Whether it is something in the water, plain old ignorance or political hypocrisy, whatever the reason, New Zealand has well and truly soiled its reputation when it comes to Israel in recent times.
After a burst of positive publicity during the commemoration of the liberation of Beersheba and Jerusalem by Anzac troops it has been all negative news since then. Any lingering admiration for New Zealand’s participation in liberating Jews from Ottoman despotic tyranny has long since dissipated in the face of unmitigated political back stabbing and insincere expressions of friendship. This was bound to have further repercussions and so it has proven.
In baseball if you have three strikes you are out. If those rules were to apply in the political field the New Zealand Government would be well and truly out of the game. In fact they should be hauled in front of the umpire and given some red cards.
The first strike was co-sponsorship with the likes of Malaysia and Venezuela of the infamous UN Resolution 2334 which laid the groundwork for subsequent delegitimisation of Israel at the United Nations. Enthusiastically promoted by a previous Foreign Minister, with the silent acquiescence of his mute colleagues, this travesty basically delegitimised Jerusalem’s connection to the Jewish People.
This is what the Malaysian Prime Minister stated at a recent rally:
Malaysia will do all it can to save Jerusalem. There are 1.6 billion Muslims the PM said at the rally, to vigorous applause. There are only 13 million Jews. It does not make sense if 1.6 billion lose to the Jews. If we don’t unite, we will be looked down upon.
The Venezuela President attended a meeting in Istanbul of Islamic nations even though Venezuela is not (yet) an Islamic country. His contribution:
The aim of his trip was to evaluate everything that has to do with the solidarity for the Arab people of Palestine facing aggression of the imperialist government, referring to the U.S.
These expressions of desire by New Zealand’s co-sponsors expose the real agenda. It seems however that associating with such stalwart defenders of human rights fazes neither NZ politicians nor entertainers.
The second strike occurred when NZ voted for the annual litany of lies at the UN General Assembly. This hate fest enables the hypocrites of the international community to collectively vent their impotent ignorance against the Middle East’s only true democracy and endorse revisionist historical untruths. To its shame, the country which participated one hundred years ago in setting in motion the return of Jewish sovereignty in its historical homeland, once again joined the immoral majority.
The third strike was a repeat performance at the UN General Assembly when an emergency session demanded that the USA rescind its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. This has unleashed a torrent of incitement, hate and abuse (physical and verbal) not only across the Islamic world but also from parts of Europe. If the latter thinks that it will be safeguarded from terror by joining in the anti Israel hymns of hate, reality will soon prove otherwise. Hiding behind discredited slogans politicians trying to justify dubious decisions merely makes a rotten situation worse.
In a frenzy of “foot shooting,” Abbas and his cronies initiated days of rage and blood in cities and towns controlled by the PA. The subsequent absence of pilgrims and tourists in Bethlehem and Nazareth was of course blamed on Israel and Trump rather than on the bully tactics of the Arabs themselves. None of this naturally seemed to be clear to editorial writers whose pontifications predictably trotted out the usual distortions of reality.
Is it any wonder then that after such a series of “fouls” Israelis should question New Zealand’s friendship? We all know that the actions of the Government do not necessarily represent the opinions of most Kiwis but in the absence of any groundswell of protest it is hard to convince locals that NZ still loves us.
Pounding another nail in the coffin of friendship is the farce surrounding the cancellation of a pop concert by a 21-year-old New Zealand entertainer called Ella Marija Lani Yelich – O’Connor. Never heard of her? Try “Lorde,” which is the name she performs under.
In recent times we have been visited by a succession of pop stars. Those who made it to our shores have all defied the bullies spreading lies about Israel and advocating boycotts. Some however, have jumped on the BDS wagon and subsequently spouted nonsensical accusations which only prove how bereft of any knowledge they have of the real situation here.
In this latest farce at least “Lorde” admitted she basically knew nothing about reality in Israel and it was only after her fans had “educated” her that she suddenly saw the light and understood the complexities of the situation. The only problem is that the BDS bullies using social media bombarded her with so much disinformation that the poor young lady took fright. Instead of her handlers keeping a steady hand they panicked and the intended tour in June 2018 was canned.
The tactics employed by the boycott promoters are the well and truly tried ones of intimidation. These days social media can spread fear and loathing like wildfire. Back in the era of Nazi Europe not so long ago the same delegitimisation of Jews was spread by newspapers and radio. This proved very effective in motivating the masses to boycott, burn books and buildings and ultimately to eliminate those branded as a threat to humanity. These days it’s much easier to spread false narratives and demonize the world’s only Jewish State. If you listen carefully you will discern that for a large number engaged in this activity the elimination of Israel is really the ultimate goal. “Lorde” is most probably not aware of this but surely someone managing her and who has some knowledge of the agenda behind BDS could have been alert to the signs. Obviously this is not the case.
One of the favourite ways to generate media frenzy is to dig up someone who claims to be Jewish but who in fact has nothing or very little to do with the community. If he/she can then be paired up with a Muslim and the two of them engage in Israel bashing so much the better. This guarantees endless headlines and satisfies the media justification for proving that there are Jews who are willing to vilify Israel. In this particular case the person concerned is a founder of Dayenu – NZ Jews against the occupation. Would it surprise anyone to know that Kia Ora Gaza has a close relationship with them? It would be interesting to know how many Jews actually belong to this group (more than a minyan perhaps) and their involvement with anything else of a Jewish nature. How many, including the instigator of the letter to “Lorde” have taken part in protest marches against the Russian occupation of Crimea? Seeing that the pop singer is going to perform in Russia one expects her to be bombarded with messages demanding she boycott that country. How many of these Israel loathing Jews have denounced the Syrian regime’s massacre of its own citizens and praised instead the humanitarian medical aid that Israel provides to the victims? We all know the answers and thereby are their true motives revealed.
There is nothing much we can do about knee jerk Israel haters because they are immune to any rational dialogue. No matter how many times one can prove that Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are not illegally occupied and that Christian and Muslim Arabs in Israel are considerably better off than their brethren in neighbouring Arab countries, those advocating BDS do not want to be convinced by facts.
I have a message for these people and “Lorde” herself.
For 4,000 years or so the Jewish People have been following the original Lord who promised that our real and only true home would be where we are now. His songs will last long after others have vanished.
Adapting the words from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado:
You might have us all on your list
But you certainly will not be missed.
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.