Auckland Scoop

To The Front: Lockwood Smith On The Wrong Side Of History Again

To The Front! is a column by political commentator and activist, John Minto.

To The Front: Lockwood Smith On The Wrong Side Of History Again

Yesterday Parliament’s Speaker Lockwood Smith entertained a delegation from Israel led by the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) Reuven “Rubi” Rivlin.

In a media release Smith described the visit as an “opportunity to increase links between Kiwi and Israeli parliamentarians as part of a renewed relationship with Israel across many areas, as well as reciprocating the hospitality that Speaker Rivlin extended to me and my delegation in Israel last October”.

Lockwood Smith is referring to his annual taxpayer-funded “junket” last year which took in Israel in a typically one-sided approach to Middle-East politics.

The warming of relations between New Zealand and Israel follows their cooling under the Labour government when an Israeli secret service agent was imprisoned for stealing the identity of New Zealanders to create fake passports with which Mossad agents could travel the world in our name generating murder and mayhem.

It also follows the near evangelical mood of Prime Minister John Key who in a recent television interview made it clear that recognition of Israel was the cornerstone of our Middle East policy. This was the reason Key gave for backing Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak against the millions of Egyptians who courageously took to the streets in January to oust their brutal dictator. Key backed the dictator against the peoples wish for democracy – a familiar pattern in New Zealand foreign policy as we follow the blind dictates of US interests.

In the case of Egypt the people had the last word against Mubarak and likewise the Palestinians will eventually also have the last word despite the warm relations between Lockwood Smith and the Israeli speaker who hails from the far-right Likud Party.

Last Sunday evening I attended a small but spirited protest against Rivlin outside the Auckland venue where he was addressing members of the Auckland Jewish Council and the Zionist Federation of New Zealand. The protest was part of the call for a boycott of Israel under the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign which is gathering momentum around the world and bringing pressure on Israel just as international sanctions against South Africa had an important impact in the struggle against apartheid.

Rivlin is an open advocate of the continuing theft of Palestinian land to establish Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land in defiance of international law. Last year Rivlin even acknowledged the fact that Israel itself was established through a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing.

For decades the Israeli government has been frantically attempting to rewrite history on this point. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Palestinians “abandoned their the request of Arab leaders”. It is part of a more general claim that Israel provided “a land without people for a people without land” for exclusive Jewish settlement. This claim has been debunked by historians around the world many times, including eminent Jewish historians.

Rivlin in a few frank words did the debunking job better than anyone. He was angry at a group of Israeli artists who refused to perform in the huge settlement colony of Ariel when he said “I say to those who want to boycott – Deer Balkum [‘beware’ in Arabic] – those who expelled Arabs from En-Karem, from Jaffa, and from Katamon [in 1948..] lost the moral right to boycott Ariel.”

Rivlin and his racist ideas are not welcome in New Zealand except by those whose own opinions see themselves often on the wrong side of history.

Lockwood Smith, the smiling quiz master from several decades ago, would seem to have relatively benign political views but the warm grin is misleading. For the record Lockwood Smith was the most recent National Party MP to refer to Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. He was wrong to defend South African apartheid then just as he is wrong to defend Israeli apartheid today.



    […] Secondly – there was bugger all local coverage of the protest except for this […]

  2. grounded kiwi, 6. April 2011, 14:04

    Considering all the security software Israel makes, is it just a coincidence that Rivlin is here whilst the meetings of the SIS amendments act are being held?

  3. Kelly, 7. April 2011, 15:21

    John (Minto that is not Key), thank you for putting this information out there and also to Scoop for giving John a platform on which to reach more NZers.

    John Key and his neo-con government are out to ruin this country. Being allied to Israel is not something I support. I do not agree with genocide, the confiscation of lands or oppression of a people. I am for giving Palentinians their land back, stopping the oppression, pulling down that hideous wall (what the hell do they think they are doing?) and stopping the murder of these peoples. I only hope many other New Zealanders feel the same way because what is going on there is horrendous. What Israel are doing to Palestine is wrong. The National government smooching up to this corrupt Israeli regime is disgusting, undemocratic and wrong.

    Furthermore, our government does not care about the people of NZ, it only cares about the capital the NZ coffers can add to their own portfolios and that of their fellow cronies. This is evident by the legislation it has passed, the lack of commitment to statements and promises it makes to the NZ people, the lack of loyalty to citizens and the cutting of budgets to three of the most important and fundamental foundations a country should have; health, education, research.

    Every day they erode our human rights with another stroke of pen and passing of some right wing, capitalist legislation for the sole reason to appease offshore investors and/or governments for their own personal agenda. Last night, for example, Legal aid was attacked and now an individual has lost control of who might represent them in a court of law if they have legal aid. To me this is madness or John Key building his mini USA.

    What’s in it for him or the Nats. So much… a guess anything, perhaps a diplomatic positing in desirable locations and/or more money and more power.

  4. RON RIDDEX, 12. April 2011, 17:25