Selective outrage

On 16 December 2021, the United Nations tabled Resolution A/RES/75/169, calling for combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism’. A 67% majority, including Israel, voted for it. The only nations to vote against were the United States and Ukraine. Both New Zealand and Australia abstained! So did the NATO allies.

The Israeli historian, Professor Ilan Pappé, has recognised that we must never, for one moment, be “indifferent to news and images coming to us from the war zone in the Ukraine: traumatised children, streams of refugees, sights of buildings ruined by bombing and the looming danger that this is only the beginning of a human catastrophe at the heart of Europe.” But selective outrage is no help in discovering the underlying causes of the tragedy. While Russia’s violation of international law is being extensively reported, as it should be, the same news media turn a blind eye to NATO crimes and those of its allies. Our news media also ignore the victims’ pleas for justice.

The US massively-funded Ukraine with billions of dollars to manipulate the overthrow of its democratically-elected government, recorded proof of that has been available online since 2014In 2017, at a time when it seems the newspaper was more open, the Washington Post warned us that a Ukrainian war with Russia should never allow us to forget about the power of neo-Nazism in the Ukraine. Ukraine has the only Army in the world with a neo-Nazi component, the Azov Battalion; it formally joined the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014. The Battalion’s badge is strikingly similar to that of the 2nd Waffen SS Panzer Division emblem in World War Two. NBC News has drawn attention to a German TV programme that Shows Nazi Symbols on Helmets of Ukraine Soldiers.” Neo-Nazis make up less than ten per cent of the political spectrum in Ukraine – but their influence is immense. A group of Western news media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE), the World Jewish Congress, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, have issued a joint report warning that Kiev is giving way to far-right gangs operating with impunity. Ukraine’s Azov movement is inspiring right-wing racism across the globe, including New Zealand. In 2019, the Australian, Brenton Tarrant, wearing an Azov Battalion symbol, attacked two mosques in Christchurch, murdering 51 worshippers. Tarrant had earlier visited several East European countries and, while producing his manifesto, wrote that he was in Ukraine. NATO’s Atlantic Council, funded by US and European governments, promoted Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and in June, 2014 published a report called The Battle For Mariupol, glorifying the anti-Russian movement as heroes. Most people are unaware of these aspects of the present violence and suffering in Ukraine because our mainstream news media, in harmony with the wishes of our ‘traditional allies’, only selectively report what happens. In New Zealand, RT, the Russian TV news channel, reported the UN Resolution on combating Nazism. It now appears that Sky TV has silenced RT in New Zealand.

The mainstream news media do not report the shooting and killing carried out by Ukraine’s far-right forces against people in Ukraine – Russian-speaking (29.6% of the population) and Roma (gypsies). The Nation, on 22 February 2019, reported: “Today, increasing reports of far-right violence, ultra-nationalism and erosion of basic freedoms are giving the lie to the West’s initial euphoria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators.” Unsurprisingly, the Ukrainian establishment is determinedly pro-Israel. President Volodymyr Zelensky withdrew Ukraine from the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and stated that the only tragedy in Gaza was the one suffered by the Israelis.

Professor Ilan Pappé observes that “those of us experiencing, reporting and digesting the human catastrophes in Palestine cannot escape the hypocrisy of the West and we can point to it without belittling, for a moment, our human solidarity and empathy with victims of any war. We need to do this, since the moral dishonesty underwriting the deceitful agenda set by the Western political elites and media will once more allow them to hide their own racism and impunity as it will continue to provide immunity for Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians.”

The news media and world leaders fall silent when Israel uses its military might to assault defenceless communities, villages and towns, not just in Palestine but elsewhere, including in Lebanon. No sanctions have been called for, let alone imposed. Instead the peace-oriented Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been ignored, vilified and even outlawed.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, tells us: “Russia’s actions are a flagrant breach of fundamental international rules” and says, “We stand with the people of Ukraine impacted by this conflict. Our thoughts are with them.” We are still waiting for her to reply to our questions regarding Israel’s invasive, brutal exploitation of the Palestinian people and our country’s support for Israel at the recent Agritech seminar.

When will the Minister admit that Israel’s actions are also a flagrant breach of fundamental international rules? Are her thoughts with the Palestinian people? Will she ever stand by them?

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