(JNS.org) More than two dozen pro-Israel groups in New Zealand have penned a letter to Prime Minister Bill English strongly objecting to his government’s support for the recent United Nations Security Council resolution targeting Israeli settlements.
The Dec. 23 resolution was first introduced by Egypt, which backed down after President-elect Donald Trump intervened, before New Zealand took the lead in pushing for a vote along with Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela.
Haaretz reported Thursday that ahead of the vote, the U.K. worked with the Palestinian Authority to pressure New Zealand to push the vote forward.
“We are ashamed of the role of New Zealand in this travesty and feel betrayed by our government,” the New Zealand pro-Israel groups' letter stated. “New Zealand partnered with Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela to sponsor the resolution, countries which do not share our liberal Western values. The resolution has been praised by Islamic Jihad and Hamas. This is nothing to be proud of.”
Additionally, the letter stated that New Zealand’s support for the resolution, which came just a week before the end of the country’s two-year term on the Security Council, has brought “ignominy” to the country’s legacy on the U.N. body and harm to its relations with Israel.
“It has caused opprobrium among international commentators, calls for boycotts of our goods by supporters of Israel around the world, and demands for an end to our burgeoning relationship with Israel, from which New Zealand has more to gain economically. As prime minister, we believe it is incumbent upon you to make a public statement on the Resolution and its implications,” said the letter, which also called on English to meet with the pro-Israel organizations.
Twenty-seven organizations within New Zealand signed the letter, including the New Zealand Jewish Council, Zionist Federation of New Zealand, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem New Zealand, B’nai B’rith New Zealand and others. In addition to those organizations, more than 1,200 people signed an online petition condemning New Zealand's role in the anti-settlement resolution.
Writing in Tablet Magazine, Liel Leibovitz described the irony of New Zealand's support of a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements when New Zealand itself is a colonialist state founded on the "theft" of land belonging the indigenous Maori population.