The values of a democracy
Text of speech delivered in the Australian Parliament on November 29 regarding Hamas and the PA statehood bid.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN. Photo: Screenshot Al Jazeera
In so many ways the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists is a struggle
between the enlightened values of a modern democracy and the benighted values of
medieval theocracy; between Jerusalem, where women serve as Supreme Court
justices, and Gaza, where a woman’s sworn testimony is worth half that of a
man’s; between a government that rules by the ballot and a government that rules
by the bullet; between a society in which liberty of conscience is protected and
a society in which freedom of speech is rejected. At its essence it is a
struggle between civilization and barbarism.
These are harsh words, but
it is time for some straight talk, time to assess the cold, hard facts in the
cold, hard light of day. Those facts reveal that Hamas is an armed and dangerous
terrorist movement with mass murder on its mind. It not only seeks the
destruction of Israel as a political entity but also craves the extermination of
every Jewish man, woman and child. You do not need to take my word for it.
Article 7 of the Hamas covenant declares: “...the Islamic Resistance Movement
aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The
Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: ‘The hour of judgment shall
not come until the Muslims fight the Jews ... when the Jews hide behind trees
and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah,
there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’” In other words, the official
doctrine of Hamas preaches that the coming of the Mahdi, the Islamic redeemer,
will be ushered in by divinely inspired genocidal slaughter of the
The movement is not very fond of gays, either.
Minister Mahmoud Zahar calls homosexuals “a minority of perverts and the
mentally and morally sick.” Nor has the Arab Christian community of Gaza fared
too well under Hamas rule. There has not been a Christmas tree in the central
square of Gaza City since Hamas seized total power in 2007.
A few years
ago the Palestinian Christian manager of a Gaza Bible Society bookstore was shot
dead after being accused of evangelizing on behalf of his faith. I note in
passing that the invitation to this year’s government staff Christmas party
features a caricature of Tony Abbott as a green-faced grinch. But the real
Grinch who stole Christmas is alive and well in Gaza, packing an AK-47 and
wearing a green Hamas headband.
The contempt shown by Hamas for the most
fundamental principles of liberty should come as no surprise. After all, no-one
should be surprised that theocrats do not turn out to be democrats. But what is
astounding is the aid and comfort offered to hardline Islamic extremists by
hardline Australian leftists.
This past weekend a few hundred protesters
assembled in Sydney to denounce Israel for having the temerity to defend itself
from incessant Hamas rocket fire. The Greens were there, Marxists were there and
so were some jihadi sympathizers.
It was bizarre to see advocates of
same-sex marriage parading shoulder to shoulder with advocates of a global
caliphate who think that homosexuals should swing at the end of a
But as the TV footage showed, there were banners of the Greens and
Socialist Alternative flying alongside the Hezbollah flag. Speaking from the
podium was the most fanatical opponent of Israel in this parliament, Greens
senator Lee Rhiannon.
While speaking on the Middle East, I would be
remiss if I did not mention this government’s disgraceful reversal of policy at
the United Nations. Foreign Minister Carr describes Australia’s decision to
abstain from the General Assembly vote on the elevation of Palestine’s status as
“a good compromise.” But it was no compromise; it was a cave-in.
It was a
cave-in by a beleaguered prime minister prepared to sacrifice anything,
including support for Israel, on the altar of her own political survival. We all
want to see a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but this
will only be possible when those pledged to Israel’s destruction finally see the
error of their ways. The upgrade of Palestine’s status at the UN will set back
the prospects of peace. It will embolden Palestinians to think they can get
Text based on the speech delivered in the Australian
Parliament on November 29 by MP Tony Smith, the Federal Member for Casey,