Politicking is well underway in NZ and, just as we did prior to the last election, IINZ has created a voter’s guide. It is pleasing to see two of the minor parties holding a strong pro-Israel stance. In contrast, the present Labour government’s track record on Israel is poor.

A perusal of the government’s actions towards Israel suggests a problematic relationship to terrorism, when said terrorism is directed against the Jewish state. The Ardern government has repeatedly failed to condemn terrorism, financially supports a group closely associated with terrorism, and has refused to designate Hezbollah a terrorist group. Its stance on Israel is all the more ironic and hypocritical in light of its response to the one recent act of terrorism on New Zealand soil.

In addition, the Government has continued the pattern of imbalance and bias in its voting record at the UN, in spite of the fact that it claims to have a ‘balanced approach’ to Israel. Finally, the actions of certain government ministers and officials have raised further doubt over the government mantra about maintaining a ‘balanced’ and ‘even handed’ approach to Israel.

If it were a report card, IINZ would give the Labour goverment a “D-” or,  in current parlance, “NA” (not achieved). We will, in coming weeks, also review National’s record and survey the minor parties to see where they stand.

Given the record, it was not surprising that Winston Peters issued a press statement expressing ‘serious concern’ over Israel’s plan to apply Israeli civilian law to parts of the disputed territories, even before the details of the plan had been announced. There has been much speculation and concern over what might happen on 1 July, when the Israeli government was expected to announce plans to extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. That date has since come and gone, and it is still unclear what the government will do.

Peters expressed concern over the possibility of Israel extending sovereignty to include the nearly half million Jews living in communities in Judea and Samaria, while leaving the majority of the territory and the Palestinians in the PA’s control. Yet, he seems unconcerned that the PA refuses to have Jewish communities in its midst, or that their demand that 500,000 Jews be removed from their homes constitutes ethnic cleansing. Nor is there recognition that extending sovereignty would move the Palestinians toward independence (if that were their goal) and grant Israel the defensible borders it desperately needs, in contrast to the 1949/1967 borders from which the Jewish state was repeatedly attacked.

While the world continues to condemn Israel, it ignores Palestinian rejectionism and the reality that there will be no peace until Jewish presence is accepted in the region.