At one of the anti-Israel protests in Auckland last month there was a chant that should strike fear into the hearts of all good-minded New Zealanders: “intifada, intifada… globalise the intifada”. The literal translation of “intifada” from Arabic is  “tremor, shivering, or shuddering”. It can also mean “revolt, uprising, or insurrection”. However, the word is used to describe one of a number of “violent periods where Arab Palestinians murdered Jews.

In each intifada, there was incitement from Arab Palestinian leaders, often predicated on lies. False charges of Israeli atrocities and instigation from the mosques played an important role in starting the First Intifada. Claims that the Israeli Prime Minister ‘desecrated al-Aqsa’ fuelled the Second Intifada and accusations that Israel was trying to change the status quo of the Temple Mount was part of the incitement for the Knife Intifada.

In May 2021, there were lies spread about Israel and calls for a ‘globalized’ intifada on the streets of Auckland.

As if the chant for murdering Jews wasn’t chilling enough, the fact is it was made by an employee of Unite Union and founder of ‘Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism’, Joe Carolan.

It’s not just Joe Carolan, as an individual within Unite Union

Another Unite Union staff member, Mike Treen, also has a history of virulent anti-Israel activism. In 2018 he joined the “freedom flotilla” with shipmates known to support terror groups, including Hamas and PFLP. The activists admitted their medical cargo was “merely a gesture. We’re talking just a few boxes“.

It is curious that we cannot find any other international issue that the Unite Union has campaigned against. They have not joined protests against the genocide of Uhigyr Muslims in China, they have not picketed the Indonesian embassy, none of their staff have arranged to go to Western Sahara or Crimea or Northern Cyprus. And, neither, can we see evidence of Unite Union leaders actively campaigning on issues within other democracies – like the Australian treatment of Manus Island detainees, or the Canadian failure to address pollution of the Grassy Narrows community.

Unite Union is affiliated with the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and claims to represent workers in fast foods, cinemas, call centres, casinos, hotels and more. We are not sure how many of those workers would be comfortable with their union promoting the murder of Jews or participating in PR stunts run by and in support of terror groups; or their apparent singular focus on Israel for demonisation and campaigns.

It’s not just Unite Union

One might also dismiss the activism against Israel as coming from some activists who happen to be in powerful positions of one particular union. However, we have been approached by members of other unions who are shocked by the anti-Israel sentiment of the leaders and of their gross hypocrisy.

For example, the New Zealand Public Service Association (PSA) recently sent all their members a newsletter with a note from their international organisation that referred to the recent war in Gaza that talked about the “Israeli military airstrikes” yet failed to report the more than 4,200 rockets fired by Hamas into Israel. Among other falsehoods, the note also stated that the homes in Sheikh Jarrah that are the subject of a legal dispute, were built by the United Nations.

Where is this going?

“Globalize the intifada” is a call to violence against Jews around the world. Hopefully those calls will not be heeded, but the pernicious lies and omissions propagated by Unions in New Zealand to their members increases the likelihood of reprisal attacks on Jews for the alleged crimes of Israel. Just as the monomaniacal support for “Palestine” within the UK Labour Party fueled antisemitism within the UK, undermined traditional British values, and contributed to the demise of the party, the propaganda and efforts of New Zealand unionists are also likely to foment Jew-hate in Aotearora and damage the Unions themselves.

The New Zealand public overwhelmingly support Israel. It is disappointing to see such anti-Israel activism take away from the work that Unions should be doing to support workers in our country. We hope that union members are able to freely challenge their leaders and guide them away from the path that Corbyn tried to take in the UK.

 

Periods of intifada

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  • The so-called “First Intifada” has come to describe the years 1989 to 1992 in which more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with guns or explosives were reported; claiming the lives of 16 Israeli civilians and 11 soldiers, with more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 Israeli soldiers injured.
  • The “Second Intifada” is also called the “al-Aqsa Intifada“. It covers violence over the years 2000 to 2005 in which more than 1,000 Israelis were murdered in suicide bombings, sniper attacks, ambushes and other attacks, and approximately 8,000 were injured.
  • There was also a period from 2015 to 2016 in which there were 211 stabbings or attempted stabbings, 83 shootings and 42 car-ramming attacks of Israelis by Palestinians, known as the “Knife intifada“.