On 26 February 2016, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had appointed MK Gilad Erdan as Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy. Erdan declared that he had been promised the proper tools to take action against “attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel around the world.” He vowed to take on “anti-Israel activities in the international arena, such as attempts to attack us in the International Criminal Court, attempts by the Palestinians to have us expelled from FIFA, and more.” According to The Times of Israel, Erdan’s Ministry held a conference on 21 and 22 February, on ways to fight BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns. The article also reported that the meeting discussed ways to de-legitimise BDS activists – the international participants were asked to keep the conference proceedings secret.
A word guide shown to delegates advises use of the term ‘dialogue’, not discussion and ‘anti-Israel’, not anti-Semitic. This last appears to be an admission by the conference advisers that the anti-Semitism slur, used to denigrate people who oppose Israeli human rights abuses, is not working. Unfortunately for their cause, there is growing awareness of the Zionist state’s persecution of Semitic people, particularly Palestinians living under belligerent Israeli military Occupation and Sephardic Jews, treated in Israel as second-class citizens.
‘Dialogue’, it should be noted, is a term much favoured by New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, which in practice has achieved nothing but the buying of time for Israel to annex ever more Palestinian land for the expansion of illegal Occupation settlements.
‘Diplomacy’ – A study by the Knesset’s Research and Information Centre on Israel’s policy towards native Bedouin, reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, quotes Yaron Ben Ezra, director-general of the Jewish Agency’s settlement division, as follows:
“The goal of the plan is to grab the last remaining piece of land and thereby prevent further Bedouin incursion into any more state land and the development of an Arab belt from the south of Mount Hebron toward Arad and approaching Dimona and Yeruham, and the area extending toward Be’er Sheva.”
The Zionist regime, which views indigenous native populations as infiltrators, is obviously never going to voluntarily give up land that it has annexed. On 29 November 2015, Netanyahu declared that there are no plans to deliver any land from West Bank Area C to Palestinians. In a meeting for Likud ministers, he stressed that there will be no transfer of land to the Palestinian Authority, “not 40 thousand dunams, not 10 thousand, not one metre.” How ‘diplomatic’ is that?
Suppressing freedom of expression
In late December, 2015, a billboard went on display in Auckland, New Zealand, close to the motorway at Ellerslie, displaying two maps. The first showed land ownership in Mandate Palestine in 1947, with settlements of Jewish immigrants from Europe shown against land owned by the native population. The second displayed Areas A and B in the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian West Bank. These maps, indicating the loss of Palestinian land since 1947, actually rather understated the total amount of dispossession suffered. Within a few days, the billboard had been taken down because of a complaint. The persons who contracted to have the billboard displayed are now negotiating with the company that removed it to have it restored. They are seeking an adequate reason for the display’s removal. The Zionist website Shalom Kiwi was certainly displeased with the billboard and encouraged people to complain. Shalom Kiwi displayed its own irrelevant and misleading maps of Palestine in true hasbara style and published what it said was a quote from David Zwartz of the New Zealand Jewish Council, saying: “The New Zealand Jewish community regularly suffers increased backlash when there is public misrepresentation of the situation in Israel.” Quite what that ‘backlash’ is was not made clear.
On 14 May 2014, in an interview with Dan Goldberg, published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, David Zwartz described the outlook for the Jewish community in New Zealand as “qualified gloom”. (The Haaretz article incorrectly reported him as calling it “qualified doom”). Reflecting on the 66th anniversary of the unilateral declaration of the Zionist state of Israel, Zwartz, a recipient of the World Zionist Organisation’s Jerusalem Prize, said that: “Politically things are good for Jews but communally we are struggling.” The interview was entitled New Zealand Commitment to Israel Fades Among 7000 Jews. According to David Zwartz, Zionism had been “out of fashion for 10-15 years.” It is a fact of history that ideologies come into fashion and then pass away. Unfortunately, the harm they do lives on, nurturing the seeds of future irrationalities. It is no wonder, as Zwartz’s interviewer noted, “that openly identifying as a Zionist in New Zealand is unpopular.” But what David Zwartz and fellow Zionists fail to address is, why this should be.
At a recent, revealing public appeal in London, two women stood side-by-side displaying placards that described the effect of Zionism upon their lives. One of the placards read: “I am a Palestinian born in Jerusalem, exiled in 1967. Palestine is my homeland. I cannot return there.” The other stated: “I am a British Jew born in Lancashire. Israel/Palestine is not my homeland but under Israel’s laws of ‘return’ I can settle there.” Zionists are terrified that people will learn the true extent of the catastrophe in Palestine for which Israel is responsible, the more so because they know they are losing their battle to hide the truth.
In the UK, Zionists are behind recent legislation aimed at curtailing freedom of speech that exposes what Israel is doing. While the Justice for Palestine movements campaign worldwide for the right to witness for truth, Zionist efforts to oppose that free expression reveal much about the ideology’s oppressive and irrational nature. In New Zealand, Shalom Kiwi perversely claims its version of the maps are “less likely to foster hate against Israel or Jews”. Zionists play the race card because they are obsessed with ethnicity and ‘separation’ and it is Israel’s appalling record of human rights abuses that arouses so many Jews, including Holocaust survivors and their descendants, to support the Palestinian cause.
In a letter to a pro-Zionist UK MP, Elizabeth Morley wrote:
“Is it not ironic that millions of Jews from all around the world are invited to claim Israeli citizenship, even if they end up, not in Israel, but in an illegal settlement on Palestinian land? They can do this simply because of their religion. I wonder how many more of them will be able to fit into that small piece of land. With my Jewish heritage I too could claim Israeli citizenship. How ridiculous is that! Although I have a good life here in the UK I could go over there and make use of the privileges that are denied to the Palestinians whose land I would be occupying. I might even be given the house and possessions of a Palestinian family freshly displaced from East Jerusalem. And all the time the Palestinian refugees, turfed out to make room for me and millions like me, are mouldering in refugee camps.”
In her book A Witness in Palestine, the Jewish-American author Anna Baltzer tells how she experienced for herself the cruel realities of Israeli military Occupation and the sometimes petty meanness that alternated with greater war crimes. She decided to find out for herself after she had heard from families “. . . of past and present military attacks, house demolitions, land confiscation, imprisonment without trial, and torture.” She wrote that, “It seemed that these actions were not carried out for the protection of Jewish people, but rather for the creation and expansion of a Jewish state at the expense of the rights, lives, and dignity of the non-Jewish people living in the region.” Let all, including David Swartz, who may doubt the truth of the above, at least read the evidence presented by non-Zionist Jews, Miko Peled and Anna Baltzer. Listen also to the voices of Miriam Margolyes, Alexei Sayle, Albert Einstein (letter to the New York Times concerning Menachem Begin) and many, many more.
Silence in the service of denial
On 25 February, The Jerusalem Post quoted David Newman – Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Chair of Geopolitics at Ben-Gurion University: “Israel-Palestine, the longest ongoing unresolved conflict on the face of the earth . . .”. Israel is stepping up the rate at which it destroys Palestinian homes, a form of collective punishment that strikes at the very heart of family life and, in particular, the well-being of children. While the process of settlement establishment and consolidation goes on in flagrant disregard of international law, the Israeli Occupation has destroyed more than 30,000 Palestinian homes, 3,000 of which were in East Jerusalem. Israeli Army home invasions take place night and day, with youngsters often seized and taken away by soldiers. The children long to live normal lives and the feelings of some of them are expressed in this short video.
Israel, censured by UN Security Council Resolutions yet never restrained
Israel’s truly appalling record of human rights abuses cannot be emphasised too strongly. UN Security Council resolutions refer to them with “deep shock” (Res. 57), expressing “the strongest censure” (Res. 101). Security Council Resolutions have also:
Censured Israel for “large-scale military action in violation of the United Nations Charter” (Res. 228)
Appealed to Israel to “facilitate the return of those inhabitants who have fled” (Res. 237)
Demanded that Israel withdraw its “armed forces from territories occupied” (Res. 242)
Deplored Israeli actions resulting in “the loss of life and heavy damage to property” (Res. 248)
Condemned Israel’s “flagrant violation” of “the United Nations Charter and cease-fire resolutions” (Res. 248)
Deplored “the failure of Israel to comply with” General Assembly resolutions 2253 and 2254, considers Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem “invalid” (Res. 252)
Expressed concern for “the safety, welfare and security” of the Palestinians “under military occupation by Israel” (Res. 259)
Observed that “the military action by the armed forces of Israel” was “premeditated and of a large scale and carefully planned nature” (Res. 262)
Condemned “. . . recent premeditated air attacks launched by Israel . . . in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter” (Res. 265)
Expressed grief “at the extensive damage caused by arson to the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem” and the “execrable act of desecration and profanation of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque . . .” (Res. 271)
Condemned Israel for its “premeditated military action in violation of its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations” and the “loss of life and damage to property inflicted as a result” of Israeli violations of Security Council resolutions. (Res. 280)
– and so it goes on.
Security requires restraint not favouritism
The world looks to the UN Security Council for action in support of, yes, security! Yet the United States has just recently agreed to increase annual funding for Israel’s war machine to over $4 billion. The US cites concern for Israel’s ‘security’ while doing everything to deprive the Palestinian people of any vestige of security. The US has now gone so far as to pass an anti-BDS law in an attempt to frustrate the very sort of non-violent sanctions that the Security Council should be promoting and implementing. While UN refugee camps are subjected day and night to Israeli Army incursions, home invasions and acts of brutality, and although Israel has killed United Nations personnel and destroyed UN facilities in Gaza, not one member of the Security Council has raised the possibility of sanctions against the Zionist state. Because of Zionism, Palestinians constitute the largest refugee population in the world and that is still the case, even now when Europe is grappling with a massive influx of refugees. Israel is very much a part of the destabilisation that creates refugees in the course of big-power geo-political manoeuvering.
As a member of the United Nations, Israel is obliged, under Article 5 of the UN Charter, “to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.” Israel’s conduct must not be allowed to legitimise itself through intimidation masquerading as ‘negotiations’. The call for the Occupying power’s victims to deal directly with their oppressor runs counter to international law, and is a direct threat to peace and global stability. Israel can, and must, be restrained.
Silence aids and abets Zionism
The daily suffering of checkpoint-restricted Palestinians, ruled at gunpoint by the Israeli Army, scarcely ever makes our news. Occasionally, selected news is reported – almost always with an Israeli perspective. The language adopted in such reporting usually reflects official Israeli versions that accord with the objectives outlined earlier in this article.
In a Press Release dated 3 March 2016, the Hon. Murray McCully, NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs, welcomed a UN Security Council resolution imposing new, strengthened sanctions on North Korea for “blatantly” contravening “previous Security Council resolutions”. How selective! – McCully has never called for sanctions against Israel for its contraventions of Security Council resolutions. The Press Release also stated that, “New Zealand will continue to urge North Korea to refrain from actions which undermine stability in the region and we will be undertaking steps to implement the resolution.” Again, McCully has never taken steps to seek sanctions against Israel for “actions which undermine stability” in the Middle East. The NZ Foreign Ministry statement also said, with approval: “The Security Council Resolution strengthens existing sanctions on North Korea covering weapons of mass destruction, arms and luxury goods, and imposes new economic measures affecting transport, banking and trade.” Neither has New Zealand ever sought sanctions against Israel for introducing weapons of mass destruction to the Middle East, nor for refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, nor for failure to co-operate with the IAEA. Having admitted the principle, our Government cannot rationally continue to excuse Israel.
As a High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions, New Zealand has an obligation to protect and uphold Palestinian human rights. Prime Minister John Key, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and the National Party as whole, must be called upon to declare whether or not they believe in international law and explain their failure to urge strong and urgent action to put an end to Israel’s impunity. It is time to suspend Israel from United Nations membership until it is prepared to abide by international law and abandon its racially-motivated abuses of human rights. It will take united, determined and persistent action on the part of all who believe in the sanctity of life and justice for all, to bring about greater public recognition of the truth. With growing awareness, action for reform from politicians and government may more readily be demanded.
With less than nine months left to make a difference at the Security Council, New Zealand’s leaders must be persuaded to act. Confront their consciences. Allow them no excuses and make the Security Council live up to its name.