Statement By Samah Sabawi and Bassam Dally Re New Matilda Article


The authors respond to local and international criticism of a recent article they wrote for New Matilda.

A fake controversy was manufactured following the publication of our article in the New Matilda on 22 December 2015 in which we wrote: ‘So this is Christmas, and what has Australia done? An official delegation representing our country in Israel has added fuel to the flames of extremism abroad by applauding proven human rights violators and insulting the living descendants of Christ in his home of birth in Palestine.’

This statement simply pointed to the undisputed historical fact that Jesus was born in a land known as Palestine. Today’s Palestinians have been living in their land uninterrupted for millennial and are the descendants of all the nations that have lived there including the Hebrew tribes.

The Executive Council of Australian Jews (ECAJ) and the compliant Israeli media chose to completely ignore the substance of the article regarding the horrible human rights violations of Israel against the Palestinians, and instead chose to incorrectly accuse the authors of denying the Jewishness of Christ.

To be clear, our statement was not meant to deny Jews their connection to the holy land and anyone who reads the article will see this was never expressed.

It is worth pointing out that although we were apparently at the centre of this fake controversy, none of the pro-Israel groups or the Israeli news media that covered the story, including Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, even attempted to approach us for a comment or a clarification.

As usual, our Palestinian voices were excluded while Israel’s supporters took liberty to placing words in our mouths and to speak on our behalf.

Perhaps, Israel’s supporters’ obsession with racial and religious purity and this complete blindness to human rights and justice is exactly where the obstacle to peace in Palestine/Israel lies.

– Samah Sabawi and Bassam Dally

Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian-Australian playwright, advocate and commentator. Bassam Dally is a Palestinian advocate and academic with dual Israeli-Australian citizenship.