Shouldn’t NZ’s leading academics be objective and non-political?

In New Zealand, we have a problem with both journalism and academia. Both careers have historically been all about balance and objectivity but more and more of our leading academics are involving themselves in politics and promoting themselves as experts to the media even when their fields of expertise have nothing to do with the topic they are talking about.

Two terrorist sympathisers who have been held up as experts on the Israel-Palestine problem by the New Zealand Herald are both University of Auckland Dance Studies lecturers. Yes really. Even better another one is a senior lecturer at the Massey University School of People,?Environment and Planning. Perhaps they all have a cunning plan for peace that involves dancing around trees as they plant them on the border?

Dance Studies

…Quite how these academics qualify as experts ? or even objective commentators ? on the complex Israeli-Palestinian question is a moot point. There is much to contest in the letter and numerous factual inaccuracies. What is clear, however, is the academics? eschewing of Western Liberal values for support and appeasement of terrorists.

While this group praised Mr McCully for co-sponsoring UN Resolution 2334, they believe New Zealand hasn?t gone far enough as it failed to impose sanctions on Israel or its products made in the settlements. They believe it is a double standard that the NZ government imposes sanctions on ?Palestinian groups involved in violence?, but not Israel.

If one was in doubt that these advocates are equating Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians with the legitimate defensive actions of the Israeli military, it is made explicitly clear by one of the academics. In his article ?Confessions of a terrorist sympathiser?, Richard Jackson presents the terrorists as victims, removing responsibility and justifying their violence against innocent civilians. He states, ?Despite the comforting myths we tell ourselves, ?our? violence is no different from ?their? violence?.

There is a huge difference between defending yourself from violence and attacking someone with violence. If the woman in the above photo managed to fight back and injured her attacker would this academic say that it is a comforting myth that her violence was any different to her attacker’s violence?

…While Jackson sympathises with terrorists from the safe distance of the southern reaches of the South Island, Israelis face the reality of neighbours on their doorstep committed to their destruction. Just last week, rockets were fired towards the Israeli resort Eilat from the Sinai peninsula, within hours of 6 market-goers being injured in a stabbing and shooting attack in Petah Tikva. An Islamic State-affiliated group claimed responsibility for the rockets, all but one (which landed in an open field) being intercepted by the Iron Dome. Jackson?s attempt to place Israeli defence forces on the same moral plane as these terrorists does not withstand scrutiny.

A report by a High Level Military Group Assessment of the 2014 Gaza war (written by specialists who have actually led military operations and resolved conflicts), concluded:

The responsibility for the outbreak of the 2014 Gaza Conflict lies with Hamas? We can further be categorically clear that Israel?s conduct in the 2014 Gaza Conflict met and in some respects exceeded the highest standards we set for our own nations? militaries. It is our view that Israel fought an exemplary campaign, adequately conceived with appropriately limited objectives, displaying both a very high level of operational capability as well as a total commitment to the Law of Armed Conflict?

Hamas in turn not only flagrantly disregarded the Law of Armed Conflict as a matter of course as part of its terrorist-army hybrid strategic concept, but rather it abused the very protections afforded by the law for military advantage. Embedding its entire military machinery in civilian locations and sensitive sites, including those of the United Nations, Hamas indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians?

The New Zealand ?leading academics? also invoke Islamic State?s propaganda as a reason to sanction Israel, suggesting that such sanctions might appease that terror group. The ?experts? further wrote that they would like to see sanctions placed on Israel because it will appease NZ?s Middle Eastern and Muslim trade partners, ?countries who are heavily critical of Israeli violence and violation of human rights?. There is no mention in the letter about any human rights abuses from those same countries.?And while these academics bemoan the US/Israel ?power imbalance?, they fail to acknowledge the level of Iranian support (finance, arms, and training) for Palestinian terrorist groups. So much for double-standards.

It is disconcerting that New Zealand chose to stand with leading human rights violators and anti-Semitic nations Venezuela, Malaysia, and Senegal in co-sponsoring UNSC Resolution 2334; and that Israel?s relationship with some of its neighbours is better than it?s ever been, while its relationship with this country has reached an all-time low.

Now ?leading academics on conflict resolution? in New Zealand are openly equating terrorism against civilians with the responsible actions of a state protecting its citizens, and they?re being given a platform by this country?s leading newspaper. The distinction between terrorism and a state defending its citizens must be held in clear view if we value the peace and freedom that our democratic nation prides itself on. These are values for which we must be willing to stand.