NZ government silent as World leaders condemn Pittsburgh attack

Political leaders from the following countries  have spoken out in condemnation or sympathy over the recent attack on Jewish congregants in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people were killed:

The following bodies have also issued condemnations:

Even these opponents of Israel condemned the attack:

In New Zealand, however, there has been silence from our political leaders. Neither our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, nor our Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, has publicly uttered a word of condemnation or sympathy about this attack.  No message has, to our knowledge, been sent to the US government, the US Jewish Community or the local Kiwi Jewish community, which is shaken by this appalling event. The main opposition party has been similarly quiet.

This omission, while concerning, is not unprecedented. New Zealand government leaders have spoken out against several mass-killings in recent years, including the 2017 Las Vegas shootingthe 2016 Ankara attack, and the 2016 Brussels attacks. However, where Jews have been the primary target, no comment has been made. As well as the silence about Pittsburgh, New Zealand leaders made no statement on the 2016 attacks on Jews in Israel, the 2015 attack in Copenhagen, the 2014 attacks in Jerusalem and Paris, or the 2012 attack in Toulouse.

Our government has, however, been swift to criticise Israel for defending its borders, resulting in Palestinian casualties, but not, it seems to our government, enough on the Israeli side.

Perhaps this was just a simple oversight – it has been a busy week with the arrival of royal visitors, after all. However, in light of other similar omissions, as well as the fact that important Jewish festivals have also passed without acknowledgement by our leaders (in contrast to those of all other significant religious groups), many New Zealand Jews are left wondering whether there is a message in this deafening silence.


First published on Shalom Kiwi




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