Blame Palestine. And the Greens.

Stuff OpEd, December 28, 2021

Dear Stuff Editors,

We share Ben Kepes’ emphasis on clear language, and so we object to his unclear inferences in today’s Stuff OpEd.

Ben Kepes doesn’t mention which of MP Golriz Ghahraman’s protests offended him.  We can only reply on the basis of our own experience.  We are aware of two protest actions to which he might refer. Perhaps they were typical. 12 Green MPs stood on the steps of Parliament in May, to protest Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and request Parliament’s recognition of the State of Palestine. MP Ghahraman hosted an evening at Parliament to highlight Israel’s illegal detention of Palestinian children in its military jails.

We spoke at both of those events. Neither the Holocaust nor antisemitism were themes. Thus far, Kepes rather than Ghahraman is linking the Holocaust with Palestine. Please cite specifics or leave Ghahraman out of your argument.

Do loudly decry the use of Holocaust or Nazi references to protest COVID public health measures. We agree that those references are wildly inappropriate, designed to shock and sadly to normalise extremism. COVID disinformation took root and was cultivated offshore, long before it was grafted onto our issues. It is absurd to link or source this to the Green Party of Aotearoa.

To protest that offensive language, you need the addresses of Donald Trump, Q-Anon and co.  We’re with you in that protest when it is properly directed.

We also share your objection to a language of false equivalence on the matter of Palestine. We have written in search of a language that neither hates nor falsely equates.

Finally, in the interests of precision please correct your language.  Gazan Palestinians are not being “treated… poorly” or “subjugated.”  Their land is occupied, and two million human beings live behind a blockade instituted by one of the most powerful armies on the planet. They live deprived of their most basic human rights. Read a current, comprehensive summary by the UN Special Rapporteur A/76/433.

As profoundly as you feel protective of the truth of your family’s experience in the Holocaust, you must not do a disservice to Palestinians’ equal human rights: the right to life and medical treatment, freedom to move, collective self-determination.  Please make your point without discrediting the protest of others.  Your memory and their daily reality are not in competition.

Marilyn Garson and Fred Albert

Co-Founders, Alternative Jewish Voices

2 thoughts on “Blame Palestine. And the Greens.”

  1. I read the article, found Ben’s comments disingenous to say the least and I wondered what he was referring to and what I had missed. I’m quite relieved to see I’m not the only one, and really hope we can see a response from him. Thank you for your measured and precise – surgical – deconstruction of his bizarre article.


    1. I asked him three times on Twitter for the basis of his accusation. Finally he pasted in a statement that Israel has committed the “grossest of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, I would say, genocide.” If accurate, then Ghahraman, who has worked on war crimes trials, has offered her opinion on a war crime. However, this author called it ‘Holocaust revisionism’ on Twitter. Nonsense, the Holocaust was not the object of the words that he pasted. I am very, very disappointed that Stuff would publish his column without querying and requiring the author to publically reveal the basis – or baselessness – of his allegation.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: