6 August 2014
AN OPEN LETTER
THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER DAVID RUTHERFORD
THE RACE RELATIONS CONCILIATOR DAME SUSAN DEVOY
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL CHRIS FINLAYSON
Dear David Rutherford, Dear Susan Devoy, Dear Minister,
I am writing about the rise of anti-Semitism in New Zealand.
I am concerned at the incitement to hatred voiced by Parliamentarians at recent protest meetings in Auckland and at a statement by the leader of the Green Party calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.
I am referring to the expressions of outrage following the fighting in Gaza.
I am concerned at the warped reporting in New Zealand which would have us believe that Israel is solely responsible for the civilian deaths.
I am concerned at banners at the 26 July march in Auckland, comparing Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto and spewing out slogans of a kind little different to the current convulsion of anti-Semitic chants of demonstrators marching in the streets of Europe – viz “Death to the Jews” and “Hamas, Hamas – Jews to the Gas” (in London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam) or “Dogs welcome, Zionists never” (in Belgium).
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am as saddened as you doubtless are by the deaths of innocent Palestinians.
I am also concerned at the naivety of New Zealanders and Parliamentary New Zealanders who seem to forget that Palestinians in Gaza are paying the price for electing a government whose guiding doctrine is hatred of Jews; which does not believe the state of Israel has a right to exist; and whose missile barrage which began the present conflict is but a continuation by other means of Hamas’s suicide bombings inside Israel beginning in 1994 which killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.
Just to be clear. I am concerned at the rhetoric and naivety by Green, Mana and KimDotCom party politicians in New Zealand who demonise Israel but do not seek to understand or explain that the point of Hamas’s rocket assault is – as it has been for years – to draw Israeli counterfire. This produces dead Palestinians for international television.
You will know that the Gaza and Israeli scenes are similar, in that both produce victims. But they are not in my view identical. The difference is that the Jihadists don’t use cement to build air-raid shelters as Israel does, they use it to build tunnels to bring war into Israel. The difference is that Israelis use missiles to protect their civilians, the Jihadists use civilians to shield their missiles.
Two final points. You will remember that 66 years ago when the state of Israel was born, four Arab countries, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, invaded Israel bent on its destruction. Today, such is their detestation of Hamas which appears to outweigh their hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu, these same Arab governments – a new coalition of Arab states led by Egypt – have fallen silent and are quietly applauding Israel from the sidelines.
The wheel has turned. I am concerned at the moral confusion created by public statements voiced by members of our Parliament: Russel Norman, Hone Harawira, Graham Kennedy. Hamas fired the first rockets. Dr Norman has called for the Israeli ambassador to be sent home. To be consistent, should he not be calling for his Arab colleagues to go too?
Finally I am concerned at the provocation implicit in the burning of an Israeli flag at the 26 July Auckland rally, and the hate-fuelled remarks about “evil” and “massacres” voiced by Mr Harawira and the other MPs who were present.
I have no personal agenda. But I have read the Human Rights Act 1993 (Section 61) which makes it an offence to incite racial hatred in New Zealand, and I call upon you in your various roles to investigate and condemn such activity as illegal.
I look forward to your response.
James McNeish (KNZM)
PO Box 10628
- Sir James receieved no response to this letter.