Dear friends

It seems that with the end of the year and the end of Chanukah, we are in a similar position with regard to the United Nations and Israel as we were last year with UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Whilst there are differences, it shows that we still have much work to do to change the narrative to one which is fairer with regards to Israel.

Perhaps most disappointing from an Israel point of view is that since the new government was formed several anti-Israel resolutions have come before the UN General Assembly (UNGA), two with a particular focus on Jerusalem and the Jewish history there. The UN has tried to deny any Jewish connection, and with it Christian connections to Jerusalem. From a New Zealand perspective, there was hope this might change with the election of the Rt Hon Winston Peters as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but at the latest UNGA resolution condemning the United State for recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Rt Hon Winston Peters gave the following comment, “The resolution reflects New Zealand’s long-held support for a two-state solution to the conflict. The resolution called for the acceleration of efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. This is something we all can support.”

Indeed if that’s what the resolution was about, we would all be welcoming this, but it wasn’t and is perplexing to see the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister say this. It shows a real lack of understanding by those in government.

The ZFNZ wrote to the Rt Hon Winston Peters urging him to vote against or at least abstain, however, we have no idea if it he read it. The points which were outlined are copied below. We ask that you use these and other points you may have to write to your MPs (particularly those of the governing parties), to the Prime Minister, and to the Deputy Prime Minister stating your disappointment in New Zealand’s position, and to highlight that the vote was akin to telling New Zealand where its capital should be, and that the US’s position will in no way affect any final status negotiations.

Please however make sure any letters you write are done so in a courteous manner. That they address the issue, not personalities, and they should be brief, and make the main point very clear. Explain how important it is to you as a New Zealander.

A list of MPs can be found from  https://www.parliament.nz/en/mps-and-electorates/members-of-parliament

As noted above, some of the points you may wish to address and are the ones we sent to the Rt Hon Winston Peters are as follows:

  • It is Israel’s right to name its capital city within its borders. Jerusalem is within its borders and West Jerusalem is within the 1967 armistice line. This is akin to telling New Zealand where it should and shouldn’t have its capital city
  • It is no other country’s right to tell another country what they can and can’t recognise and where they should have their Embassy located
  • Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is where the Supreme Court, Parliament, the Prime Ministers and President’s residencies are all based. It is where you would go if you went to Israel on official business. The US are merely recognising a 68 year old fact and US passed legislation since 1995
  • The Palestinian Authority are actively trying to erase all Jewish connection to Jerusalem from the history books and public conscious. New Zealand should not play any part in this.
  • The UN has become the playground of dictatorships who are anti-Israel and try to use the UN to further this agenda. Again, New Zealand should rise above this and been seen as fair minded.
  • You were vocal against UNSC resolution 2334, to which we are grateful. 2334 was about defining boundaries outside of a negotiated settlement between Palestinians and Israelis. The intent on this is similar – trying to define the status of Jerusalem by the UN outside of a legal framework.
  • The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not prejudice the outcome of any future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. What is stopping it is Mahmoud Abbas refusing to come to the negotiating table without preconditions.

We know from the reaction last year against Murray McCully’s deplorable decision for New Zealand to co-sponsor UNSC Resolution 2334, that it is only when hundreds of emails and letters turn up on MPs mailboxes, they begin to take note. They need to know that they are acting against the wishes of many New Zealanders and potential voters.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Christian friends and supporters, and merry Christmas, and we hope that 2018 is a good year for us all, and for the State of Israel.

B’shalom

Rob Berg
President of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand

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