Woolly thinking…writes Michael Kuttner

January 23, 2015 by Michael Kuttner
Read on for article

Even for a country which boasts more sheep than people, the latest performances by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, as well as the NZ media take some beating (or should that read bleating?).

Three recent examples demonstrate the current appalling situation.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

First, the recent speech given by former NZ Prime Minister & now NZ representative to the UN, Jim McLay, is a perfect example of muddled thinking and wrong conclusions. Second, an editorial in the Capital’s only daily newspaper displays breathtaking malice. Third, a diplomatically disgraceful situation highlights something seriously amiss.

New Zealand’s representative on the Security Council delivered his first major address a week ago, having taken up his position on 1 January. It was inevitable that Israel and its non existent peace partners should have been the subject of his speech as the UN devotes more time and condemns the Jewish State on more occasions than any other country in the world. The views expressed undoubtedly reflect the thinking of the NZ Government and therefore it is instructive to scrutinize them. On doing so, it is abundantly clear that instead of concentrating on the real reasons for the current state of affairs, which would call for some honest home truths being expressed, the usual meaningless, mythical mantras are trotted out.

History is fudged and in an effort to appear even-handed, reality is suspended.

Space precludes me from covering every point raised but here are a few choice morsels.

Jim McLay stated that a basis for enduring peace would be for Israel to return to the 1967 borders. This is of course arrant nonsense as there are no 1967 borders and never have been. Obviously he does not know the difference between armistice lines and permanent borders. If Israel was indeed to revert to these untenable ceasefire lines you could kiss the country goodbye because Iranian backed terror groups would be soon shelling the airport and the coastal plain. In lamenting the fact that the conflict has gone on too long he conveniently omits to mention the real reasons for this state of affairs. He trots out the usual warning that the Israel/Palestinian Arab situation is a threat to world peace. What rubbish given the fact that I can think of many more serious international problems which carry with them a greater threat to world stability. These include the looming Iranian nuclear menace and the rapidly spreading plague of Islamic terror worldwide. Neither the jihadists in many countries nor the atrocities in Nigeria it seems are world peace threatening. In his starry-eyed vision of a democratic, liberal and peace-loving Arab world living in harmony with the Jewish State he displays the myopic and amnesia laden baggage of those who have not the remotest idea of reality in this region. He seems to have forgotten that most of the conditions he outlines for a just settlement have been offered by Israel on more than one occasion and each and every time they have been rejected.

His naïve belief that the UN is the best body for facilitating peace flies in the face of that organization’s blatant bashing of Israel. Of course, having been elected by many of the non democratic and human rights abusing nation members, NZ feels obliged to perform accordingly, but this should not deter those who see double standards and hypocrisy on a grand scale, from exposing the farce.

I would ask NZ’s representative to explain why he made no mention of the daily hate & incitement against Jews issuing forth from the Fatah/Hamas Authority and the murder of Christians in neighboring Arab countries. The refusal to understand that until the Arab and Islamic world can bring itself to acknowledge our right to be here there can be no chance of genuine peace, highlights the reality vacuum which exists in Wellington.

One can ask how many times any New Zealand Government raised its voice at the United Nations to protest and condemn the illegal occupation by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of half of Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria between 1948 and 1967. How many times did they decry the ethnic cleansing of Jews from those areas, the destruction of their Synagogues, cemeteries, houses and communal buildings? The same silence which prevailed during those years is echoed this week when yet another Palestinian Arab terrorist, incited by hate from our derisory peace partners, stabbed a bus driver and several passengers in Tel Aviv. The Security Council which Jim McLay touts as the perfect partner to facilitate negotiations has been silent as has the NZ Government. This continues a familiar pattern where the murder of Jews elicits a yawn, Israel’s actions to deal with terror elicits condemnations followed by pious platitudes which equate the actions of the perpetrator and victim, otherwise known as the “cycle of violence.”

NZ stresses that Israel has a right to exist. Big deal. What other country at the UN needs to have such a daily reassurance? Only Israel apparently and that says it all. The fact that this statement needs to be repeated ad nauseam merely highlights the absurdity of most of the views expressed at the Security Council.

Now to the latest editorial in Wellington’s only daily newspaper. Dealing with terrorism and its latest manifestations the editorial stated the following:

Some of the politicians who marched in Paris are not a good advertisement for free speech and tolerance. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu launched an indefensible slaughter in Gaza that cost the lives of 2000 people.

Totally devoid of any context whatsoever and failing to mention the terror unleashed by the terrorist Hamas controlled Gaza it trots out a totally malicious claim. Apparently there were no terrorists firing rockets at Israeli civilians and the only casualties were “people” in Gaza. Compounding this is the assertion that Netanyahu (and Israel) are not good advertisements for free speech and tolerance. Following the terror stabbing in Tel Aviv, the Hamas/Fatah TV praised it as a “self sacrificing operation.” Bear in mind that nothing appears in the PA media without the approval of Abbas. Will the Dominion Post publish an editorial condemning the hate & incitement emanating from that quarter and challenge the lack of press freedom in PA controlled areas? Don’t hold your breath because it is not going to happen.

This is not the first time that an outrageous editorial dealing with Israel has been published. Apparently editorials and editors in NZ are sacred cows and their opinions are sacrosanct because previous attempts by Kiwis for Balanced Reporting on the Middle East (KBRM) to challenge unbalanced, unfair and biased statements have been dismissed. Additionally, any op-ed which criticizes the views expressed is not accepted for publication. If this is the revealed wisdom of the Capital’s newspaper then is it any wonder that the politicians who pontificate from there have such warped and erroneous ideas about the threats facing us?

The piece de resistance however is reserved for last. You may remember that last year the credentials of New Zealand’s new non-resident ambassador to Israel (based in Turkey) were not accepted by the Israeli Government because he insisted (at the behest of the NZ Foreign Minister) that he also be accredited to the non existent country of Palestine. As I pointed out at the time no diplomatic representative accredited to Israel is at the same time accredited to the Hamas/Fatah Authority in Ramallah. Any country which wants to have a diplomatic presence there appoints a separate individual. Apparently this requirement “escaped” the attention of the NZ Government or more likely as it seemed from subsequent comments, it was decided to ignore diplomatic protocol.

There the matter apparently rests. In an effort to ascertain exactly when the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade intends to rectify this situation I sent the following email to the Ministry in Wellington on 7 December:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am the Israel based correspondent for J-Wire which is the Australia and New Zealand Jewish Online News Service.

In perusing your website I note that it states New Zealand’s Ambassador who resides in Turkey is the accredited diplomatic representative to the State of Israel. You are most probably aware that in September of this year the new Ambassador did not have his credentials accepted as he wished at the same time to be accredited to the Palestinian Authority, something no other accredited diplomat to Israel is.

We are now reaching the end of 2014 and as at this time there is still no New Zealand Ambassador officially accredited to Israel. 

Can you therefore advise when this anomalous situation is likely to be rectified. This past and current week eight foreign diplomats presented their credentials to the President but since September NZ remains without an accredited representative. 

Our readers and the many New Zealanders residing in Israel would be pleased to hear that this situation has been resolved. 

Your early response would be greatly appreciated. 


Michael Kuttner

Israel Correspondent

J-Wire – Australia & New Zealand Jewish Online News


No prizes for guessing the response. There was NO response, which means that either nobody in Wellington has a clue what to do, or has no intention of doing anything. No doubt my inquiry ended up in the round filing basket with the hope that like all knotty problems it will just go away and never be heard of again.

Therefore, what we have today is New Zealand sitting on the UN Security Council, pontificating about a fellow UN member with whom it does not at this point in time have accredited diplomatic representation. Does this not seem bizarre and more in keeping with countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and others who also have no accreditation in Israel, a country which many of them do not even recognize.

This scandalous state of affairs is compounded by complete silence from Wellington. In response to continued protestations of friendship and concern for our security and welfare and in the face of current realities one can only quote a good old Australian expression:


“Pull the other one, mate!”

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.



3 Responses to “Woolly thinking…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. Patricia Goodwin says:

    Good to read the truth spelt out for a change.

  2. Gil Solomon says:

    The disrespect just never ends.
    I can only blame Israel for allowing itself to be treated like dirt.
    It would be in its rights to break off diplomatic relations with New Zealand, but is this likely to happen, with Jews being Jews, don’t hold your breath.

    I say the blame for Israel’s depiction in the world has a lot to do with Israeli hasbara. Lie after lie has been uttered by the world media, world leaders and of course the Arab world, in particular the so called “Palestinians” with their fictitious narrative, yet Israel, that politically correct nation, ever so loathe to offend anyone, does not set the world straight. It negotiates, accommodates, capitulates and makes concessions to barbarians and thereby gives credibility of their cause to the world at large. And we keep wondering why the world is constantly at Israel’s throat.

    Apart from being a Jewish nation, which is another issue, the world treats the conflict between Israel and its tormentors as one where both sides have valid arguments and if only Israel would concede more, there could be a solution. The only conclusion is that when it comes to hasbara, Israel is brain dead. It never once sets the historical record straight forcefully and with passion, so why do we expect nations of the world to react differently? Many know nothing but what they have been told. In a nutshell, Israel has the world stage from which to speak but says virtually nothing.

    It never acts like a sovereign power in control of its own destiny.
    War after war it lets the enemy off to fight another day and spread its relentless propaganda. Never has it prosecuted any of its various wars with the purpose of achieving the unconditional surrender of the enemy. This would be a fait accompli that the rest of the world including that brilliant powerhouse known as New Zealand could either approve or disapprove but either way be forced to shut up.

  3. Robert Kohn says:

    Spot on Michael,

    Please submit your article to the Dominion or the NZ Herald.
    You will have put NZ in a diplomatic dilemma if they read your article.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.