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Palestinian rights and the IHRA definition of antisemitism

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I don’t include the full text of anything in a blogpost but I’m making an exception here because most of us struggle to find time to follow links from blog – life is too short – and this open letter, which was printed in the UK Guardian newspaper on the weekend, deserves to be read in full as New Zealand’s pro-Israeli lobby works behind closed doors to try to worm and weasel the IHRA so-called definition of anti-semitism into acceptance in New Zealand political networks.

We, the undersigned Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists and intellectuals are hereby stating our views regarding the definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and the way this definition has been applied, interpreted and deployed in several countries of Europe and North America.

In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has been increasingly instrumentalised by the Israeli government and its supporters in an effort to delegitimise the Palestinian cause and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. Diverting the necessary struggle against antisemitism to serve such an agenda threatens to debase this struggle and hence to discredit and weaken it. 

Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretence, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world. Antisemitism manifests itself in sweeping generalisations and stereotypes about Jews, regarding power and money in particular, along with conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. We regard as legitimate and necessary the fight against such attitudes. 

We also believe that the lessons of the Holocaust as well as those of other genocides of modern times must be part of the education of new generations against all forms of racial prejudice and hatred.

The fight against antisemitism must, however, be approached in a principled manner, lest it defeat its purpose. Through “examples” that it provides, the IHRA definition conflates Judaism with Zionism in assuming that all Jews are Zionists, and that the state of Israel in its current reality embodies the self-determination of all Jews. We profoundly disagree with this. The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimise the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights and the continued occupation of their land. We regard the following principles as crucial in that regard: 

  1. The fight against antisemitism must be deployed within the frame of international law and human rights. It should be part and parcel of the fight against all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, and anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism. The aim of this struggle is to guarantee freedom and emancipation for all oppressed groups. It is deeply distorted when geared towards the defence of an oppressive and predatory state.
  1. There is a huge difference between a condition where Jews are singled out, oppressed and suppressed as a minority by antisemitic regimes or groups, and a condition where the self-determination of a Jewish population in Palestine/Israel has been implemented in the form of an ethnic exclusivist and territorially expansionist state. As it currently exists, the state of Israel is based on uprooting the vast majority of the natives – what Palestinians and Arabs refer to as the Nakba – and on subjugating those natives who still live on the territory of historical Palestine as either second-class citizens or people under occupation, denying them their right to self-determination. 
  1. The IHRA definition of antisemitism and the related legal measures adopted in several countries have been deployed mostly against leftwing and human rights groups supporting Palestinian rights and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, sidelining the very real threat to Jews coming from rightwing white nationalist movements in Europe and the US. The portrayal of the BDS campaign as antisemitic is a gross distortion of what is fundamentally a legitimate non-violent means of struggle for Palestinian rights.
  1. The IHRA definition’s statement that an example of antisemitism is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg, by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” is quite odd. It does not bother to recognise that under international law, the current state of Israel has been an occupying power for over half a century, as recognised by the governments of countries where the IHRA definition is being upheld. It does not bother to consider whether this right includes the right to create a Jewish majority by way of ethnic cleansing and whether it should be balanced against the rights of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the IHRA definition potentially discards as antisemitic all non-Zionist visions of the future of the Israeli state, such as the advocacy of a binational state or a secular democratic one that represents all its citizens equally. Genuine support for the principle of a people’s right to self-determination cannot exclude the Palestinian nation, nor any other. 
  1. We believe that no right to self-determination should include the right to uproot another people and prevent them from returning to their land, or any other means of securing a demographic majority within the state. The demand by Palestinians for their right of return to the land from which they themselves, their parents and grandparents were expelled cannot be construed as antisemitic. The fact that such a demand creates anxieties among Israelis does not prove that it is unjust, nor that it is antisemitic. It is a right recognised by international law as represented in United Nations general assembly resolution 194 of 1948.
  1. To level the charge of antisemitism against anyone who regards the existing state of Israel as racist, notwithstanding the actual institutional and constitutional discrimination upon which it is based, amounts to granting Israel absolute impunity. Israel can thus deport its Palestinian citizens, or revoke their citizenship or deny them the right to vote, and still be immune from the accusation of racism. The IHRA definition and the way it has been deployed prohibit any discussion of the Israeli state as based on ethno-religious discrimination. It thus contravenes elementary justice and basic norms of human rights and international law.
  1. We believe that justice requires the full support of Palestinians’ right to self-determination, including the demand to end the internationally acknowledged occupation of their territories and the statelessness and deprivation of Palestinian refugees. The suppression of Palestinian rights in the IHRA definition betrays an attitude upholding Jewish privilege in Palestine instead of Jewish rights, and Jewish supremacy over Palestinians instead of Jewish safety. We believe that human values and rights are indivisible and that the fight against antisemitism should go hand in hand with the struggle on behalf of all oppressed peoples and groups for dignity, equality and emancipation.

Samir Abdallah

Filmmaker, Paris, France

Nadia Abu El-Haj
Ann Olin Whitney Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, USA

Lila Abu-Lughod
Joseph L Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University, USA

Bashir Abu-Manneh
Reader in Postcolonial Literature, University of Kent, UK

Gilbert Achcar
Professor of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK

Nadia Leila Aissaoui
Sociologist and Writer on feminist issues, Paris, France

Mamdouh Aker
Board of Trustees, Birzeit University, Palestine

Mohamed Alyahyai
Writer and novelist, Oman

Suad Amiry
Writer and Architect, Ramallah, Palestine

Sinan Antoon
Associate Professor, New York University, Iraq-US

Talal Asad
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

Hanan Ashrawi
Former Professor of Comparative Literature, Birzeit University, Palestine

Aziz Al-Azmeh
University Professor Emeritus, Central European University, Vienna, Austria

Abdullah Baabood
Academic and Researcher in Gulf studies, Oman

Nadia Al-Bagdadi
Professor of History, Central European University, Vienna

Sam Bahour
Writer, Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine

Zainab Bahrani
Edith Porada Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, USA

Rana Barakat
Assistant Professor of History, Birzeit University, Palestine

Bashir Bashir
Associate Professor of Political Theory, Open University of Israel, Raanana, State of Israel

Taysir Batniji
Artist-Painter, Gaza, Palestine and Paris, France

Tahar Ben Jelloun
Writer, Paris, France

Mohammed Bennis
Poet, Mohammedia, Morocco

Mohammed Berrada
Writer and Literary Critic, Rabat, Morocco

Omar Berrada
Writer and Curator, New York, USA

Amahl Bishara
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University, USA

Anouar Brahem
Musician and Composer, Tunisia

Salem Brahimi
Filmaker, Algeria-France

Aboubakr Chraïbi
Professor, Arabic Studies Department, INALCO, Paris, France

Selma Dabbagh
Writer, London, UK

Izzat Darwazeh
Professor of Communications Engineering, University College London, UK

Marwan Darweish
Associate Professor, Coventry University, UK

Beshara Doumani
Mahmoud Darwish Professor of Palestinian Studies and of History, Brown University, USA

Haidar Eid
Associate Professor of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine

Ziad Elmarsafy
Professor of Comparative Literature, King’s College London, UK

Noura Erakat
Assistant Professor, Africana Studies and Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, USA

Samera Esmeir
Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Khaled Fahmy
FBA, Professor of Modern Arabic Studies, University of Cambridge, UK

Ali Fakhrou
Academic and writer, Bahrain

Randa Farah
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Western University, Canada

Leila Farsakh
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

Khaled Furani
Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, Tel-Aviv University, State of Israel

Burhan Ghalioun
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Sorbonne 3, Paris, France

Asad Ghanem
Professor of Political science, Haifa University, State of Israel

Honaida Ghanim
General Director of the Palestinian forum for Israeli Studies Madar, Ramallah, Palestine

George Giacaman
Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine

Rita Giacaman
Professor, Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University, Palestine

Amel Grami
Professor of Gender Studies, Tunisian University, Tunis

Subhi Hadidi
Literary Critic, Syria-France

Ghassan Hage
Professor of Anthropology and Social theory, University of Melbourne, Australia

Samira Haj
Emeritus Professor of History, CSI/Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

Yassin Al-Haj Saleh
Writer, Syria

Dyala Hamzah
Associate Professor of Arab History, Université de Montréal, Canada

Rema Hammami
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Birzeit University, Palestine

Sari Hanafi
Professor of Sociology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Adam Hanieh
Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK

Kadhim Jihad Hassan
Writer and translator, Professor at INALCO-Sorbonne, Paris, France

Nadia Hijab
Author and human rights advocate, London, UK

Jamil Hilal
Writer, Ramallah, Palestine

Serene Hleihleh
Cultural Activist, Jordan-Palestine

Bensalim Himmich
Academic, novelist and writer, Morocco

Khaled Hroub
Professor in Residence of Middle Eastern Studies, Northwestern University, Qatar

Mahmoud Hussein
Writer, Paris, France

Lakhdar Ibrahimi
Paris School of International Affairs, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, France

Annemarie Jacir
Filmmaker, Palestine

Islah Jad
Associate Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Palestine

Lamia Joreige
Visual Artist and Filmaker, Beirut, Lebanon

Amal Al-Jubouri
Writer, Iraq

Mudar Kassis
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Birzeit University, Palestine

Nabeel Kassis
Former Professor of Physics and Former President, Birzeit University, Palestine

Muhammad Ali Khalidi
Presidential Professor of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, USA

Rashid Khalidi
Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University, USA

Michel Khleifi
Filmmaker, Palestine-Belgium

Elias Khoury
Writer, Beirut, Lebanon

Nadim Khoury
Associate Professor of International Studies, Lillehammer University College, Norway

Rachid Koreichi
Artist-Painter, Paris, France

Adila Laïdi-Hanieh
Director General, The Palestinian Museum, Palestine

Rabah Loucini
Professor of History, Oran University, Algeria

Rabab El-Mahdi
Associate Professor of Political Science, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Ziad Majed
Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and IR, American University of Paris, France

Jumana Manna
Artist, Berlin, Germany

Farouk Mardam Bey
Publisher, Paris, France

Mai Masri
Palestinian filmmaker, Lebanon

Mazen Masri
Senior Lecturer in Law, City University of London, UK

Dina Matar
Reader in Political Communication and Arab Media, SOAS, University of London, UK

Hisham Matar
Writer, Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, USA

Khaled Mattawa
Poet, William Wilhartz Professor of English Literature, University of Michigan, USA

Karma Nabulsi
Professor of Politics and IR, University of Oxford, UK

Hassan Nafaa
Emeritus Professor of Political science, Cairo University, Egypt

Nadine Naber
Professor, Deptartment of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Issam Nassar
Professor, Illinois State University, USA

Sari Nusseibeh
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Al-Quds University, Palestine

Najwa Al-Qattan
Emeritus Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University, USA

Omar Al-Qattan
Filmmaker, Chair of The Palestinian Museum & the A.M.Qattan Foundation, UK

Nadim N Rouhana
Professor of International Affairs, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA

Ahmad Sa’adi
Professor, Haifa, State of Israel

Rasha Salti
Independent Curator, Writer, Researcher of Art and Film, Germany-Lebanon

Elias Sanbar
Writer, Paris, France

Farès Sassine
Professor of Philosophy and Literary Critic, Beirut, Lebanon

Sherene Seikaly
Associate Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Samah Selim
Associate Professor, A, ME & SA Languages & Literatures, Rutgers University, USA

Leila Shahid
Writer, Beirut, Lebanon

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
Lawrence D Biele Chair in Law, Hebrew University, State of Israel

Anton Shammas
Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Yara Sharif
Senior Lecturer, Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, UK

Hanan Al-Shaykh
Writer, London, UK

Raja Shehadeh
Lawyer and Writer, Ramallah, Palestine

Gilbert Sinoué
Writer, Paris, France

Ahdaf Soueif
Writer, Egypt/UK

Mayssoun Sukarieh
Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, King’s College London, UK

Elia Suleiman
Filmmaker, Palestine-France

Nimer Sultany
Reader in Public Law, SOAS, University of London, UK

Jad Tabet
Architect and Writer, Beirut, Lebanon

Jihan El-Tahri
Filmmaker, Egypt

Salim Tamari
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University, Palestine

Wassyla Tamzali
Writer, Contemporary Art Producer, Algeria

Fawwaz Traboulsi
Writer, Beirut Lebanon

Dominique Vidal
Historian and Journalist, Palestine-France

Haytham El-Wardany
Writer, Egypt-Germany

Said Zeedani
Emeritus Associate Professor of Philosophy, Al-Quds University, Palestine

Rafeef Ziadah
Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East, SOAS, University of London, UK

Raef Zreik
Minerva Humanities Centre, Tel-Aviv University, State of Israel

Elia Zureik
Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University, Canada

 

 

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Political Caption Competition

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Working class people who smoke cannabis can go fuck themselves, but the precious wee middle class kids who gobble down the Party Pills must come home safe, especially seeing as they can’t afford to buy a house!

 

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Wednesday – 2nd December 2020

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics, 5G conspiracy theories, the virus is a bioweapon, some weird bullshit about the UN taking over the world  and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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CHILD POVERTY MONITOR SHOWS BOLD ACTION REQUIRED TO TURN TIDE ON POVERTY

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Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the 2020 Child Poverty Monitor report released today by the Children’s Commission, Otago University and the JR McKenzie Trust, and agrees with the finding that ‘bold action’ is required to turn the tide on child poverty.
The report shows that 56% of children living in families receiving financial assistance don’t always have enough healthy food to eat, and children living in high deprivation areas are twice as likely to end up in hospital than children in lower deprivation areas.
The report shows that to meet child poverty reduction targets by 2028, there needs to be ‘significant changes to the systems and structures to help families adequately provide for their children’. 20.8% of children currently live in low-income households, double the Government’s target of 10%-.
“While there have been some positive steps forward by Government, this report demonstrates we need urgent change and bold leadership to ensure no child is left behind,” says Professor Innes Asher, CPAG’s Health spokesperson. “We agree with the report that there is a need for ‘sustained, transformative action’ particularly in relation to adequate incomes so every child has the same opportunities to thrive”.
The release of the report coincides with the Child Poverty Action Group’s stocktake of progress by the Government in its implementation of recommendations by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.
The CPAG stocktake found that of the 42 key recommendations, none have been fully implemented.
“After nearly two years since the release of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommendations, progress has been too slow, and it is to the detriment of children,” says stocktake co-author Professor Asher who also served on WEAG.
“Our inadequate and ineffective welfare system continues to entrench poverty for children in households relying on income support. Children cannot wait – their minds, emotions, bodies are constantly developing and this development can be affected by chronic stress and lack of essentials,” says Professor Asher
“We share the Government’s vision of a New Zealand that is the best place in the world to be a child but based on current policy settings, we’re not going to get there. We need bold action, and we need it now”.
-(As measured by households below 50% of median income, fixed-line, after housing costs).
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Sick leave extension needed now – E Tu

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E tū is calling on the Government to bring forward their plans to double the minimum sick leave entitlement, after yesterday’s announcement that the change will likely be in place in mid-2021.

E tū members have been campaigning to increase the minimum leave from five to 10 days, including by supporting the political parties that campaigned on the change in the general election.

Wellington cleaner Malia Motusaga is thrilled that the Government has confirmed their plan to increase minimum sick leave.

“The extra five days will benefit me and my kids – now I know that if I get sick I can stay home, and if any of my kids or my husband are sick I can look after them, too. I feel really good about it,” Malia says.

“I always run out of sick leave. I use it all up when the kids get sick, so there’s nothing there for me. When I go off sick, I go on leave without pay. I will really appreciate those extra five days.

“I just want to say thank you to the Government – It means a lot to us workers, especially us that have families and young kids.”

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that while it is a great development, the Government should pass the law under urgency.

“This isn’t a complicated piece of legislation, or a new program, it’s mostly a case of changing the number ‘five’ to the number ‘10’ in legislation,” Annie says.

“We know the golden rule for a successful COVID-19 recovery: ‘Go hard and go early.’ This needs to extend to our most vulnerable workers now more than ever.

“Not giving workers enough time to look after themselves when they have any sickness, especially if they have COVID-19 symptoms, is a recipe for disaster. The Government have promised to do something great, but they must not do it too late.”

Annie says that sick leave legislation needs to be strengthened in other ways as well.

“Workers should be able to accumulate their leave for longer than the current statutory minimum of 20 days. E tū is calling for this to be extended to 25 days as a start.

“Sick leave also needs to be available to all workers immediately, not just after six months. Workers need to be able to take time off when they are sick no matter how long they have been with a particular employer.

“Without changing the eligibility, workers who begin their job after these changes become law wouldn’t get their ten days sick leave until 2022. Fixing the problem is simply more urgent than that.”

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SAFE is shocked to find MPI advertising for a live export job vacancy

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Last year, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) embarked on a review of the live export industry, the outcome of which could be a ban on the trade. Despite this, MPI is currently advertising for a manager to look after live animal exports.
The ministry says this is a team that’s undergoing ‘a period of growth’, foreshadowing a continuation of live animal exports.
SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says MPI is sending mixed messages to the public.
“The Ministry is operating as if they already know what the outcome of the review will be,” says Ashton.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her concern about live export, but all the signals her Government and MPI are sending suggest this is a trade that will continue.”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the review of the live export trade in June 2019, following an ABC News exposé that showed New Zealand and Australian supplied cows suffering in Sri Lanka.
The review was delayed due to the emergence of COVID-19, and the Minister said its release should be expected after the election.
Ashton says this Government is barely into a new term and has lost its integrity.
“Those of us who have serious concerns about live export participated in the review in good faith. We’ve lost faith in that process.”
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GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – The Storm

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Does this parody on politics, provide prescience for Prime Minister Ardern?

For Australia is it to be: Trade v Security.  China v America.  

He said:

In a swipe at Australia’s human rights record after the release of the Brereton inquiry report into alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman and information department deputy director Zhao Lijian called for Australia to be held accountable.

“These reports point to the hypocrisy of some Western countries who like to consider themselves as guardians of human rights and freedom,” Mr Zhao said last week. The comments were later supported and repeated by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Then, he said:

Australia has demanded China apologise for posting a fake picture on a government Twitter account that depicted an Australian soldier murdering an Afghan child.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Beijing should be “utterly ashamed” for sharing the “repugnant” image. 

Chronology of most recent downpour:

  • China with indignity refers Brereton inquiry.
  • Australia with indignity, refers to a caricature capturing atrocity.
  • Changing the goal post?  Two different issues here.
  • Perhaps but that’s not the point of this post.

This rough sea (above) in the channels of diplomacy follows a series of blows Australia has endured from China – one of its biggest trading partners.

How Big?  In 2018, annual two-way trade between China and Australia reached almost AUD 215 billion. Iron ore, gas and coal make up the bulk of Australian exports to China (more than AUD 79 billion), but Australian service industries – led by education and tourism – are a growing part of the trade relationship.

Simultaneously stormy weather looms in South China Seas. 

Jul 26, 2020 — Australia says China’s claims in the South China Sea are illegal.

27 Jul 2020 – Australia and the United States this month hardened their position on the South China Sea, where Washington has accused Beijing of attempting to build a “maritime empire” in the potentially energy-rich waters, despite regional concerns.  

27 August 2020: In Canberra. More turbulence.

Wang Xining, the deputy head of mission at China’s embassy in Australia, said China saw Australia’s move to begin an investigation (into source of virus) as unfair because it had relied on the presumption Wuhan was the source of the virus.  

24 November 2020. Storm approaching; batten down the hatches.  

Mr Morrison called for China to reopen the lines of communication, which have fallen silent since Australia’s call for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, and resulted in China claiming issues with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports.

The Storm has arrived.

China’s tariffs slam door shut on Australian wine’s biggest export market

Not only wine to China which takes 39% of Aussie exports, but 95% of crayfish out of Victoria and then there’s the grain tariffs and a warning by Chinese government to its students eyeing education in Australia to be careful of victimisation.

The eye of a storm is – calm?   

Nov 10, 2020 — Fortescue Metals Group has secured 12 new agreements with Chinese steel …

But Andrew Forrest has demonstrated several times that he puts trade between his mining empire – first.  As early as April 2020 he invited the Chinese consul general to a soiree – delivering his own version of China relations, much to the chagrin of Australia’s diplomatic strategy. 

And the cause of this Storm?  

24 November 2020

Australia has always insisted it can balance its security relationship with the US alongside its trading arrangements with China but there are fears Beijing will continue to use Australia’s exports as it further retaliates against Australia’s national security policies.

Or is it politics?

27 July 2020

Australia jumped from its perch of neutrality to align itself with the United States in supporting UNCLOS and the 2016 Award by the Arbitral Tribunal that heard the case brought by the Philippines against China. However, Australia went further and was more precise in its rejection of the legal basis of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.

1 December 2020

Australia will begin testing hypersonic missiles that can travel at least five times the speed of sound within months under a new agreement with the United States to develop prototypes of the next-generation weapons.

 

My mediation? 

Perhaps America can take all Aussie exports previously destined for China?

Afterall!  What are mates for?

 

Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland police spies; currently Honorary consul for an African state; Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in NZ and has international business interests.

 

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China ratcheting up tension with Australia 

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Well, that escalated quickly…

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called ‘arrogant’ for demanding apology over image

The editor of China’s state-run English language newspaper has posted an incendiary piece calling Prime Minister Scott Morrison “ridiculously arrogant” and saying he should “slap himself in the face” on live television.

The searing editorial comes after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a doctored image on Twitter showing an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of a young child holding a lamb.

…that is not the image you post if you are trying to call tension down, that is the image you post if you are attempting to goad reaction so offence can be taken on purpose.

China has thrown a gun down on the ground and told Australia to pick it up.

China is our Economic Overlord, Australia is our loud mouthed rude neighbour and America is our 5 Eyes Political Master, so to think we will be immune from such volatility between China, Australia and America is delusional.

To date NZ has managed to keep out of any direct confrontation with China because China bought the National Party and the National Party did everything in their decade of power to bend over backwards to China.

Key put all our cows in one Beijing paddock off the back of Helen’s free trade deal, and we’ve been trapped ever since.

The fact there was an alleged Chinese spy inside the National Party caucus highlights how compromised National had become.

With their investment in National wasted, soft power turns to hard force very quickly.

Trump’s erratic and increasingly desperate thrashing around while there are two carrier task forces in the South China Sea is an enormous uncertainty and recipe for miscalculation.

China could ‘poke out our eyes’ in 3 ways.

Economically – They could strangle off exports and hurt the economy.

Militarily – They could shoot down an American satellite launched by RocketLabs from a submarine off the East Coast.

Domestically – We know Chinese newspaper editors in NZ all take their editorial stance directly from the Chinese Government and calling for mass demonstrations against the Government for whatever perceived insult would cause enormous upheaval that could easily spill into something ugly.

NZ-Asians face the most overt racism in NZ, there is a huge tension beneath the mild surface of NZ society, and we aren’t prepared for if it ruptures from geopolitical tensions.

My gut feeling is that China isn’t imperialist and won’t invade anyone outside what it claims is its territorial waters, and would instead look to seize Hong Kong and perhaps Taiwan and then aggressively demand if anyone is going to stop them. Would Biden really spill American blood to retake Taiwan?

We must be a voice for peace and the champion for International co-operation and respect for the rule of law because conflict will create social reverberations we are not ready for. However, as a liberal progressive Democracy, we also have an obligation to speak out against China’s human rights abuses and if that costs us trade, then that is the price we pay to be a good global citizen.

China is rapidly becoming the diplomatic crisis for us right now.

It’s difficult for us to be critical of a Chinese tweet but not the Australian war crimes that inspired the tweet.

 

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GUEST BOG: Chris Leitch – Banks, Borrowing, Bonds, Silly Statements and Raging House Fires

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Former NZ Prime Minister, John Key, while touring an engineering factory shortly after the Christchurch earthquake said ”If printing money is the way to go, and that’s going to bail out our problems in Christchurch, why don’t we just print lots of money and give it to every New Zealander and they’ll have a great Christmas. The reality is, it’s a bit of a fool’s paradise.”

The reality is, actually, that statement proved how illiterate Mr Key, now the chairman of ANZ Bank New Zealand and director of ANZ Bank Australia, was about money – or economics at all for that matter. Perhaps that’s now changed.

Because, despite Mr Key’s silly attempt to ridicule to idea back then, just eight years later the Reserve Bank is printing $128 billion in new electronic money over the next two years.

Not a word anywhere you’ll note, about ‘funny money’ – that charge laid at the door of Social Credit who have been championing the use of Reserve Bank money to support government spending for neigh on one hundred years.

But the way the Reserve Bank is channelling that newly created money, is fuelling a bush fire in house prices.

Instead of giving it to the government, which it could do by simply depositing it into the government’s account at the Reserve Bank (as a non repayable overdraft) and letting the government spend it into the economy on building infrastructure, providing more resources for hospitals, loans to small businesses, or funding state house building, it’s making banks awash with money by buying their holdings of government bonds (IOU’s) – some of which they only acquired a few days earlier by lending the government money they created out of thin air (wonder if John Key knows that), the same process the Reserve Bank uses to create the money to purchase the bonds from them.

Consequently the banks are creating even more money to lend on housing, driving prices ever higher. Their money creation increased the money supply in New Zealand last year by $32 billion.

The premium it’s costing for that money-go-round is around $11 billion, a cool profit for the banks, and roughly half what the government expects to spend on health this year. 

All because the Reserve Bank and the Government are supposed to stay at arm’s length – a lightbulb moment somebody had in the mid 1980s because it seemed like a good idea at the time and which nobody appears brave enough to challenge. Why not?

 It’s time we did.

Since being nationalised in 1936 the Reserve Bank had existed quite happily as simply another government department doing its job – overseeing the financial system, providing the government and the country’s producer boards with a virtually interest free overdraft (which was great for our agricultural exports), and not contributing even more to the profits of the commercial banks by paying them interest on money in their settlement accounts (another silly idea from that lightbulb moment).

It’s time we wound the clock back for the future.

To when Michael Joseph Savage and John A Lee got stuck in to the task of building state houses, 5,000 in their first three years in government, financed by non-repayable no-interest Reserve Bank credit.

To when government departments were funded by government, not forced to borrow money on the open market, contributing to profits for fat cats.

To when the Reserve Bank acted to support government policy instead of against it. 

Then the $204 billion borrowing debt and $4 billion annual interest bill the government is wracking up on the way to 2024 could be funded interest and debt free and taxpayers’ money could be spent instead on solving the child poverty crisis, providing free dental care, free urban public transport, better health care, or a multitude of other possibilities.

As Reserve Bank Governor, Adrian Orr, said in an interview with Bloomberg in April “Direct monetization, I know, has been heresy, taboo for a long time, but it’s only a long time in our lifetime.” “It’s not a mysterious issue. It’s just not how we’ve run business.”  

It’s an idea that has a growing tidal wave of support, including from former Finance Minister Michael Cullen, former Australian Treasurer, Paul Keating, BERL chief economist Ganesh Nana, and economist Shamubeel Eaqub.

 

It appears Social Credit might have been right all along.

 

Chris Leitch is the Leader of Social Credit 

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GUEST BLOG: Arthur Taylor – The lengths corrections will go to keep prisoners ignorant of their rights

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Was going through some old records from Pare looking for stuff for my book when I came across this…how Corrections used to do its utmost to restrict my contact with other prisoners so I couldn’t educate them.
At one stage they even built me a jail within a jail there and held me in solitary for the best part of a year. Now the subject of a $500,000 claim for damages to be heard in February 2022 in Wellington High Court, anticipated to take two weeks.
The Brownie mentioned is still inside doing 28 years but Wayne is out and doing well and I talk to him often helping to readjust to life in the community and dealing with Probation:
“This is the sort of nonsense I have to deal with on a daily basis. Corrections hates me assisting other prisoners with their legal cases, other problems and complaints so they try to make it as difficult as possible. It’s one of the main reasons they hold me in Pare Max when I’m 3 points off minimum security now, to keep my contact with other prisoners to the bare minimum.
Here is a trail of correspondence relating to the latest one. I’ve been helping the two guys in question for a long time, Wayne and I have been writing to each other for years and Brownie ever since he came to Pare. I recently sent them copies of supporting material they needed, like Corrections PCO 1 complaints procedure and instructions on how Corrections must respond to complaints, along with a copy of the up-to-date Corrections Regulations to Brownie and a copy of the Corrections Act to Wayne.
Brownie’s in B Block here and Wayne’s in Rimutaka which is the biggest prison (numbers wise) in NZ. In the High Medium Units there they try and rule through intimidation and fear (specially of being uprooted and sent to Pare) and jump all over anyone they think is a troublemaker.
Unfortunately for them, as well as muscle, Wayne’s got a good brain on him and is a thinker too. (His prison moniker is “Wayniac”!
I handed this mail in as per normal to Corrections to deliver (all the correct postage pre-paid) and after I heard they hadn’t got it I made inquiries as to where it was. This letter from Andy Langley came back. I’d say he’s had legal advice he couldn’t stop the mail to the guys and has looked around for some bullshit excuse to try and cover up why he didn’t notify me he had withheld the mail from the post.
After all he couldn’t use the REAL reason— that they don’t want prisoners having information that enables them to challenge Corrections on the inhumane treatment many of them are subjected to and stand up to bad treatment and abuse.
As you can see I don’t take things like this lying down and have written back to him and asked to see a Visiting Justice.
Unfortunately all this is very time consuming and takes me away from other work— but it has to be done because I’ve learnt from experience the moment they get away with something like this— it encourages them to push on with bigger and badder things! Looks like Andy Langley’s much vaunted “new broom” is Tom Sherlock’s old one – sporting a new handle by way of disguise though……”
Arthur Taylor is TDBs Prisoner Rights Blogger
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To Apologise For Your Country’s History, Is To Admit You Do Not Understand It.

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THE DECISION BY STUFF to publish an all-purpose mea culpa for its racism towards Maori will be regretted. That regret will be fuelled in part by future generations’ acute embarrassment at the simplistic anachronisms which constitute the apologists’ central “argument”. Mostly, however, it will be fuelled by the effects of the highly racialised backlash it is bound to provoke. It is clear that a certain privileged layer of New Zealand society has learned nothing from the recent political convulsions besetting both the United Kingdom and the United States. Spit upon the most cherished beliefs and achievements of your “deplorables” and – eventually – they will spit back.

Let us deal with the anachronisms first. The word itself simply means: “a chronological inconsistency in some arrangement, especially a juxtaposition of persons, events, objects, language terms and customs from different time periods.” To judge the actions of historical actors by the prevailing moral precepts of the present is not only philosophically impermissible, but it also betrays the writer’s fundamental ignorance of the history he is purporting to condemn.

The founders of The Press, The Dominion, The Evening Post, The Taranaki Herald and The Waikato Times; the editors they appointed; and the journalists they hired; were all children of their times. They were living in a colony of the British Empire and in their writing they evinced the beliefs and values of what historians have dubbed “The Age of Imperialism”.

The conquest of other peoples’ lands, and the ruthless dismantling of cultures that inevitably followed, was justified by the imperialists’ unshakeable conviction that the steady advance of Western Civilisation across the planet lay at the very heart of human “progress”. The corollary to this belief in Western superiority was the notion that any resistance on the part of those the imperialist poet par excellence, Rudyard Kipling, called “lesser breeds without the law” was an unacceptable impediment to progress that must, at all costs, be crushed.

Which is not to say that these imperialist beliefs were accepted uncritically by everyone. There were contemporaries of the men who founded New Zealand’s colonial press who, while undoubtedly accepting the racial hierarchies proclaimed by the science of the day, nevertheless recognised the theft of other people’s property when they saw it – and weren’t afraid to say so.

If the white races were so self-evidently superior to the rest of humanity, these critics argued, then surely they were honour-bound to uphold the core civilisational values of which they were so inordinately proud? Promises, freely given, must be kept. Rights universally shared must be universally acknowledged. Equality, once proclaimed, cannot be rescinded. It was people of this temperament – a tiny minority of the settler population – who felt moved to write to those same colonial newspapers condemning with considerable force the destruction of Parihaka and the detention without trial of the settlement’s leaders.

It is also a fact that the colonial newspapers printed their letters. Proof, one might think, that the Pakeha New Zealanders of 140 years ago were not all the slavering racist monsters portrayed by Stuff’s current crop of anachronistic moralisers.

Which is not to say that right up until the childhoods of people still alive today, those racial hierarchies were upheld as scientific truths. Not even the unqualified evil of the Holocaust and the eugenicist murder of innocents by Nazi doctors in the 1930s and 40s, was enough to shake the white supremacist prejudices of the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese imperialists who attempted to pick up where they left off before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

It took the breaking of the imperialists’ grip in India, Africa, Indo-China and Indonesia – by Indians, Africans, Indo-Chinese and Indonesians – bolstered by the scholarship of post-Holocaust anthropologists, historians and political philosophers, to upend finally the racial hierarchies that had justified white supremacy for upwards of four centuries. That, and the fight for civil rights in the belly of the American beast that quickened radically the debate over the place of race in the development of the United States – and the whole of the “Western World”.

It was not an easy fight. Ideas that have, generation after generation, been ingrained in the minds of children by their parents, taught in school textbooks, and articulated forcefully by teachers, preachers, politicians and journalists of every stripe, are extremely hard to kill. All the more so when the identity of those to whom they have been transmitted is bound up inextricably with the pride and self-confidence they communicate, and the power they purport to guarantee. The simple idea that “The West is the Best” is not contradicted – or apologised for – without unleashing resentments and hatreds of punishing force.

Reading the various essays published in the Stuff newspapers, it becomes clear very quickly that the writers possess not the slightest insight or empathy for the settler society they condemn; nor understanding of the 150 years of “racist” journalism they apologise for. What, one is moved to wonder, do they see when they look upon the works of their ancestors? The roads and the railways? The public buildings? The farms and factories? The family histories of struggle, disappointment and ultimate success? The sacrifice of tens-of-thousands of young men in wars whose casualty-lists reduce the New Zealand Wars to a skirmish.

A few years ago, I recall describing to an academic friend from Turkey the “battle” of Rangiaowhia, and explaining the discrepancy between the accounts of Pakeha and Maori historians as to the number killed. Was it twelve or seventeen? “Thousand?”, my companion asked, confused. “No, no,” I replied, embarrassed, “just twelve or seventeen.” She shook her head in quiet disbelief.

To apologise for one’s history is to invite those wronged by it to seek either restitution or retribution – or, maybe, both. The problem is, that what was taken by a combination of force and trickery is unlikely to be reclaimed by anything else. The children of the settlers who built “New Zealand” on the body of “Aotearoa”, understand in that special place known to all human-beings who love their homeland, that the apologies being offered by these radical journalists (who clearly despise everything “New Zealand” stands for) are a warning of deep and tragic upheavals to come.

Some of these Pakeha will reluctantly abandon their country. Some will retreat deeper into what is still its racist heartland. And some will struggle to preserve the nation they have grown up in. A nation whose true history is one of Maori and Pakeha finding more and more to be proud of in the way each ethnicity has adapted to the presence of the other. In the course of that history many apologies have been earned, and some have been given, but not, in the end, for being caught up in historical forces too vast for blame, and too permanent for guilt.

 

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Waatea News Column: New Oranga Tamariki Footage and censorship a shock – Jacinda must step in now

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Explosive new Oranga Tamariki footage was released on Newsroom late last week and before the weekend, Oranga Tamariki had a Judge censor the footage and have had the story removed on the grounds that it identified the 4 Māori children at the centre of the latest uplift controversy.

While the identities of the 4 children must always be kept hidden, Newsroom argues vehemently that the identities WERE hidden and I can attest that after watching the footage before it was removed, their identities were kept hidden throughout the documentary so if one were cynical, one could suggest that once again, Oranga Tamariki are trying to use safeguards for children to actually protect Oranga Tamariki’s reputation.

Newsroom are challenging the censorship.

What this latest deplorable case shows us is a neoliberal experiment now politically panicking.

Oranga Tamariki are feeling so much pressure for the casual manner in which they uplift Māori children that they are now second-guessing and reviewing all recent uplift placements.

In this latest case, 4 Māori children had been told by Oranga Tamariki that the white elderly family they were being foster parented by was a permanent placement and the white elderly couple bought a larger house and started looking after and bonding with these children.

That bonding occurred for 2 years!

Then, as Oranga Tamariki started facing immense criticism over their uplift of Māori infants from mothers right after giving birth, they reviewed all recent placements and came up with a u-turn process they thought would pacify critics and so the decision was made to uplift these 4 Māori children back into a Māori family they didn’t know based on the argument that the elderly white couple were ‘too white’ to look after the 4 Māori children.

My guess is that this is about to trigger a backlash that will make the Orewa Speech look well reasoned.

The fundamental problem is that the philosophical values on which Oranga Tamariki were built upon are deeply flawed.

The argument was that using big data algorithms, MSD could predict long term downstream costs to the State, and those large downstream costs justified uplifting children from harm as quickly as possible.

To enable that, parental rights over their own children were legally watered down to allow Court action without a parent present. Parents weren’t eligible for legal aid if they did have their children uplifted and the only check and balance to these exceptional powers was the Children’s Commissioner who has written two damning reports on the counterproductive monster Oranga Tamariki has mutated into.

Let’s be clear, no more Māori babies or children should be uplifted to anyone other than a Māori organisation, but in cases where placement have already occurred and children told that it’s a permanent placement, a far more nuanced approach needs to be taken in regards to the welfare of those children and the blunt uplift mechanism is not one of them!

At this stage, Jacinda must step in and show real leadership. If we are printing $100billion to allow property speculators to price entire generations out of homeownership, Jacinda can throw a spare billion directly at Oranga Tamariki for an emergency intervention.

1 – No more use of big data to predict which child gets uplifted.

2 – Any uplift of a Māori child needs to see the child go to local Iwi who are fully funded for such care with a view for whanau ora to provide wrap-around one-stop services with the family to help get those children back safely.

3 – That those very same Iwi services are available for pakeha children being uplifted as well, because a Pakeha child uplifted to a Tikanga Māori welfare agency has far more chance of succeeding than a Pakeha child left to the cruel bluntness of neoliberalism as a social policy.

4 – All Māori child placements that have occurred with white families where the children have been told it is permanent should work towards a reintegration plan with Māori family, but that should be a shared custody and agreed process with all parties.

5 – The Government has an urgent emergency meeting with Maoridom to work out a new system because Oranga Tamariki is a broken model that causes more harm than good.

It breaks my heart that vulnerable children should be victimised by bureaucratic political panic. We are failing our children right now at a time when there is a Royal Commission into the historic abuse of children by the state, can no one see the irony of holding our past abuses of the State to account while perpertating them again in the present?

Our grandfathers bleed and died on foreign shores to stop a State having the kind of power over the individual that Oranga Tamarki wields with such ruthlessness.

What is the point of Jacinda’s kindness if it can’t stop suffering?

 

First published on Waatea News.

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Political Caption Competition

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Labour-Green Climate Emergency Declaration.

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Tuesday – 1st December 2020

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics, 5G conspiracy theories, the virus is a bioweapon, some weird bullshit about the UN taking over the world  and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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Government’s shameful record on implementing their own WEAG recommendations – AAAP

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Back in early 2019 The Welfare Expert Advisory Group made 42 recommendations to transform the welfare system in it’s report titled ‘Whakamana Tangata’. Child Poverty Action Group’s own research report released today found that only 4 of those recommendations have been fully implemented.

 

“We’re not surprised at the research report that was released by CPAG today, as it’s indicative of what many of us have been saying for a while now. The government isn’t doing enough in this space to ensure that people have access to enough resources so they can make the best possible decisions for themselves, and their families” says coordinator of Auckland Action Against Poverty Brooke Stanley Pao.

 

“This Labour government is all talk and no action. The WEAG recommendations should be treated as the bare minimum in terms of transforming our welfare system given it’s a pre-Covid document”.

 

“They’ve already had one term to address this and are not looking to do so in their next term. They talk about the Families Package but the Winter Energy Payment is only a payment offered during Winter. They talk about how it’s going to take longer than ‘one term’ to resolve poverty but are happy to print $125B which will prop up our housing market during a time when we’re experiencing a housing crisis. Make it make sense”.

 

“The government has the mandate and unbridled power to make decisions that ensure everyone in this country has enough to thrive. Jacinda keeps referring to lifting 18,000 children out of poverty but when the full number of children living in poverty in 2018 was at almost 250,000 it’s not good enough. That was 2 years ago, and that number is likely to have increased. As the Child Poverty Reduction Minister she needs to stop throwing these numbers around as if it’s something to be proud of”.

 

“We need a government that centres the needs of our most marginalised groups – we need liveable incomes and a commitment from them to building enough public housing to address the public housing waitlist of 20K households. There is too much at stake for the communities we here at Auckland Action Against Poverty serve to accept anything less than this”.

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