Just when you think that events can sink no lower or become more absurd, reality kicks in to prove that indeed there are still more depths to be plumbed.

Two definitions of “smoke and mirrors” more than adequately sum up the situations we confront but which politicians, media and self-proclaimed experts prefer to squelch and sweep under the carpet.

“The obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information.”

“Something intended to disguise or draw attention away from an embarrassing or unpleasant issue.” 

This past week has provided a multitude of perfect examples.

In its usual ritual of irrational obsession with Israel, the United Nations General Assembly once again displayed its irrelevance by passing resolutions aimed at the world body’s one and only Jewish State to the exclusion of any condemnation of any of the other members. This has become such a regular farce that one could be excused for asking as to why anyone should be still upset by these acts of imbecilic ignorance. There are several scenarios which illustrate the lethargic non-responses on the part of the diminishing moral minority.

First, is the refusal to take effective monetary punitive action against an organisation which has not only been corrupted but which consumes increasing billions of taxpayers’ money every year. Instead of taking a stand in support of democratic and human rights, the General Assembly has instead been subverted by a majority which may pay lip service to these ideals but which in practice are promoters of the exact opposite. If the major funders of the UN which consist in the main of the democracies were to withdraw funds the UN would either wither or reform. As there is no prospect of this happening we can only assume that in due course it will go the way of the discredited League of Nations which also refused to defend small democracies and instead preferred to kowtow to bullies, despots and extortionists.

It is time once again to draw attention to the dismal voting record of New Zealand as far as anti-Israel resolutions are concerned. Every time and without fail it supports the most outrageous lies against Israel and then sanctimoniously pretends that it really loves us. Whenever challenged the usual tired and discredited rote responses trip forth thus revealing a refusal to acknowledge facts and stark uncomfortable truths. Trying to give the same moral equivalence to terror-supporting and inciting groups as well as countries targeted by them is a farce which should have been ditched long ago.

The UN and its associated bodies occupy prime real estate in Jerusalem from where they pontificate and condemn Israel. Whether it is UNRWA perpetuating the Arab refugees or self-appointed representatives interfering in our lives it often seems as though the era of the mandate is still here. Ironically and obscenely, the UN and thus most of the rest of the international community refuse to recognize the status of our Capital, a snub which is renewed annually and reinforced by Resolution 2334 co-sponsored by NZ.

Occasionally, as has happened this year, one or two nations change their votes from agree to abstain or perhaps against censuring Israel. In the overall scheme of things this is an insignificant gesture but listening to our spokespeople one would imagine that finally and at long last common sense and a delayed injection of courage are sweeping through the corridors of the corrupt UN. It is this false euphoria and inability to call out the hypocrisy of the overwhelming majority that continues to create delusionary mirages.

We have only ourselves to blame for this deplorable state of affairs as successive Governments have refused to grasp the nettle and take strong action. This week UN Watch spoke to a Knesset committee about the scandalous situation. It is disgraceful that as we end 2020 most MK’s are still oblivious to and ignorant of the ramifications involved.

These examples of willful inaction and contradictory responses extend to other areas as well.

France, Germany and the UK expressed “concern” over Iran’s plan to boost uranium production. This totally pathetic response, when viewed together with a desire to drop sanctions, should elicit strong Israeli reactions. As far as can be ascertained, none of these countries’ diplomats have been hauled over the carpet by our Foreign Minister. Not making waves has never succeeded in averting genocidal threats in the past.

The Russian Ambassador to Israel made a series of astounding claims the other day. He declared that it is Israel, not Iran which is the problem in the Middle East. He went on to assert that there was no proof Hezbollah had dug terror tunnels into Israeli territory despite the fact that Israel gave him incontrovertible proof that this was indeed the case. Compounding his deliberate ignorance he then claimed that it was Israel which attacked Hezbollah and not the other way around thus proving presumably that the former were warmongers and the latter angels of peace and brotherhood. These statements were so outrageous that even the Foreign Ministry on this occasion was forced to tell him off. That is all very well but in the absence of any disclaimer from the Kremlin itself, one can assume that this limp pat on the wrist was just another useless and futile gesture.

Israeli citizens are being warned against gatherings of large numbers and punitive action which will follow should these virus rules be breached in any way. Can someone therefore explain why Israelis arriving from a designated “red” country such as the UAE should suddenly be deemed “green” and not have to go into quarantine? Now that we are all embracing each other it seems that the powers that be have decided to avoid “embarrassment” is preferable to prevent the spread of covid.

Crowds of returning Israelis at Ben Gurion airport all jammed next to each other as they await embarkation or processing on arrival is another example of saying one thing and doing another. I spoke to a returnee who had originated his trip in Europe and transited via Turkey. He told me that his plane was chock full with tourists arriving from cheap holidays in Turkey. Apparently very few of these returning citizens intended to voluntarily isolate themselves for the required days in their homes, either because they had no facilities to do so or because they gambled on the probability of getting away with it.

Mass weddings and funerals are taking place in the Arab and Charedi communities. Last Friday thousands of Muslim worshippers crowded together on the Temple Mount. No action was taken and subsequent remarks made by Israeli authorities indicated that throwing one’s hands in the air was the only likely response. This exposes the lie that Israel has control over what happens there. Giving in to mob rule certainly does not encourage law-abiding citizens to take pleas for social distancing and mask-wearing seriously.

As further cases of burying inconvenient facts surface with politicians and their media friends blitzing the airwaves with excuses, denials and dubious claims, the inevitable result will be a further erosion in trust and confidence. This can already be seen in the increasing numbers who are suspicious of the speed with which corona vaccines are being rolled out and foisted on a public already highly sceptical of anything peddled by those with vested interests.

Smoke and mirrors indeed.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.