University of Auckland Associate Professor Nicholas Rowe is married to a Palestinian woman and said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is “the tribe my family belongs to” at a 2017 conference.
The PFLP is a revolutionary socialist organisation that takes a hard line on Palestinian national aspirations. It is known for pioneering armed aircraft-hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is designated as a Foreign Terrorist organisation by the US Department of State, European Union, Canada, and Australia.
Professor Rowe is also a promoter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel that the German government, with bipartisan support, compared to the Nazi boycott of Jews.
And, in a talk he gave last month, he denied the indigeneity of Jews by claiming those who returned to Israel as “early Zionist pioneers” were trying to show “how a European people can have a Middle Eastern personality”; and explicitly delegitimised Israel, saying “terms like ‘antisemitism’… have been appropriated by the Zionist lobby to try to redefine and legitimise the State of Israel…”.
UNESCO is no stranger to undermining its raison d’être by delegitimising or demonising Israel. In 2016, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed a resolution that denied the historical Jewish connection to the Holy Land by, among other things, referring to the Temple Mount only by its Arabic name.
The Israel Institute of New Zealand contacted the NZ National Commission for UNESCO about this matter. Secretary General, Vicki Soanes, replied with
“As per UNESCO processes, the application for the establishment of the Chair was supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO in March 2020. We have noted your concerns and have no further comment.”Vicki Soanes
The latest appointment of someone who promotes BDS, explicitly denies Jewish indigeneity, delegitimises Israel, and affiliates with a terror group is yet another shameful step by the world body. And the refusal of NZ UNESCO to condemn the appointment is also shameful.