Ugly messages are spreading, capitalising on the protest on the grounds of Parliament. Public health protest has become entangled with death threats and unvarnished racist hate. Expressions of menace and violence are circulating through social and conventional media, expressions that no one would have tolerated a fortnight ago. Now children are hearing and seeing this under the auspices of political protest.
We as individual New Zealanders may debate the best tactics to resolve the protest and return the streets around Parliament to public use.
We as a community have an immediate, shared responsibility to isolate the hate. Do not let it sneak into political discourse. Death threats are not one more opinion. Racism is not just another tactic. It’s poison. We urge everyone to isolate the hate, and to flatly reject it.
To the protesters who are not represented by violence or racism – we urge you to remove it, to loudly disavow hateful speech. Hate benefits no cause. Hatred will taint any undertaking to which it is attached. Hate must not emerge from this protest as a normalised form of political speech. We cannot let that be an outcome.
Some of the hate on display is the hatred of Jews, but antisemitism is not a separate problem and there is no separate solution to it. We call on our Jewish institutions to actively integrate our community with the wider antiracist work that is being done in Aotearoa. Hatred must be confronted and rebuffed by a broad, loving, uncompromising embrace of justice, tolerance and mutual protection.
Alternative Jewish Voices of Aotearoa – New Zealand is a non-Zionist Jewish collective.