L’Dor Va Dor is a discussion series on the last Wednesday afternoon of the month. Sessions are held at the Holocaust Centre, 80 Webb Street, 2.00 – 3.30pm

2pm 30 May

Kiwi in a Kaffiyeh or Tui in a Tallis?

Looking back at the early New Zealand-Israel relationship
Ann Beaglehole
Introduction by Dr Malcolm McKinnon

Over seventy years ago, on 29 November 1947, New Zealand voted for UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which recommended the partitioning of British mandate Palestine into a Jewish state a perfect solution to the problem of meeting both Jewish and Arab national aspirations, New Zealand saw it as the fairest in the circumstances.

New Zealand’s support was qualified. It favoured a two-state solution then – and still does today. This is reflected in its support for Security Council Resolution 2334 in 2016, which said that Israel’s settlements in Palestine territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution.

In May 1948 the State of Israel came into being. It could not have happened without Resolution 181 first ruling that a Jewish state and an Arab state should legitimately be established. Ann Beaglehole discusses New Zealand’s role in the formation of the State of Israel in the context of the partition resolution and the country’s refugee policy.

The talk sheds light on the role of two men: Carl Berendsen, New Zealand’s UN representative from 1946 to 1951, who had a Jewish background and was committed to collective security and international law, and Labour Prime Minister Peter Fraser, committed to a Jewish home land. Ann uses insights from the past to understand the present (such as New Zealand’s position on the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel).

Dr Ann Beaglehole is a writer and historian. She was born in Hungary and came to New Zealand in 1957 with her parents, who were Holocaust Survivors, after the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union. As a teenager in the 1960s, she was a member of the Zionist youth group Habonim. Her latest book Refuge New Zealand is a history of New Zealand’s response to refugees and asylum seekers from the 19th century until today.

Dr Malcolm McKinnon is a Wellington historian and the author of Independence and Foreign Policy: New Zealand in the World since 1935. His latest book is The Broken Decade: Prosperity and Recovery in New Zealand, 1928-1939.