Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Asia Pacific Report

A score of Palestine solidarity protesters draped themselves in white shrouds with mock blood in a sombre “die-in” demonstration at Te Komitanga Square — the heart of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city — today as speakers urged people to take a stronger boycott against Israeli products.

The rally by hundreds of protesters marked Israel’s killing of more than 34,000 Palestinians — mostly women and children — and wounding more than 75,000 in its genocidal war on Gaza.

The war has lasted 205 days so far with no let-up in the deadly assault on the besieged enclave and protesters staged 35 events around New Zealand this week as global demonstrations continue to grow.

Opposition MPs took part in the rally, including Labour’s Shanan Halbert and Green Party’s Steve Abel and Ricardo Menéndez March.

Activist and educator Maryam Perreira called on Palestine supporters to step up their boycott and divestments pressure — “it’s working, sanctions brought down apartheid South Africa and this will bring down the Israeli genocidal regime”.

“Food not bombs for Gaza”.    Video: Café Pacific

Send Israeli ambassador home
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) secretary Neil Scott called for sanctions action by the New Zealand government.

He urged Palestine supporters to call on the government to:

• Send the Israeli ambassador home, and
• End the working holiday visa for 200 Israelis who come to New Zealand to rest and relax “after committing genocide in Gaza”.

Scott called on New Zealanders to email Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Immigration Minister Erica Stanford to take action.

“Try just one email and see how it goes. Then another on another topic. Then another. That’s how I started a while ago,” Scott said.

“We need a tide of emails to get them to understand that Kiwis don’t want the Israeli ambassador here.

“Neither do we want the young Israelis committing genocide today and to walk among us tomorrow.”

More than 13,000 people have signed a petition calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Welington.

“They can’t demonise an entire nation.”  Video: Café Pacific

Superfund divestment
Scott said divestment pressure also worked – it is one of the driving forces for student protests at some 70 universities across the US over the past week with police arresting hundreds.

He spoke about the NZ government’s Superfund which has investments all over the world.

“A few years ago, they invested in Israeli banks which were investing in the building of illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestine Territories. They were involved in investing and enabling crimes against humanity,” Scott said.

“Our efforts got the NZ Superfund to divest from those banks in 2021.”

“BDS – more action call.”    Video: Café Pacific

He called on people with KiwiSaver fund accounts to check them out for investments in “Israeli companies who are in any way involved in the occupation”.

“We’re now calling for everyone to boycott Israeli products — or those companies which are complicit in Israeli crimes against humanity or the illegal occupation, land theft, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and now genocide.”

Scott cited the boycott target list of the global BDS movement — Ahava (“Dead Sea mineral skin care products”), BP and Caltex, Hewlett-Packard, McDonalds, Obela Hummus and SodaStream.

“The key is for all of us to take action today. Remember — boycott, divest, sanction.”

Palestinian flags in Auckland's Te Komititanga Square
Palestinian flags in Auckland’s Te Komititanga Square today. Image: APR

Meanwhile, 1News reports that three New Zealand doctors planning to sail with an independent flotilla carrying aid to Gaza have had their mission “scuppered at the last minute”. They blame Israel for the delay.

The doctors — Dr Ali Al-Kenani, Dr Wasfi Shahin and Dr Faiez Idais — left for Istanbul 10 days ago where they joined other international volunteers in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, said 1News.

Organisers of the humanitarian aid mission said the boats were set to sail under the flag of the West African nation of Guineau Bisseau but said the country had withdrawn permission to use its flag under pressure from Israel.

A Gaza "die-in body" in Te Komititanga Square
A Gaza “die-in body” in Te Komititanga Square today. Image: APR
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Article by