According to TVNZ's Jack Tame, Chloe Swarbrick 'upset Jewish people' because she used a popular Palestinian rallying call. But the people complaining about the Green MP are the same people who have been defending Israel's genocidal military campaign in Gaza.
THE ISRAELI far right regime is preparing to send the military into the city of Rafah where 1.9 million people are living in desperate conditions and, in the face of western inaction, only an unspeakable catastrophe awaits them. But on Sunday's Q+A TVNZ's Jack Tame had other things on his mind. He wanted to know if the likely new co-leader of the Green Party was prepared to admit that using the Palestinian rallying cry 'from the river to the sea' had been wrong because it had upset a number of 'Jewish people'. There were hints that antisemitism was at play.
Tame normally does his homework, but either he went into this interview ill-prepared, or he has come under the sway of his pro-Zionist mates at Newstalk ZB. Certainly, the views and the attitudes he expressed bore a striking similarity to those of Zionist cheerleaders like Heather du Plessis-Allan, Tim Beveridge and the editor of ZB Plus Philip Crump, not to mention his columnists Chris Trotter and Ani O'Brien.
What was Tame trying to achieve? As Swarbrick tried to point out - on several occasions - genocide was being committed in Gaza, and she was being interrogated about a popular Palestinian rallying call. Perhaps Tame had got his priorities wrong?
As US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has observed, 'from the river to the sea' is 'an aspirational call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate.' The use of the phrase is an act of Palestinian resistance, the same resistance that Israel seeks to destroy in Gaza. Tame though wasn't prepared to explore this reality staring him in the face. He clearly had an agenda to pursue, and instead he talked of 'Jewish people' who were 'upset' that Chloe Swarbrick should chant the phrase at a demonstration.
Listening to Tame the viewer might have been left with the impression there was a groundswell of local Jewish opposition to Swarbrick. But that's far from the truth. In fact, the 'Jewish people' who have been complaining about Swarbrick the loudest are the same people who are defending Israel's genocidal military campaign in Gaza. They include David Cumin of the so-called Israel Institute of New Zealand, which has links to the Israeli Government. Similarly, Juliet Moses, who has described Swarbrick's use of the phrase as 'offensive', is the public face of the New Zealand Jewish Council, an undemocratic Zionist controlled group that many local Jewish people do not recognise or support. It is grotesque that Moses can defend the slaughter of innocent children in Gaza yet is offended that Swarbrick should actually declare her opposition to Israel's atrocities.
Also complaining loudly about Swarbrick, and hoping to score political points, has been ACT leader David Seymour. He has been asking for an 'apology' from Swarbrick. This is the same David Seymour who, in his silence, has countenanced the slaughter in Gaza.
Jack Tame, in the end, fell into the trap of equating Zionism with being Jewish. Or perhaps he's under the impression they are one and the same. They are not. Zionists like David Cumin and Juliet Moses conflate Judaism with Zionism and suggest the state of Israel embodies the self-determination of all Jews. That leads them to attacking Jewish people as 'antisemitic' because they are opposed to the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv and its war crimes in Gaza.
The accusations directed at Chloe Swarbrick by Jack Tame are part and parcel of an antisemitism that has been grossly misrepresented by the Zionist lobby in order to attack protesters who oppose Israel's barbaric actions.
As Marilyn Gerson of Sh'ma Koleinu (Alternative Jewish Voices (NZ)) observes:
'When ceasefire is equated with genocide or when the very sight of Palestinian protest is unbearably triggering, the speaker is making their own fragility the point of their statement. They are speaking of their own intolerance. We ask, what is the matter with you that you equate the cessation of violence with the very worst form of violence? More than one percent of Gaza’s people have been killed, the population is being starved, and the cities are rubble – and you have fainting spells at the sight of a flag?'
We might add that the proponents of Zionism have apparently also been having fainting spells because Chloe Swarbrick stands resolutely opposed to Israel's brutal military campaign in Gaza.