Israel Institute of New Zealand director, Dr David Cumin, is calling on the Government to distance itself from a decision by Labour MP, Dr Duncan Webb, to host a meeting featuring Unite Union National Director Mike Treen in which Mr Treen will be speaking on his recent participation in the so-called ‘international freedom flotilla’ against Israel.
Dr Cumin has called the event ‘an explicit endorsement of terrorism’ and says that Mr Treens participation in the flotilla, and subsequent description of it, are both dishonest and in flagrant violation of the sovereignty of a State with which New Zealand has traditionally enjoyed warm diplomatic relations.
“Mr Treen supports the terrorist actions of Hamas – something he’s entitled to do as an extremist – but in hosting the event, the Labour Party is giving its endorsement to that extremism”.
“Mr Treen has made much of the fact that he was allegedly attacked and detained by Israeli forces while onboard the ‘Al Awda’. However, the UN report authored by former NZ Prime Minister, Sir Geoff Palmer, states that violation of a lawful blockade constitutes unlawful activity and an interception in international waters is entirely correct if the vessel is attempting to breach a blockade. That means that the detention of Mr Treen was inevitable and lawful, given his attempt to breach a legal blockade”. Dr David Cumin
Dr Cumin notes that the Israeli blockade is entirely legal, noting that the BSA has ruled it is irresponsible for NZ media to refer to it as “illegal” and citing the UN Palmer Report which considers the blockade “a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea”.
Dr Cumin also noted the cynical nature of the flotilla and suggested that kiwis would be disgusted to know that it carried virtually no ‘aid’ for Palestinians.
“This group, like the last, has admitted that their cargo is not nearly as important as the publicity – in fact Richard Sudan of Iran’s Press TV UK is even quoted as saying “There is also some medical aid on board, although the amount of medical aid is merely a gesture. We’re talking just a few boxes.”
“Meanwhile Israel sends thousands of truckloads of aid to Gaza each week while Hamas and other militant groups continue to indiscriminately send flaming kites, mortars, and missiles over the border. If Treen and others truly cared about delivering aid, they could easily do so via Israel”.Dr David Cumin
If Dr Webb insists on endorsing Mr Treen and the ‘flotilla’ in a similar way to Marama Davidson’s involvement in the stunt two years ago, then Labour will similarly be endorsing terrorism and turning their backs on international law.