Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Richard Layton’s Discussion Group Report
Israelis and Palestinians keep killing each other; and the world looks on in dismay, wondering whether it will ever stop.
How did it all get started? David Shaffer outlines the etiology of the conflict in an article with the same title as the present one in the July-August issue of The Humanist. He says we could blame it on one of several causes. One is Sarai, wife of Abram (now Abraham), who wanted him to have a child by her handmaid, Hagar. But 13 years later Sarai herself gave birth to a baby named Isaac. According to the tradition, rivalry developed between descendents of the two sons; and Isaac became the progenitor of the Jews and Ishmael of the northern Arabs, who were then exiled with their mother to the southern desert. Another is Pope Urban II, who in 1095 CE instigated the first Crusade. It was actually carried out against Jews, rather than Arabs, because the latter were deemed Christ-killers and were located in a place of much easier access than the latter. A third is Charles Darwin, whose idea of natural selection in the mid-19th century was twisted by “Social Darwinists” to justify anti-Semitic campaigns throughout Europe to support the notion that Aryans were inherently superior to Semites. Please note that the above persecutions were carried out, not by Palestinian Muslims, but by European Christians. Those Jews who chose to emigrate to Palestine saw it at the time as a better and safer place to be.
In 1800 there were only 25,000 Jews in Palestine. This number increased to 60,000 by 1914. During the same period the population of Jews in Europe grew from two million to 13 million.
In the 1860s A German Jew, Moses Hess, began advocating a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. At that time most European Jews did not take the idea seriously. Emancipated by 18th century Enlightenment ideas they had successfully integrated into their societies and were comfortable where they were. However, by the 1880s they were beginning to get used to the idea. Leo Pinsker proposed a secular Jewish state. Nathan Birnbaum apparently was the first to propose the term Zionism in 1886.
But the real impetus for his program came from Theodor Herzl, who was shocked by the anti-Semitism demonstrated in the rigged trial and conviction for treason of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer (in Enlightenment France). In 1896 the first Zionist Congress met in Basel “to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” Himself not committed to Palestine as the location of the state, Herzl seriously considered such places as the Sinai Peninsula, Kenya, and Cyprus.
Nowadays the present situation is not blamed on Christian anti-Semitism, but on intrinsic hostility between Palestinians and Jews. Some serious students of the problem hesitate to offer religious intolerance as a fundamental explanation of current events. Muhammad considered himself to be the last in a series of Jewish prophets, including Jesus, and his mission to be to renew the Jewish prophets’ mission to Jews, Christians, and the whole world. Jews and Christians have special status in the Quran as believers in the Torah and the Gospels. But he did reject those Jews who did not accept him as their prophet, and he regarded the Christian belief that Jesus was the son of God to be a form of polytheism. There were instances where Jews and Christians fared badly in areas ruled by Moslems, but there were other cases, such as Cordoba, Spain, where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived at peace together and even created a remarkably unified kind of community.
From Greek and Roman times, Palestine was often combined administratively with Syria to form Syro-Palestine. At the start of the 19th century, a weakened Ottoman Empire was forced to accept a semi-autonomous Egypt, which then captured the area now known as Palestine. Egypt returned it to the Ottoman Empire in 1840. Between 1854 and 1869 Egypt built the Suez Canal, but in so doing drove itself into bankruptcy and in 1882 became a British protectorate
At that time events in Russia and western Europe were leading toward the development of a Zionist movement and the start of Jewish immigration into Palestine. From then on proximity to the canal and to British power was to have a profound influence on Palestinian-Jewish relations. The Jewish community began small and grew slowly during the years leading up to World War I. Immigration was funded mainly by a small number of wealthy European Jews. Initially the land was owned by a few rich, mainly absentee landlords who lived in or near urban areas and was occupied and worked by many poor peasant farmers (fellahin). Usually the fellahin were driven off the land so that Jewish immigrants could occupy it.
“Initial Arab peasant opposition subsided when peasants realized that Jewish landowners would maintain the tradition of permitting them to work the land and keep their income,” say historians I. J. Bickerton and C. L. Klausner. “Interestingly, public opposition to Zionist settlement was led by the Greek Orthodox Christians of Palestine.” Some immigrants gave up and emigrated from Palestine. By 1914 there were still only about 40 Jewish settlements in Palestine, owning about 100,000 acres. The total population of Palestine was about 722,000, of which only 60,000 (8 percent) were Jews.
After World War I, however, a radical change took place, Schafer points out. The British presence in India and the Far East depended increasingly on control of the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf. Britain strengthened its long-term position in the Middle East by courting support from Jews and especially Arabs, many of whom had long chafed under Ottoman rule. In 1915 Sir Henry McMahon, the British high commissioner in Egypt, offered independence to the Arabs who would support the British war effort. The following June, led by Faisal, the son of Hussain, Sharif of Mecca, the Arab revolt began, a romanticized version of which is depicted in the film Lawrence of Arabia. Faisal, T. E. Lawrence, and General E. H. H. Allenby took Damascus and forced the Turks to sign an armistice in 1918. This effort was aided by a Jewish spy ring. The British now had a commanding position over this region during the ensuing peace negotiations.
Meanwhile the British had signed the Sykes-Picot agreement with France in 1916, which gave France control of present-day Syria, southeastern Turkey and the upper Tigris-Euphrates valley of Iraq. The area corresponding closely to modern Palestine would be governed by an “allied condiminium.” Lord Arthur James Balfour sent a “declaration” to Lord L. W. Rothschild, head of the British Zionist Organization, which affirmed that Britain viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and promised “to facilitate the achievement of this object.” It also provided that nothing would be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status of Jews in any other country. At the request of the British, Faisal and the Russian Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann negotiated a tentative agreement in an effort to find common ground between the Jews and the Arabs, only to find out that everyone had underestimated the growing opposition of local Arabs, now becoming fearful of Zionist expansion. The British and French then settled Middle East divisions by agreeing that France would have a “mandate” including Lebanon and Syria and the British a mandate that would take in modern Palestine, Jordan and Iraq.
Neither the Jews nor the Arabs were happy with this outcome, the Jews because they would be prohibited from immigration in Jordan. A Jewish military group was formed, which later became the terrorist organization Irgun. Later outgrowths were the rise of Menachem Begin and the Likud party. Many Arabs felt betrayed by the possibility of an eventual Jewish state within Palestine. The British government tried to manage Jewish population growth by limiting or prohibiting Jewish immigration between 1922 and 1939. Enforcement of this policy was finally abandoned when opposition to it mounted to an unacceptable level. Immigration reflected conditions in Europe with the approach and reality of World War II. Between 1922 and 1936 the population of Palestine grew by almost 600,000, with the percentage of the annual population increase who were Jews being 12% in 1922, 16% in 1931 and 28% in 1936.
This alarmed the Arabs. William Cleveland comments, “It is little wonder that in a region of limited agricultural potential, the ownership of arable land became a matter of contention.” He concludes, “The cumulative effect of land transfers, British policy, and Arab notable attitudes was the increasing impoverishment and marginalization of the Palestinian Arab peasantry. Alienated from their own political elite, who seemed to profit from their plight; from the British, who appeared unwilling to prevent their expulsion from the land; and the Zionists, who were perceived to be at the root of their problems, they expressed their discontent in outbreaks of violence against all three parties.”
All the troubles of the present situation are latent in the story told thus far. The September-October edition of the Humanist explores the rest of the story that leads to the present situation.
CEDAW: Mormon Family Values and the UN
The year was 1946. American and allied planes droned over Berlin, carrying not bombs but food, as humanitarian efforts continued to save the vanquished Germans from starvation. Weary statesmen named Truman, Stalin and Churchill had recently met in the city of Yalta to plan the postwar western world.
In this sober, exhausted yet hopeful time, a group of men and women first met and established a group known as the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. For thirty-three years, women and men from all over the planet discussed, debated and defined what would finally come to be the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women-CEDAW. CEDAW was finally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1979.
What is the aim of CEDAW? Most simply put, “To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.” And, “To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the primordial consideration in all cases.” Finally, “States parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.”
The convention document consists of a preamble and thirty articles. The first sixteen articles set out the aims of the convention; the remaining fourteen articles describe the process for achieving these aims, including the creation of a committee to review the reports of signatories and “make suggestions and general recommendations.” States may sign the Convention with the intent of “achieving the full realization of the right recognized in the present Convention.” Any of the signatories may request a revision, which would be voted upon by the General Assembly. Any of the States may make a “reservation,” meaning that the state will not accept certain articles at the time of ratification. The Committee has no means of directly forcing a state to comply with its suggestions or recommendations.
CEDAW has been signed by 169 countries. A broad spectrum of organizations have also endorsed it, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Lutheran World Federation, Haddasah, World Young Women’s Christian Association, the American Humanist Association, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, the League of Women Voters (USA), and many others. In July, 2002, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a vote of 12 to 7, sent CEDAW to the full Senate for ratification. All of the Committee’s Democratic Senators and two Republicans, Lincoln Chaffee and Gordon Smith, voted in favor.Mormon Criticism of CEDAW: the Activists
While no explicit or specific criticism of CEDAW has yet been made by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some “general authorities” of the church and high-profile Mormon activists have. Some of the most visible “non-governmental organizations” (NGOs) are headquartered at Brigham Young University. The World Family Policy Center operate out of the David Kennedy Law Center of the university, with LDS funding. For this reason, the expressed opinions of the directors of these organizations could be seen as representative of the church’s position.
Professor Richard Wilkins of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU is the most measured and thoughtful of the voices. Wilkins became a legend among the Mormons when he unexpectedly (“miraculously” claim some supporters) was given a large audience at the Habitat II UN Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Wilkins claims that the only text he used in preparing his talk was the LDS church’s The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Wilkins’ primary concerns regarding CEDAW, and the other UN conferences referring to the family are that they may influence domestic laws, could undermine national sovereignty and do not reflect democratic debate.
Kathryn Balmforth is much more negative regarding CEDAW. An attorney and a mother, she addresses cultural issues head on in an extreme, flamboyant style. She refers often to “the radical feminists, population control ideologues, and homosexual rights activists who make up the anti-family movement.” The “anti-family movement,” according to Balmforth, aims to “eliminate all opposition and force all countries and cultures to conform to their radical vision.”
Bruce Hafen, member of the First Quorum of Seventy of the LDS church, has been President of Ricks College and Dean of the Clark Law School at BYU. Hafen presided as provost over BYU during the years when the university was under fire for academic freedom issues and the controversial firing or purging of feminist scholars. Hafen is a frequent contributor to First Things, a neoconservative magazine promoting on the further integration of religion and American society. Hafen has described the UN as “a very undemocratic forum that is far from the world’s homes and families.”
These outspoken Latter-day saints are to be found on the op-ed pages of major newspapers and magazines, on websites and widely distributed emails. But the views that they articulate are also backed by the tremendous political and economic power of the LDS Church. Under the guise of addressing “moral issues,” the LDS Church was instrumental in stopping the national passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; the defeat of initiatives permitting expanded rights for gays and lesbians, including same-sex marriage. By influencing the activities of the United Nations, the LDS Church can shape the policies of nations all over the world.
In 1995, after years of bad press regarding the firing of academic feminists and excommunications of intellectuals, the LDS church hired Edelman Worldwide, a high-powered public relations firm, to recast the church’s image. Soon thereafter the church changed its logo and issued The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The Proclamation has become indispensable to Mormons in discussions regarding the family.Mormon Criticism of CEDAW: the Issues
The Family: CEDAW does not define the family. CEDAW, however, refers to the need to strengthen the family, and “the great contribution of women to the welfare of the family and to the development of society, so far not fully recognized, the social significance of maternity and the role of both parents in the family in the upbringing of children.” Ironically, the LDS document most quoted on the family-the Proclamation-does not define the family, but only defines marriage. As Jennifer Butler, of Ecumenical Women 2000+ explains, “The Women’s Convention …strengthens families by advancing the status of women. When women have civil and political rights, access to education, health care and employment, they are better able to care for themselves and their children.”
Definition of Marriage. CEDAW states that women shall have “the same right to enter into marriage” as men, but does not address the definition of marriage. The Proclamation does, however, stating that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” and that “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”
This definition of marriage is of special interest when placed in a historical and theological context. Leaders of the LDS church began to practice polygyny (a man married to more than one woman) as a sacred principle, beginning with the church’s founder, Joseph Smith. The practice was publicly disavowed in 1890, but subsequent investigation by federal officials demonstrated that ‘plural marriages’ were secretly and illegally performed for at least 15 years afterward. After a “second Manifesto,” the church stopped the practice and began excommunicating church members who entered into such marriages. The practice of “sealing” multiple wives to husbands, however, continues to the present day. These posthumous marriages are clearly polygynous in nature, in contradiction to the Proclamation.
Reproductive Rights. CEDAW urges states to ensure “on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.” Kathryn Balmforth is suspicious of this language. Referring to a recent conference, she stated (parentheses hers): “Anti-family NGOs were up to their usual antics, proposing language supportive of ‘reproductive health services’ (abortion), ‘diverse family norms’ (homosexual families), and portraying the traditional family as a harmful entity from which children should be protected.” The LDS church’s position on family planning, however, is that it is up to the individual family. According to the 1998 Church Handbook of Instructions, “The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter.”
While the Proclamation states that “We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed,” church authorities do not excommunicate church members who have abortions, particularly in cases of the usual ‘rape, incest, or to preserve the health of the mother.’ The advocacy of high profile LDS figures (Senator Orrin Hatch, philanthropist Jon Huntsman) for stem-cell research clearly indicates that this is a theological and moral gray area for the church.
Gay/Lesbian Issues. There is no mention in CEDAW of homosexuality, gay or lesbian issues. Female sexuality is not addressed, although female health concerns are. There are elements of the Mormon activist media, however, which publish sensational and erroneous stories of liberal UN activists in which feminists are linked with the pedophile North American Man-Boy Love Association (according to Kathryn Balmforth in The Family Reporter) or it is even claimed that they “provide sex-education for teens which promote abortion, homosexuality, and even sex with animals” (Kathy Wall, Meridian Magazine).
National Sovereignty. Professor Wilkins addresses the concerns of those who fear the United States coming under United Nations control:
“We have grown accustomed to federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C. imposing their will upon local decision makers. Unless the current direction of the UN is altered, we will also become accustomed to international lawmakers having the same impact.
“CEDAW…could embody the most advanced and intelligent approach to gender relations ever devised by civilized society. The point is that, even if they are, those principles have been adopted and implemented without the democratic debates and procedures devised by this civilized society for any set of norms that purports to call itself ‘law.'”
The irony of Wilkins’ position is that he admits using, as his primary text in evaluating UN family and feminist concepts, the LDS Proclamation to the World. The Proclamation was not reached at through any democratic means, and is manifestly religious in nature, proclaimed by the “First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles”-not a democratic body, but a theocratic organization without even female representatives. The Proclamation features elements of LDS theology (such as the concept of “divine parents”) which are not held in common with other Christians, let alone represents the views of all religious or secular entities-yet this would become the standard for promotion throughout the world?
Theology and Human Rights: A Mormon Dilemma. In 1978, the LDS church reversed its stand prohibiting African-American males from holding the priesthood. The practice was clearly an instance of racial discrimination. Although church founder Joseph Smith had ordained at least one black man, such ordinations were prohibited from the founder’s death in 1844 until the presidency of Spencer W. Kimball. Explanations were various. At first, blacks were claimed to bear the mark of Cain, conveyed through the lineage of Ham, in accordance with Old Testament interpretations; but in the twentieth century the most common justification was that an entire race of people had been ‘less valiant’ in the pre-existent state, failing to take sides in the “War in Heaven” between the forces of Jehovah and those of Satan. Secular commentators consider the ‘second-class’ status of blacks to have been an accommodation to social pressures in the pre-civil war United States. This example demonstrates an inclination of the church leadership to give theological explanations for discriminatory practices. While church leaders denied that they were racist, they nevertheless perpetuated what was clearly a racist, discriminatory practice.
The Proclamation to the World describes fathers and mothers as “equal partners,” but also states that “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” While “circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation,” the Proclamation makes clear a divinely ordained ‘division of labor.’ While this division of labor may be “divine” to the Latter-day Saints, it is not the consensus of all religious traditions, as demonstrated by the religious signatories.
Stone Her! the Amina Lawal Story. According to Kathryn Balmforth of the World Family Policy Center, “The CEDAW Committee’s hostility to religion is open and explicit. Religion and culture are routinely identified as the primary obstacles to women’s rights….The Committee even explicitly instructed one Islamic country that it should reinterpret the Koran in ways that were considered ‘permissible’ by the Committee.”
As of this writing, in Nigeria, a mother named Amina Lawal is under sentence to be stoned to death for having extramarital sex. The sentence was handed down by a Sharia appellate judge, who has justified the punishment from the Quran and the Hadith of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and various other organizations are seeking mercy for Lawal. Her sentence will not be carried out until 2004, so that she can finish suckling her baby daughter, Wasila. Then, she will be buried to the waist and stoned by the members of her village. The father of the child was released for lack of evidence. Under Sharia law, for him to be convicted requires that he must confess or four other men must testify that they witnessed the offender’s act.
Nigeria is a signatory to CEDAW, and obviously not living up to their commitments to the convention. But at least, with CEDAW, there may be international pressures and sanctions brought to bear against such horrific injustice. The LDS church, though it claims a “heavenly mother” in its theology, will not permit public discussion of her by members without the threat of excommunication. Hopefully the church will permit discussion of the terrible abuses against the Amina Lawals, of the victims of female genital mutilation and sex trafficking, rather than focusing on the distortions and fabrications of right-wing extremists. Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon is a Latter-day Saint and a supporter of CEDAW-and he is listening, at least.
- Two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women;
- More boys than girls attend school;
- Three fifths of those who live on less than one dollar a day are women;
- Women’s health concerns are often ignored;
- 585,000 women-one every minute-die each year from causes related to pregnancy, often because they lack access to reproductive health care;
- Women are under-represented in positions of power in every country;
- Hundreds of thousands of women and children are forced to work as prostitutes and sex trafficking is on the rise in nearly every region of the world.
The church will not be aligned with the Christian right as a political action group. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints limits its involvement in politics to issues the church deems to have religious or moral implications, such as abortion or same-sex marriage. For everything else, the political process is fine as it is.
— Elder Bruce Hafen
First Quorum of the Seventy
Salt Lake Tribune, November 17, 1999
Why Can’t I Own a Canadian?
Humor from the Internet
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,
I have been a humanist for a long time, longer than I have known that a formal humanist movement existed. It started in my late teens and early 20’s. I discovered that some of what my parents and teachers had taught me about life was not exactly true and so I began to question everything. First and foremost on the list of dubious “knowledge” was religion. The claims seemed fantastical and the evidence was obviously lacking. Sometime during my early mid-twenties I realized that it was highly doubtful that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being (aka: God) exists. This left me with a moniker of “atheist.” An African-American friend convincingly explained that he hated being called a “non-white” and so it was easy for me to be uncomfortable with “atheist.”
Sometime a few years later I read about a philosophy called humanism, it described exactly what I believed. I started calling myself a humanist. The long version of this story is available on our website under August 1994.
Then on January 18, 1992, the Salt Lake Tribune published an article in the Religion section describing a local humanist chapter (see our website under February 1992.) Three names were listed, Ed Wilson, Bob Green, and Florien Wineriter. Flo’s distinctive name seemed the most likely candidate to find in the phone book so I gave him a call and got the date and time for the next meeting. I took my checkbook with me and signed up, I did not need a three-month trial subscription to convince me that I belonged here. My only regret was that it had taken me over a year since the formation of the chapter to find out that it exists. I will always be jealous of those of our group who can claim charter membership status.
It did not take me very long to get involved. My first submission to The Utah Humanist was published two months later. When Anne Zielstra, the original president and one of the co-founders, announced that he was leaving due to his wife’s career development I volunteered to join the Board as Secretary. After a couple of years Bob needed to step down as editor and publisher of The Utah Humanist. I was glad to take over and I am proud of what I was able to do with it for nearly six years.
In early 2000 I became aware of an opportunity at work to distinguish myself in an ancillary group. My job is support of the computer software used by Intermountain Health Care Laboratory Services. The software is a product of Misys Hospital Systems based in Tucson, AZ. There are about 1200 hospitals and laboratories worldwide that use this product. As you may imagine this product is extremely complex and it’s management is quite a job. The company facilitated organization of a Users Group many years ago because they realized that often users helping other users was a viable way to provide part of the product support they were obligated to. I became involved in the Users’ Group sometime around 1996. I was elected chair of the Western Regional Users’ Group in 1998. In 2000 I decided to make a run at the President position for the worldwide user group. This decision necessitated that I back off a little on some of my other obligations. Indeed this is when I resigned my position as Editor/Publisher of the Utah Humanist. In July 2001 I was elected President of the Users’ Group. This year in Tucson at the end of July I assumed that position which I will hold until next July. The convention was a busy week for me, I had two 45-minute technical presentations, a Special Interest Group to lead, a speech at the closing session, and two parts in skits.
Humanism is still my favorite avocation and I look forward to being able to spend more time spreading the word beginning next year. Until then I am still active in the chapter, still serve on the Board as Secretary, and have temporarily taken over webmaster duties until someone with more skill can be found to take over.
Bob Green Dies
Robert Hansen Green died early Monday morning, September 9, 2002 after a 10-year struggle with lymphoma.
He was born in Mona, Utah, on May 20, 1927, where he spent his early childhood. He graduated from South High School, Salt Lake City, served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, and then served in the Spanish-American Mission for the LDS Church. He graduated from George Washington University with a BA in American Thought and Civilization and spent 13 years in government service, several of them in Central and South America. After recovering from a severe illness, he worked for the Social Services Division of the State of Utah for 10 years. He was a founding member of Humanists of Utah and started their newsletter, The Utah Humanist, which he edited for several years. He is preceded in death by his brother, Harmon Green and sister, Carol McKissick.
A memorial service was held at the First Unitarian Church Saturday, September. 14.