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In the New Zealand House of representatives a number of politicians on record as critical of Israel (for no good reason). Eg Keith Locke (ex- MP Green Party) - a life-long effort condemning Israel (his anti-Israel comments - Green Party website). Also, Dr Kennedy Graham (Green Party). And below, Jim Anderton (ex-MP for Wigram and Leader of the Progressive Party) defends his anti-Israel views.

Dear Jim Anderton,

I enjoyed reading your comments on the Progressive website regarding ‘Alcohol’. Good comments and well said. And I certainly agree with your concern and approach to the on-going battle this country faces with this drug.

I was listening to the House today and heard you mention about nations who treat their indigenous people poorly. You listed a few, and included Israel. True, many you listed are awful and prime examples. But I found it surprising Israel was included in the list of disgraceful countries.

Surely you must be wrong. Israel is a democracy, lawfully sound and does not compare to those in that list.

Kind regards,
Mark Purchase.

His & my Reply -

Dear Jim Anderton,

Thanks for the reply. You wrote,

>>On the matter of the Palestinians I am afraid that we are going to have to agree to disagree. There is no doubt that a Semitic Arab people, mostly adherents of Islam, have lived in the area denominated variously Palestine or Israel for many centuries and that since 1948 many of them have been displaced by force. To claim otherwise is to fly in the face of the facts and the evidence which supports this is incontrovertible.<<

But sir, “there is no doubt” Hebrews, mostly adherents of Judaism lived in that area for "many centuries" before modern day Palestinians. So if the definition of ‘indigenous people’ is someone who has occupied land, it can apply to them. Since the British invasion and liberation from the Turks (1918) Britain had the policy of 'Palestine for the Jews'. "Not on sufferance, but as a right". The modern day problem started when Arab Moslems united against Jews (in 1929) they "desired to take away Jewish privileges at the Wailing Wall". The "fiendish cruelty" was put down by the British. The "atrocities by the Arabs were (described as) the most brutal character".

Muslim riots against Jewish immigration started in 1932-33. Arabs complained they were made homeless by Jews buying land. After "investigation it was discovered" few "were valid cultivators" and the "agitation" was called "deceptive". So Moslem leaders encouraged violence against Jews. Hence the root of the problem ever since. Yes Palestinian homes used by shooters have been bulldozed, but can you locate "evidence" for the generalization that Israel has displaced Palestinians by force? No country on earth has a perfect historic record but if so obvious and damming it will be easy to find.

There were about 726,000 Arabs who fled the conflict and became refugees in neighbouring Arab countries. But coming into Israel were about as many Jewish refugees from Arab countries, stripped of their property, rights and nationality. You wrote,

>>It is also a fact that those Paelstinians who remain within the geographical boundaries of the state of Israel are often denied the same rights as other Israeli citizens, thus my inclusion of them among those I denominated in my speech to parliament….<<

Mr Anderton could you explain? If there is discrimination as you claim, why are there Arab Members of Parliament, Judges of the Courts and diplomats (amongst other positions)?

Israeli Palestinians have the same rights as other citizens. The only right lacking (I believe) is a right to compulsory military service. Otherwise they have the same access to education, health, work, travel and justice. And can even administer their own affairs in their own towns and villages. The evidence which supports this is so ‘inconvertible’ its staggering you don’t know.

Could you list some of those ‘rights’ which are denied? I’d be surprised. But of course when Palestinian rockets, gunfire or suicide bombers cross the border, surely the border must be closed. Then why not? So the 30,000 Palestinians who use the border daily to work in Israel suffer, but not those living in Israel.

In contrast Jews in Arab countries in the Middle East ARE subject to special taxes and persecution. And not treated as 2nd class but 3rd class citizens, with no rights! Throughout the Middle East for years about a million Jews have found life so intolerable in their host countries, where they lived for centuries, they fled to Israel. You write,

>>That historically they may or may not have had a discrete state of their own or their own currency is neither here nor there. Neither did the Maori people of New Zealand for that matter, but that does not stop them being indigenous to this country.<<

In this case, such facts are important. Palestinian authorities desire the extermination of the state of Israel and removal of Jews with the establishment of an Islamic state in its place. If this was the Maori expectation, your views on nationhood would change before lunch time.

Historically the Jews have always suffered discrimination. There were Jews in Iraq from the days of the first exile in Babylon over 2,500 years ago until the early 1950s, there are none now. In the 40s-50s those not massacred left (after the Israeli government paid Iraq millions to free them). While there, they were subject to extra taxes and special restrictions and no rights. You write,

>>I am an admirer of the many achievements of Israel since its establishment in 1948, not least its commitment to democracy. But this to me makes the treatment of the Palestinian people within Israel even more incomprehensible and reprehensible. The principal point is however, not to apportion blame for events but to find a solution. I thought we had one in the Oslo Accords but it seems not, but it is important to keep trying. With best wishes Jim Anderton. M P for Wigram and Leader of the Progressive Party<<

Could you provide "evidence" Palestinian people in Israel are treated ‘incomprehensibly or reprehensibly’? Why not? And why can’t the Jews be called the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine? Why is Israel always guilty of every known crime?

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East with a human rights record ahead of anything we can find in an Arab/Moslem country. Countries known for persecution of non Moslem minorities, enslavement of women, absence of freedom of worship and assembly plus a multitude of other human rights violations. I’ve never heard you pontificate on these. But why conveniently ignoring them while fixating on Israel?

Ever read Israel's Declaration of Independence?

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions; and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

In the midst of wanton aggression, we still call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions - provisional or permanent. We offer peace and neighborliness to all the neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Hebrew nation for the common good of all.

Do you refute this? Surely it was disgraceful to liken Israel with North Korean and Iranian countries.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely
Mark Purchase.

(Quotes taken from "The Remarkable Jew" L Sale-Harrison B.D. Pickering & Inglis 1928, 1954)

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