How can New Zealand help defend the Palestinian struggle?


Gaza-Al-JazeeraFOR MOST NEW ZEALANDERS the Middle East is shorthand for war without end. When I was growing up most of us knew no better than to believe Israel was a small, plucky state standing up to big, thuggish neighbouring bullies. Thankfully that’s given way to a much better understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Most New Zealanders no longer believe that rocket fire from the Gaza strip is the problem or that so-called Hamas “militants” are stirring up trouble for the peace-loving politicians of Israel.

Instead more of us are seeing Zionism as the core of the problem: the belief that one ethnic group has the right to establish a state at the expense of other ethnic groups; the belief it’s OK to seize even more Palestinian land for an expanded Jewish state where ethnic background determines citizenship rights.

The application of Zionism in the Middle East is very similar to the establishment of apartheid in South Africa – both instituted in 1948 from former British colonies. Apartheid came to be internationally condemned. Zionism faces the same fate and deservedly so.

There is no better reflection of the racism which underpins Zionism than the comments of Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked, a member of the ruling government coalition in Israel, who declared on facebook last week that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justified its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” She justified the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.” Her posting was shared 1000 times and received 5000 likes.

Shaked was putting into words the unspoken policy of the Israeli Zionist regime.

For the moment though New Zealanders could be forgiven for having a wrong-headed idea of the latest round of Israeli brutality because the mainstream media as usual has been full of loaded, negative commentary on Palestinians compared to the portrayal of Israel. Palestinian freedom fighters are routinely called militants, insurgents and terrorists while Israeli “soldiers” kill Palestinians in “response to terrorist attacks” and Palestinians “murder” Israelis. Meanwhile the democratically elected Hamas movement is portrayed as an Islamic terrorist organisation focused on the destruction of Israel.

Israeli politicians and spokespeople are quoted at length in their own words from well-resourced media machines while Palestinian voices are reported third hand at best.

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We have all heard about the killing of three Jewish teenagers and the murder of a Palestinian teenager burned alive in an apparent retaliatory killing but who’s heard of the 500 Palestinians rounded up and imprisoned without trial by the Israeli army as they try to identify the killers of the Jewish teenagers? And how could New Zealanders possibly know that on average Israel has murdered a Palestinian youngster every three days for the past 13 years? Relying on the mainstream media or our hopelessly inept Foreign Minister Murray McCully for enlightenment would be a desperate waste of time.

It’s a one-sided propaganda war fought by major news agency on behalf of US and Israeli interests and yet their job is getting harder. Around the world people increasingly see this is a war fought by an Israeli army well-equipped with the latest US-provided technology against mostly defenceless Palestinians who fire rockets, throw stones and sometimes their bodies against racist tyrants who brutalise them and their families every day.

It seems from this far away that there is little New Zealanders can do to help but this is where we are most wrong.

Just as we did in the fight against apartheid we can do a great deal to help stop the violence and killing in the Middle East.

The most important way to help is to strengthen our campaigns to isolate Israeli apartheid and force it to abandon its racist policies towards Palestinians, end the brutal military occupation of Palestinian land and allow the refugees it created from 1948, and their descendants, the right to return to the land of their forebears.

Palestinians are leading the struggle and international support and solidarity from New Zealand for that struggle is very important. Let’s make sure we are all on the right side of history again as we were with South Africa.

You can start by supporting this protest:

March in solidarity with Palestine

2pm Saturday 19th July, Aotea Square.

Note: We will be laying a pair of shoes and the name of every victim of the latest wave of escalating Israeli brutality at the entrance of the US consulate. It is a symbolic gesture that will do little to ease the hearts and minds of grieving families of sons, daughters, brothers, mothers and sisters who will never see Eid.
So PLEASE BRING SHOES to place for a few moments of silence.

Please also bring placards, banners etc and help spread the word.


  1. Thank you. You have expressed what a lot of us are feeling. This murderous rampage should be condemned globally. We weep for the children and all victims in Gaza.

  2. Sorry John, but are you say Judaism is ethnically pure? If so, then it would appear you have fallen into casual Anti-Semitism, and that somewhat detracts from your argument.

    Zionism is a bankrupt ideology, mainly because it grafts Nationalism onto Religion and expects people to accept it out of guilt. Zionism was the ideology of the lunatic fringe of Germany Jewry – it’s raise to providence has been a on going nightmare for all involved. Yes Zionism is a hell of a problem, but to label all Jews as Zionist is wrong, woolly and won’t solve the problem.

    It is the state who has a monopoly on violence, it is the state who give young men and women guns, tanks, planes and artillery. It is a state in the hands of ideology which is violent fearful and rotten.

    I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes which seems to sum up this mess rather well.

    “The real unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, without anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future.

    But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present – they are real.”

    – Commander Aral Vorkosigan, in Shards Of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold

    • John did not label all Jews as Zionists. I also don’t see where he said Judaism was ethnically pure. Did you actually read what he wrote? Woolly is a more accurate description of your comment than anything John wrote here.

        • National standards has been a total failure. Go back to school. That sentence describes what Zionism is, not what Jews as a group are.

          • By using the term ethnicity to describe a religious grouping? Hmmm, OK Ovicula, what are Jew as a group then?

        • I believe this article’s statement- “the belief that one ethnic group has the right to establish a state at the expense of other ethnic groups”- is a fairly accurate definition of Zionism. Fortunately there are many other fractions within the ethnic group, collectively known as Jews, who are strongly opposed to this belief.

            • Certainly they could be placed under the broad banner of a religious ethnic group comprised of many different fractions, of which Zionism is one.
              I reiterate “religious ethnic group”, as obviously Jews come from many different cultures and countries.

    • Where has John labelled all Jews as Zionist? That’s a ridiculous statement and I think you know it.

      • He didn’t directly, I agree, I asked about the implications. And as far as Anti-Semitic rhetoric – casual or otherwise in Johns post – I think Countryboy below, just goes romping down that road.

    • Bujold is a fine perceptive author – but writes science fiction and fantasy.

      If you want some perspective on Zionism, read up on the Shattila massacre, and the bullet count comparison data for the region. Fisk is good too.

    • Any Kiwi which justifies Israels actions is an accomplice to crimes against humanity !
      Israel has over 100 UN resolutions against it but because America is to scared to go against Israel sanctions never happen .
      Look at how Israel uses WMD’s against trapped civilians and the UN does nothing .
      Your post Adam show you to be an inhumane bastard . Quote who ever you like but there is no way you can spin the fact that the 6th. most powerful military in the world is killing near defenseless children and women …children at a rate of one death of a child every 3 days for the last 13 years.
      As an atheist it pisses me off that scum who justify Israels occupation of Palestine will not spend eternity rotting in hell …because that is what you truly deserve !

  3. How can New Zealand help defend the Palestinian struggle ?

    We can’t the entire region is a basket case that swings from one bunch of murderous thugs in charge to another, I pity the the average families having to live under the constant threat of militants, bombings and daily struggle.

    To suggest that any side comes out of this with clean hands is stretching the truth – all of the ‘leaders’ have much blood on their hands.

    • Where did he say the Palestinians have clean hands? This tiny oppressed nation that was taken from its people to appease the Zionists can never match the might of the US backed Israeli military.

      • Palestine was never a nation state. It was essentially an artificial construct of the Western powers post WWI much like Iraq and Syria. There would be no way to remake the country to be as it was in 1967 let alone the 1947 UNpartition plan. The best that can be expected is some negotiated settlement where by there is a land swap between the State of Israel and the current West Bank and then perhaps agreement over joint sovereignty over some contentious areas. However Arab demands for the right of return does make this problematic as does Israeli desire for land and water resources. In short this is not as simple as John Minto tries to make out.

        • If Palestine was “essentially an artificial construct”, then equally so was Israel, which was created by the Allied Forces ostensibly as a safe haven for persecuted jews at the end of WW2.

          • Israel was created by the UN not by the Allied forces. The UK handed over the decision on what to do with the mandate to the UN because it was proving too difficult for them to manage. If the Arabs hadn’t rejected the outcome of the UN process in 1947 it would have been likely that the Palestinians would have had a state covering an area much greater than they could hope for now. Unfortunately for them the Arabs decided that they wanted no compromise and no Jewish State.

            • Gosman says:
              July 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

              Israel was created by the UN not by the Allied forces.

              Oh don’t be so effing pedantic, Gosman. The UN in 1945 were the allied forces, you twit.

            • UN Partition of Palestine

              Map of UN Partition of Palestine – 55% for a Jewish state; 45% for a Palestinian state
              Plan of Partition
              source: UN

              In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Historic Palestine, giving 55% to the Jewish population and 45% to the Palestinian population. The indigenous Palestinians rejected the division of the land on which they had lived and farmed for centuries.

              At the time of partition, the Jewish population owned less than 6% of Palestine.

              Are you just someone that has to disagree …for the fun of it ?

              So even thou the Palestinians had title for the land ,the UN gave 55% of the lands of Palestine to the Jews ! Even thou the Jews owned less than 6% of Palestine .

              If you were a Palestinian would you accept that ? Remember now ,the Palestinians did not commit the Holocaust against the Jews.
              Why have they lost their country ? Why cant people see the truth ?
              Why can’t people put their selves in the position of the Palestinians and imagine it was their house and land that was being stolen by others with the backing of the UN !

              Israel has killed one child on average every 3 days for the last 13 years and still the uninformed put Israel above the law of man.


            • Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor to the League of Nations in 1945 ( so the Allied Forces were Johnny on the spot right there in the process of creating the United Nations.
              The intent was to prevent any similar occurrence (to WW2) ever again. The intent in 2014 is looking questionable, really.

  4. Thank you John for expressing the situation so well. As a New Zealander working in Gaza I can assure you all that the Israeli attacks are targetting civilians – a fact reflected in the number of women, children and elderly being killed and injured. Imagine the outrage in NZ if the entire family of a suspect in any crime was to be punished for their family member’s actions, and theiir homes bombed off the face of the earth with women and kids inside? That is what Israel has been doing all week. The only sounds we hear now are explosions, the cries of children and wails of the bereaved, and teh screams of ambulances bringing the dead and injured to hospitals themselves under attack, and ill-equipped to deal with the numbers flooding the emergency rooms. It is carnage – and Israel is responsible.

  5. “The supposedly deadly little rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have killed or injured no Israelis, though they have done some property damage. In fact, those rockets have no guidance systems and very seldom hit anything, mostly landing in the desert.

    Nevertheless, Reuters and other agencies (or their headline writers) routinely equate deadly Israeli airstrikes with sophisticated American fighter jets with small dumb rockets, some of them the sort of thing that could be made with an 8th grade chemistry set. And, of course, Palestinian lives are cheap and their 53 dead and (150) wounded don’t count. That no Israelis have been killed is not mentioned because it would interfere with the narrative of violent Palestinians and victimized Israelis (it is mostly the other way around).”

    • Equating attacks to Kill Civilians with attacks to PROTECT CIVILIANS is PERVERSE as is this Sick Mob of Ignoramuses that support a group of people OBSESSED AND DEVOTED TO GENOCIDE

      • “a group of people OBSESSED AND DEVOTED TO GENOCIDE”, one could be forgiven for thinking your comment refers to the Israelis, Deane, but what do I know as I’m one of “this Sick Mob of Ignoramuses”.

  6. … and how do we defend the Palestinian Struggle ?

    Kick out the Banks , firewall our dollar against usury interest rates , introduce capital gains taxes , write off mortgage debt and thereby show the world that we Kiwis don’t need Jewish bankers making money from human misery . Owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to banks for some shitty house in a city grid locked and made so by poor bastards trying to get to and from their polite prison cells to work hard for a faceless pack of greedy scum is as miserable as a rocket up your back passage surly ?
    There are more ways to have ones family destroyed than by a big expensive Zionist bomb dropped on ones cowering kids .

    What do you think ?

    I repeat :

    Good on you John Minto . x

  7. Here’s a couple of amazing BBC documentaries to do with Syria and the Middle East that have been played on Nights on National Radio this week

    Tuesday 8 July 2014: Anthony Loyd, War Correspondent
    More than sixty journalists have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Across the world journalists have become targets as never before, murdered, kidnapped and, in the case of three Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, locked up by the state for doing their jobs. HARDtalk speaks to Anthony Loyd, the award winning war correspondent of The Times newspaper, who was shot and seriously injured in Syria last month. Is the fear factor forcing journalists to retreat from the frontline?

    Thursday 10 July 2014: Shaking Hands with the Enemy
    In many parts of the world, charities are trying to deliver much-needed aid to desperate people living in areas controlled by militant groups. What do they do when counter-terrorism laws ban them from contact with those de facto authorities? Risk of prosecution has now created a climate of fear in many aid agencies – and the UN wants counter-terrorism policies redrawn to ensure lives can be saved without charity workers risking jail. Tim Whewell reports from Gaza – and talks to aid workers operating in Syria, Somalia and other places – on the practical and moral dilemmas involved.

  8. You do not have to support Palestinian nationalism to oppose the obscenity of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and the daily collective punishment of Palestinians simply for being Palestinian.

  9. Israel is a rogue nation. Palestine is trying to be a nation, and as with Israel, what sort of nation they can become will depend to some extent on the birth process. Israel was born from an ideology of racial/religious superiority, divine protection, terrorism, and ethnic cleansing. They have got worse as time has gone by, but have become more adept at propaganda. These days they even seek to portray themselves as an indigenous people fighting for their rights against colonial oppressors. Seriously, they do. And people swallow it.
    Israel is actively committing outrages against the Palestinians in an attempt to goad them into more desperate measures, so that they can indulge in a final solution of their own. I don’t have much hope for the near future, because with American support they are almost untouchable, and Israelis who want to be human are becoming increasingly marginalised. Still, we do what we can.

    • The more that Israel carries on like it has, Ovicula, the less support it will have internationally and the more people will see it as a violent, dangerous, rogue state.

      If North Korea or any other “rogue state” carried on like Israel, it would have incurred the displeasure of the American Empire by now and resulted in swift “regime change”…

  10. There has been no evidence presented linking the murder by silenced weapon of the three teenage boys, to anyone. Supposition. Projection. 10 shots. A silenced weapon. Arabic speaking assailants according to phone record. Not unknown in Israel. Israeli number plates on the vehicle, but nothing to so far link Hamas to these murders – yet the watching world watches the next round of Bibi’s slaughterhouse five as if this is all human behaviour can amount to. Concrete walls. The theft of land. Uncle Sam at its back.
    Just like Ghouta. The Maidan. WMD. Crimes of convenience.

  11. Gosh yes. Next time we send our army out to fight and kill someone, let’s make sure that they are only armed to the same extent as the opposition, and whatever civilian deaths occur, we must make sure the opposition have the same opportunity to kill our civilians. Yup.

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