Good questions have been raised at Kiwiblog, in the wake of the furore raised after two women were refused service at an Invercargill cafe because they come from Israel.
Would the Turkish Moslem café owner refuse to serve Israeli Arabs, and would he like it if a shop refused to serve Turks until Turkey apologises for the Armenian genocide (or even accept it happened), or if after 9/11 a shop refused to serve Muslims because the 9/11 hijackers were Muslim?
Kiwiblog contended –
It is absolutely legitimate to protest against the Israeli Government if you disagree with what they do. But it is quite wrong to target individual citizens.
Fair enough. The missus and me, when we watch pictures of the daily carnage in Gaza on the telly, are enraged above all by Israel’s indiscriminatory military assault and its readiness to kill innocent Palestinian people in their hundreds. Hamas terrorists are just as reprehensible for firing their rockets blindly (but without great success when it comes to killing their avowed enemies) into Israel.
Indiscriminate protesting against Israelis who have no control over what their government does is just as disgraceful.
Another question that vexed us was answered on the Kiwiblog site: why did these Israelis want to eat Turkish tucker in Invercargill, a rural city with an eccentric mayor where they could get the world’s best feed of mutton, spuds and mashed swede (if sinking your teeth into a Swede is still allowed)?
The answer – they chose to eat at Mevlana Cafe because it had a play area for one of the women’s two children, but they claim they were told to leave before they had ordered any food.
Come north, I urge the two Israelis. You’ll get a good feed here in Eketahuna, and you can yabber away in Hebrew to your heart’s content (chances are it will sound much the same as the mumbled conversation from Clancy Klunkerson when he’s in his cups down at the boozer). Oh, and the kids can play out on the main street if they are road-savvy enough to deal with the one car per hour (or so) that might come through.
Another bit of the story is more troublesome. Cafe owners – indeed, any business – ought to be allowed to kick out whoever they want for whatever reason (and those who are kicked out should be free to whip up whatever storm they can in the news media). But the suggestion this should become a matter for the law and the heavy-handed Human Rights Commission, because the two women have complained to it, is downright daft.
The publicity attached to the affair will decide if the people of Invercargill sympathise with the Turkish café owner (in which case they will flock to his nosh shop, much to his Turkish delight) or disagree (in which case they will stay away and he will go broke).
Under our silly laws, Adolf Hitler and a battalion of SS officers could wander into a shop anywhere in this country and demand service. If it was refused on the grounds the shop owner wasn’t all that fond of Nazis, or blokes with funny moustaches, commission honcho Joris de Bres – on current form – would probably feel an itch to take up the cudgels on the outraged Germans’ behalf.