Last Friday, New Zealand introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council that pronounced “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967” to be illegal, a definition that includes the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and other historically-recognized parts of the Jewish State. While the United States made headlines by abstaining from the 14-0 vote, less attention was paid to the resolution’s sponsor—and to the dark history that lies behind a small South Pacific nation’s passionate feelings about a property dispute in the Middle East.
New Zealanders are no strangers to settlements—or to the cavalier denial of the rights of an indigenous people in their historic homeland. Coincidentally or not, this December marks the 153rd anniversary of The New Zealand Settlements Act, which shows that the denial of indigenous rights, and the deliberate destruction of a two-state solution in favor of an illegal land grab, are the bedrock on which the modern state of New Zealand was founded. Given that history, and the current realities of New Zealand’s treatment of its indigenous Maori population, the country’s steering of a UN Security Council resolution pronouncing the Jewish connection to our historic homeland to be illegal passes well into the territory of historical denialism.