Government agriculture seminar based on ethnic cleansing, war crimes and human rights abuses

PSNA has written to the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, urging the government to pull out of a proposed on-line seminar with Israel’s agriculture sector.

The Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Primary Industries, John Roche, is scheduled to speak at the on-line event on 15/16 February.

The webinar is designed to build “strategic partnerships in agriculture” with Israel, assisted by the Israeli embassy and the Aotearoa New Zealand government. This is an outrage!

“Israel’s agriculture sector is based on ethnic cleansing, war crimes and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people” says PSNA National Chair John Minto.

“Our government and our farmers should be demanding Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their land instead of helping Israel profit from this stolen land”

Israel’s agriculture sector is based on:


  • Abuse of International law. (eg Illegal Jewish-only settlements built on occupied Palestinian land)
  • War crimes (eg Illegal settlement building on occupied Palestinian land is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court)
  • Violation of United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. (eg UNGA 194, UNSC 242. UNSC 2334)
  • Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land and the blatant refusal to allow refugees to return to their land (UNGA 194)
  • Frequent racist attacks by Israeli settlers, backed by the Israeli Defence Force, on Palestinian farmers (eg here, here, here and here
  • Seizure of water supplies and blatant theft of water from Palestinian farmers. (eg here and here)
  • Destruction of Palestinian crops and olive groves (eg here, here, and here)
  • Instances of draining sewage onto Palestinian land and crops (eg here and here)
  • Indiscriminate aerial spraying of Palestinian farmland along the border with Gaza. (eg herehere, here, and here)

“This Agritech seminar is a celebration of ethnic cleansing, war crimes and human rights abuses”.

Withdrawal is the only moral and ethical course for the government.



Background on Israel as a racist, apartheid state

Early in 2021, B’Tselem, Israel’s largest and most respected human rights organisation, released a report calling Israel “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid”

In April 2021, the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning US-based organisation Human Rights Watch released a 213-page report detailing how Israeli policies constitute crimes of apartheid and persecution.

The recently deceased Nobel Peace prize winner and South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, said international solidarity such as BDS is critical to ending injustices like apartheid.

“I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing in the Holy Land that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid,” says Tutu.

“We could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through… non-violent means, such as boycotts and disinvestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime”

Bishop Tutu says when it comes to Israel we should “Call it apartheid and boycott!”

In Tutu’s quote above when he refers to “other corporate actors” he is referring to entities such as the Ministry of Primary Industries.

It’s also worth recording here Tutu’s words that for anyone “to be silent in the face of oppression is to take the side of the oppressor”. Taking the side of the oppressor is precisely the position the Ministry of Primary Industries is taking with Israel through this event.


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