British Prime Minister David Cameron made a strong, principled speech against extremism in July. In it, he said that if one says “‘violence in London isn’t justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter’ – then you too are part of the problem.”
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, was quick to condemn the recent terrorist attack in Ankara, Turkey, calling it an abhorrent attack on innocent people and declaring that “we stand with the people and government of Turkey in their fight against terrorism in all its forms.”
Given our solidarity with Turkey, why is it that New Zealand has, so far, failed to similarly condemn any of the dozens of recent terror attacks in Israel over the past month, including the killing of parents in front of their children, the stabbing of elderly, firebombing of children, and a shooting at a bus station?
Our Prime Minister has explicitly stated that ISIL’s warped ideology and unprecedented use of social media to export its twisted message is a threat to us all (even to a country as distant as New Zealand). In the face of this terror, New Zealand joined the fight against ISIL.
Why then is New Zealand yet to condemn any of the murderous social media incitement or rhetoric delivered by Palestinian Imams and political leaders who encourage their young men and women to stab Jews and murder infidel Zionists, worldwide?
Minister McCully has spoken about the attacks in Israel, saying the Security Council “must clearly, unequivocally call for a cessation of the violence, and for the leaders of all parties to use all of their authority to bring the violence to an end”. In addition to the Palestinian terror attacks, there have been a few attacks by Israelis against Arabs in the past month. The Israeli government quickly condemns them and deals with these fringe elements of society, upholding law and order. This is in contrast to the Palestinian Authority, which frequently glorifies and rewards such acts by its citizens, thereby encouraging further murder.
Equating the two governments, as Minister McCully did in his speech, is condemning Israeli leaders for democracy and rewarding Palestinian leaders for terror.
Kiwi politicians’ failure to strongly condemn Palestinian incitement and terror is in stark contrast to British, German, Canadian, Australian, and Jordanian politicians who have shown consistency and spoken out. The Obama administration has gone further, cutting $80m of aid to the Palestinian Authority until it condemns Palestinian violence.
While Minister McCully should be commended for calling for the next step in the process to be direct negotiations between the parties towards a two-state solution, prerequisites for this must surely be our condemnation of Palestinian terror and incitement as well as a clear demand for cessation of both.
If our leaders are unwilling to do this, then New Zealand’s behaviour could be seen to be an example of a ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ or the actual manifestation of a double-standard terror policy.