Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Palestinian solidarity: withhold visas for Israeli dancers

27 January 2014

Palestinian solidarity groups call on government to withhold visas for Israeli Dance troupe

A wide range of Palestinian solidarity groups active in New Zealand have called on the government to withhold New Zealand visas from the Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company which is scheduled to perform in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington next month.

We wrote to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse last November making this request and received a non-committal response. We followed up with a letter to Foreign Minister Murray McCully on 15 January this year but have yet to receive a reply. (The letter to Mr McCully is available below.)

We pointed out the Batsheva Dance Company is part of the Israeli propaganda effort to deflect criticism of its appalling policies towards Palestinians.

The Batsheva troupe is largely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture & Sport, the City of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs who praise the troupe as “ambassadors of Israeli culture”. The troupe's participation in the NZ Arts Festival is also partially sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Wellington.

Israel is subject to an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because of its unashamedly racist treatment of its Arab-Israeli citizens; the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land; its brutal military occupation of the West Bank Palestinian territory and its inhuman blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The BDS campaign was called for launched in 2005 by some 260 Palestinian civil society organisations as the best way for the international community to support the Palestinian struggle for justice and human rights and the organisations writing to you here are working in support of this campaign.

For the same reasons New Zealanders called for the end to rugby links with apartheid South Africa we are calling for the cutting of ties with apartheid Israel.

We hope the government will respond because last year, by overwhelming popular vote, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed “2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”. If the government wants to gain the respect of other countries in its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council then cancelling visas for this troupe as a way of providing practical solidarity to the Palestinian struggle would be a big help.

The National government of the 1980s was on the wrong side of history in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. This issue is an opportunity get on the right side of history with the Palestinian struggle.

We have also written to the festival organisers called for Batsheva’s participation in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts to be cancelled and have requested a meeting to discuss the issue.

John Minto
On behalf of
New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network
Palestine Human Rights Campaign
Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Kia Ora Gaza
BDS Wellington
Canterbury for Justice in Palestine
Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine

LETTER TO FOREIGN MINISTER MURRAY MCCULLY SENT ON 15 JANUARY

From:
New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network
New Zealand Palestine Human Rights Campaign
Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Kia Ora Gaza
BDS Wellington
Canterbury for Justice in Palestine
Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine
To:
Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Parliament buildings
Wellington

15 January 2014

Email: m.mccully@ministers.govt.nz

Kia ora Mr McCully,
Proposed visit by Batsheva Dance Company

We are very concerned to read that the Batsheva Dance Company is scheduled to visit New Zealand in February this year to take part in the 2014 New Zealand Festival programme in Wellington.

This group is largely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture & Sport, the City of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs who praise the troupe as “ambassadors of Israeli culture”. The troupe's participation in the NZ Arts Festival is also partially sponsored by the Israeli Embassy.
You will know that Israel is subject to an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because of its unashamedly racist treatment of its Arab-Israeli citizens; the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land; its brutal military occupation of the West Bank Palestinian territory and its vicious blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The BDS campaign was launched in 2005 by some 260 Palestinian civil society organisations as the best way for the international community to support the Palestinian struggle for justice and human rights and the organisations writing to you here are working in support of this campaign.

You will also be aware that last year, by overwhelming popular vote, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed “2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.

You would no doubt be well aware of New Zealand’s commitment under statute as a state party to ensure Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law, and in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice has made it quite clear that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are illegal.

Only last Friday the government of Israel announced the construction on 1400 more illegal housing units in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

We suggest New Zealand could make some response as a step towards fulfilling its obligations.

As part of providing practical solidarity to the Palestinian struggle we request the government refuse visas to this dance group to enter New Zealand. Such a decision would be welcomed by Palestinians as part of the international pressure to bring change to the policies of the Israeli apartheid state as well as by those countries thinking of supporting New Zealand’s bid for a UN Security Council seat.

It’s appropriate here to quote the late Nelson Mandela who said “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” and important to acknowledge South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu who is on record as saying the situation for the Palestinians today is much worse than it was for black South Africans under apartheid.

We look forward to your reply.

Regards,
John Minto
on behalf of the above groups

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Pakistan Schoolchildren Killings

The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto something that’s become a pop cultural meme. Fans of the Homeland TV series will be well aware of the collusion between sections of the Pakistan military/security establishment on one hand and sections of the Taliban of the other…

Reportedly, it was the breakdown of the relationship between the Pakistan Taliban and the Pakistan military – which for the first time, began bombing Taliban enclaves in the Tribal Federated Areas earlier this year – that led to this revenge attack on the school, which is attended by the children of the military. More>>

 

Parliament Adjourns:

Police: Phillip Smith Investigation Passport Charge

A 25 year-old man will appear in the Whanganui District Court today charged with the Passports Act offence of False Representations. The charges were laid on December 9 by the Auckland-based Phillip Smith investigation... More>>

Intelligence: Inspector-General Accepts Apology For Leak Of Report

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August 2011 to media prior to its publication. The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further. More>>

ALSO:

Drink: Alcohol Advertising Report Released

The report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship has been released today, with Ministers noting that further work will be required on the feasibility and impact of the proposals. More>>

ALSO:

Other Report:

Leaked Cabinet Papers: Treasury Calls For Health Cuts

Leaked Cabinet papers that show that Government has been advised to cut the health budget by around $200 million is ringing alarm bells throughout the nursing and midwifery community. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Party: Tribunal Report Confirms Iwi Ownership Of Lake Waikaremoana

“We are pleased for the claimants that eight years after the hearing began on Lake Waikaremoana they have some closure,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. “Most importantly, the report confirms freshwater is a taonga and identifies the ownership rights of Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tamaterangi to the lake bed.” More>>

ALSO:

Climate Performance Report - Not Achieved: NZ Government Part Of Global Climate Problem

The New Zealand Government’s position on climate change is part of the global problem that we need to overcome if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, the Green Party said. More>>

ALSO:

NSW Police Statement: Three Dead Following Martin Place Siege

About 2.10am (Tuesday 16 December), a confrontation occurred between police and a man who had taken a number of people hostage inside a café on Martin Place. Shots were fired during the confrontation. As a result, the 50-year-old man was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Another man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, were pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sydney Siege (And DHB Budget Cuts)
Whenever the authorities bring a siege situation to an end, there will be criticism if – as has happened in Sydney – any hostages are seriously hurt, or killed... In the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, columnist Peter Hartcher raises a different point – that the initial public response had been noticeably different to the agitated reactions of politicians and the media. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Income Inequality, And Yo Ho Ho Christmas Songs

As 2014 grinds to a close, we probably didn’t need one more reminder of this government’s ability to stare reality in the face and declare black to be a very fine shade of white... Yet on Wednesday, there was Finance Minister Bill English trying to tell RNZ that the OECD was (a) wrong (b) using old data and (c) somehow anti-growth and in any case (d) New Zealand allegedly already had a strongly re-distributive tax system... More>>

Werewolf: Public Health - The Silent Crisis

Gordon Campbell: New Zealand’s public health system has been in crisis for so long that its failings – and deteriorating performance vis a vis other developed countries – now tend to be treated as its normal mode of being. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: House Adjourns For Summer

Parliament has risen for the summer break with the Adjournment Motion agreed just after 5pm on Wednesday. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news