Friday, July 29, 2011

Spies? What Spies?

Continued from my previous post...

John Key has been the prime minister of New Zealand since 2008. To say that he is Israel-friendly is to enter the realm of the bleeding obvious:

"Key, who criticized [then Labor prime minister Helen] Clark for not supporting the war against Iraq, said Israel and New Zealand have many similarities. 'We are small in nature and we are entrepreneurial, and Israel has achieved some amazing things in terms of high-tech space', he said. 'I think there's a lot New Zealand can learn from Israel'... Nathan Lawrence, the president of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand, believes a Key government will be more sympathetic to Israel's concerns. 'The current Labor Party has within its leadership several people that are ideologically fixated on certain positions, some of which mean an automatic disdain of Israel's policies', Lawrence said. 'There is likely to be greater balance under Key', he said. 'This will have little to do with Key's Jewish background, but more so the greater open-mindedness of the center-right parties to the realities of the world'." (New Zealand's shift to right could ease hostility toward Israel, Dan Goldberg,, 6/11/08)

So Key's shifty response to the revelations of The Southland Times comes as no surprise:

"Key refused to answer questions about the revelations when he was grilled by reporters this morning, saying it was not in the national interest. He did not dispute there were a number of passports involved and said there was nothing illegal in someone holding more than one. In this afternoon's statement he said he had been advised the dead man was found with only one passport, of European origin. The surviving passengers in the van took their own passports with them when they left the country, and handed over the deceased man's Israeli passport to Israeli representatives before departing, he said. 'None of the passports were New Zealand passports', Key said. This morning Key also said he had received a number of phonecalls from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - but said not all had got through to him. Although he would not discuss all aspects of their conversation he said Netanyahu called to offer help and advice. In this afternoon's statement, Key confirmed he spoke once with Netanyahu 'in the days following' the quake. 'It took several attempts by Israeli representatives to set up the phone call, as is commonly the case with such calls in the circumstances of a major natural disaster', the statement said. Key also said he had been assured by police there had been no unauthorised access to their computer system. The government took the security of New Zealanders 'very seriously', he said... Mr Key's statement came after both the Green and Labor parties called on him to be more open." (Investigation cleared Israelis of spy claims: PM,, 20/7/11)

And, frankly, what's an Israeli ambassador to say?:

"Israeli Ambassador Shemi Tzur has dismissed as 'science fiction' suspicions that agents of Israel's secret service, Mossad, had been caught up in the Christchurch earthquake in February. Mr Tzur, who is based in Canberra but flew into Christchurch hours after the earthquake, said he was 'shocked and upset' that New Zealand's intelligence agencies would have such suspicions... 'I drove [Ofer Mizrahi's] three friends to the airport so they could go home. [Israeli Government Taxis Sans Frontieres! (MERC)] They were shocked and crying, they were just talking about their friends. [Plural? (MERC)] To suggest anything else, someone has been feeding you science fiction. These were youngsters holidaying in your beautiful country... we encourage our young people to visit New Zealand'. Mr Tzur said he was aware that Mr Mizrahi was found to be carrying more than one passport when identity checks were being made of earthquake victims - 'I was handed a parcel of his effects and it did contain more than one passport' - but dual citizenship was common in Israel because of difficulties over the use of Israeli passports in some other countries. [Like NZ? (MERC)] He said he had not been told anything about Mr Mizrahi being found with 5 or 6 passports and to suggest that he and his friends were anything other than young tourists made him upset. It had not been raised by New Zealand authorities, he said. Asked if he considered it unusual that a tribute page to Mr Mizrahi posted on facebook had attracted only 5 'likes' in more than four months after the earthquake, Mr Tzur said different cultures reacted to tragedy in different ways. [The famous Israeli stiff upper lip, Shemi? (MERC)] To questions about the two urban search and recue teams from Israel that had arrived in Christchurch and were refused permission to enter the earthquake red zone to help the search, Mr Tzur said they had been sent by the parents of the two Israeli backpackers who also died in the quake. Israeli families reacted that way when their children needed help anywhere in the world, often because it was demanded by insurance companies. [A couple of s&r teams? No problem! (MERC)] 'If they were later found inside the red zone no-one brought that to our attention... 'Yes, there was some regrettable history of Mossad involvement in New Zealand, in 2004, and they have apologised for that and we have put it beyond us. Now, we are moving forward'. " ('Quake victims no Mossad agents', Fred Tulett,, 20/7/11)

Guy and his Papa are pretty pissed off:

"One of the Israelis suspected of being a Mossad spy says the allegations are 'rubbish' and 'a big lie'. Guy Jordan was one of 3 Israelis whose 'unusual' behaviour following the February Christchurch earthquake sparked a top level government investigation. But today he told 3News he was just a backpacker... His father Amihai Jordan said the family wanted a 'big apology' from the New Zealand government. 'How can someone say that someone who is 22 years old is a spy? I don't know what to think of it, it's truly nonsense'... [Guy] Jordan said the group left New Zealand quickly because 'a lot of people were doing it'... Among the further mysteries that emerged yesterday was confirmation from Key's office that Michel Fraidman, Guy Jordan and Liron Sade left Christchurch on one of the earliest flights out after the February 22 earthquake, on an air force 757." (Key confirms inquiry; Israeli backpackers were questioned,, 22/7/11)

But a certain Mr McCormick contradicts that with this hilarious tale about a kibbutz kode of omerta:

"The silence maintained by Israelis at the centre of high-level investigations after February's earthquake in Christchurch has a rational explanation, a Hawke's Bay man says. New Zealand Friends of Israel Association Hawke's Bay branch* chairman John McCormick said the answers lay in the system the Israelis embroiled in the saga were raised in... [He] said the ethos under which the 4 lived prevented them from speaking out directly. Mr Mizrahi, Mr Jordan and Miss Fraidman had grown up together in Kibbutz Magal near Haifa, while Mr Jordan's girlfriend had been raised in a village nearby. A kibbutz, a collective community in Israel, combines socialism and Zionism. 'It's a Marxist system 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs...', Mr McCormick said. The kibbutz functions as a direct democracy, but its structure is reminiscent of socialist or communist states, he said... 'There was no reason they would stay there... they couldn't be with him and they couldn't help him any more so it was obvious they will come back... This was in stark contrast to the access media have had to the families of two other Israelis killed in the earthquake, Gabi Ingel and Ofer Levy, Mr McCormick said. 'But I would say if they could fund private rescue teams, they are wealthy individuals in Tel Aviv perhaps, and aren't bound by kibbutz rules'." (Israel Kibbutz culture 'explains silence', Jared Morgan,, 23/7/11) [* Blimey, a FOI in every town! What with all that claptrap about Marxist kibbutzniks, I have to ask, has John McCormick been guzzling those full-bodied Hawke's Bay reds for which the area is famous?]

And isn't this interesting?:

"RB sends a Google search that reveals a sentence that is now removed from all mainstream media: "However, sources said the SAS had entered the zone to secure sensitive material belonging to the Israeli nationals now at the centre of the spying claims." (Israeli killed in Christchurch earthquake was carrying 5 passports,, 20/7/11)

Stay tuned...

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