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 Northland By-Election

Supposedly, Winston Peters’ victory in Northland has exposed the simmering dissatisfaction with the government that exists out in the provinces. Yet it remains to be seen whether this defeat will have much significance – and not simply because if and when Labour resumes business as usual in the Northland seat at the next election, Peters’ hold on it could simply evaporate.

On Saturday, National’s electorate vote declined by 7,000 votes, as the 9,000 majority it won last September turned into a 4,000 vote deficit – mainly because Labour supporters followed the nod and wink given by Labour leader Andrew Little, and voted tactically for Peters. In the process, Labour’s vote went down from nearly 9,000 votes six months ago, to only 1,315 on Saturday. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news