Rallying for Gaza

Hi Fighter,

My apologies for the long break between communications but I’ve spent most of the last week sick in bed!

As ever, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends – running fitness camps and addressing rallies in addition to the usual routine. Even so, I think it was the emotional strain of watching our world spiralling out of control that took the greatest toll on me.

People everywhere say to me “Dave, I’ve never seen things this bad!” Of course, in terms of the raw numbers of people being killed and made homeless (in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, the Sudan, Ukraine, etc.) things have been this bad before, and they could get a lot worse yet. Even so, what is unique, I think, is the brazen attitude of so many of the world’s leaders. Of course we don’t expect Al Baghdadi to conduct a PR campaign on behalf of his ‘Islamic State’ but we might have expected Mr Obama to have feigned greater reluctance before re-invading Iraq!

It is Netanyahu though that rankles me the most. Does he really expect anybody to believe the paper-thin rhetoric he uses to justify the murder of so many children in Gaza! It seems an exercise in pure cynicism!

Perhaps I credit the Western public with too much intelligence? Certainly there is no shortage of people offline as well as on, parroting the basic Zionist mantra: that Israel has a right to defend itself.

Of course Israel does have a right to defend itself (as do the Palestinians) but this entirely misses the point or, rather, it deliberately obscures the point, as it depicts Israel as innocently minding its own business when Hamas rockets suddenly start falling from the sky! In other words, it fails to mention THE PALESTINIAN OCCUPATION as the ongoing context in which all Israeli/Palestinian violence takes place!

The Occupation of Gaza might be compared to an ongoing GANG RAPE.

Israel has been violating Gaza on a daily basis since the siege began in June 2007. It controls all her borders by land, air and sea. It limits every item of food that is allowed into the Gaza compound and deliberately counts food calories to ensure that the residents remain “on a diet” (as Dov Weissglass so cynically put it). And from here Israel engages in its regular ‘targeted killings’ of Gazan political leaders. This is the status quo when rockets are NOT being fired.

In other words, these so-called times of ‘peace’ are when the rape appears to be consensual. Gaza is being violated but the Gazans are not hitting back. When they do hit back the bombing begins, as the rapists have to ‘defend themselves’.

I think the whole goal of the Israeli propaganda machine is to make the Palestinian Occupation disappear from view, for once we grasp the full horror of the Occupation we can no longer take seriously questions like “what would you do if your neighbour fired 5000 rockets at you?” Likewise all noble protestations about being “the most moral army in the world” seem radically irrelevant once we realise that this is the same army that maintains the Occupation!

The Occupation is the crime that generates all other crimes in Israel/Palestine. While the Occupation exists there can be no real peace, and neither does it make any sense to pursue a ‘ceasefire’ while the Occupation continues, as all a ceasefire promises is a return to the status quo!

This is all very depressing, I know, but the flip-side is quite encouraging. Just as there can be no peace while the Occupation continues, that path to peace is abundantly clear, as it has always been abundantly clear: just END THE OCCUPATION!

Ending the Occupation is the very thing Israel is most reluctant to do, of course. Even so, as Israel increasingly isolates herself from the rest of the world and as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign continues to gather momentum, she may not be able to maintain the captivity of the Palestinian people for much longer!

Rally Time

I’ve preached no shortage of sermons lately but I thought in order to be consistent today I’d share with you instead the speech I gave recently at the Sydney Town Hall in support of the people of Gaza.

That will do for me today, but before I let you go please allow me to thank my friends from the “Australian College of Educators” (ACE) who presented me with a wonderful award last Friday night – the “2014 Community Service and Social Justice Award”.

Receiving the ACE Community Service and Social Justice Award 2014

Receiving the ACE Community Service and Social Justice Award 2014

A big thank you to John Cook and Tim Bellamy and their fellow educators who made this possible.

OK. I’m going to get some rest. I’ll be in contact again soon.

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. Support the work of the Fighting Fathers by joining our online community at  www.fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month and the first month is free.


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Happy New Year!

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you, and I won’t keep you for long tonight.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than spend your time reading a blog post from me. You might likewise be wondering why I’m spending my New Year’s Eve blogging when I should be out drinking and carousing (in a clerically-appropriate way, of course).

Well … I’m struggling with a stupid eye infection at the moment and I spent half the night at the hospital, so there’s no drinking or carousing on the agenda for me tonight. You’ll have to do my share for me!

It’s an odd time to get sick, of course, but I find it always happens when I slow down. My dad used to call it ‘pilot’s brain syndrome’.

According to my dad, during World War I there was a well-known phenomenon where fighter pilots would sometimes taxi in on the landing strip after a dog-fight, turn off their engines, and then die! When the support crew got to them they’d find that the pilot only had half a brain left. The rest had been destroyed in the dog-fight! Even so, the pilot had managed to complete his mission! He’d landed the plane, taxied in and shut off his engine before giving himself permission to shed his mortal coil!

Dad figured that a lot of us experience a parallel phenomenon where we push through the chaos of particularly busy periods and then we give ourselves permission to die once the pressure comes off. That certainly rings true for me. Anyway … I sincerely hope that you are in better health at the moment.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

If you missed my family-video-Christmas-greeting it is here. And don’t forget to grab some of the virtual presents from under the tree (yes, there really is a tree and there really are presents)!

I was quite pleased with my Christmas Day sermon this year.

I normally bang together a Christmas Day sermon late on Christmas Eve. This year I’d been ruminating on my Christmas message for about six months!

I’m always conscious of the fact that the church lectionary provides us with a series of alternative readings to use on Christmas Day. All of them tell the good ole’ Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and the manger and the shepherds, etc. – all except one!

Every year, alongside the depictions of the happy Nativity scene are these verses from John Chapter 1.

In the beginning was the Word.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
Through him all things were made, and apart from him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it!

From a preacher’s point of view, it always seemed to me a lot more straightforward and a lot more downright Christmassy to preach on the birth of Jesus, but about six months ago I got it into my head that this year I’d go with John and let people know that Christmas is about more than babies and presents!

Did I do Christmas justice? You can be the judge of that. Enjoy the video!

[imaioVideo v=1]

(and if you can’t view the above video, click here)

Well … I can hear fireworks going off outside now. The rest of the family has gone to an appropriate location to watch them all and I might try to catch an explosion or two myself from the balcony if I can, but not until I’ve share with you a little about my own hopes for the New Year.

I have two great hopes for 2013:

  • To launch a series of successful Fighting Fathers Warrior Weekend boot camps
  • To see peace in Israel/Palestine

I don’t expect you’ve ever seen those two on the same list before, but those are quite honestly my two greatest hopes for the coming year.

I don’t pretend that I’m going to have a great deal of input into the second of these hopes (apart from prayer) but I’ll certainly be pouring my blood, sweat and tears into the boot-camps.

My vision is to bring together some of this country’s greatest boxers and have them share a weekend in the bush with a variety of young people – some promising young pugilists and others who are homeless or in recovery. Together we share a weekend of hard training and gentle spiritual reflection, with the older men and women playing a mentoring role to the younger ones.

That’s the vision, and these are the dates we have set thus far:

  • March 22-24
  • May 10-12

If you’d like to be part of one or both of these weekends, we’ll be charging $220 per person for the weekend for those who can afford to pay. That will include accommodation, food and training fees.

I hope to have between 20 and 30 paying people on each camp so that we can then invite up to a dozen people who can’t afford to pay. The professional boxers and the admin team will all be donating their time, so we should be able to cover our costs. That’s the hope anyway.

The camps will each be held at our beloved Binacrombi Bush Camp. If you’d like me to book you a place now, just let me know.

Give Peace a Chance

And as for peace in the Israel/Palestine, things are certainly coming to a head.

I don’t know if you read the article I penned on this a week or so ago. I am convinced that this year will be a critical year for Israel/Palestine, and I do believe that if a true and lasting peace can be achieved there, it will have profound reverberations across the globe!

As my friend Bishop Riah (former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem) always says, “the peace of the world runs through Jerusalem”. I believe this is true. If we can help make it happen there, it can happen anywhere and everywhere!

Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my RSS feed on israelandpalestine.org if you want my daily updates on the Israel/Palestine situation. It is something that lies heavy on my heart and I will be continuing to write and pray and do whatever I can in this coming year to give peace a chance in that part of the world.

That’s enough from me for today. I’m sure you’ve got some champagne to consume.

Happy New Year, Fighter!

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called

Your brother in the Good Fight,






P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four