July 19, 2004

HAMAS FOR HELEN

NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark is building powerful international partnerships:

New Zealand has an unexpected friend in Hamas, a terror group feared in the Western world, which has thanked this country for its diplomatic slap to Israel over the spy passport scandal.

Citing a statement from the Hamas stronghold of Gaza, the Islamic resistance movement's website says Hamas "has highly appreciated the daring position of the New Zealand Government against the Zionist entity".

Besides stalling Zionismís cruel advance, Wellington academic Jim Veitch sees other benefits in this happy new alliance. Click the above link.

UPDATE. Jewish New Zealander Andrew Blitz writes:

Prime Minister Helen Clark had been waiting for an ideal opportunity to chastise the Israeli government, and last week she was given the chance she needed to deliver a scathing diplomatic rebuke.

The affair was prompted by the much-publicized conviction of Eli Cara and Uri Kelman, two Israelis who fraudulently attempted to obtain New Zealand passports. The men are assumed to be Mossad agents.

Although this allegation has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Israeli government, no pretense has been entertained on the part of Clark. She has clearly branded Cara and Kelman as Israeli intelligence agents, though their conviction was not on charges of espionage. In this regard Clark clearly overstepped the mark; however, that is of no consequence now. Domestically she has gained a significant political victory from a well-calculated move, designed over three months.

New Zealand's disgraceful record of recent animosity toward Israel has been boosted by the Cara/Kelman affair. Moreover, it has been far too easy for Clark to impose diplomatic sanctions against Israel and bask in the glory of her principled stance.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 19, 2004 01:43 PM
Comments

Someone find me a bucket.

LMAO! Can't say I blame him... how humiliating.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at July 19, 2004 at 02:02 PM

Give Helen a burka. Please!

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 02:02 PM

Besides stalling Zionismís cruel advance, Wellington academic Jim Veitch sees other benefits in this happy new alliance. Click the above link.

Divide and conquer. It's working to a worrying extent.

Posted by: Andjam at July 19, 2004 at 02:11 PM

Yep,

The Rev Dr Jim Veitch is straight from the Alison Broinowski school.

IT'S US WHO ARE TO BLAME PEOPLE

Posted by: Al Bundy at July 19, 2004 at 02:17 PM

I hope the media asks Helen how she feels about Hamas's endorsement.

Posted by: Andjam at July 19, 2004 at 02:18 PM

I usually come over here to get a laugh cause all ya'll are quick witted.
But this just shoots the whole humor thing down the tubes.
I guess that the whole world was lying through their teeth after WWII. With a few exceptions.
Oh well.

Posted by: Mike H. at July 19, 2004 at 02:19 PM

I didn't know New Zealand had any forces in Iraq. Will the Iraqi terrorists be able to differentiate between the flags?

Posted by: Freddyboy at July 19, 2004 at 02:23 PM

According to the Washington Post, New Zealand has 60 engineers in Iraq, which it plans to pull out by September.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at July 19, 2004 at 02:45 PM

Was New Zealand settled by the French by any chance?

Posted by: John P at July 19, 2004 at 02:46 PM

Putting "Professor" Veitch's stupidity to one side, what exactly is Tim B inferring here? That for fear of being seen to be in sympathy with Hamas (just because one of their alleged 'spokesmen' is deranged enough to think so) NZ should not worry about foreign spies violating their laws?

In other words, the NZ government should modify their conduct to take into account the views of terrorists. But isn't this precisely the sort of thing you normally rail against?

Ah well, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Posted by: tim g at July 19, 2004 at 02:49 PM

Indeed John P. - indistinguishable from today's France, except in New Zealand, the sheep are four-legged.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 19, 2004 at 02:50 PM

Two agents of a foreign country were nabbed in NZ with forged NZ passports. What was she supposed to do? Let them go because they were Israelis? Offer them more persuasive forgeries? Of course outfits like Hamas will be crowing. But it's not the NZ government that should be copping the flak for the whole debacle.

Posted by: Geoff Honnor at July 19, 2004 at 02:57 PM

Tim G is a great guy!

Posted by: Hamas at July 19, 2004 at 03:02 PM

quite right Geoff. Its quite right that the government here in NZ prosecute people for breaking law. There is no way in the world that I would ever vote for Clark but I don't see why these agent from overseas should be allowed to break the law.

Posted by: mike a. at July 19, 2004 at 03:21 PM

Hey Geoff, I understand that a couple of Kiwi's got in trouble here in the US.
I understand that we're going to sever diplomatic ties with NZ. Makes sense doesn't it?
It's nice when you've got all the rules down.

Posted by: Mike H. at July 19, 2004 at 03:33 PM

Well, this is the last straw!
NZ has thrown away any possible chance for a trade agreement with the US now. First it was banning nucular ships from visiting, then it was "no thanks" to joining the coalition. Then it was nabbing the Israeli spies breaking the law(you're supposed to let them go Helen) and now the coup de gras, Hamas thinks it was a good thing!

Posted by: carlos at July 19, 2004 at 03:41 PM

Why do these lefty hags all somehow have the same expression and look - Helen Clark, Carmen Lawrence, Joan Kirner, not to mention Margo herself! George Orwell quoted Arthur Koestler long ago to the effect that one can see what's wrong with the left from the ugliness of its women.

Posted by: Sue at July 19, 2004 at 03:52 PM

Beauty is never satisfied with beauty.
Helen gazing in her glass,
framed by lecherous curtains,
the enchanted bed,
knew herself beautiful.
Yet she felt life pass about her.

Kathleen Spivack - Myth-making

Posted by: the muse at July 19, 2004 at 04:06 PM

The difference between France and New Zealand is that in NZ it's the sheep that let themselves get shagged.

Posted by: Freddyboy at July 19, 2004 at 04:07 PM

You've missed the wider point tim g, Geoff, carlos. Of course New Zealand has a right to deal with foreign agents in this way. (Though, for one's allies in a time of war, they might have considered looking the other way).

The point is that Hamas, Al Q etc now feel sufficently emboldened and righteous to allot brownie points to governments which do as they wish - with ever-present violent repercussions always as the threatening sub-text.

Examples: Spain, the Phillipines, France, New Zealand itself, and - if the Latham has his way - Australia as well. Craven and cowardly, no?

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 04:14 PM

As much as I consider myself a good Zionist, I fail to see what NZ's options were. The whole passport affair was impossible to ignore. Both the actons of Israelis and the reaction of NZ gov't were part of the game. Still, I find it troubling that there was no discussion of the original affair in most blogs I frequent, and some have recently attempted to ascribe the diplomatc sanctions to anti-semitism of NZ.

Posted by: D. at July 19, 2004 at 04:14 PM

"Hey Geoff, I understand that a couple of Kiwi's got in trouble here in the US.
I understand that we're going to sever diplomatic ties with NZ. Makes sense doesn't it?
It's nice when you've got all the rules down."

Mike, if the INS nabbed two Kiwi SIS agents with forged US passports at LAX I'd be very surprised if the State Department wouldn't be a tad agitated - and more than a little surprised :) NZ hasn't severed diplomatic relations with Israel BTW.

Posted by: Geoff Honnor at July 19, 2004 at 04:16 PM

"The point is that Hamas, Al Q etc now feel sufficently emboldened and righteous to allot brownie points to governments which do as they wish - with ever-present violent repercussions always as the threatening sub-text.'

CL you've lost me. Because some terrorist outfit gloats over Israeli agents getting caught out in an operation of Clouseau-like dexterity, the NZ government is giving in to terrorists? Whether or not the NZ government should have let the incident go through to the keeper would surely have been dependent on the Israeli government maybe putting them in the picture as to what these guys were up to, wouldn't you think? Allies in time of war and all that?

Posted by: Geoff Honnor at July 19, 2004 at 04:24 PM

CurrencyLad, I was being sarcastic-as usual.

I think the point is, NZ had every right to arrest the two spies from a supposedly friendly country, and they should be outraged at their attempts to obtain NZ passports. It is reasonable to assume these would have then been used for actions against Palestinians overseas-therefore the "cheer" from Hamas.
So although there may be general agreement that NZ technically was right to arrest the two - it..somehow pisses some people off. Why is this?

Posted by: carlos at July 19, 2004 at 04:38 PM

Why?

Because despite effectively getting rid of its defence, spurning the US at every turn, turning away ships which would in other circumstances defend it - pathetic little country though it is - New Zealand suddenly decides it should be seen to have international backbone and picks up a couple of Israeli spies.

That's why. Hypocrisy always pisses people off.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 19, 2004 at 04:56 PM

Sharon should shoffer Hellin around Jerusalem and all will be forgiven,It worked for Chirac.

Posted by: Gary at July 19, 2004 at 05:05 PM

Who cares what the Kiwis do? New Zealand will be a third world country in a few years (if it is not already). That means the UN and the World Bank will soon take over, in which case it is totally screwed. The only remaining issue is what to do with all of those sheep.

Posted by: George at July 19, 2004 at 05:12 PM

I'm not entirely sure that a desire to display international backbone was the motivating factor here. I suspect that it was more being pretty pissed off at the inept criminal bumbling of agents of an allegedly friendly country - presumably with official sanction. NZ jailed two French agents back in the 80's after they bombed the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour and murdered a photographer onboard. I think they've got international backbone form in this area.

Posted by: Geoff Honnor at July 19, 2004 at 05:15 PM

Geoff: I just think there's an arrogance involved in a terrorist organisation like Hamas giving credit, critiques or commentary of any kind to sovereign democratic governments.

It speaks, I think, of an arrogance that is connected with, and bolstered by, the triumphs of blackmail achieved elsewhere. There is a pattern: this country good, that country bad - depending on how closely they adhere to Islamist or Palestinian aims. Veitch's observation on the whole thing is indicative of the craven attitude of cowardly appeasement we have, alas, seen from the national governments I mentioned.

What also amazes me is that spooks working for Mossad - an outfit thought to be as cunning as a shithouse rat - is sending spooks to NZ for false passports. And they get caught!

Oy...

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 05:27 PM

So although NZ demands an apology for this, Israel won't give one because an apolgy will embolden the terrorists?

Posted by: carlos at July 19, 2004 at 05:38 PM

If I can just get back to the serious part of this thread, about ugly left-wing women, so often the reverse is true. Whenever I'm anywhere near a 'down with BushHitler' parade (which isn't often), my mouth goes dry at the stunningly beautiful women involved. If I meet some jaw-dropping young beauty at a party, it's only a matter of minutes before she's telling me the war was all about oil, or global warming is caused by humans, etc., and I just have to excuse myself, go outside and cry into my beer. Whenever I see some Megan or Felicity spokesperson for Greenpeace on TV, I ask myself "How many generations of very expensive selective breeding did it take to build those cheekbones?" And worth every penny.

Posted by: cuckoo at July 19, 2004 at 05:39 PM

NZ should not worry about foreign spies violating their laws?

Alleged spies.

If they are spies, then a word in private and a slap on the wrist would be more in form.

Still, I find it troubling that there was no discussion of the original affair in most blogs I frequent, and some have recently attempted to ascribe the diplomatc sanctions to anti-semitism of NZ.

The (lack of) reaction by government ministers to vandalism of the Jewish tombstones that followed soon after Helen's comments is one reason why people are suggesting that there's a dollop of Jew-hating in the government.

Posted by: Andjam at July 19, 2004 at 05:41 PM

Now see here signor carlos, I criticised the notion that any sovereign government would listen to, or morally surrender to, the demands of terrorist organisations.

New Zealand is not a terrorist organisation carlos. It's First XV - that's another story.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 05:43 PM

cuckoo: You have a point. I once told a babeish feminist type that Carmen Lawrence should be Australia's next Prime Minister. Beer and 2.30 am may also have been involved.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 05:45 PM

Helen's responded to Hamas's praise.

"If their agents were trying to penetrate the system they'd be treated exactly the same way," she told NewstalkZB.

Mossad has agents, Hamas has agents, and they'd be treated exactly the same way. How even-handed. She thinks Mossad is no better than Hamas

(And don't ask whether Hamas terrorists would be treated as harshly as the Israelis were)

Posted by: Andjam at July 19, 2004 at 06:08 PM

"Geoff: I just think there's an arrogance involved in a terrorist organisation like Hamas giving credit, critiques or commentary of any kind to sovereign democratic governments."

There is CL. There is. And Dr Veitch is a profoundly silly chap. But I've difficulty seeing how this detracts from the sovereign right of the NZ government to bang up a couple of bumbling foreign agent clowns caught with forged Kiwi passports on their persons. And apart from pointing to the unattractiveness of the NZ PM, the abundance of sheep and other deeply irrelevant stuff no-one has been able to show why the NZ govt shouldn't have proceeded as they have.

Posted by: Geoff Honnor at July 19, 2004 at 06:13 PM

"The point is that Hamas, Al Q etc now feel sufficently emboldened and righteous to allot brownie points to governments which do as they wish - with ever-present violent repercussions always as the threatening sub-text."

CurrencyLad, please tell us exactly when it was that Hamas, AQ etc. did not feel sufficiently emboldened and righteous enough to dispense their propaganda.

I still don't see how anyone gets "emboldened" by simply upholding the law and applying it equally to all comers, whether they are allegedly "friendly" or not. It seems to me that once we start backsliding on this principle, we really are surrendering to terrorism in a major way.

BTW, are you at all familiar with the track record of Mossad in international espionage? I know it's all relative, and I know they don't crash hijacked planes into buildings, but by the same token I don't think that any sensible government would write them a blank cheque.

Posted by: tim g at July 19, 2004 at 06:17 PM

Geoff: I take your point. But I did make such an acknowledgment above:

Of course New Zealand has a right to deal with foreign agents in this way.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 06:17 PM

Geoff

You're exactly right in all you say but there was one option Helen did not choose. That was the option to do it all quietly, as such things are often done in the intelligence world especially between democracies, where such a public display would not feed the propaganda machines of such obvious fiends as Hamas.

One can only assume that there was mileage in it for Helen politically to give Israel such a public bashing. And that was cheap and counterproductive to a great many worthwhile causes like the war on terror.

And that makes New Zealand look cheap.

Posted by: Stan at July 19, 2004 at 06:23 PM

tim g:

We may be talking about two separate issues I guess. NZ has a right to send the spooks to the big house. I don't question that. But note andjam's point above - Clarke's comment there is sheer, stupid equivalency.

I concede your point about terrorist organisations always putting their propaganda out.

But now we seem to be putting out a message recklessy consonant with their own.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 06:25 PM

Perhaps a silly question, but is there any proof that those 2 were actually spies? From experience here in Toronto, when I hear about Isrealis and fake documents I automatically assume it's former Russian Isrealis playing refugee games. We've got thousands of 'em.
More than a few turned out to be Russian mafia that I don't believe either the Russian or Israeli police were sorry to see go.
The left has already convicted those 2 as Isreali assassins but I've listened to too many drunks brag about their work for the KGB and Mossad to believe it without a lot more proof than I've seen so far.

Posted by: Jack at July 19, 2004 at 06:29 PM

" Now class , today we have with us the Prime Minister of New Zealand , Alan Clark, to talk to us about politics". ( muffled talk)
"I'm sorry , apparently it's Helen Clark".
"Good Lord you mean that's a woman".

Posted by: John P at July 19, 2004 at 06:29 PM

'And apart from pointing to the unattractiveness of the NZ PM, the abundance of sheep and other deeply irrelevant stuff ... '

You make it sound like a college exam, Geoff. Serious comment can be blended with a little levity and still have its general thrust understood.

And New Zealand still looks like a joke despite its strictly correct procedure re the spies.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 19, 2004 at 06:34 PM

Jack
Our Anzac cousins might do a lot of crazy things but generally they don't lie. I think we have to at least concede the fact that these guys were related in some way to Israeli intelligence. Some reporting seemed to imply that these guys were the Stooges who were going to make the pickup and that the real spooks got away. Nevertheless, I think it's all for real and they genuinely got caught out.

Posted by: Stan at July 19, 2004 at 06:36 PM

Mossad has probably carried out more overseas assassinations than Hamas, anyway...

Posted by: foo at July 19, 2004 at 06:39 PM

foo

You show your ignorance of who funds and shelters Hamas, as well as why and to what end, as well as your stunning (im)moral equivalency. I'll bet you dress to the left as well my friend.

Posted by: Stan at July 19, 2004 at 06:45 PM

So how many assassinations has Mossad carried out? Or the KGB? Or the CIA? They are only not considered terrorist organisations because they are backed by friendly states, with the exception of cold war KGB.

Posted by: foo at July 19, 2004 at 06:52 PM

foo

I'm not really going to argue with you too much because you are probably already too far gone, but the question you have to ask yourself is not actually how many people have Mossad, the CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies killed, but who?

Sadly, in the course of making this a better world those organisations have probably killed quite a few Nazis, genocidal dictators, terrorists and miscellaneous bad guys.

Hamas by and large aren't too picky--just whatever pregnant mother and her kids happen to be in a car, whatever mums, dads and miscellaneous schoolkids happen to be on the bus that day, or whatever crowd of young people a nightclub happened to hold.

Now ask yourself very very seriously, which side exactly are you on?

Posted by: Stan at July 19, 2004 at 07:07 PM

Oh Helen you've got it Oh so right again.
Snaps for Helen everyone.
Hamas do snaps don't they?

Posted by: gubbaboy at July 19, 2004 at 07:12 PM

Oh Helen you've got it Oh so right again.
Snaps for Helen everyone.
Hamas do snaps don't they?

Posted by: gubbaboy at July 19, 2004 at 07:13 PM

Two things have to happen before a NZ action would be any sort of worry for me. First John Kerry would have to win the Presidency. Second, He would have to flip flop once more and pull out of the WOT (which he is sure to do).

As long as Bush is President, the USA will carry the fight to the Islamic murderers. Even if we have to go it alone. We will carry the rest of you kicking and screaming to a world free of armed Islamic terrorist states.

I have heard that Kiwi's are flightless birds that spend most of their lives looking for a hole to stick their heads in (because they can't dig with their scrawny flipper like winglets).

Ha

Posted by: papertiger at July 19, 2004 at 07:16 PM

DUh !
firstly there is no proof that these two crim guys were mossad agents only via arafat hugging Helen, queen of new zealands rants and raves.
Is'nt the LEFT permanently asking for proof before action ?
Queen helen exempt?
SO Helen where the proof you leftoid pratt ?
Secondly no a word of compassion from her about the vandalisation of the old jewish cemetery in Wellington. She must think showing regret my harm the NZ boys in Iraq
Thirdly when pakistani Jihadist were caught with 12 false NZ passports in thailand.
NO RESPONSE FROM HELEN
In 2000 a manual on how to destroy a nuclear reactor in australia and forged NZ passports found in auckland
NO REPONSE FROM HELEN.
well i think ms clark's appearance will be greatly improved when NZ takes up the Bukhra and jihab.
I/m cancelling my trip . in any case, bungy jumping is for nutters only!

Posted by: davo at July 19, 2004 at 07:20 PM

Who considers the KGB to have been a terrorist organisation?

No one. Anyone with a working brain cell knows what the KGB was, a secret police service combined with an intelligence service, with the side functions of guarding the USSR's borders, and their nuclear warheads.

Stan is correct, Hamas is totally indiscriminate. They are cowards.

As for the Israeli's being Mossad, Clark's shown no evidence of it. I put it down to basic lefty anti-semitism.

She'd probably accuse my brother of being an Israeli spy, true, he's agnostic, and has no Jewish background (Anglican mother, agnostic father), and probably has never seen the inside of a Synagogue, but he has a Jewish name (David).

Posted by: Sheriff at July 19, 2004 at 07:28 PM

davo,
it's unlikely there is no proof they were Mossad agents. Therefore they were representing a friendly government. Not quite the same scenario as forged passports in the hands of jihadists.

Posted by: carlos at July 19, 2004 at 07:34 PM

Stan,
What, NZ doesn't have politicians?
Thanks for the local input. The reports here in the Great White Waste of Time have little background and are.....umm.....rather confused would be the polite way to put it.

Posted by: Jack at July 19, 2004 at 07:38 PM

Yes carlos if the two had been Saudi jihdists with plans to blow up wellington helen would have broken off NZ relations with saudi and blown her fuse !
pull the other one its got oil on it!

Posted by: davo at July 19, 2004 at 07:58 PM

If two NZs were arrested in Australia and accused of being agents for the SIS and jailed without evidence, would not every libertarian al qaeda defending lawyer be harrassing the RIGHT wing AUS GOV FOR PROOF?.
Can you imagine Howard's fate if he ranted about New Zealand Spies stealimg aussie passports and presented no evidence before breaking off relations with NZ/
the woman is a dangerous lunatic !

Posted by: davo at July 19, 2004 at 08:13 PM

Ok what's needed in this discussion is some better informed context. Most of you clearly only know about New Zealand from having seen LOTR.

For a start a lot of you have a very skewed idea of New Zealand's position. In actuality the invasion of Iraq found favor with 73% of polled kiwis. A preferred option would have been a UN operation, but the general consensus was go to it. The Clark government however has only recently faced real political opposition and discovered that they actually need to pay attention to the voters.

Currently New Zealand has had forces deployed on operation Enduring Freedom (about 50% of our Navy in fact). Currently our SAS is operating in Afghanistan, at the request of the US I might add. We have a force of Engineers deployed in Iraq. They were recently targeted for a mortar attack in the hope they would pull a Spanish advance and run back home. They didn't. The week before our troops in Afghanistan had taken casualties.

The official response to these incidents was that the Iraq deployment would continue as planned and complete in September. The mission in Afghanistan is combat and casualties are to be expected.

So I'd rather not be compared to France thanks.

In researching the current situation I've found literally hundreds of cases of passport fraud just as, or even more serious than this one. Including several dozen New Zealand passports being found in the possession of known or suspected Islamic terrorists on a number of occasions. There has not been one peep from Helen about any of these. In short New Zealand's sovereignty is methodically attacked in this manner on a daily basis by numerous individuals and groups but only Israel is going to get the Clark treatment.

The Clark administration has a long history of being highly critical of Israel while being excessively cozy with Arafat.

To date we have been given no evidence other than Helen Clark claiming she knows that the two Israelis are "intelligence agents" but its too hard to prove so we just have to take her word for it.

Now come on, given the lefts hysterical demands for proof proof and more proof about everything else how about some consistency here? Imagine GW trying that line "Oh just take my word for it".

To follow this Helen Clark has made her theatrical response that had spittle hitting the cameras when she announced sanctions against Israel within minutes of the two men being sentenced. Not for being spies either, for attempting to obtain a passport.

Hard on the heels of this extraordinary behavior is her flip and off hand response to the desecration of an entire Jewish cemetery that very night here in Wellington.

No one is saying don't punish the guilty or don't defend our security, all we want is some consistency and the application of the usual western standard of innocent until proven guilty. If we're going to have Helen spin out at every passport or security violation we will have solved our power generation problems. Keep in mind that regardless of whether these two men are Mossad Helen Clark has made sure that they have been well identified publicly to every Islamic terrorist on planet earth. Any politician worth their weight in paper clips could have made a lot of mileage out of this without it being public and endangering the lives of two men who are either innocent or actually on the same side anyway.

The most obvious factor in this affair is her own personal prejudice coupled with her desperate need to take the focus away from one domestic disaster after another that now has her government polling below the opposition.

Posted by: Murray at July 19, 2004 at 08:30 PM

Al Bundy:
Nice pickup about the Reverend/ Doctor/ Professor Veitch.
Veitch exposed as another snivelling, self hating drone that sees nothing but evil in their own country and culture.

I cringe for my Kiwi mates.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at July 19, 2004 at 08:38 PM

Perspective, please. These two guys weren't declared guilty by politicians, or even the media. They were found guilty after a trial in a court of law. The offences involved collusion with organised crime figures to obtain New Zealand passports, which are useful documents for various obvious reasons, particularly for terrorists.
The reason the men got caught was that they didn't take into account the fact that New Zealand's security forces would be watching for that sort of offence, as a counter-terrorism measure. That doesn't mean they were terrorists; it's just that that's the reason they got caught.
Second, the Prime Minister of New Zealand would've got her advice on what was really going on from the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. The NZ SIS isn't a completely stupid agency, as such things go, and I'd say Clarke would have had a pretty accurate briefing. Israel's reaction, which when I last looked involved apologetic phrases rather than denials, would support that.
3 New Zealand has reason to be a little sensitive to illegal activity by espionage agencies within New Zealand borders (the lovely French pulled off a terrorist bombing involving a murder, in the early 1980s, and that really pissed a lot of kiwis off). The reaction to the current event is measured by diplomatic standards and both sides know it does not involve long-term damage to the relationship. New Zealand has been a long-term supporter of Israel in the UN, over decades. New Zealand has _not_ broken off diplomatic relations with Israel.
4 New Zealand has troops working (and fighting, if I know anything about the NZ SAS) alongside American, British and Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were sent there by the NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clarke.

Posted by: Laon at July 19, 2004 at 08:52 PM

Laon,
...OK so you've given us the facts....and ruined everything.
Helen Clarke being an Arafat loving, anti-semitic, butch, left wing, ugly....was more interesting.

Posted by: carlos at July 19, 2004 at 09:41 PM

Murray:

Thanks for that. That's the whole shooting match summed up brilliantly.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 19, 2004 at 09:56 PM

And I spelled her name wrong. It's Clark without an e. Ah well.
Just two other things. First, while I can't find a source my impression is that the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many other countries banned a long list of terrorist organisations some time ago. That included HAMAS. Willing to take correction on whether HAMAS is banned in NZ, but that's my impression.
The other thing is that both Australia and New Zealand contain scum who, when the lights are off them for a while, come out and attack synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, etc. Those bastards are a matter for the police in both countries, and I hope the guys who attacked the cemeteries in Wellington get their heads kicked in the process of their arrest, and I hope the same for the bastards who attacked the Perth Hebrew Congregation Synagogue on Sunday [18 July 2004]. But the Perth scum are not an excuse for attacking John Howard, just like the Wellington scum aren't an excuse for attacking Helen Clark.
I disagree with Helen Clark a lot of the time; not this time, though.

Posted by: Laon at July 19, 2004 at 10:06 PM

Thanks, Murray. And Laon, what do you have to say about the passport violations by Islamists that Murray spoke of? How have they been handled?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 20, 2004 at 02:20 AM

I've gotta say that I am going along with those who don't think these guys are Mossad. Surely Mossad is better at forging documents than the NZ immigration department is at catching them? Have I just watched too many spy movies or does this not seem to fit?

Posted by: yobbo at July 20, 2004 at 07:41 AM

Does this mean Kiwis aren't flightless birds? Or that they really can dig with their flipper like winglets?

Posted by: papertiger at July 20, 2004 at 07:57 AM

Andrew Blitz's comments:

She has clearly branded Cara and Kelman as Israeli intelligence agents, though their conviction was not on charges of espionage.

are misleading. It is not a crime to be a foreign intelligence agent in New Zealand. More importantly, section 78 of the Crimes Act 1961 (which covers espionage) is applicable only to New Zealanders, not to foreign citizens!

Posted by: Peter Metcalfe at July 20, 2004 at 10:13 AM

Helen's reponse was typically naive (she's a socialist after all). She's grandstanding, just as Lange did when we caught the Rainbow Warrior agents. Then, French pressure prompted us to give them up - which made us look like children! Fortunately for her, Israel is not likely to put the boot in like the French...

Posted by: Sean at July 20, 2004 at 10:46 AM

If my memory is not playing tricks with me didn't two mossad agents get arrested in Jordan on forged Canadian passports.

Obviously forged passports are not their go!

Posted by: Homer Paxton at July 20, 2004 at 11:46 AM

Gandalf: This is the One Ring. Forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in the fires of Mount Doom!

Clark: Oh, boy! Hamas is gonna LOVE this!

Posted by: Baillie at July 20, 2004 at 01:05 PM