Saturday, January 10, 2009

Peace now a Distant Hope

Letter to the editor
The Herald Sun.

The Revd Dr Mark Durie

I was shocked to read your editorial of 9 January 'Peace now a distant hope'.

Did you seriously mean to imply that the road to peace was beautifully 'passable' until just a few weeks ago? That peace was no 'distant hope'? That Hamas had been on the verge of accepting peace conditions?

The references to settlers was bizarre. Surely you cannot have meant to refer to Gazan settlers, as no Jews are resident in Gaza any more - the Israelis having unilaterally extracted all the settlers by force three years ago.

No, you must mean your readers to regard all the state of Israel as 'their (i.e. Palestinian) lands',
and all the Jews in Israel are to be considered as 'settlers'! At least your bias is clear!

Most distressing of all, as a Christian pastor, I found it deeply offensive, that you could equate the Jewish King Herod - as a would-be killer of Christ - with the nation of Israel (and Mary and Joseph with the rocket-launching Hamas jihadis).

I never thought I would see the Herald Sun seeking to exploit the ancient 'Christ-killer' libel in such a way. To do so during the week of the celebration of the Christian festival of the Epiphany (which commemorates the visit of the Magi and the flight of Jesus' family into Egypt) is reckless and cruel. Your editorial only adds credibility to this kind of visceral hatred.

There has been a flood of antisemitic incidents around the world this past week, including many attacks on Jewish properties. Hamas, for example, on its official website (posted December 31, 2008 at the site hosted by Emirnet, United Arab Emirates) urged Muslims to attack Jews across the world, claiming that,

a Jewish adolescent boy in an Australian synagogue, a Jewish minister in the Georgian government, a Jewish businessman at the New York Stock Exchange, and an illiterate Jew from the Ethiopian desert… they all belong to the same gang and the same nation, apart from the rest of humanity.

Have you not read Hamas's constitution or considered the clearly stated and long-held positions of its leaders on the issue of Israel's existence and on the Jews? The sad fact is that Hamas' positions on these issues are exactly the same now as they were a month ago. And they are the same as those held by for decades by Muslim Brotherhood (the organization from which Hamas emerged).

Please, in the name of all humanity, reconsider your deceptive rhetoric, which can only inflame dangerous passions at this painful time.


Mark Durie