The Israel Institute of New Zealand is concerned at comments made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in response to the deepening crisis in the Middle East.

Ms Ardern is quoted as saying that Israel’s response to the indiscriminate rocket attacks by terror group Hamas goes “well beyond self-defence”

“Is Ms Ardern implying that more Israelis need to die in order to make the response ‘proportionate’?”, said Dr David Cumin, IINZ co-director and spokesperson.

The Institute says that judging Israel’s response to Hamas aggression on the basis of a casualty headcount is deeply flawed. A number of factors contribute to the lower Israeli death rate.Israel values the lives of its citizens and has invested heavily in protecting its civilians – both Jew and Arab – with alerts, bomb shelters, and the remarkable Iron Dome defense system.

“In contrast Hamas uses its own civilians as human shields, launching missiles from within heavily populated civilian areas against Israeli civilians”.“This is a double war crime”.

Israel targets only Hamas and its infrastructure. It takes unprecedented steps to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza. On the other site, Hamas rockets have fallen in Gaza and killed innocent civilians.

The media has also been very reluctant to report that more than 450 of Hamas’s terror rockets have fallen short and killed Palestinians in Gaza, including many children”.

The PM mistakenly reduces the cause of the conflict to the threat of an eviction in a long-running legal dispute now before the Israeli Supreme Court. Prime Minister fails to recognise a confluence of events that lead to this outbreak, including inter-Palestinian politicking and incitement to violence.

She arrogantly asserts that Israel must accept a ceasefire which contains conditions based on fabrications. Her suggestion that Israel is well-resourced fails to take into consideration the significant funding Hamas has received from Iran and international bodies, which has enabled the terrorist entity to launch over 3,000 rockets.

The Institute says that the Government needs to engage in more rigorous analysis, and examine the facts and context, rather than merely respond to emotive media messaging.

“Many democratic countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, have clearly shown support for Israel to defend itself from terror; New Zealand is an outlier here.”

The Institute says that Jews in NZ, and around the world, have faced an enormous upsurge in antisemitism over the last week as Israel has taken defensive measures against Hamas aggression.

“Kiwi Jews are not responsible for the decisions of the Israeli government and it is incumbent on responsible leaders to ensure their comments are fact based and do not contribute to anti-Israel, anti-Zionist antisemitism”.