Why does New Zealand continue to support the bullies?

December 23, 2021 by David Cumin
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I continue to be surprised by how many good people and democratic governments ignore the obvious flaws with the UN. One of the most glaring issues is the institutional racism of the world body, expressed as disproportionate vitriol against the only Jewish nation.

Dr David Cumin

Since 2015, there have been 112 resolutions condemning Israel at the General Assembly, compared to 45 that condemn any other nation. And the tone of the resolutions that single out Israel contain none of the deferential language found in the resolutions of other nations.
This year, New Zealand continued a shameful record of joining the bullies at the UN. The voting record advised by MFAT officials is more like that of Iran, Venezuela, or Malaysia than of Canada, Australia, or the UK.

When Hillel Neuer, CEO of UN Watch, was asked why there is such extreme anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, he responded with five different factors:

  1. Oil. Historically, the Arab countries had oil and they told countries that if the anti-Israel resolutions were not endorsed, the oil would be cut off. Notably, there are 120 member nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, including the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (out of 193 total UN member countries).
  2. Sovereign wealth funds. States like Qatar tell other nations that they will not invest money unless the resolutions are supported.
  3. Vote trading. Within the cynical politics of the United Nations, there is vote-trading where countries will agree to support others for a quid pro quo. When countries like Italy are happy to sacrifice Jewish citizens to terror attacks on Italian soil, it’s easy to see that votes might be traded at the expense of the Jewish nation.
    This vote trading might also explain why there has been support for China’s genocide of Uyghur muslims and not one condemnatory resolution against it.
  4. Terrorism. Countries are afraid of terror and willing to make deals to prevent attacks – like Italy has been shown to.
  5. Antisemitism. Underlying the threats and deals above is a certain amount of pure antisemitism. There is little else to truly explain the massively disproportionate number and tone of the resolutions against Israel.

It is not clear exactly which of the above apply most to New Zealand. However, it is clear that officials and ministers have long voted with the bullies and out of step with traditional, democratic allies.

The Israel Institute of New Zealand had hoped there would be a change to the voting pattern with the new Labour government. However, of the 14 resolutions passed this year in which Israel was singled out, New Zealand maintained its shameful record.

This is despite a Foreign Minister who has made a lot of noise about supporting indigenous people and who has made a large effort to use te reo Māori alongside English, especially when it comes to place names.

Sadly, even when the United Nations resolution on Jerusalem clearly ignores the Jewish indigenous connection to Jerusalem and only uses the Arabic term for the Temple Mount ( rather than the Hebrew, הר  הבית, Har HaBáyit), our government voted for the resolution.
The Israel Institute wrote to Foreign Minister Mauta about this and her response was

“I appreciate you sharing your perspective on how this terminology may be viewed by some communities. In general, the New Zealand Government has sought to support United Nations resolutions that will contribute to long term peace in the region while also holding both sides accountable to their obligations. Aotearoa New Zealand will continue to pursue a principled and balanced approach to the Middle East Peace Process. We support a process that will bring a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.”Foreign Minister Mahuta

This rather dismissive reply is also unsubstantiated. We have written back to ask which resolutions have specifically condemned any of the Arab Palestinian leadership, especially after New Zealand abstained from a procedural vote that prevented the first-ever possible condemnation of Hamas at the United Nations.

We have also asked the Minister how clearly biased and disproportionate resolutions against a single country could possibly be considered “principled and balanced” or “contribute to long term peace” – not that we are holding our breath for a clear response to such simple questions.

It is deeply disappointing that our government takes such a hypocritical approach toward Israel and has chosen not to stand up against the bullying at the United Nations. We don’t want to speculate as to why, out of all the possible reasons given by Mr Neuer.

Dr David Cumin is co-director of the Israel Institute of New Zealand, among other roles.

 

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