Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Zealand accused of Israel 'flap' to boost Arab trade

US diplomats  accused the New Zealand government of overreacting to Israeli agents trying to get NZ passports fraudulently so Wellington could sell more lamb to Arab countries, according to leaked cables.

The arrest and conviction in 2004 of two Israeli citizens who were caught using the identity of a cerebral palsy sufferer to apply for a NZ passport caused a rift between NZ and Israel, with allegations that the two men and others involved were Mossad agents.

But American diplomats disparaged NZ's reaction as a ''flap'' and accused the then government of prime minister Helen Clark of grandstanding to boost trade to Arab states.

''The New Zealand government views the act carried out by the Israeli intelligence agents as not only utterly unacceptable but also a breach of New Zealand sovereignty and international law,'' Ms Clark said after the arrests.

US officials in Wellington told colleagues in Washington that NZ had ''little to lose'' from the breakdown in diplomatic relations with Israel and was instead trying to increase its exports to Arab states.

In cables released by WikiLeaks, former US ambassador to NZ Charles Swindells is disparaging about its stance over the theft and forgery of NZ passports by suspected Israeli spies.

Relations between Israel and NZ chilled after two reported Mossad agents, Eli Cara and Uriel Kelman, were caught and jailed for trying to illegally obtain passports in 2004.

A third suspected agent was a former Israeli diplomat based in Europe, Zev William Barkan, who stole the identity of a tetraplegic Aucklander to fraudulently obtain his passport.

Police also sought a fourth person.

Ms Clark said there was no doubt the men were Mossad operatives and suspended high-level diplomatic relations for more than a year until Israel apologised in 2005.

In the cables Mr Swindells talked about the case and how the offenders tried to use the birth certificate of a cerebral palsy sufferer.

In a cabled dated July 16, 2004, he details Ms Clark's reaction. Mr Swindells said the reaction was the NZ government's ''strongest diplomatic retaliation in 20 years'', since the Rainbow Warrior bombing.

''The GoNZ [the government of NZ] has little to lose by such stringent action, with limited contact and trade with Israel, and possibly something to gain in the Arab world, as the GoNZ is establishing an embassy in Egypt and actively pursuing trade with Arab states.

''With Israeli government officials eager to repair the relationship, and no time limit on the GoNZ's restrictions, it is possible the issue may be resolved in six months, when Cara and Kelman have served their time, and leave the country.''

In another cable, on July 19, 2004, he writes about praise from Hamas being an unwanted consequence of NZ's condemnation.

''New Zealand continues to voice its strong support of the Roadmap [the plan for Middle East peace], but is loathe [sic] to take actions that would identify it as a supporter of Israel and, by proxy, the United States. The GoNZ prides itself on its multi-lateral credentials (ref B) but has been increasingly trying to stand alongside 'Non-Aligned' countries.

''Its overly strong reaction to Israel over this issue suggests the GoNZ sees this flap as an opportunity to bolster its credibility with the Arab community, and by doing so, perhaps, help NZ lamb and other products gain greater access to a larger and more lucrative market.'' 
Commentary: this is an interesting peace not so much because it reveals something we did not know about the US, Israel, New Zealand or any other country, but because it perfectly illustrates the kind of "show of loyalty" to Israel and its policies which US diplomats churn out day after day after day during their entire careers.  What we see here is the creation of an organizational culture which constantly self-selects the kind of people it will attract, co-opt and promote within its ranks.  Just as we know that every US Senator has to pledge his/her allegiance to "Jerusalem As The Eternal And United Capital Of The Jewish State Of Israel", every US diplomat has to constantly maintain his/her status by indicating at every opportunity his/her "Israel friendly" attitude.  Frankly, this is a tedious and energy and time consuming ritual.  It would be far simpler to follow the North Korean example and have every US government official wear a star of David on his/her lapel.  I suspect that the reason why this has not been implemented is that, just like in the case of North Korea, that would not be proof enough.  After all, what is more convincing, leaving a small flag on a lapel, or genuflecting for 8 hours a day?

Seriously, having known many US diplomats in my career, I can attest that they are mostly rather mediocre apparatchiks who will fully buy into whatever ideology the US Establishment and its corporate media happens to promote at any point in time.  There are, of course,  also some smart diplomats at Foggy Bottom, but they keep quiet until they retire.  Then they often speak out on the Israel topic quite openly, at least amongst friends or small groups of people.

Bottom line: any deviation from the official pro-Zionist ideology is an immediate career-ending crime for any US government official.  Ditto for any questioning of the official 9-11 narrative, I would add. 

The Saker