Decision to join anti-Palestinian lobby group

Andrew Li made this Official Information request to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade should normally have responded promptly and by (details and exceptions)

From: Andrew Li

Dear Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

Yesterday, the zionist lobby group IHRA announced that New Zealand had become an 'observer country'. The IHRA is best known for its anti-semitic 'Working Definition of Antisemitism', which conflates the Jewish religion and Jewish people with the zionist ideology by defining criticism of 'Israel' for its crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population of Palestine as 'anti-Semitism'. Jewish groups which oppose Palestinian genocide, both in New Zealand and abroad, as well as other human rights groups, have condemned this organization for that reason.

This is of particular relevance given MFAT's track record of opposing the recognition of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people, and providing other support to the zionist entity.

Disclose, in electronic form:
* all documents from Jan 2017 onwards related to the decision to affiliate with this anti-semitic organization
* all communications from Jan 2017 onwards regarding the IHRA, inclusive but not limited to those with foreign governments, and their local representatives and paid lobbyists, such as Rob Berg and Sheree Trotter

Yours faithfully,
Andrew Li

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From: ENQUIRIES
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

[UNCLASSIFIED]
Thank you for your email.

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From: Andrew Li

Dear Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

I will be expecting the information- not some nonsense about a 'decision'- by 22 July 2022.

Regards,
Andrew Li

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From: ESD
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

[UNCLASSIFIED]

Kia ora Andrew Li

 

Thank you for your OIA request received on 24 June 2022 for:

Yesterday, the zionist lobby group IHRA announced that New Zealand had
become an 'observer country'. The IHRA is best known for its anti-semitic
'Working Definition of Antisemitism', which conflates the Jewish religion
and Jewish people with the zionist ideology by defining criticism of
'Israel' for its crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population of
Palestine as 'anti-Semitism'. Jewish groups which oppose Palestinian
genocide, both in New Zealand and abroad, as well as other human rights
groups, have condemned this organization for that reason.

 

This is of particular relevance given MFAT's track record of opposing the
recognition of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the
Palestinian people, and providing other support to the zionist entity.

 

Disclose, in electronic form:

* all documents from Jan 2017 onwards related to the decision to affiliate
with this anti-semitic organization

* all communications from Jan 2017 onwards regarding the IHRA, inclusive
but not limited to those with foreign governments, and their local
representatives and paid lobbyists, such as Rob Berg and Sheree Trotter

 

This email confirms receipt of your request and advises that we will
respond to it as soon as reasonably practicable, and in terms of the
timeframes and requirements of the OIA.

 

Please also be advised that the organisational impacts of implementing the
COVID-19 Protection Framework, together with the Ministry’s leadership of
the Government's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, mean that we
may have reduced capacity to process OIA requests. We will do our best to
make decisions on your OIA request as soon as practicably possible, and to
keep you informed of progress if there are likely to be delays.

 

For your information, the Chief Ombudsman has published updated guidance
on OIA requests during this time:

·       [1]Chief Ombudsman's statement on official information response
times during implementation of the COVID-19 Protection Framework

·       [2]FAQs about official information requests during COVID-19

 

Please note that our response letter to you (with your personal details
redacted), and any enclosed documents, may be published on the Ministry’s
website.

 

Ngâ mihi

 

Executive Services Division
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatû Aorere

 

 

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From: ESD
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

[UNCLASSIFIED]

Tēnā koe Andrew Li

I am writing concerning your Official Information Act request below, to advise that responding to your request as currently framed would capture a significant volume of information. As such, it is likely that your request will be refused under section 18(f) of the OIA, as it would require substantial collation and research.

Accordingly, I am seeking your agreement to refine your request to be for:

Key documents in the decision for New Zealand to apply for observer status of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA].

Please note, it is likely that we will need to withhold information from documents in scope of your request.

Please confirm if you are happy to proceed with the refined request above, by 3pm on 11 July 2022. If we do not hear from you, we will proceed with your original request.

Ngā mihi

Executive Services Division
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatū Aorere

195 Lambton Quay, Private Bag 18901, Wellington 5045, New Zealand
www.mfat.govt.nz | www.safetravel.govt.nz

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From: Andrew Li

Dear ESD,

In line with your comments, I will amend my request to seek instead, in electronic form:
* key documents from Jan 2017 onwards related to the decision to affiliate with this anti-semitic organization
* the subjects and sender/recipients names/email addresses for all emails from Jan 2017 onwards regarding the IHRA, inclusive but not limited to those exchanged with official representatives of foreign governments, and local subversives and paid lobbyists, such as Rob Berg and Sheree Trotter

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Li

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From: ESD
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

[UNCLASSIFIED]

Tēnā koe Andrew Li

Thank you for refining part of your request to key documents.

I am writing concerning your Official Information Act request below, to advise that responding to point two of your request as currently framed would capture a significant volume of information. As such, it is likely that point two your request will be refused under section 18(f) of the OIA, as it would require substantial collation and research.

Our searches have indicated that we do not hold any emails, to or from, Rob Berg or Sheree Trotter on the IHRA. Accordingly, I am seeking your agreement to refine point two of your request to be for:

A summary of all emails from Jan 2017 onwards from foreign governments regarding the IHRA.

Please note, it is likely that we will need to withhold some information from documents in scope of your request.

Please confirm if you are happy to proceed with the refined request above, by 3pm on 14 July 2022. If we do not hear from you, we will proceed with your refined request.

Ngā mihi

Executive Services Division
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatū Aorere

195 Lambton Quay, Private Bag 18901, Wellington 5045, New Zealand
www.mfat.govt.nz | www.safetravel.govt.nz

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From: Andrew Li

Dear ESD,

I'm a little confused on the request to narrow the scope of the request.

Is the problem that I haven't provided a full list of subversive organizations and persons that are pushing for support for Palestinian human rights to be called antisemitism, so you need me to supply a list in full of such parties?

Or would you deny access to this information if I provided a list in full of employees of foreign powers and related subversives who should be subject to such a search, say Alfred Ngaro, Juliet Moses, Bradford Haami, Moka Ngaro, Alfred Ngaro, Kariana Black, Deborah Hart, Sam Mangai, Perry Trotter, Eric George, etc, etc? I would obviously require some time to compile said list and might need to name hundreds of subversives who may not have been in communication with MFAT regarding this particular issue.

Alternatively, I would be happy to narrow the request to- in addition with communications with foreign governments- to cover any emails advocating for NZ to join the IHRA or to adopt the IHRA 'Definition of Antisemitism', and responses to such, as any person doing so is by definition a foreign agent.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew

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From: Andrew Li

Dear ESD,

I haven't had a response to my earlier email from July 14. Have you narrowed the scope of the response to the suggestion at its end, or not?

>Dear ESD,
>
>I'm a little confused on the request to narrow the scope of the request.
>
>Is the problem that I haven't provided a full list of subversive organizations and persons that are pushing for support for Palestinian human rights to be called antisemitism, so you need me to supply a list in full of such parties?
>
>Or would you deny access to this information if I provided a list in full of employees of foreign powers and related subversives who should be subject to such a search, say Alfred Ngaro, Juliet Moses, Bradford Haami, Moka Ngaro, Alfred Ngaro, Kariana Black, Deborah Hart, Sam Mangai, Perry Trotter, Eric George, etc, etc? I would obviously require some time to compile said list and might need to name hundreds of subversives who may not have been in communication with MFAT regarding this particular issue.
>
>Alternatively, I would be happy to narrow the request to- in addition with communications with foreign governments- to cover any emails advocating for NZ to join the IHRA or to adopt the IHRA 'Definition of Antisemitism', and responses to such, as any person doing so is by definition a foreign agent.
>
>Yours sincerely,
>Andrew

Kind regards,
Andrew

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From: ESD
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


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[UNCLASSIFIED]

Tēnā koe Andrew Li

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

As per our email correspondence between 29 June and 14 July 2022, we have
refined your request for the below three points:

 

- Key documents in the decision for New Zealand to apply for observer
status of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA].

- A summary of all emails from Jan 2017 onwards from foreign governments
regarding the IHRA.

- Incoming and outgoing ministerial correspondence with the public,
related to advocating for New Zealand to join the IHRA or to adopt the
IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.

 

Please confirm your agreement to the above request.

 

Once we have confirmation of your agreement to the above refined request,
we will proceed with processing your refined request.  As we have sought
clarification within 7 working days of your original request, this will be
treated as a new request. Section 15(1AA) and (1AB) of the Official
Information Act 1982 refers.

 

Ngā mihi

 

Executive Services Division
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatū Aorere

-------------------------------------------------

195 Lambton Quay, Private Bag 18901, Wellington 5045, New Zealand

[1]www.mfat.govt.nz | [2]www.safetravel.govt.nz

[3]cid:image001.png@01D77329.069A7C40

 

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From: Andrew Li

Morning,

I'm rather confused by your response.

You requested to eliminate key points of my original request, regarding subversive foreign lobbyists operating within New Zealand, in an email sent on July 13, demanding a response by late afternoon July 14. I responded well before the deadline clarifiying my request. You didn't respond, so I followed up a week afterwards. You now appear to accept that slightly varied request as legitimate.

Now, on the day your response is due, you're suggesting that my clarification- within your stated timeline- made it a completely new request? Is this your honest, good faith position?

Regards,
Andrew

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From: ESD
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

[UNCLASSIFIED]

Tēnā koe Andrew Li

As we sought clarification within 7 working days, your refined request is treated as a new request. Section 15(1AA) and (1AB) of the Official Information Act 1982 refers. Please confirm your agreement to the refined request, below.

Ngā mihi

Executive Services Division
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatū Aorere

195 Lambton Quay, Private Bag 18901, Wellington 5045, New Zealand
www.mfat.govt.nz | www.safetravel.govt.nz

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From: Andrew Li

Dear ESD,

I will be following this up further. My request of July 5 is essentially no different from the 'clarification' I sent on July 14, after you claimed to misunderstand a very simple question (obviously no loyal New Zealander supports the genocide of the Palestinians).

Are you now attempting to delay the timeline for the production of a response to this very simple request to start from July 22, when you finally responded, on your weekly delay timeline?

Yours sincerely,
Andrew

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From: Andrew Li

To avoid further malicious inaction on your part, your summary a week later of what I sent on July 15 can be considered my amended request.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Li

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Anyone:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade only: