Just because a person is wrong about one thing does it automatically mean they are likely to be wrong about most things? Of course not! That would be a terrible reality because it would mean none of us were ever right about anything.
However, if the reason why we are wrong is because we are too lazy to look at or discover the facts, or worse, because we make up our mind regardless of the facts, or perhaps worse still, out of self interest we speak in a partisan manner; then there is an increased likelihood that we will be wrong about a great deal of things.
One Nation’s Senator Malcolm Roberts is well known for his disdain for any scientific facts about Climate Change and for his absurd insistence that the accumulative actions of the global human population has absolutely no impact on global climate through the burning of fossil fuels and release of greenhouse gases. His insistence that changes are cyclical over millennia is of course correct. What he appears incapable of understanding, or refuses to understand, is that past ‘natural’ cycles happened gradually over centuries or millennia giving ample opportunity for life to adjust or evolve. What is different in our current context is that this human caused change is so rapid (and increasing in its intensity) that species adaption and evolution is not possible with dramatic and projected devastating effect.
Is it a surprise then to find in the last few days that his comments about New Zealand’s support for the UN resolution 2334 condemning Israel’s illegal settlements in the Palestinian Territories are equally bizarre and completely, perhaps dangerously, ill-informed? He bases his ire against New Zealand on the grounds that 100 years ago ANZAC forces fought against the Ottomans, most famously in the Battle of Beersheba. He argues that 2017 opposition to the Israeli constructed illegal settlements on Palestinian land is somehow to insult or degrade this military effort 100 years ago.
It is most unlikely that Senator Roberts wants to be informed about anything, having seemingly made up his mind about everything. However he should know that success against the Ottomans was secured through the Arab uprising. In turn the Arab uprising was achieved through encouragement given to the Arabs by the allies that post the war Arabs might enjoy semi or complete autonomy with many imagining a single Arab State from Aleppo in the north to Aden in the south. That this did not happen and that with the exception of the powerful Saudi tribe, the rest was largely carved up by the British and the French is a matter of history.
Following the ‘between wars’ protectorate of Palestine by Britain, subsequent international arrangements for the establishment of Israel have been made on the assumption that pre-existing rights and interests of the Palestinian population would be preserved and safeguarded. Even the Balfour declaration which celebrates its centenary this year makes this point quite unequivocally.
Therefore those who proposed UN motion 2334 condemning the actions of Israel in the occupied territories, far from disregarding, undermining or insulting the sacrifice of those who fought in the past have done the complete opposite, they have sought to maintain the balance upon which the only hope of lasting peace in the region is founded. Winner takes all is a recipe for continued violence and war as we know from the Treaty of Versailles. Only when the rights of Palestinians are protected and they have as much opportunity to live in freedom and prosperity as anyone else, will peace come to this land; and the hope of greater security emerge for the whole global community.
Finally, it is a fabrication of Israel’s effective propaganda strategy to tell others that to oppose settlements is to oppose Israel. Rubbish! When those with influence in my life have told me to stop doing something because it is wrong, hurtful to others, counterproductive, or for whatever other reason, they have not been opposed to me; they have been opposed to what they perceive I have been doing. In the same manner to tell Israel it is not only breaking the law, not only demeaning and oppressing another people, but that in the long term it is undermining itself is what friends with courage and integrity should be doing. We should admire New Zealand’s courage and integrity as a true friend of Israel and be appalled and embarrassed by the absence of such virtue amongst Australia’s political elite.