q and A to speak. I decided to resort to different tactics. Rather than heckling the director (Sarah Colborne, who was at the podium speaking as I went up; she is the director of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign), I brought signs instead, so people can read and respond rather then talking over each other!"

Note the repetitive question he's asked by PSC heavies as he's escorted out; note too the racist insults that he's been subjected to on this video's YouTube page.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

In Australia, More "Progressive" Flirtation With Islamic Misogyny

The St James Ethics Centre in Sydney, a non-religious body established in 1989, describes itself as
"a unique centre for applied ethics, the only one its kind globally" ....Working both in Australia and abroad for over twenty years, we’re an independent not-for-profit organisation that provides an open forum for the promotion and exploration of ethical questions. We provide practical support to individuals and organisations to help them to deal with the complex ethical questions that are part of everyday life....
Our Purpose
To serve as a catalyst and enabler for society to think, debate and act in good conscience, particularly in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Our Vision
A better world where people have the capacity to do the right thing.
Our Mission
To encourage and assist individuals and organisations to include the ethical dimension of their daily lives."
It also notes that it has
"worked to take ethical concepts into the wider community, by encouraging a healthy public debate through our events including the celebrated Intelligence Squared (IQ2) live debate series and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, held annually in partnership with the Sydney Opera House".
And what did it schedule for inclusion in the "Festival of Dangerous Ideas" this year?

Why, an address by Sydney-based Islamic extremist Uthman Badar, from the Caliphate-pursuing Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation, on the monstrous topic "Honour Killings are morally justified".

To quote Sydney journalist Miranda Devine:
 "If anything gives Islam a bad name in Australia, it’s extremist outfits like Hizb ut-Tahrir, which wants to use the upcoming Festival of Dangerous Ideas to justify honour killings.
Uthman Badar, the group’s spokesman, was invited to the prestigious Sydney Opera House event in August to deliver a speech titled: “Honour killings are morally justified.”
Seriously. Murdering women is not a dangerous idea – it’s a crime....
There simply is no justification for the murder of women by relatives who feel she has dishonoured the family, by, say, being raped.
Some ideas in the world really are dangerous, and you only have to look at the horrors unfolding in Syria and Iraq to know that radical Islam is as bad as they come.
But to Festival organizers, it was all a game. By inviting Hizb Ut Tahrir to join the rest of the luvvies on stage they made Islamist extremism fashionable.
We have trouble enough on that score.
Take jihad, which has become so cool in Australia that we are the leading supplier, per capita, of Western fighters in Syria and now Iraq.
You can hear Australian accents on recruitment videos posted online by the brutal ISIS terrorist group, which has recently moved from the war in Syria to Iraq where it now controls large parts of the country....
The 150 Australian jihadists who have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups are a disproportionate number, compared to an estimated 50 from the US, and 400 from the UK, out of 1000 from all Europe....
One reason ISIS has been successful here is that it is a Sunni group, one of the two main branches of Islam. Sydney has the largest population of Lebanese Sunnis outside of Lebanon, a product of immigration in the 1970s and 1980s during that country’s civil war.
But it is the Australian-born children and grandchildren of those migrants, who don’t speak Arabic and have never read the Koran, who have been recruited to jihad across the world...."
From (Sydney) Daily Telegraph (see link in text)
Having gone into more detail on the phenomenon of Australian jihadism, she asks pertinently:
"But what hope is there when Sydney’s fashionable left-wing establishment fetes extremism, as if it is just another dinner party conversation starter."
As she states:

After pressure from the NSW government, the Opera House last night cancelled the speech, claiming “a line has been crossed”.'
Indeed, as shown at right, in an extract from the Daily Telegraph, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her Opposition counterpart Tanya Plibersek spoke out in condemnation of the  topic.

Still, we are all entitled to ask, along with Ms Devine:
"But why did it [the Sydney Opera House] and Festival partner, the St James Ethics Centre, offer a platform to Islamist extremists at all?"
So, Melbourne's Temple Beth Israel, is not the only "progressive" Australian institution this month prepared blithely to have Islamic misogyny expressed on its premises.

What a sad reflection on those who should be upholding enlightened values and championing women's rights.

Read more here (Andrew Bolt's terrific column; h/t Marvin) and here

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Divesting, Demonising – & In Decline: The Ultra-Liberal Churches That Are Targeting Israel

Photo: Joshua Lott, New York Times
This is a guest blog by Professor William D. Rubinstein:

A few days ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest its investments in three companies doing business with Israel on the West Bank.  The vote (310:303) was extremely narrow.  At the same time, the church voted to endorse “gay” marriage.  I don’t agree with either action, but as I am not a member of that church its actions are none of my business.

However, in this guest blog I would like to highlight a number of important characteristics of some mainstream Protestant churches such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) which may not be known to many readers, and focus on two such churches in particular.

These characteristics are:
(a)    Each is a small, now ultra-liberal Protestant denomination;
(b)   Each is obsessed with Israel’s alleged crimes, while utterly failing to criticise far worse and more barbaric activities by other countries, especially in the Islamic world;
(c)    Most importantly, each of these denominations is rapidly and demonstrably losing membership, to the extent that they may well disappear.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) was once a fairly conservative mainstream Protestant sect, deriving from Scotland in the Reformation.  Fifty years ago, it would obviously not have endorsed either policy referred to above.  As it has shrunk in size and importance, the church – like many others of a similar type – has moved ever further to the Left, losing ever more of its conservative members.

Israel is absolutely central to the church's current foreign demonology, not North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or (God forbid) Cuba.  One might imagine that this focus is due to the age-old, inglorious tradition of Christian antisemitism, and although this may well be a component of the church's stance, it would be more accurate to see it as a facet of the church’s anti-conservative, anti-American, anti-Western world-view, especially since it ignores the barbarism carried out every day in the Islamic world.

The main point I want to highlight here, however, is that the Presbyterian Church (USA) is, literally, dying on its feet.  Its membership has declined (see Wikipedia) from 3,101,000 in 1984 to 1,176,000 in 2013.  In 2012 and 2013 alone, it lost over 10 per cent of its total membership.  According to one church spokesman in 2013, “projections are for an anticipated loss of perhaps 500,000 members over the next three-four years, about 25 per cent of the denomination’s membership”.

Any business with this record of abject failure would, of course, sack its entire management at the first opportunity, and adopt an entirely new business model.  Not so the Presbyterians.  The more they jump on every looney-left bandwagon that rolls along, the emptier their pews become, a fact obviously not lost on whoever is in charge of this church.

Then there is the United Church of Canada, a merger of the Methodists, Congregationalists, and some Presbyterians.  Its website is a veritable pastiche of every conceivable leftwing “politically correct” bandwagon that happens on by.  “Happy World Pride”, given prominent space, turns out to be an endorsement of the “International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia”.  “The United Church of Canada Celebrates World Pride Day”, it proclaims.  “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (á lá post-Apartheid South Africa) is “a comprehensive response to the legacy of [Canadian American] Indians".  And so it goes: “Fast For The Climate”, “Call For Justice For Victims of Extrajudicial Killings”, automatic opposition to the Canadian pipeline, and so on.

You guessed it: only one foreign policy issue figures prominently on their website, and it ain’t North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Cuba.  Members of the church are called upon “to take concrete action to support the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories”.  What is highly questionable is the highlighting of this conflict itself, and the utter silence of the church about, say, the enormities and barbarities carried out on a daily basis throughout the Islamic world against women, non-Muslims, Muslims of the wrong sect, political dissidents, and virtually everyone else – the usual double standards of the left-liberal politically correct brigade throughout the West.

Indeed, in 2012 the church voted in favour of BDS as triumphantly reported on Press TV, to which the church kindly gave a statement.  There is more on its BDS activities here and on its history, embraced causes, numerical decline (see below), and attitude to Israel here.

Canada is a democracy, and if the United Church of Canada wants to endorse BDS or anything else, that’s its own business.  What is striking, as in the case of the US Presbyterians, is that this church is losing members at a rapid and ever-increasing rate of decline.  According to Wikipedia, the church’s membership peaked in 1964 at 1.1million.  By 2008, it had a membership of 525,000, less than half of its membership in the 1960s, with only 200,000 attending on a regular basis.  By 2010, the membership had fallen to 490,000.  According to one analyst, “it lost 55 per cent of its members while Canada’s population grew 78 per cent”.

The last Canadian census showed that two million people claimed to belong to this denomination, but the next time most of them are likely to attend a service is when they are the only person in the room unable to hear the eulogy delivered in their honour.

That church’s consistent left-wing orientation has not escaped the attention of the Canadian press and commentators, with many critics condemning the church’s stance.  “The United Church [Is] Little More Than a Left-Wing Club”, one columnist noted in The Calgary Herald (24 August 2012), and many other similar opinions are available online.  “Canada’s United Church: Christianity? Or Now Simply Another left-Wing Activist Cult?” goes one.

Here's a relevant video, highlighting the church's hypocritical double standards where Israel is concerned:

I suppose that, within a generation or so, this church will virtually disappear.  Many will say “Good riddance”.  What is true of this church is also true of most other ultra-liberal Protestant denominations throughout the West.  The points made here could be multiplied a dozen times.  As to the Canadian scene, to quote Wikipedia: “Non-denominational churches and conservative denominations like the Assemblies of God and Christian Missionary Alliance are growing.”

(Daphne adds: See the US Presbyterian Church's Facebook page where it is getting angry messages from Jews and Xians alike to its recent vote; more opposition outlined here and here. In view of the widely shown photo at the top of this post [credit: Joshua Lott, for New York Times] of jubilant Israel-haters shown in the the throes of a seemingly orgasmic thrill over the gift from the church of a shoddy BDS victory, it's not surprising that some pro-Israel elements on Facebook and elsewhere are reminding them that to be true Israel-boycotters they'll have to forsake their computers!  Below: crowing over the Presbyterian vote on, of all things, the propaganda channel of that notable abuser of human and Christian rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran!)

Monday 23 June 2014

"Islamic and Arab Countries Fiddle While Syria Burns": David Singer on bully boy tactics against Australia regarding The O Word

Titled "Palestine – Islamic and Arab Countries Fiddle While Syria Burns", this is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

Australia’s decision on 5 June to no longer refer to East Jerusalem and the West Bank as “occupied territory” but rather “disputed territory” has provoked outrage among Islamic and Arab countries accredited in Australia.

They sought and received an urgent meeting with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on 19 June – following a letter sent to Ms Bishop on 12 June by Moroccan Ambassador HE Mohamed Mael-Ainin on behalf of the Heads of Mission of this powerful Islamic lobby.

The Ambassador’s letter has not been released by the Foreign Affairs Department as it:
“does not publicly release correspondence to the Foreign Minister from representatives of foreign countries.”
Yet – in a media release issued after the meeting – Ms Bishop attached her written response to the Moroccan Ambassador, in which she stated:
“I emphasise that there has been no change in the Australian Government's position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. Our position is consistent with relevant UN resolutions on the issue, adopted over many years, starting with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Senator Brandis' statement was about nomenclature, and was not a comment on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories.
Australia continues to be a strong supporter of a just and lasting two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders. To this end, we are urging both sides to resume direct negotiations. We do not consider it helpful to engage in debates over legal issues, nor to prejudge any final status issues that are the subject of these negotiations.”
Creating a second Arab State in Mandatory Palestine – in addition to Jordan – for the first time ever in recorded history remains an illusion after fruitless negotiations spanning the last 20 years.
Legal issues will determine final status issues – one essential legal prerequisite being secure and recognized borders for Israel demanded by Resolutions 242 and 338

The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s acceptance of the League of Nations and United Nations decisions recognising the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Mandatory Palestine remains another legal lynch pin to achieving Australia’s desired two-state solution.

Refusal to recognise the State of Israel by all 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has materially contributed to the 130-years-old Jewish-Arab conflict remaining unresolved.

Photo by Andrew Meares; from SMH
Jordan’s Ambassador Rima Ahmad Alaadeen (on the right of this Sydney Morning Herald photo by Andrew Meares), after meeting Ms Bishop reportedly made the OIC’s potential hostility towards Australia very clear:
“Alaadeen said she could not say whether there would be trade sanctions against Australia. The controversy was on the agenda of the 57-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit of foreign ministers in Jeddah this week.
“There is a clause or a paragraph … on the recent events in Australian policy regarding East Jerusalem, so we have to wait and see what transpires,” she said.
Iraq’s Ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh, who also attended the meeting, similarly said he could not rule out trade sanctions.”
In pursuing this diplomatic dressing down of Australia including threats of sanctions for having the temerity to pursue its own independent foreign policy – these Islamic and Arab States missed a golden opportunity to raise with Ms Bishop a shocking Report released on 16 June by the Human Rights Council received from its “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic” – a fellow Arab and Islamic State.
The Report – detailing developments in the ongoing conflict between 15 March and 15 June – states:
“In three years of conflict, millions of Syrians have suffered the loss of relatives to attacks, to violence in detention facilities, to disappearances and to starvation. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives. The failure to protect civilians, both from the conduct of the Syrian Government forces and non-State armed groups unaligned with the Government (NSAGs), has led to unspeakable suffering. An estimated 9.3 million Syrians are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, with 4.25 million IDPs and 2.8 million refugees in neighbouring countries. The vast majority are women and children.
In the course of the conflict, the infrastructure that constitutes civilian life has been targeted and misused. Schools have been reduced to rubble or occupied by armed forces, hospitals have come under attack, and entire residential neighbourhoods have been destroyed.”
Horrors being currently perpetrated include:
Extra-judicial killings, sexual assaults, beatings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests
Reports of deaths in custody, particularly in detention centres in Damascus city, rising dramatically. Former detainees described being held in cells with corpses of cellmates who had been tortured or died as a result of untreated medical conditions.
Persistent reports of the use of torture – including beating, electrocution and hanging from walls. Increasing attacks by Government forces and the armed opposition targeting civilians.
Australia is presently a member of the UN Security Council.

The Report states that through UN inaction:
“a space has been created for the worst of humanity to express itself.”
Those Islamic and Arab diplomats meeting Ms Bishop should have been urging Australia to sponsor a Security Council resolution demanding that an armed UN force be sent to Syria to implement an imposed cease fire to end this mayhem and slaughter.

Regrettably, imposing bully boy tactics on Australia was obviously considered far more important than trying to end the interminable suffering of millions of their Syrian Arab brethren and sisters.

Go figure.