Monday, January 24, 2011

Douglas Hamilton refers readers to boycott Israel website

In a story that attempts to conflate Israel with apartheid South Africa while feigning impartial news reporting, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton suggests that those boycotting Israel in an effort to delegitimize the country are doing so with "increasing effect".  Hamilton's evidence for the success of the movement?
Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, Elvis Costello, Gorillaz Sound System, the Klaxons, the Pixies, Faithless, Leftfield, Tindersticks, Meg Ryan and film director Mike Leigh have all decided not to go to Israel in recent months.
While Israel can probably survive absent the "Sneaky Feelings" Costello, Hamilton decides to lend a hand to the boycott effort by using his platform as a reporter for the largest news agency in the world to refer readers to one of the boycott advocacy websites.  We kid you not.  If this isn't enough to get Hamilton terminated for a material breach of the Reuters Trust Principles, we don't know what will.

Hamilton suggests that Israelis believe the world is biased against them, and that this belief is irrational, and to "prove" his point, he cites an Israeli television show which parodies Israeli claims of global antisemitism.  Gee, we have no idea where Jews would get the impression that antisemitism is endemic or that this manifests today in irrational hatred of Israel.

All of this is reminiscient of an exchange we had with Hamilton back in July of 2009 after he wrote a nearly hysterical piece accusing Benjamin Netanyahu of "disingenuousness" in a speech which took to task, the hypocrisy and antisemitism of those (like Hamilton) who would prevent Jews from living in Jerusalem.  We noted in an email reply to Hamilton that whereas Reuters apparently doesn't have a problem with British pensioners building condominiums in Gibraltar or the Turkish government providing housing for its citizens in Cyprus, his outrage over Jews living in their 3,500-year-old capital, supported by international law, does smack of double-standards.

Unfortunately for the increasingly erratic Hamilton, the "BDS" (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaign against Israel is not going particularly well.  However, the movement does have the potential to damage the country and as there is no comparable BDS campaign against Turkey, China, Russia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia or many other countries which, unlike Israel, are actually engaged in gross human rights violations, political and religious oppression, and illegal occupations of neighboring states, one has to admire Hamilton's towering chutzpah in mocking Israelis who feel that boycott efforts singling out the one Jewish state do indeed reflect antisemitism.

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