Launch in new window

Nine Inch Nails - Ringfinger

You are here

Concerns over anti-Palestinian misinformation in New Zealand

7 March, 2024

Interview by Jessica Hopkins, adapted by Joel Armstrong

National Chair of Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, John Minto, says misinformation spread by Israel is being used to “justify the mass slaughter of Palestinians”.

Advocates have expressed concern over an influx of misinformation about Israel’s assault, which has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, in Western media and politics.

National Chair of Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, John Minto, told 95bFM’s The Wire that the Western world has amplified Israeli propaganda while sidelining Palestinian viewpoints, and that New Zealand is complicit in this.

“We are continuing to see recycled Israeli propaganda points which are nothing more than lies used to justify the mass slaughter of Palestinians.”

“Every media source in New Zealand, particularly our state broadcaster, RNZ, and state television producer, TVNZ, have followed the Israeli narrative at every turn at the expense of the truth."

Minto says multiple allegations perpetuated by Israel have no evidence, such as Hamas beheading babies, Hamas members sexually assaulting Israeli hostages, and that staff members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were involved in the October 7 attacks.

The allegations surrounding the UNRWA, which provides aid to Palestinian civilians, came after South Africa’s genocide court case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and led many Western governments, including New Zealand, to halt funding to the organisation.

Justice for Palestine Co-Convenor, Samira Zaiton, told The Wire that many of Israel’s false claims have been regularly repeated by its Western allies. 

“The United States President, Joe Biden, has talked publicly about completely uncensored, unsubstantiated claims.”

She says misinformation arises due to a lack of fact-checking and investigation into Israel’s claims.

“When looking at what is happening in Palestine, we have thousands of videos and evidence of people being killed. We don't see that when needing evidence from the other side.”

Co-founder of Alternative Jewish Voices, Marilyn Garson, told The Wire that Israel is held to a different standard and is seemingly “absolved of its responsibilities” in the eyes of Western countries.

During a weekly interview, ACT MP Simon Court told The Wire he believes Israel faces a “dilemma” in releasing “terrorists” in exchange for civilians.

Garson rejects Court's claims and says the arrests of many Palestinians in the West Bank are unlawful. 

“Israel arrests five, six, seven hundred children every year. It is a racialised trope to assume Palestinians who are in military custody must therefore be terrorists.”

“Civilian hostages should be released unconditionally because it is a war crime to hold them. Palestinian prisoners who are confined without due process; children, those in preventative detention, should also be released without precondition."

Recently, the prime ministers of New Zealand, Australia, and Canada released a joint statement calling on Israel not to pursue a ground invasion of Rafah in Southern Gaza.

Minto believes this statement was released not because these governments oppose what Israel is doing but to help protect US interests around the world.

“The United States is now worried its reputation has been badly tarnished by what Israel is doing. We are doing the US’ bidding.”

He calls on the New Zealand government to put more pressure on the US and Israel for a permanent ceasefire.

“The entire world knows Joe Biden could stop this killing immediately with a phone call to Netanyahu and say ‘We will not send you weapons while you continue this genocide in Gaza.’”

“Israel needs to follow international rules that every country follows. We need to hold Israel to account.”

Listen to the full interview with John Minto

Listen to the full interviews with Samira Zaiton and Marilyn Garson

Listen to the full interview with Simon Court

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air