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FTC Calls for Rational Dialogue Regarding Gaza

FTC Calls for Rational Dialogue Regarding Gaza

Auckland, 19 July 2014 - The Free Thinking Coalition (FTC) urges New Zealanders who are engaged in dialogue regarding the situation in Israel and Palestine to think rationally about issues confronting the Middle East.

This comes in the wake of a demonstration in Auckland Central during which a number of participants threw projectiles at the Consulate of the United States and in which participants displayed banners likening to the fascist NAZI regime.

Members of Auckland’s Muslim communities together with the Jewish community were highly offended by such incidents, primarily because they take attention away from an important issue that need to be discussed.

“Regardless of ones views on the situation in Gaza, the comparison of Israel to a regime that systematically murdered six million of our people is uncalled for and transfers attention from the issues immediately at hand to the reactionaries who caused this offence” said a member of Auckland’s Jewish community who asked not to be identified.

The FTC is committed to encouraging dialogue on issues of peace and justice but is concerned that attempts at such have been significantly hampered by elements of extremism. This view was reflected by members of both the Jewish and Muslim community.

“While the majority of people who attended the Kiwis for Gaza demonstration were peaceful, the [Muslim] Community is worried that a small but highly vocal group of individuals attended the protest to cause calamity and not to engage in meaningful demonstration of our views.” said Mohammed Abbasi, a speaker at the demonstration.

Regarding the current situation in the Middle East, the FTC is encouraged by much of the high level dialogue and reporting that has been visible in New Zealand.

“To ensure that discourse remains informed, we urge all people interested in the current conflict to learn about both Israel and Hamas, and to form their own views on the situation in Gaza taking account of facts going beyond the shock-propaganda used by both sides. We also encourage New Zealanders not to confuse the Palestinian people with Hamas – neither represents the other,” said Dr Aroha Mahara, President of FTC New Zealand.

About the Free Thinking Coalition
FTC is about transparency, open dialogue and promoting equality. FTC is a secular organisation that is guided by a Te Tiriti kaupapa.

ENDS

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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