New Zealand foreign minister’s office vandalized over anti-settlement resolution support

Henry Benjamin

(JTA) — New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s North Shore office in Auckland was vandalized with pro-Jewish graffiti, believed to be  in response to New Zealand’s co-sponsoring of an anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations.

In recent years incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism have been common in New Zealand. On Wednesday, however, the trend of anti-Semitic graffiti was reversed, when the outside wall of McCully’s office was spray painted with the words “traitor Jew hater McCully.”

President of the New Zealand Jewish Council Stephen Goodman condemned the graffiti attack against McCully.

“While many in our community disagree with some actions taken by the Minister, offensive acts such as this should have no place in our society and are unacceptable to all New Zealanders, particularly to the Jewish Community which has suffered from graffiti and other attacks in the past,” Goodman said.

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The graffiti is believed to be in retaliation for New Zealand’s co-sponsoring of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements as having “no legal validity” and as constituting “a flagrant violation under international law.”

New Zealand has faced controversy over McCully’s decision. The country has seen a united front with Jewish community members protesting alongside Christian supporters.

McCully said it is “regrettable” that his electorate office was vandalized by people opposed to New Zealand’s sponsorship of a U.N. Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Obviously we have had a significant number of communications from people who are concerned about the issue. But it is very difficult to get past the fact that it is long-standing New Zealand policy to support the two-state solution, to condemn incitement and violence and to call for a halt to the settlement process,” McCully said.

New Zealand is the only western country to sponsor the resolution and has been criticized by many staunch supporters of Israel.

Last week, Israel’s government recalled their ambassador, Itzhak Gerberg, from the Embassy of Israel in Wellington and barred New Zealand’s ambassador to Israel from entering the country.