Father Dave speaks

Father Dave Smith, of Holy Trinity Church in Dulwich Hill, made a terrific speech at the Marrickville Council meeting. You can listen to it on youtube or, as Father Dave himself says t”not a great quality video”, so you may find it easier to read the transcript (below).

You can see the speech in context on his website at
http://fighting-fathers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2079&p=7072#p7072

Dave’s Speech

Madam Chair,

I thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of this wonderful motion and in support of this wonderful Council for your consistent and laudable commitment to justice and peace in the Middle East.

I don’t know if this motion is really technically at odds with the resolution Council took in December to join the global Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions program against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but certainly both resolutions equally demonstrate this Council’s unequivocal commitment to justice and peace and both make me equally proud to be a part of greater Marrickville.

And I note that my pride in our Council is being echoed around the world. Indeed, the first I heard of the BDS resolution in December was when I received a congratulatory email from New York, authored by that lovely young Jewish girl, Anna Baltzer, who was speaking out here late last year.

In that email she congratulated Council not only for your compassion towards our suffering sisters and brothers in our sister city of Bethlehem, but for your courage, knowing all too well that such a stand would almost inevitably lead to erroneous accusations of anti-Semitism.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, and yet, tragically, such misguided allegations have been made, I am told, along with the response that is, in my view, even more insidious– namely, that it’s none of Council’s business!

Madam chair, in my opinion it is that – ‘it’s none of my business ‘– attitude that allowed the Holocaust to happen:

• Oh, I’m sorry about what’s happening to the Jews in Poland but it’s none of my business
• I’m sorry to hear about what’s happening to the blacks in South Africa but what’s that got to do with me?
• I’m sorry about what’s happening to the Palestinians in Gaza but it’s not the business of Council

If we all take this attitude then the whole world burns! No! As Martin Luther King said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. We cannot sit idly by while we watch our sisters and brothers suffer – not as a country, not as human beings, and not as a Council, and again I congratulate this Council for your consistent courageous stand.

Let me conclude with another letter of congratulations I received, this time from my friend Bishop Riah Abu el Assal (former Anglican bishop of Jerusalem). He writes: “Please know that I greatly appreciate your work on behalf of our people. And I pray that we live to see that dawn, the dawn of freedom from occupation and the dawn of co-living i n harmony among the children of Abraham”

Friends, I do believe that the day is coming when Jews and Palestinians will leave alongside each other in peace. Peace will come, and when it does come I envisage any number of politicians in this country and around the world clamouring to take credit for their role in the peace process.

But when that day comes let it be known that the final push for peace in this country started here – in Marrickville, through this Council – because you -our brave Councillors – had the courage to stand up for what you knew was right, and I, for one, salute you!

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