Damien Grant: Hysteria over Israel a stain on our nation
OPINION: I've liked Gerry Brownlee ever since he flouted airport security. It's inherently obvious that an overweight middle-aged Caucasian cabinet minister isn't going to hijack a plane. He may have shellacked Christchurch but views differ on that.
Still, I like him even more now he's let slip his view on New Zealand's shameful support of a UN resolution declaring Jewish building in the occupied territories illegal. Israel squeezes 8 million people on a sliver of land smaller than Waikato, most of which is desert. They need to build houses.
The world's obsession with Jews in general and Israel in particular is one of the many disheartening features of modern life.
Imagine that you are a member of God's chosen people. For over 1000 years your ancestors have endured periods of mild-but-tolerable persecution followed by irregular bouts of genocidal rage.
The one thing the last millennium should have taught us is it is never safe to be a Jew. Organised campaigns of anti-semitic violence even have their own term: a "pogrom".
The United Nations Security Council has dealt with 226 resolutions concerning Israel. More than six percent of the total. The UN is obsessed with Israel. In a speech last December retiring UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conceded the UN has passed a "disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticising Israel."
Not all criticism of Israel is unwarranted but we forget it is a liberal democracy in a sea of tyranny, terror and hatred. The endless preoccupation over the 700,000 Arabs displaced when Israel was created ignores the equal number of Jews who fled Arab nations. No one calls for their right to return and equally overlooked are the 1.5 million Arabs living in relative peace in Israel today, not including the occupied territories.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to hold my child knowing that he would be subject to fear and hatred because of his race, subject to hostility from alt-right creeps and left-wing "anti-Zionists".
The world owes a debt it can never repay for the crimes committed to a people displaced for two millennia and Israel is the one place on earth, perhaps excluding New York, where a Jew can feel safe from persecution. Although not safe from suicide bombing and Hamas missiles.
It was a stain on our nation that we participated in the mass-hysteria over Israel. I wish Brownlee success and safe travels.
- Sunday Star Times