What she said. In my day to day life I have to wear two hats. One is the loyal public servant, the one who does not attempt to embarrass the government of the day, while also retaining the confidence of opposition parties. Should they ever become Government that is. The second hat is the fun-loving liberal democrat, the one that thinks that open dialogue, tolerance and inclusion are what a decent nation-state is all about.
I think then that I can say in all confidence that I am not betraying either role by stating that Dr. Brash should just give up and actually walk that plank. John, Bill, anyone, pleeeeease get rid of this man. A vibrant, coherent, and credible Opposition is exactly what a country like New Zealand needs. It's what I want to see, it's what you want to see. These witterings are doing no one any favours, and only serve to undermine you as a party and as political personalities of any integrity. I say this because I'm only intending to be a public servant for a few more years. So ignore the boring mid-term polls, you are not likely to be Government anytime soon, unless you ditch Don.
Get rid of him.
OK, next topic. The question I keep asking myself, and have been for many years is, "why the hell should I support Israel?".
Let me preface this brief discussion by acknowledging the contribution of Jewish people to the development of all mankind. Jewish scholars, musicians, artists, comedians, businessmen and diplomats have made contributions to the betterment of this world for generations. As a nation self-defined by their religion, you would be hard pressed to find another people who has such great input into making our modern world what it is today.
Right. Now the thing so seemingly hard to get away with saying. I do not support Israel. I support their right to exist as a nation-state, and as a member of a colonial nation it would be hypocritical of me to think anything else. But I condemn their actions.
I think what annoys me the most is the continuously touted line, "[insert relevant atrocity here] happened because Israel is fighting for its very survival". What the hell? In no way is Israel fighting for its survival. If anyone so much as looks at Israel funny they kick the crap out of them. 1967? Sure. Fighting for their survival. But today the only way that Israel could seriously be threatened is if they start a fight with every single one of their neighbours, and even then the neighbours would have to contend with the US.
I concede that terrorism is a very real part of the lives of Israelis, and I condemn those who would murder innocents. But real peace with the Palestinians seemed to be within the grasp of Israel when Rabin was murdered by one of his own. Not a Muslim, but by a right-wing, fanatical Israeli. The Muslim world is not to blame for that opportunity slipping away.
It seems like another part of the issue is the belief that Israeli is somehow " God's Chosen LandTM ", and the way in which so many Christians buy into it. Dubya for instance. Hat tip to NZBC then (not the greatest photo of the muse there guys), who noticed the Rapture Index. Geez... imagine how great the world would be if all those fanatics pissed off to heaven and left the rest of us to get on with things in peace.
What mystifies me is how reference to Israel being the 'Holy Land' seems to impart some kind of moral high ground. The truth of the matter is that Israel lost any kind of moral superiority a long, long time ago. Genocide during the Second World War was good reason to give the Jewish diaspora a home, but the Holocaust does not automatically provide justification for atrocities such as those that occurred during the last incursion into Lebanon.
Israel reinforced that lack of moral superiority with the actions that started this current cycle of violence, the shelling of a Palestinian family at the beach, and the attempt to spin their way out of it. Oh. Forgot about that did we? The cycle went: 18-month truce, family killed, Hamas responds with violence, Israel replies, Hezbollah joins, Lebanon levelled. Important to remember that before condemning the entire Muslim world.
Note the picture in this article. Girls don't just wander onto military bases and sign shells on a whim. None of what we've seen in the Middle East gives us any reason to think that Israel is any less hateful than any other nation-state. They are in fact much the same as any nation in any conflict anywhere in history.
So the upshot of what I'm trying to say? You don't have to love Israel. It is OK to condemn their actions. Opposing Israel, and stating that all parties in this conflict are as bad as each other, does not make you an anti-Semite. Ranting about "the Jews" does, but we always knew Mel was a little unhinged.