Monday Missive – September 24th, 2012

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, back with you again. I’ve finished my Monday run, grabbed something to eat, and I’m keen to touch base with you before I call it a night.

I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a big one for me, with three of my four girls returning from their overseas adventures, and we’ve had both Ange’s birthday and our wedding anniversary since they returned!

It’s also been a big week for human-rights activism in this part of the world, as we reach the conclusion of a week-long tour of this country by Israeli historian and activist, Professor Ilan Pappe.

Professor Pappe is one of those extraordinary characters whose convictions have led him to go against the grain of his own community. He is a Jewish man and was lecturing at an Israeli university, but his research into the history of the modern state of Israel led him to question the publicly accepted narrative – that his homeland had been a ‘land without a people’ when the state was formed in 1948. He subsequently went on to uncover and publish truths about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that politicians had tried to keep from the rest of the world (including the Israeli public).

I am embarrassed to admit now that I didn’t make any significant effort to attend Pappe’s lecture at Sydney University, even though it is within walking distance of where we live. It was at an inconvenient time and I figured that I knew all he was going to say and that I didn’t need further motivation to support the cause of Palestinian human rights. I thought that it would be nice to actually shake his hand and have a picture taken with him, but I didn’t think that was really an adequate reason to upset my schedule. Now I wish I had the photo to show off to you as I’ve become a genuine Pappe fan!

I saw his performance on ‘Q&A‘, and it really affected me!

For those who don’t know Australia’s Q&A it is a live TV panel discussion, featuring five panelists and an adjudicator. I don’t know whether the professor knew that two of the other panelists who were on that night were specifically there to take him down, but I suppose he’s used to that sort of set up by now.

Pappe was articulate, passionate and direct! It was not an easy discussion, but he pulled no punches! It really brought home to me how difficult it can be for a Jewish man to speak out against the state of Israel.

It’s a unique situation. If I speak out against the Australian government, I’m not branded as a ‘self-hating Australian’, but Pappe is constantly branded as a self-hating Jew because of his opposition to Israeli government policy. He shrugs off this accusation when challenged with it, and responds humorously by saying that his wife thinks he has the opposite problem – ie. that he thinks too much of himself!

Anyway, I’ve added a 3-minute segment from the Q&A episode right below, and if you see nothing else of Pappe’s do watch this.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you’d like to see more, I’ve created a compendium of recordings of Pappe’s TV and radio appearances in Australia on www.israelandpalestine.org, including a link to the complete version of the Q&A episode from which the above segment was taken.

My friend Terry (who I know is reading this missive) particularly recommends Pappe’s address to the National Press Club in Canberra. We were having lunch together on Friday and Terry was telling me how he was transfixed listening to Pappe.

Terry is a beautiful man but not someone who was especially familiar with the situation in Israel/Palestine. Pappe’s address to the National Press Club affected him deeply, as indeed I think this speaking tour has touched the lives of a great many people.

Let us pray that Pappe’s untiring work will indeed lead to great strides forward being made in the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East and across the globe.

Join the Discussion!

Will you do me a favour please? After you’ve taken a look at what Pappe has to say will you get on the forum and join the discussion?

I am deeply grateful to my brother Cibby for courageously making a post last week that challenged me on the issue of how we should respond to our Muslim sisters and brothers who have been involved in the recent protests and violence. I’m only sorry that we couldn’t get more people involved in that discussion!

I appreciate of course that there are at least two barriers to having more people publishing their thoughts:

The first is that you need to be a financial member of www.fighing-fathers.com in order to post to the forum. As I have said though, if you can’t afford the $10/month fee, I will organise a temporary membership for you that will cost you nothing (though of course if you can afford the $10/month I will be deeply grateful, as this is what keeps us going).

The second barrier is that many people are afraid to speak out on this subject, and I think this is the far greater problem!

I have had a number of good people say that they are not ready to have their name publicly associated with controversial political issues. In the case of one person, she believed that her job might be put at risk should she be seen as being sympathetic to Palestinians!

In response, I can only repeat the well-known quote: “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”

The quote is often attributed to John F. Kennedy but most likely goes back to Irish political philosopher Edmund Bourke in the 18th Century. Either way, history itself proclaims this! Evil can only triumph so long as we keep our mouths shut!

So don’t keep your mouth shut! Speak out! Blog about your convictions! Share your insights with the world! And if you don’t feel ready to post to the Fighting Fathers Forum, then leave a comment at the end of this post (which requires no membership of anything) or leave a comment on www.israelandpalestine.org.

Join us on Sunday

I believe that this week coming we are finally, finally, finally going to video-cast our Sunday morning church service!

  • Fighting Father Jim has procured all the necessary equipment
  • Tests are being done to check that everything is operational
  • Our Parish Council has given consent for it to go ahead
  • Church.TV has provided us with our own channel!

I know I’ve been promising this for ages, and every time it looks like it’s going to happen something comes up to delay us, but this time …

Be warned though: I think this Sunday I’ll be preaching on my LEAST favourite book in the entire Bible – the Book of Esther!

Anyway … I’ll confirm by email later in the week if we’re going ahead and I’ll give you all the details then. Join my mailing list at www.fatherdave.org if you’re not on it already.

I think all you need to join in the broadcast is a free membership at church.tv. You can then have me preaching at you live in your living-room this Sunday!

Until then, may the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave

dave@fatherdave.org
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. If you’re interested in pursuing further the question we were looking at last week as to why so many Muslim people around the world seem to be angry as hell right now with the United States and her allies, I recommend an excellent article that was published only a few days ago by former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern.

The article, entitled, Why the Mideast Exploded, Really, looks at the current explanations being given for Muslim anger and takes us back to George W. Bush’s infamous “Why do they hate us?” speech given after 9/11. It is detailed and comprehensive, and well worth the time you’ll take to read it.

P.P.S. And I’d love it if you could leave some comments about the article there too.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four