Letters to Media in NZ +
Published in Otago Daily Times, September 4, 2020
How dare Robert McCallum (Letters, 29 Aug) compare the treatment of Jews by Hitler and the SS with Israel's treatment of the Palestinians? On the one hand, you have a nation that invaded almost every country in Europe and, among its many atrocities, exterminated six million Jews. On the other hand, you have a nation that, after being legally restored to its homeland, absorbed almost 2 million Palestinians and gave them full rights and citizenship, while defending itself against constant attack from other Palestinians.
As for Gaza, the arms blockade was imposed by Israel (and Egypt) when Hamas took control and began to attack Israel, but humanitarian imports are permitted. It would end if Gaza were to make peace with Israel. If this is a "prison", it's a self-imposed one.
Before Mr. McCallum starts lecturing us, he should consider these huge differences.
Submitted to Sunday Star Times on November 7, 2017
Ron Robert's letter (5 Nov) conveniently left out the real ethnic cleansings in the Middle East. Over the last few years any Christian living in Iraq and Syria will have been either, “ethnically cleansed,” or probably murdered. As for the Jews they were ethnically cleansed some time ago. After 1948 at least 850,000 Jews were expelled from Islamic lands, no compensation, and no right of return. Probably just as well otherwise they would have subsequently been murdered. As an aside this is why Israel has to exist. Israel took the vast bulk of these people which equated roughly in number to the number of Muslims living in the West Bank after 1967. Perhaps an asset swap should have happened then. The Muslims would have been well ahead. The next target for ethnic cleansing, read murder, will be the Kurds, a people with their own language and culture and far more deserving of their own homeland, than some imaginary Palestinian people who are indistinguishable from their brothers in surrounding lands. I keep asking people like Ron Roberts, “If the 1967 borders were not acceptable to the Arabs then, what makes them acceptable now?”
Subbmitted to Sunday Star Times on November 7, 2017
Ron Robert (letters 5 Nov) rants and raves about “massive ethnic cleansing” that Israel is allegedly guilty of. I thought Israel was formidably equipped with death-dealing technology, so if they really hated local enemies all that much, they could have obliterated them all long since, in the millions. Furthermore, one would expect that the “target race” if there is one, would have been “cleansed” from within the State of Israel itself as a start point, rather than having grown in numbers and thrived, more so than their fellows who live everywhere else in the region.
Israel seems to either not be very good at “ethnic cleansing” after all that, or are a target of organised hateful and malicious propaganda on the part of the holders of a certain political ideology, globally. It is also a very odd history of “ethnic cleansing” that has roughly comparable civilian deaths on both sides, thousands of Israelis (including Arab Israelis) and foreigners of all ethnicities who unluckily happened to be at a particular shopping mall, café, office block, concert, or sports match, or on board a particular flight at a particular time, having perished at the hands of representatives of Mr Robert's poor, dear, oppressed and ethnically-cleansed “Palestinians”.
Submitted to Sunday Star Times on November 6, 2017
Ron Robert's letter of 5 November shows how little Mr Robert knows about the situation in the Middle East. Among other accusations, Mr Robert uses the term “ethnic cleansing”, but he doesn't seem to know the meaning of the term.
The Arab population in Israel and the Palestinian Territories has grown from 1.3 Million in 1947 to well over 5 million today, and life expectancy of Palestinian Arabs at 75 years is higher than any other country in the Middle East.
Israeli Arabs are the only Arabs in the Middle East with complete freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the LGBT community is protected.
Far from accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, Israel should be applauded for promoting human rights in a region which is home to some of the worst human rights abusers in the world.
Submitted to the Otago Daily Times on November 6, 2017
Recently a diplomat from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran held a speech at a Mosque in Pakuranga, Auckland along with a visiting Iranian cleric, Hojatoleslam Shafie. Both men were happy enough to come to New Zealand to promote Holocaust denial and basically calling for the complete destruction of Israel, referring to Israel as the cancerous tumour known as evil Israel.
One has to wonder why we would allow any government official into New Zealand from the police state of Iran, the world's foremost State sponsor of terrorism, that carries out approximately 500 public hangings per year, instructs men on the correct way to beat women and hopes to see the day when the United States of America is no more.
But more worrying is the fact that the complaints against the speech never came from inside the Mosque.
Are we that desperate to sell out our country out for 30 pieces of silver that we turn a blind eye to evil in our midst or, do we stand up and say this is unacceptable and eject the men in question?
Published in the Otago Daily Times on 4th August, 2017
On Saturday 29th July a rally was held on Aotea Square Auckland to show support for Jerusalem. That in itself is not a crime, but one of the supporters was brandishing a Hezbollah tee shirt while another assaulted a young man that supported Israel. While it is important in a free country that people may support groups we may not agree with, but Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist group by the New Zealand government. Would it also be permissible for an ISIL flag to be flown in the name of free speech! Is it permissible for one group to support a known terrorist group while assaulting another citizen exercising his right to free speech!
If we are a country of laws one would expect the police to nip this kind of behavior in the bud before it escalates. Europeans made the mistake of tolerating intolerance many years ago and is now paying the price; I would hope the New Zealand police and Susan Devoy will take a very dim view of this blatant racist extremist activity.
Printed in the Otago Daily Times on 6th June, 2017
Gwynne Dyer 31/05/2017: Gwynne is typical of journalists and historians these days, ignore all the actual facts and make it up depending on your world view. Gwynne claims Israel stole lands from the Arab world7363; but the evidence points to Jews returning to lands that they were driven from by the Romans more than 2000 years ago. Rome started the destruction of the Jewish population along with the Temple, then over the years the Muslims under Mohamed, followed by the Ottomans, continued this destruction of the land of Israel. Even to the extent of chopping down every tree available to build a railroad throughout the Middle East. Even the birds left Israel because hardly a tree was left for them to build a nest in. The problem for the greater Islamic world and liberal journalists is Israel exists, it's not that the land itself is important, it's that the land is actually important to the Jews and that the Jews are not all dead.
Submitted to the Dominion Post on 11th May, 2017
I am an American who spent eight wonderful years in New Zealand and I tell everyone how wonderful your country and your people are. However I am appalled by the anti-Israel bias shown in the recent UN resolution and in your editorial of 5 May defending it. How can you call Israel “warmongering” when it has fought eight defensive wars against Arab armies intent on its destruction? When it has suffered 170 suicide bomb attacks (ref. Wikipedia)? When over 20,000 Israelis have been killed defending their land?
How can you condemn Israel's expansion of settlements as an obstacle to peace? These settlements can be removed if needed, or even become part of a Palestinian state. Oh yes, the Palestinians don't want any Jews living there even though 1.7 million Arabs live peaceably in Israel.
Israel may not be perfect, but its actions shine like a beacon of light compared to the morality of its Arab enemies.
Silver Spring, MD 20906 USA
Submitted to the Dominion Post and The Press on 11th May, 2017
The portion in red was omitted by the Press
Your editorial (5/5/17) was a bit rich stating, ...“warmongering tendencies of Israel...” Brownlee is right to reverse the ill-considered co-Sponsorship of UN Resolution 2334. McCully was currying favour with Obama, as you accuse Brownlee of with Trump.
Israel's trouble is that she has been far too soft but she has probably given up on the two state solution and is essentially annexing the West Bank as she should have done in 1967, a much easier task then than now.
An UN paper states that in 1967 there were 850,000 people in the West Bank up from 420,000 in 1948. This 850,000 almost exactly equates to the number of Jews expelled from Muslim countries after 1948. A comparable expulsion of Muslims from the West Bank would have been relatively painless.
If the borders (read cease fire lines of 1948) were unacceptable to the Arabs in 1967, what makes them acceptable now? I have asked this question many times and have never been given an answer. Such a Palestinian state would be just another step to the annihilation of the Israelis.
It is clear that Muslims cannot even live peacefully amongst themselves, let alone with the hated Jew. Have a look around the area, who are the warmongers?
Member of KBRM
Published in the Timaru Herald 29/3/2017
I am writing in response to Stu Oldham's Footnote to Patricia Goodwin's letter March 27.
Mr Oldham quotes an American Journalism Review of honestreporting.com. A quick Google would tell him that it took the name in 1993. The University of Philip Merrill College of Journalism took control in 2011. In July 2015 the college announced it was terminating publication. In 2013 the Review stopped printing and it became an online-only publication which ceased in 2015 so it is in fact defunct.
In contrast Honest Reporting has expanded and exists along with NZ's own: Shalom Kiwi, Kiwis For Balanced Reporting on the Middle East and Whale Oil's blog (NZ's most popular blog) because of misreporting or the skewing of facts especially when 'news' concerns Israel.
Just this month The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) upheld a complaint (17 March, 2017) after Juliet Moses complained that a reporter at TVNZ 1 claimed that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza was illegal. The BSA referred to the Palmer Report prepared for the UN Secretary General. The UN panel deemed Israel's naval blockade of Gaza legal. To quote the Palmer Report to the UN: “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law”.
I suggest readers visit honestreporting.com and read for themselves. One title that took my eye on their Facebook page today was ‘Interview with a Palestinian Zionist’.
Member of KBRM
Published in the Dominion Post 10/1/2017
Serena Moran (“NZ has rejoined the mainstream on condemning Israeli intransigence”, 10/1/17) wrote “Through the Arab-Israel War of 1948, Israel expanded... The Palestinians were denied their state. Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan took over the West Bank.”
Missing from this account are a few key facts. Israel's 1948 war was a defensive one, fought against five Arab armies trying to destroy it. Also missing is the fact that Jordan didn't just "take over" the West Bank. Jordan "captured" the West Bank, including Jerusalem, as a result of its war of aggression. it was Jordan, not Israel, that denied the Palestinians their state.
It is this kind of misreporting, or partial reporting, that gives people the false impression that Israel is to blame for the problems in the Middle East.
Rodney Brooks, former resident of New Zealand.
Published in Sunday Star Times 29/1/2017
Murray McCully is correct that New Zealand has a long standing and respected record for fairness.
Perhaps Mr McCully might elaborate on what is fair about dealing with a party who openly teaches children to hate another race, continually celebrates and encourages attacks on civilians, continues to deny that the State of Israel is a home for the Jewish people or refuses to act in any way to stop the almost daily missile bombardment of civilians.
Regardless of people's views of how the Palestinian people are treated by the only true, open democratic country in the Middle East there can never be justification for terrorist activity.
A fact that is continually overlooked is that the “Occupied Territories” of the Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula were won during the 1967 war and were retained as means of defence.
Subsequently the Sinai has been given back to Egypt with mixed results and the Gaza Strip back to the Palestinians, which can only be described as an unmitigated disaster.
What incentives is there for Israel to make concessions when the parties they are expected to negotiate with have never fully rescinded the call for the destruction of the State of Israel?
Would the United States negotiate with al-Qaeda or Isis on these terms? Mr McCully’s position is at best naïve and anti-Israel at worst.
Ian Gautier, London, UK.