At around 12pm yesterday Nadia Filistin, who has been a major organiser in the Auckland protests against Israel’s ongoing assaults in Gaza over the last 6 weeks which has killed over 1900 Palestinians and injured thousands, updated her Facebook status with this:
‘Right now we’re occupying the NZ Superfund office in Auckland to oppose New Zealanders tax money into companies which profit off Israel’s violence against Palestinians. #StopSuperfundingIsraeliApartheid’
Ella, Grace, MZ, Nadia, Milo, Kirsty, Marcus (last names have been left off to protect the activists) entered the Zurich building at the bottom of Queen Street and on Level 12 they chained themselves to the desk of NZ Super Fund and successfully shut down the office for three hours. The activists demanded “the divestment of OUR tax dollars from various companies which work to profit off and sustain the Israel’s brutal and bloody regime of apartheid.” Nadia said “we occupy to oppose the investment of our tax money into Israeli apartheid through investments in companies like G4S and Israel Chemicals LTD which produces white phosphorous.” White phosphorous is a chemical that has been, and continues to be, used illegally by Israeli forces in civilian areas. G45 is a private global security company which provides Israel with the equipment for its apartheid wall, checkpoints, illegal settlements and detention centres. Literally our tax paying dollars are funding war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Billy Hania, who is Palestinian and an activist and transported the 6 activists to the NZ Super Fund office sent me this raw footage of Nadia speaking on the reasons why they #Occupy:
The CEO of NZ Super Fund agreed to talk with the protesters but his answers did not satisfy Nadia, the main spokesperson, who updated her facebook with this response:
NZ Superfund building on lockdown. Police outside. CEO Adrian Orr came to meet with us to discuss our demands of divestment. He says they will continue superfunding Israeli apartheid with our tax dollars because they can’t divest from every company which “annoys” people. News flash Adrian Orr, these companies don’t just annoy, they sustain and profit off the occupation, murder and repression of Palestinians. Not good enough.
I started protesting against Israel’s genocidal actions against the people of Palestine over 8 years ago. I have attended 5 protests for Palestine and each one has been bigger than the last. People are waking up. Adrian Orr, many of us in Aotearoa do give a fuck about what the Zionist state of Israel have done to the people of Palestine – their actions amount to a holocaust. We care deeply when we learn our tax dollars are used to profit off this suffering – this genocide. We will not sit idly by and allow the actions of the NZ Super Fund to sanction and support these brutalities and use our tax money to do it.
We need to call for a serious investigation of companies like NZ Super Fund who are involved in Israeli arms. As David Shearer MP for Labour reported over a year ago “The NZ Super Fund should immediately dump its shareholding in a company producing a notorious chemical that has been used as a weapon.”
When I rang Billy Hania who was on the ground with other protesters who had gathered in support of the occupation of the NZ Super Fund office, he told me all 6 activists including Nadia had been forcefully removed by bolt cutters and arrested in trespass and taken to the police station. They were later released last night, but Nadia had these thoughts while locked up:
One last thing for tonight, when we were locked up in the cold dank cells at the police station today and all went quiet, I lay down and thought HARD about all the Palestinian, men, women and children, who have spent time locked up in G4S (a private security company which our tax money is invested in through NZ Superfund) equipped detention centers and prisons. These are people who are detained without charge for much longer, darker and scarier times than I can even imagine.
Right at this very moment there are 5271 Palestinian political prisoners, 196 of whom are children, who are currently languishing in G4S secured prisons in Israel. Prisoners in G4S secured prisons, including child prisoners, are routinely tortured, mistreated, forced to sign confessions and beaten (even to death). There only crime is being daring to exist as Palestinians.
Thousands of people turned up to the first protest on the 19th of last month in support of Palestine and in opposition to the continued bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces. Thousands again turned up the following Saturday and hundreds turned up to Rallies for Palestine on both the 9th and the 2nd of this month in Auckland. Tomorrow marks a national day of action against Israel’s crimes against humanity and thousands will again march down Queen Street and other main streets of New Zealand cities in solidarity with the millions of people worldwide who stand with Palestine.
‘Apartheid is a crime against humanity’ wrote Nelson Mandela, ‘Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property [and] persuaded a system of gross discrimination’. Do not remain silent. Do not look away. Do something.