“The Security Council resolution route has always been the best way to proceed, because it does give you the best chance of getting your hands on those who you want to hold to account.” – Murray McCully, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister
In an address to the University of Otago’s 50th annual Foreign Policy School in June 2015, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, spoke of this country’s intentions regarding its present term at the UN Security Council. According to the report in the Otago Daily Times, New Zealand staunchly supported the existence of the State of Israel and its right to defend that existence, and no progress could be achieved unless Israel’s security concerns were “appropriately accommodated”. McCully also claimed that: “New Zealand regards itself as a friend to both Israelis and Palestinians”. That friendship would appear warmer towards Israel though because, sadly, he has never acknowledged the right of the Palestinian people to defend their existence and neither has he ever declared any interest in “appropriately accommodating” their security concerns. There are no Israeli refugees and no one has taken any land from them — but ethnically-cleansed Palestinians, driven from their homes by Israel, have been forced to live for decades in overcrowded refugee camps. To add insult to injury, Israel also refuses the Palestinian people’s UN-recognised right of return.
Who does McCully want to hold to account?
In an interview with Tova O’Brien on The Nation in 2015, McCully said that “the Security Council resolution route has always been the best way to proceed, because it does give you the best chance of getting your hands on those who you want to hold to account.” While Jewish Israeli settlers enjoy a plentiful water supply, Palestinians suffer egregious water restrictions and have their rooftop water storage tanks destroyed by Israeli Army bulldozers. World leaders, politicians and mainstream news media effectively strengthen Zionism and endorse its purpose by ignoring the relentlessly-imposed state of insecurity experienced by the Palestinian people every day. The bias is reflected in choice of language. For example, the term ‘violence’ is only ever used to describe acts of Palestinian Resistance to the Israeli Occupation and the blockade of Gaza. It is never used to describe the destruction of Palestinian homes by Israeli Army bulldozers, night home invasions, the bulldozing of crops, assaults on Palestinian minors by Israeli soldiers or Israel’s periodic aerial blitzes of the Gaza Strip. In making his statement, McCully appeared to have little understanding of the situation in which the Palestinians find themselves. Their plight was ordained by outside interests that have shown slight regard for Palestinian human rights.
According to the Otago Daily Times report, Mr McCully seemed to believe that “solutions to these questions” could be “arrived at more quickly and easily than most would think”. He even said that his impression, from speaking to the respective leaders, was that “essentially, they aren’t that far apart”. It is no surprise therefore that New Zealand’s showing at the Security Council (UNSC) last year, and up to the present, has revealed a dismal unwillingness to exercise even a shred of independence over Middle East policy.
John Key’s address to the Security Council, September 2016
Regarding the chaos in Syria, John Key told the UNSC, “The Syrian Government, which bears responsibility for starting this war, cannot win.” Quite apart from the obvious, which is that a rebellion supported by outside interests is by definition an initiation of hostilities, what he was really saying was that the Syrian Government must not be allowed to win. Key’s assertion is completely in tune with the traditional Western policy towards the Middle East. He referred to “the central question of President Assad’s future”. And whose business, primarily, is that? Surely it is a matter for the Syrian people as a whole, free from outside interference. An end to conflict would enable elections to take place, the result of which should then be respected by the world community. But present policy looks to dismember Syria. Israel has already seized the Syrian Golan Heights for its own economic benefit while continuing to enjoy guaranteed support from its chief benefactor and ally, the United States. Foreign Occupation can only add to the complexities and injustices of the conflict. John Key has carefully avoided the question of Israel’s violations of international law, including the home demolition and settlement building that have now begun in Syria. The Zionist regime has declared that Israel and the Golan Heights are “part and parcel” and that the international community should get used to the fact.
Israel is annexing the Syrian Golan Heights because, among other reasons, it holds major energy reserves. The human rights organisation, Al Marsad, says the first home demolition has already taken place, reporting that hundreds of Israeli police, accompanied by bulldozers, oversaw the demolition of a home in Majdal Shams, the largest town in the Israeli-Occupied Syrian territory. Israel is pushing ahead with illegal settlement construction in the area. None of the Security Council’s members have taken any steps to require Israel to stop violating international law. Their silence simply emboldens Israel while showing little respect for the Syrian people, and John Key has shown far more more ambition towards the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad than he has for the principles of Syrian sovereignty. In his speech, Key actually said: “Those with influence must reinforce to the parties – and to the Syrian Government – that a political solution is the only way out of this conflict.” For him, outside interests are to decide Syria’s future and the Syrian Government is not actually a party to anything. Our Prime Minister claims that “terrorism is a major consequence of the Syrian war”, in order to obscure the reality that it is a tool serving the aims of outside interests. Mr Key needs to understand that what he calls the “Syrian war” is actually a war waged against Syria.
As an Opposition MP, John Key voted for the United States 2003 invasion of Iraq in support of the West’s regime-change mania that has resulted in nothing but ruin and misery. The peoples of Iraq and Libya continue to suffer and it is time the world woke up and questioned this arrogant rhetoric. It should be noted also that John Key has never condemned Israel’s periodic Gaza blitzes. It is cause for great concern that such blindness can prevail at the Security Council at a time when humanity is crying out for justice and an end to great power hegemony over people’s lives. Key should have had the courage to independently speak truth to power and put justice before expediency. He failed tragically.
In 2008 John Key told The Jerusalem Post that he had been involved in fund-raising for Hadassah, the Zionist Israeli medical organisation. According to the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL), Hadassah’s first priority was to provide health services to Jewish women and children in Palestine. The new organisation changed its name to ‘Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organisation of America’ at its first annual convention in 1914, declaring that its mandate was “to promote Jewish institutions and enterprises in Palestine and to foster Zionist ideals in America”. The JVL tells us that by mid-1926 the organisation had initiated its first partnership with the Jewish National Fund. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was established in 1901 as the main tool for the Zionist colonisation of Palestine. The carefully nurtured image of the JNF today as a ‘green’ organisation protecting Israel’s natural landscape is highly misleading. The Israeli historian Ilan Pappe tells us that the JNF is bent on taking land from “Palestinian farmers and Bedouin who try to keep the little piece of the land they still have.” The JNF claims it needs land for ‘nature reserves’ but in practice it gives it to Jewish settlers. On 25 September, the Israeli Army rampaged through the al-Daqiqa area in south-east Yatta, Hebron, destroying a Palestinian nature reserve planted with approximately 5000 trees, as well as several wells. The reserve had been established eight years ago with funding from several international NGOs. Throughout its history the JNF has adhered to its role as “the principal Judaizer of Israel/Palestine.” An in-depth history of the JNF is available on line.
According to a Jewish Chronicle Online (JC) commentary by Dan Goldberg on the 2008 New Zealand General Election, the prospect of John Key becoming New Zealand’s Prime Minister “may also end a period of dire diplomatic relations between Wellington and Jerusalem.” The JC said that what it called “the worst chapter in diplomatic relations between the two countries” had been “sparked in 2003 when Foreign Minister Phil Goff incensed Israeli officials by visiting Yasser Arafat in Ramallah at the height of the intifada.” Goldberg wrote that, “If Mr Key leads the National Party to victory over the Labour Party on November 8, it will draw to a close the worst chapter in diplomatic relations between the two countries.”
Goldberg also seemed outraged by Helen Clark (at present standing for election as UN Secretary General) because she had, as he termed it, “issued a blistering attack on Jerusalem and suspended high-level relations for over a year until Israel apologised” over the case of two Mossad agents who had been caught trying to illegally obtain a New Zealand passport. Of course, Helen Clark had made the unacceptable mistake of calling Israel to account, bearing in mind that Mossad is an Israeli Government agency. Clark stated firmly that “the breach of New Zealand laws and sovereignty by agents of the Israeli government has seriously strained our relationship with Israel.” She said “this type of behaviour is unacceptable internationally by any country. It is a sorry indictment of Israel that it has again taken such actions against a country with which it has friendly relations”. In Court, the Israeli agents had gone to great lengths to conceal their identities: one of them wore a balaclava and covered his face throughout the two-hour hearing, while the other had changed his hair colour and complexion since an earlier court appearance.
Instead of deploring the conduct of its agents, Silvan Shalom, the Israeli Foreign Minister at the time, could only say that Israel was disappointed with New Zealand’s reaction and, in a response that was reminiscent of the ‘negotiations’ device for enabling the continuation of land-grabs and settlement-building in Palestine, added: “But we believe that if we will work one with each other as we used to work in the past, we will overcome the last difficulty”. In effect – a diplomatic telling off. Goldberg quoted remarks by Nathan Lawrence of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand saying: “The current Labour Party has within its leadership several people that are ideologically fixated on certain positions, some of which mean an automatic disdain of Israel’s policies”.
Ideologically fixated? The Palestinian people, waiting in line at the Zionist regime’s checkpoints and standing beside the rubble of their demolished homes, face ideological fixation every day of their lives. Lawrence expected that, under Key’s leadership, “There is likely to be greater balance. This will have little to do with Key’s Jewish background, but more so the greater open-mindedness of the centre-right parties to the realities of the world”. Of course, what he really meant was open-mindedness to Zionism and acceptance of the demand that Israel should never be called to account. Under John Key’s premiership it would seem that New Zealand is living up to Goldberg’s expectations.