I have respect for politicians if they are open and honest about their political views.
Conversely, I disrespect those who deceive and try to be on both sides of the fence at once.
It’s hard to know what angers me the most about Prime Minister Bill English and Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee’s behaviour this week.
Is it the craven apology to Israel for co-sponsoring a good UN resolution last year criticising Israel’s settlement building on the West Bank?
Is it the pretense that this wasn’t an apology but just “regretting” the “fallout” from the resolution – when clearly the resolution aimed to produce the “fallout” of extra pressure on Israel to end settlement construction?
Or is it the continuing effort to cover up the apology by refusing to release Bill English’s letter to the Israeli PM? The excuse given is that the letter’s release would “prejudice the international relations of the government.” Translated, that means it would embarrass English and Brownlee.
When challenged directly on Morning Report, Brownlee wouldn’t criticise Israel’s settlement building policy, saying it was a matter for the parties concerned. Why bother to have a foreign policy if everything is just a matter for the parties concerned – despite, in this case, one having all the power over the other. The theft of Palestinian land is backed by Israel’s huge military machine.
Bill English has a slightly less hardline stance than Brownlee’s, but it’s also cowardly. Apparently “we stand by those positions” [presumably including opposing the settlements]. But don’t ask us to publicise those “positions” or support critical UN resolutions which so far have only “disrupted our relationship with Israel,” according to English.
Meanwhile the Israeli media is trumpeting New Zealand’s backdown and apology. Our government has let down the world community and particularly those 13 nations who voted with us for the Security Council resolution last year.