May 10, 2004


What the hell is New Zealandís problem with Israel?

"Israelis are a nation of spies and drug dealers", according to New Zealand immigration officials speaking to the Jewish Agency treasurer Shai Hermesh upon his arrival there, reported Army Radio Saturday.

Hermesh and his assistant were detained and searched by airport officials for 3 hours after their arrival in Auckland in spite of the fact that Hermesh presented a diplomatic passport.

The place is full of pinheads. Luckily NZ Pundit is keeping them honest.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 10, 2004 03:38 AM

Jesus H Christ! What the hell is their problem!

Posted by: Dwayne at May 10, 2004 at 03:42 AM

Well, Israel is a nexus of the Ecstacy trade, and they've had problems with Russian immigrants running sex slave rings. But no more so that any other highly multicultural country with lots of immigration from all over the world. And that's no excuse for treating a diplomat like that.

Posted by: Yehudit at May 10, 2004 at 04:07 AM

Pathetic. And unprofessional. Makes me wonder how they treat normal tourists.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 10, 2004 at 04:53 AM

That comment, made about any other country, would produce howls of outrage by the permanently outraged classes.

Posted by: debbie at May 10, 2004 at 06:34 AM

Wanna bet this quote from NZ officials is not fact? Sounds a bit over the top.

From the NZ Herald ( "Customs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials said they had not received a complaint from Mr Hermesh." And in this country ministers don't survive lying. So I assume for now they're speaking the truth.

Also note that from that article: A Customs spokeswoman said there were differences in diplomatic passports. To gain exemptions an individual had to be diplomatically accredited to New Zealand or have a special visa.

"If you have a diplomatic passport and no accreditation you are subject to normal process."

Also we have a scandal here where it is claimed that the Mossad has been trying to obtain NZ passports. Perhaps this explains that people from Israel are searched more thoroughly.

Posted by: Berend de Boer at May 10, 2004 at 09:14 AM

Yeah Tim -- there are a couple of people in court right now facing charges of making passports for Mossad. A third guy, a Mossad agent, scarpered and no one can find him. So I guess New Zealand's problem is that Israeli govenrment spies have, in the last few weeks, been coming into New Zealand to get, or using, false passports. False New Zealand passports. What exactly is Israel's problem with New Zealand? And, uh, if the claimed customs quote turns out to be a lie, will we get a Robert Byrnes apology?

Posted by: Watcher at May 10, 2004 at 10:36 AM

NZ is working on their pinhead problem.

Posted by: Habib at May 10, 2004 at 12:14 PM

I did a Google search, and found this this article from the New Zealand News, 24 April 2004.

This looks to be another round in a diplomatic war. New Zealand can do this, it's your country. But diplomatic passports aren't handed out freely; your government must be really pissed about the forged passports issue.

The interesting thing about the linked article are the concluding paragraphs:

He [a former Mossad agent] cautioned against New Zealanders thinking the country's remoteness meant it wasn't touched by world events. September 11 had made New Zealand passports more valuable. New Zealand was a small, neutral country seen by the Arab world as sympathetic.

By contrast, the Israeli Government regarded the New Zealand Government as "anti-Israel", he said. That view would have been enhanced by Foreign Minister Phil Goff's meeting with Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat last year.

McKinley believes the Australian and New Zealand Governments would be "pissed off" if Mossad had strayed into their patch, although [Dr. Jim] Rolfe did not think the New Zealand intelligence agencies would be morally outraged.

More likely, says Rolfe, they would be thinking of what they could learn from the situation.

"What can we learn in terms of our passport procedures? What can we learn about tradecraft generally? Did the Israelis do anything different from the Russians in the 1950s when New Zealand passports were acquired?"

Emphasis is mine.

You guys have a right to be angry about having NZ portrayed in an umsympathetic light. But guess what! That happens to other countries on a regular basis. Like the USA. Al Jazeera does this on a daily basis. Learn to love it.

Oh, would you be as angry if Al Qaeda got a bunch of forged NZ passports? And if New Zealand passports have always been such a hot commodity for spies and terrorists, maybe y'all want to do something about it?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 10, 2004 at 12:33 PM

Any place that won't allow US nuclear weapons into its harbors gives me the creeps, even if it does have cute fjiords and stuff.

Posted by: IceCold at May 10, 2004 at 12:53 PM

But to answer your question, Tim, it's really quite a great place to go and (as one writer put it) try and get yourself killed. In any of the great adventure activities, especially down in Queenstown and Wanaka. My favorite was boogie-boarding the Kauru River when it was a bit, uh, high and fast. Exciting near misses with rocks, freezing water. Also great sauvignon blancs, and a few other bottlings. Somehow I doubt the Israeli diplomats were headed to Kaikoura to swim with dusky dolphins, though.

Posted by: IceCold at May 10, 2004 at 12:59 PM

Well done Tim, you make an interesting point.

I'm sure the story is slightly distorted, but the fact remains, they've had this bias towards Israel for a while now, and I can't work it out.

It's probably just their knee jerk anti australian hang up. Anything we do, they do the opposite.

For example, our laws against beastiality...

nice blog, keep it up.

Posted by: Jay at May 10, 2004 at 05:01 PM

This time next year, they'll have Don Brash and we'll have Mark Latham. Then we'll see who the pinheads are.

Posted by: William at May 10, 2004 at 07:48 PM

...Don Brash and we'll have Mark Latham...

*shudders uncontrollably*

Next year can we trial a PM-exchange with NZ?

Posted by: Quentin George at May 10, 2004 at 09:30 PM

What a crap forward contest; one with no hair, one with one nut. If Hulun Clurk is still there, now there's a second-rower no-one wants to take on.

Posted by: Habib at May 10, 2004 at 11:17 PM

Despite a couple of dunderheads, they are nice to tourists and blessed with the most beautiful scenery imaginable.

Posted by: gary at May 11, 2004 at 12:41 AM

Actually, I've always thought of visiting Australia and New Zealand. I'm going to have to do it one of these years.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 11, 2004 at 01:16 AM

If you go to NZ, mind the orcs.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 11, 2004 at 02:34 PM