Ardern’s NATO trip, Israel & the UN

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28 June 2022

Jacinda Ardern will this week become the first New Zealand leader to attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders’ Summit. This is considered a reflection of “the gravity of the international situation at the moment.” At a time where a rules-based international order is under threat from countries like Russia and China, Western democracies are seeing the need to unite against such challenges.

This may indicate a shift in the trajectory of New Zealand’s foreign policy in recent years. We would hope that the recognition of the value of Western-style democracy would also mean that New Zealand places a higher priority on its relationship with the only nation in the Middle East exhibiting such values.

Destabilizing forces are of course also active in the Middle East in the form of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies. Even as Ardern wings her way to Europe, President Biden is preparing for a trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel in mid-July, where the situation in Iran is a major agenda item.

While Western powers might be confused about this threat, Arab nations are not.

Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ messages to the West are clear:
– any nuclear agreement or future negotiations with Iran must address the Iranians’ “destabilizing behavior in the region, their support for terrorist militias, and their missile program.”
– This is a race against time, and it is still possible to force Iran to abandon its secret plans to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is that the entire international community does not seem serious and resolute in dealing with this issue and deterring Iran.
– Iran thinks with the “mentality of an empire” and that is why it is continuing its efforts to extend its control to several Arab countries.
– The Arab countries have always preferred dialogue with Iran, but this was seen by the mullahs as a sign of weakness.
– The reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirm that Iran is far from the commitments it made in the nuclear agreement, and it is progressing to build a nuclear bomb. A nuclear Iran, its expansionist project that destabilizes regional and international security and stability will be more ferocious and its ambitions will transcend all borders, and it must be deterred before it is too late.
– The Arab and Western media have remained silent about the Iranian people’s protests against the corruption of the regime.
– Arabs are saying that they expect the Biden administration to reverse its stance on the mullahs and act in accordance with reality: that Tehran poses a catastrophic threat to America’s allies – all of its allies, Arab and Israeli alike – in the Middle East.
(Source – https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18628/arabs-biden-iran)

While the Prime Minister appears to be seeking closer ties with the West, our Foreign Ministry continues to act in a contrary manner at the United Nations. As predicted, the first report of the Commission of Inquiry delivered to the HRC on 13 June 2022 was replete with one-sided conclusions. Israel is mentioned 157 times in the report, Iranian-backed Hamas three times and Iran is not even cited. Numerous Civil society and NGO groups condemned the biased and flawed report. A cross-regional group of 22 countries issued a statement expressing “deep concern” about the report. Australia issued an independent statement criticising the “disproportionate scrutiny to Israel”. New Zealand was silent.

​​And in other UN news, world leaders recently gathered in New York to pledge funding for UNRWA. A UN Watch report has revealed that UNRWA systematically employs educators who incite antisemitism and violence against Jews on social media. Statements like ‘Filthy Zionists’ and ‘Slaughter them all’ can be found on their social media pages.

Meanwhile New Zealand continues to contribute financially towards this hatred. IINZ has filed a formal complaint with the ombudsman and we are awaiting a response.

Though NZ seems to be seeking a closer relationship with NATO, it appears our government is unwilling to act with traditional allies when it comes to Israel. This would hardly seem to be in our best interests, for after all, Israel is still the only democracy in the Middle East where human rights of all peoples are protected. Israel is also a startup hub and at the forefront of scientific and technological advancements.

As a nation we have much to gain by cultivating a more friendly relationship with Israel. More importantly, for the sake of justice and fairness we should stop supporting the bullies at the UN and stand against the racist attitudes toward the world’s only Jewish state.

We cannot understand how a government that claims to be “principled and balanced”, like Aotearoa New Zealand, could continue to support the singling out of the only Jewish nation at the United Nations.

We have written to the Foreign Minister expressing our concern and encourage you to do the same: [email protected]