RE: ACT Party Leader’s Statement Regarding Palestine Stories On 13/06/2023
As Palestinian New Zealanders, we condemn David Seymour’s, leader of ACT party, use of inflammatory and harmful language against our community in Aotearoa.
Coming largely from migrant and refugee and/ or Muslim background, the Palestinian community in Aotearoa faces an intersectional set of challenges including xenophobia and Islamophobia. Additionally, the portrayal of Palestinians in media as ‘angry’, ‘irrational’, and ‘violent’ Arab/Muslim and militants turns into racism against members of our community, barriers to participation in society, and feelings of social exclusion. Those are all dangerous tropes that cause harm to the community. It is worth mentioning that among the 51 Muslims who were murdered in 15th of March terrorist attack, six were of Palestinian origin.
The use of inflammatory and mischaracterising language by David Seymour, in relation to Palestinians, promotes further exclusion of our community, and spurs extremism and verbal and physical hate against the community.
We condemn putting our community at equal footing with China in its treatment of Uyghurs, and Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. We also condemn the use of the word “propaganda”, and the framing of “Palestinian-friendly” as an “appalling” evil act.
As a community of everyday New Zealanders, who share a Palestinian heritage, we expect from New Zealand’s political parties mutual respect and a focus on policies and programmes that improve our lives, and to be kept away from political rhetoric that is harmful to our community.
We are an inclusive group of Palestinians from a wide range of backgrounds and diverse experiences. We are non-denominational, independent, and politically unaffiliated in Aotearoa New Zealand, Palestine, or internationally. We promote respect for others, non-discrimination, equality, and social justice.
Our mission is to provide opportunities for the diverse Palestinian community in Aotearoa to participate in all aspects of the cultural, social, and political life, as well as provide opportunities for New Zealanders from all walks of life to engage with Palestinian experiences, perspectives, and culture. Our mission includes advocating for Palestinian human rights and enhancing relationships with Iwi, government ministers, human rights organisations, news agencies, social media, and the wider public in New Zealand.