John Key’s embarrassing performance at seventieth UN General Assembly
I’m reblogging this from The Daily Blog:
In his address to the seventieth UN General Assembly, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key referred to his own country 15 times – or 16, if you include his expression of pride in “the values and principles that underpin the country I lead.” His opening remarks even informed delegates that, “New Zealand is a small country at the bottom of the world”. Key then went on to boldly criticise the United Nations – in particular the Security Council – referring to suffering in the Middle East that demonstrated, he said, “how far we are from achieving the aspirations of our founders and of today’s members.” He went on to assert that the UN seventieth anniversary meeting was taking place “against the backdrop of the worst refugee crisis since World War Two”, noting that this was the consequence of “the Security Council’s failure to act over the past four years.” The past four years?
The appalling Middle East refugee tragedy actually began in 1948 with Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinian people. If John Key didn’t know that fact of history, then his speech-writers certainly let him down badly. Many ethnically-cleansed Palestinians have ended up in Syria’s Marmouk refugee camp; Lyse Doucet, chief international correspondent for the BBC, visited the refugees there last year, and described the plight of Palestinians in the camp and how armed men struggled “to contain a crowd desperate to reach a UN food distribution point” in a “desolate wasteland of utter ruin.” Ever since the catastrophe that dispossessed the native Palestinians, the Security Council’s failure to act has enabled the denial of justice to continue. In his speech, Key made ten references to Syria, speaking of it by name. However, he chose to avoid directly mentioning both Israel and Palestine, even though his speech had devoted more than a third of its length to the Middle East. The closest John Key could bring himself to mentioning Israel and Palestine was a passing reference to what he referred to as the “Middle East Peace Process.”