Don’t tell Netanyahu: he’s been injected with an “Arab vaccine”


In response to Syd Jackson’s comment on ties: “I refuse to wear that white man’s noose around my neck” on my facebook page someone has replied “But it’s OK to get a white man’s vaccination in your body ????”. Without going into the deep undercurrent of racism in that response, if we follow the race path for a moment we’d have to say the leading Pfizer vaccine is not a “white man’s vaccine” but is an “Arab vaccine”.

It was developed by husband and wife team Dr Ugur Sahin and Dr Özlem Türeci, both having Turkish parents who migrated to Germany. (I assume the parents were part of the tens of thousands of Turkish migrant workers who went to Germany for the rebuild after two world wars)

But more importantly (and setting aside the profit motive which is another story) it was produced by good people for the benefit of humankind. It’s not a “white man’s vaccine” or an “Arab vaccine” any more than the coronavirus was a “Chinese virus” (according to Trump) These caricatures are politically constructed to dog-whistle racism for political purposes.

In Israel, a country whose political leaders are fixated on race, the ironies are inescapable.

In order to win next month’s election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after bungling dealing with the pandemic, then paid three times as much per dose as other countries to get the Pfizer vaccine first and be the first country to roll out a vaccination programme. He apparently didn’t bother that Arab scientists had produced the vaccine and neither should he. We all have a common humanity.

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The irony comes because the deeply racist Netanyahu has refused to provide vaccinations to 4.5 million Palestinians (sometimes referred to as Palestinian Arabs) living under Israeli occupation and control.

Article 56 of the Geneva Convention makes plain the occupying power –

“must adopt and supply the prophylactic and preventative measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics in cooperation with local authorities.”

Netanyahu ignores this. Israel claims it is Palestinians’ responsibility for health services under the Oslo Accords but this is just a fig leaf for racism and the United Nations says the Geneva Convention overrides the Accords.

A United Nations special report last month makes Israel’s responsibilities clear:

“Morally and legally, differential access to necessary health care amid the worst global health crisis in a century is unacceptable…

The denial of an equal access to health care, such as on the basis of ethnicity or race, is discriminatory and unlawful”

Under pressure Israel has agreed to provide five thousand vaccines when five million are needed (sic). Netanyahu’s despicable vaccination policy is not surprising because he has again and again stoked race-hatred against Arabs and Palestinians. He spits out racist venom such as describing Arabs as an “existential threat” to Israel (similar to what the Nazis said about German Jews) and says “the way to deal with Palestinians is to beat them up – not once but repeatedly, beat them up so it hurts so badly, until its unbearable”. He says Israel is “not a state for all its citizens” (20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinian Israelis) and introduced the “nation state” law two years ago which specifically denies Palestinians the right to self-determination in the land of their birth.

Netanyahu is not on his own. Race hatred dominates the rhetoric of the majority of political parties. Take Naftali Bennett for example, leader of the Yamina Party, who says “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that” and in the last few days has compared the Palestinian Authority to ISIS.

As the Israeli election gets closer the rhetoric will get filthier. The election will be essentially about which party can be the most cruel, vile and vicious towards Palestinians.

As far as I know none of these fanatically anti-Arab politicians has refused a vaccination developed by Arabs.

The answer is for New Zealand, alongside the rest of the world, to boycott apartheid Israel just as we boycotted apartheid South Africa.


  1. Well said John. Even the humanitarian pinch point of COVID it seems has tempted the Israelis to act like their Nazi nemesis! (I no longer draw a distinction between filth like Netanyahu and Israeli jewish citizens, despite the few brave individuals that buck the system).

    Justice for Palestinians is the one major political solidarity issue of my lifetime that has never even been partly resolved. Hundreds of UN resolutions sit gathering dust, unimplemented because the USA continues to deliver billions in cash and arms to the butchers that run the Israeli state and military.

    Many thanks go to Kia Ora Gaza, and those that continue to support BDS, and push back against the Apartheid State.

  2. Ohhh dear Mr Minto, this post has you not only scraping the bottom of the barrel, to have a dig at Israel, but your fingers must be covered in splinters.
    By your long bow that you draw, if anyone invents anything anywhere on the planet we should dig into their family history and claim its actually a (insert preferred country/race/religion here) invention. LoL

    • Just how low can Minto go?
      The facts:

      1. Israel was the first country to vaccinate all of its population
      2. This included over 1.5 million Israeli Arabs
      3. Leading edge research on the effects of the vaccine by Israel have shown two vitally important points:
      a) Just one dose of the vaccine (two are required) confers immunity in the high 90’s%
      b) Those vaccinated do not transmit the virus
      This is brilliant news and signals the beginning of the end of the virus
      4. Nobody cares about the ethnicity of the people who developed the vaccine but according to France24 it was the work of Hungarian biochemist Katalin Kariko who fled to the US from communist rule in the 1980s. Now isn’t that ironic? (link below)

      • Andrew, you might think your points are accurate, but those who can smell propaganda a mile away, are able to use search engines and know how information can be massaged couldn’t possibly agree. As an example, Our World in Data gives the 21 February vaccination rate for Israel as under 40%. What is your source and who is excluded?

        It is interesting that you say, “Nobody cares about the ethnicity of the people who developed the vaccine….” then go on to make a point about ethnicity and background of just one of the many BioNTech, Fosun Pharma and Pfizer researchers who were involved with the project for that particular vaccine..

      • Im Right & Andrew, stop licking Israel’s butthole. It’s unseemly as well as unhygenic.

        John Minto has more ethics in one of his little fingers than both of you combined in a blender.

  3. For mine, we

    1. do not sign up to IHRA.
    2. support the ICC investigation of human rights abuses in the occupied territory and Gaza.
    3. defend UNRWA.
    4. acknowledge the supposed autonomy given to the Palestinian Authority – but in noting the undermining of it by withholding of payments, the intrusion of checkpoints and fences, blockade of Gaza etc that diminish the capacity to deliver health care during a pandemic and thus expect the occupying power, under its Geneva Convention obligations, to provide a sufficiency of support vaccination and or treatment.

    I would not be too precious about that though, the western first world is vaccinating itself first no less than Israel is.

    And yeah the attacks on the other, Palestinians, are a staple of Israeli politics. Sort of necessary though when the 20% of MK’s elected by Israli Arabs are excluded from each and every coalition government after the election. An often overlooked detail about the Jewish state of Israel is how many are neither Jewish or Arab. There are hundreds of thousands there under the law of return itself who are not Jews just descendants of someone who was/is (great grandmother, Jewish grandparent is the requirement).

  4. Oh come on Mr. Minto, since when are Turks “Arabs”? I mean most Turks don’t even wear towels on their heads ;).

    The Turkish language isn’t even remotely related to Arabic – or to Hebrew for that matter. Turkic culture originally arose in eastern central Asia, next door to the homeland of the Mongols. They didn’t spread into/ invade the Middle East and Anatolia till the 11th century.

  5. An ‘Arab’ vaccine???? Since when were Turks Arabs? The Arabs hated the Turks and rose against them, you know, Lawrence of Arabia and all that. I guess you don’t know since you display a dearth of understanding re the ME anyway. The head of Pfizer is a JEW. Omg!

  6. Some of the comments here are unequivocally racist towards Jews. For example, Israeli Jews along with Netanyahu are both labelled as being filthy? Come on how is this allowed? The Jewish hate here is disturbing and shameful after Christchurch attacks.

    • The word ‘filthy’ has been used once – by YOU! Obviously more than a tad of dishonesty on your part to make a very dubious point.

  7. Israel is easy, targets-wise. Since we don’t have to look at our own innards. Others are always easier. Great man, lets fight for us. You know that as much as anyone. You grew up in Maraenui or Marewa or Napier South? There aren’t exactly many talkers for demo-cracy here in NZ.

    • Not sure what your point is or what facts it is based on. If you stripped back the covers, you would find that, with maybe some exceptions, the likes of John Minto and those who also deplore the actions of the Zionist Government of Israel have never demurred from opposing racism in NZ.

      • Israel seems to have become a popular punching bag, because it’s simple and other bigger problems for we NZers are more complex. Y’know, like Japan being big on the Hiroshima atomic bomb and pitiful on her crimes in Asia during WW 2. I’d prefer Minto to put his best shoulder to the wall for our underdogs. It would help.

  8. Apologies from me to all the Turkish and Arab people out there. I should have referred to Netanyahu receiving a “Turkish vaccine” rather than an “Arab Vaccine”. For Netanyahu it probably makes little difference – addiction to racist policies is the key signature of the Israeli government.

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