NZ Relationship With Israel on Shaky Ground
New Zealand has not been in Israel’s good books lately. Together with Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela, New Zealand played a key role in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 on Dec. 23, 2016. This was the infamous resolution that condemns, reaffirms and reiterates that Israeli homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal—including Israeli dwellings in and around the Jewish Quarter and Western Wall, a section of Jerusalem that has been inhabited by Jews for the last several centuries (let alone considering the ancient biblical history). As the only Western nation of the four—and a nation, at that, which has enjoyed relatively good relations with Israel—New Zealand has gained a mixture of praise and scorn worldwide for its actions.
In response, Israel withdrew ambassadors to both New Zealand and Senegal (the only two of the four with which Israel has diplomatic relations). And according to a recent Times of Israel article, Israel is now “permanently downgrading its diplomatic ties with New Zealand and Senegal, punishing these countries for cosponsoring an anti-settlement resolution in the United Nations Security Council.” According to the article, last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided against returning Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal.
Yet New Zealand’s part in 2334 isn’t an entirely good representation of the general outlook of the population. Actually, when it comes to support for Israel, New Zealand is a divided country. There is a large chunk of society that does vehemently support the Israeli nation. As a New Zealander myself, who has lived on and off in Israel working on archaeological projects, I have handled Israel’s ancient past, examined the histories, and studied the current situation of the nation—and of course, stand very much in support of Israel, like a large number of my fellow countrymen. Months before Resolution 2334 passed, and in response to a growing fear of the New Zealand government’s position on the status of Israel, a petition circled around New Zealand titled “For the Protection of Zion.” This petition was an attempt to stop the New Zealand government from pressuring Israel to give up territory and to support Israel’s claim to the entire Holy Land, including the West Bank. It has currently gained nearly 12,000 signatures—that may not sound like much, but it is not a bad showing for a lower-profile petition in a nation of less than 4.5 million.
After Resolution 2334 passed, more than 70 protesters from the city of Hastings made the 13-hour journey to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, to stage demonstrations at the Parliament building against the resolution. Also in the wake of the resolution, the office of New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, very quickly found itself emblazoned with the following words:
McCully (perhaps due to the anti-2334 outcry within New Zealand) wrote an explanation for New Zealand’s part in pushing through the resolution. Interestingly, McCully admits in his letter that the resolution had to wait until after the November United States presidential election, in order to have a chance of passing without U.S. veto. This lends credence to the fact that this resolution was a parting shot at Israel from President Barack Obama and an intentional headache designed to be delivered to incoming President Donald Trump. Neither Mr. Trump nor Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had wanted a resolution such as this to be passed before their time in office. Seeing as Mr. Trump won the election, Mr. Obama was thus happy to let the resolution pass through without veto.
While there is much support within New Zealand for Israel, there is also the usual serving of disdain and even anti-Semitism. According to an Anti-Defamation League survey, 14 percent of New Zealand’s population is actively anti-Semitic—one of the least anti-Semitic regions in the world, yet still with unacceptably high numbers. Then there are the movements such as the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network and Kia Ora Gaza, designed to break the “Israeli siege of Gaza” and to “free Palestine.” In their efforts, flotillas to Gaza have been sponsored, along with general aid deliveries, consumer boycotting of Israeli products, and demand for sanctions against Israel.
Our neighbor Australia, contrary to New Zealand’s shameful UN display, has been politically a very strong bastion of support for Israel. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop indicated that Australia (not on the Security Council) would have gone against the positions held by both New Zealand and the U.S. at the UN. Further, in spite toward New Zealand’s part in Resolution 2334, a Queensland senator proposed that “at the very least, we should look at further cutting benefits for New Zealanders living in Australia.” He continued by referencing the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps’ (anzac) actions in liberating the Holy Land during World War i.
2017 marks the centenary of the anzacs’ brave actions to free the Palestinian territory—now Israel—from Ottoman oppression of Christians, Jews and other groups. It would never have been possible for those brave anzacs, charging as part of the Light Horse Brigade, to have ever thought that events 100 years later would go full circle and future generations would betray the very people they were about to liberate.
New Zealand, like Australia, is a member of the British Commonwealth. We have had a unique shared history over the past 100 years, even in connection to the Holy Land. Yet as those well familiar with this website know, our Commonwealth connections with the State of Israel run far deeper than just the last century. They in fact take root in biblical history. This fact makes New Zealand’s latest demonstration at the UN Security Council especially obscene. For a full explanation of this shared history, take a look at our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
The Bible in fact forecasts a time when the relationship between the Jewish nation, the U.S. and Britain (including the British Commonwealth) will be broken. In many ways—especially with what has been displayed at the UN by the U.S., UK and New Zealand—we are already seeing that “brotherhood” (see Zechariah 11:14) falling apart. The nation of Israel is unfortunately becoming very ostracized and alone in a world of wolves. Stay tuned to see where these developments are leading.