We must preserve tolerance and peace in debate over Israel-Gaza conflict


The 7th of November marked one month since an attack on Israel reignited bloody conflict in Gaza. This ongoing and devastating situation has continued to fuel intense emotions overseas and in New Zealand.

The cause is complex, and so is knowing the appropriate response.
We do not pretend to have the perfect answer.

But no matter which side we are on, if we strike at the basic democratic principles in our outrage, we will all be poorer.

One side can’t have the right to have their say without the other receiving the same. The opportunity to listen and provide counter-speech must exist, otherwise this wouldn’t be a democracy.

Would you sign this public letter, regardless of which side you come from on this issue, working with us to preserve open debate and civil discourse?



Together, we sign this letter whilst disagreeing on many things.

We disagree about a way forward in the Middle East, and we disagree about much to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

We all agree, however, on the basic principles of democracy and are united against violence.

We are appalled that a Member of Parliament required Police protection to leave a protest in Auckland Domain because he expressed an unpopular opinion. We condemn intimidation, violence, and intolerance. 

We are saddened by the unprecedented levels of both antisemitic and Islamophobic actions occurring around New Zealand associated with events overseas. Our common desire is that New Zealand would be a peaceful and free nation, where all people can speak freely and share their story.

We encourage all New Zealanders to use their voices to call out intolerance and hate, and to speak up for peace.

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  • Jonathan Ayling
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