Tag: New Zealand
Ardern's views on Israel are simply unknown. While she spent time in Israel as president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, she hasn't yet made any public comment about Israel-related issues.
Balancing out these uncertainties is Peters who will become both Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Peters publicly opposed 2334 and has long been a vocal supporter of Israel.
New Zealand elections have never hinged around foreign policy, and this one is no exception.
This leaves Jewish Kiwis who are keen to get a handle on where prospective parties might sit with regard to Israel, rising antisemitism, and the controversy over New Zealand's co-sponsorship of one-sided and vehemently anti-settlement UN Resolution 2334 in January struggling to find answers.
In reality, there is a high degree of misunderstanding about what freedom of speech means. All too often, people seem to think the principle only applies if they agree with what is being said - with anything else being re-defined as "hate speech".
This tendency has been further complicated by the growth of the internet and social media and all that they entail. While they provide more people with platforms to express their views, they have also led to an increased aversion to hearing differing points of view.
United Nations Resolution 2334 came screaming out of the blue, just before Christmas. The "anti-settlement" resolution itself, which passed after the US broke with convention and abstained, was disturbing enough. But for Jewish New Zealanders it was particularly shocking.
It's rare for a sitting prime minister to resign in New Zealand. It is unheard of for a sitting prime minister who is at the top of his game and riding high in the leader polls to do so. But, one fine day in November, that is just what New Zealand's now former Prime Minister John Key did...
The former Prime Minister's surprise resignation is particularly worthy of comment in this column because of his Jewish background.
Last year a number of incidents occurred at several New Zealand universities which give cause for concern. One of these was an attempt - which failed - to block the visit, organised by the New Zealand branch of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS NZ), of two former IDF soldiers to Victoria University...
But the most widely publicised of these incidents was what became known as the Scott Poynting affair.
Since New Zealand assumed its seat on the United Nations Security Council, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has raised eyebrows with some of his actions and statements regarding Israel.
He has regularly stated his desire to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. But, while doing so, he has repeatedly pointed to Israel's settlement activity as the key item threatening the viability of the two state solution. Conversely, he has generally refrained from giving any specific comment on Palestinian inctitement or recalcitrance.
Building bridges with art and culture is a time-honoured tradition. It could be a partnership between musicians from countries in conflict, or a fine art exhibition aiming to break down the gap between different parts of the world. Whatever the form, the arts can serve to create empathy, understanding and identification in situations where it might not otherwise exist.