23 Feb 2014

Jewish community to resist any boycott

5:36 pm on 23 February 2014

A Jewish community leader is vowing to resist any attempts to boycott Israeli products in New Zealand following comments from activist, John Minto, that he will organise more protests on behalf of Palestinian rights, at Israeli sporting and diplomatic events.

On Friday night a group of protesters, led by John Minto, called for the liberation of Palestine and for a performance by the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company in Wellington to be boycotted.

John Minto welcomes debate on Palestine.

John Minto welcomes debate on Palestine. Photo: RNZ

They were met by a Jewish group led by David Zwartz, who said the protesters' accusations against Israel were racist.

At least three ticketholders said they'd decided not to attend the show, part of the New Zealand Festival, after hearing the argument for a boycott.

Mr Minto says he is glad the opposing group showed up, because it's important to have a public debate and the movement to boycott Israeli products is only just getting started in New Zealand.

"This is the beginning of a very comprehensive boycott campaign against Israel and New Zealand will be just one small part of that.

It's going very strongly all round the world and it's growing in momentum quite quickly."

Mr Minto says the protests will continue at Israeli sporting and diplomatic events in New Zealand.

But Mr Zwartz says a boycott is an ineffective and negative way to achieve change.