NZ university ‘under fire’ for hosting IDF soldiers

September 27, 2015 by Keren Cook
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Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, has come under fire for hosting an event for two Israeli students who plan to talk openly about “Operation Protective Edge” (OPE).

Victoria University

Victoria University

The two soldiers are currently serving in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) reserves along with most other Israeli Citizens under the age of 45 years.

The students are touring the world to promote a better understanding of OPE and the attacks on Gaza since 2007. The New Zealand Friends of Israel Association in Christchurch funded the soldier’s journey to New Zealand, largely to support the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation during the high holidays – and to carry out some speaking engagements.

Contrary to some thinking, the two soldiers have not been sponsored by the IDF.

Students for Justice of Palestine (SJP) oppose Victoria University’s open doors to the 2 soldiers. “These people are representing the Israeli state,” states Victoria student Ian Anderson. “Victoria University should not be a party to this. There is no neutral position on atrocities.”

The event is planned for Tuesday, 29th of September, and held at the Victoria University Memorial Theatre at 8.30pm.

SJP are pressuring Victoria University to cancel the booking and plan to picket outside the area if the event goes ahead

A spokesperson from the Auckland Palestine Solidarity Network, Billy Hania says: “Palestinians in NZ are horrified that Israeli soldiers who have killed 500 children in Gaza in 2014 are touring our NZ universities publicly justifying it.”

The visit has caused ripples further south with The University of Canterbury Political Science Society deciding not to host the touring soldiers, who were part of Operation Protective Edge.

“Ambulances, journalists and UN schools were targeted. Over 500 children were killed, many more were maimed,” Lois Griffiths, spokesperson for Canterbury Justice for Palestine stated. “Why would a University want to legitimize the actions of IDF by giving their soldiers a platform?


3 Responses to “NZ university ‘under fire’ for hosting IDF soldiers”
  1. Ross McArthur says:

    Why am I not surprised that certain “elements” want to deny the miinformed another view of reported events? Particularly the very targets of their documented violence and hatred?
    Why am I not surprised that these “elements” will try any and all tactics to deny ANY institution the facility to allow the misinformed a larger picture of the patently biased mainstream media?
    As an institution of learning ANY school or university is, by mandate, a conduit for unbiased and open education. Of all matters, including ideology, culture and even religion. The moment ANY minority attempts to compromise or shut down that conduit a school or university enters the murky waters of indoctrination.
    I talk with more than a hundred IDF (serving and released) personnel every year. Over the years I have, in direct conversation with IDF men and women and via INDEPENDENT news sources, come to understand the ethos that permeates the Israeli credo – preserve life.
    As with all military arms they are subject to government policy, and are ordered to perform difficult missions. Such as OPE. Over-riding any mission, however, is the basic credo and that is a fine edge to walk considering their enemies follow a polar opposite ideology. The IDF, from first-hand knowledge, make every effort to notify non-combatants of actions that affect them. But do the media make this public, or that those bent on maiming or killing Israelis make every effort to prevent non-combatants’ safety? Certainly not, when the numbers of injured civilians are valuable as propaganda.
    Unfortunately, this kind of news conflicts with the sensationalism that sells papers and other print media, particularly when it’s anti-Israeli sentiment.
    The ‘pro-Palestinian’ junta in NZ education is simply another weapon in a war of ideology. Like any puppet having its strings pulled by an implacable master, scared for its very job and livelihood, this junta must toe the party line or suffer the consequences.
    If there is any honour or dignity left in NZ universities then it should make a stand for truth, not propaganda or indoctrination. The misinformed should look behind the smoke and mirrors of the SJP to the real questions – what is the SJP’s real agendum, and what do they NOT want NZ to know?
    These two IDF reservists can give a truer understanding of Israel’s position on the international stage than a degree in history. Greater than that, however, is the implacable judgement imposed by Israel’s ultimate Protector: “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.”
    Tell SJP to sit down and zip it. It’s time for the victims of the real terror to have their say.

  2. Erica Edelman says:

    Of course there is no neutral position on atrocities, Mr Anderson!

    The IDF is having to EXPLAIN not JUSTIFY ….The IDF are having to EXPLAIN why the Arab population who live in Gaza has no leadership. They have to EXPLAIN why the Arab Population in Gaza put their children in harm’s way even AFTER leaflets were dropped to let the Arab Population know the IDF were PLANNING to PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM INCOMING BOMBS – ALL of which you fail to mention, Mr Anderson/Ms Griffiths/Mr Hania in your collective comments.

    What country in the world is going to sit around and have bombs dropped on them? Duh! Get out from under your mushrooms and read a few reliable papers. I suggest if you truly want to be helpful to the cause you should go and visit Israel – a fact-finding mission would see you all lying straight in your beds at night! Oh, and subscribe to a journal called AIR – Australia Israel Review. You all clearly need an education about Mid East Politics.

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