I don't think senators have any business advising a church or other private organization about how they should act concerning an ethical/moral problem.

The only way we will see any change towards fairness and justice is pressure applied to Israel, just as pressure was applied to South Africa.

South Africa, by the way, in its heyday of apartheid, was a good partner with Israel trading strategic materials for nuclear weapon technology among other items. That is simply an unarguable truth.

We have a very peculiar problem here because the United States' government - owing to its insane money-based campaign funding - is proven incapable of exerting any pressure for justice.

Indeed, we regularly see the opposite with people like Newt Gingrich saying that "There are no such thing as Palestinians," an exact repetition of an old Israeli government line first uttered by Golda Meir.

Dick Armey, former Majority Leader in Congress, used to go on about how Israel should just push all the millions of Palestinians across the Jordan River.

Does anyone believe that men in important positions say such outlandish things out of any motivation other than attracting large campaign funds?

The unethical and brutal practices of Israel are apparent to all people not blinded by ideology or desperate for campaign funds: abusive occupation of millions, regular property theft through specially-made laws, regular murderous raids, imprisonment of thousands with no proper legal proceedings, contempt for international laws and treaties, contempt for UN mandates, assassinations on a large scale, torture, and deprivation of means of making a living.

Only today the story has hit some of the press that Arafat was likely poisoned with polonium (his clothing tested for it), much like the famous case in London involving a Russian ťmigrť. Now, who in the Middle East has access to such radioactive material?

There is simply no question - that is again, unless you are an ideologue - where all this is headed: towards making people miserable enough to go away, leaving their property to Israel.

It is a genuinely appalling situation, but as soon as you try calling attention to it, you are sure to be called a "Jew hater" by the platoons of apologists who work overtime scrutinizing every publication and broadcast.

And, sadly, now Canada has a government buying into the same American system - loud and even irrational public support for one of the world's smallest countries of almost no interest to most Canadians in return for generous campaign donations - making it harder than ever to see even scraps of justice.

Israel could make everyone happy simply by declaring peace and treating its neighbors with decency. Go back to the Green Line, stop abusing and starting wars endlessly, and gain the world's admiration.

It could have done so at any time for decades, but it deliberately chooses not to do so.

Then only genuine pressures can possibly make a difference.

The United Church was long known for a strong social conscience, and it participated in many worthy causes.

We unfortunately have not heard much from them lately on that score.

Likely, were they to return to those worthy roots, membership and support would increase.