To quote the Council's press release of 20 May:
".... Dr Webb has claimed that BDS has a right to question the policies of the Israeli Government. The Jewish Council has no issue with Dr Webb questioning the policies of Israel, in the same way as with any other country.
However, advocating for a boycott of a country is not questioning its policies. Trying to get Madonna to not perform at the Eurovision Song Contest, for example, which Dr Webb publicly expressed support for, has nothing to do with questioning Israeli government policy.
In a letter to the Prime Minister as Leader of the Labour Party, other Ministers, and the Party President, the Jewish Council pointed out that the achievement of BDS’s three stated goals would mean the end of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. This is irreconcilable with a negotiated “two-state solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which has been longstanding official New Zealand policy.
A response from the Prime Minister’s office said that “the Labour Party supports a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and recognises that New Zealand has a growing trade and economic relationship with Israel.”
The Jewish Council welcomes that statement, but is concerned that Dr Webb’s support for BDS is an attack on the legitimacy of Israel, and contradicts the two-state policy. The language used by the BDS movement demonises the Jewish homeland Israel and, by association, the Jewish people, including New Zealand Jews.
The NZ Jewish Council sees widespread BDS activity overseas affecting Jews in many countries, and increasing antisemitism in those countries, and is concerned that promotion of BDS here threatens the security of the New Zealand Jewish community...."It seems Dr Webb has a real bee in his bonnet regarding Israel. Here's one of his very latest tweets.
here. Inter alia:
"In trying to frame the argument as a free speech issue, Dr Webb makes three serious errors of judgment. First, he ignores the fact that the BDS campaign spreads discriminatory lies in order to demonise the Jewish state and seek its destruction. The BDS campaign is more than a simple expression of opinion – it is a call for concrete action that is comparable to the German boycott of Jewish businesses or the Arab boycott of Jews in British Mandate Palestine. For this reason, BDS has been outlawed in some democratic countries because it is discriminatory and anti-semitic.
Secondly, his tweet was in support of preventing a musician from playing at an event. His tweet was, therefore seeking to stifle freedom of expression – an expression that could help bring people together, in fact. The hypocrisy should be clear to anyone who takes a moment to consider it.
Finally, supporting freedom of speech does not mean one should support discriminatory messages. People should be free to speak their minds and Nazi marches are also an expression of a political view. However, supporting the right of Nazis to protest is different to support for their message. And Dr Webb certainly supports the anti-Israel agenda of BDS.
In August last year, Dr Webb, hosted a lunch so a recently returned activist could talk about his experience on the anti-Israel “international freedom flotilla”. The aim of the “flotilla” was to breach a legal blockade designed to prevent terror attacks. Thus, the “peace flotilla” is an act of support for violence.
At the time, the Israel Institute of New Zealand called on his party and the government to distance themselves from this action and condemn Hamas terror that the “flotilla” supports. There has been no response. And in June, Dr Webb said he was “happy” to present a petition that called for the New Zealand Government Superannuation Fund to divest from Israeli banks...."The John Minto referred to in the letter partly featured in Webb's tweet (above, right) is this fella, who may be no stranger to readers of my blog, since he's been featured before, when he lived in Auckland; now living in Christchurch, he is a keen BDSer.
Among Dr Cumin's latest tweets, by the way:
That's the Janus face of Al Jazeera for you!