Independent cherry-picks Dutch PM’s comments on BDS

Once again, the Indy has exaggerated the impact of BDS and significantly skewed the facts to reinforce the increasingly absurd narrative that Jerusalem is facing 'increasing international isolation'.

A Sept. 14th report in the Independent, by Alexandra Sims, on Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to the Netherlands focused on two elements of the trip: A Dutch MP who refused to shake hands with the Israeli prime minister and statements by the Dutch PM about BDS at a press conference with the two leaders.

The report leads with the video showing an anti-Israel Dutch MP refusing to shake Netanyahu’s hand while in a meeting at the Dutch parliamentary affairs committee.

Video has emerged of a Dutch MP wearing a Palestinian flag pin refusing to shake hands with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tunahan Kuzu, a former Labour MP who founded the multi-ethnic, pro-immigration party Denk (Think) in 2014, made the gesture before Mr Netanyahu attended a meeting in The Hague with the Dutch parliamentary affairs committee while on a two-day visit to the Netherlands.

Of course, the video actually “emerged” over a week ago.  Moreover, contrary to the Indy’s attempt to paint the party as progressive, Denk has been characterized in the Dutch media as far-left and pro-Erdogan.  Kuzu himself reportedly refused to condemn the arrest of Turkish-Dutch journalist in Turkey, who was arrested for “insulting” the Turkish President.  This context – omitted by the Indy – helps explain the MP’s decision not to shake the hand of the Israeli leader.

The article continues:

In a statement posted to Facebook, Mr Kuzu said his gesture was intended as a protest over the abuses committed against Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military rule in the occupied territories.

Mr Kuzu added that following the incident on 7 September, he confronted Mr Netanyahu away from the cameras with pictures purporting to show Palestinians being abused in Gaza and the West Bank, including one of a 12-year-old boy placed in headlock by an Israeli soldier, The Intercept reports.

However, if you follow the links in The Intercept (and go to the Facebook video of  MP Kuzu presenting his ‘evidence’ of Israeli cruelty) you see that the image of the “12-year-old boy” he’s referring to involves a Pallywood episode in Nabi Saleh exposed at this blog last year:

Screenshot from Kuzu’s Facebook video

The boy seen in the photo being held by Kuzu, actually 13, was a rock thrower (at one of the weekly staged riots in the West Bank town) temporarily detained and later released by the soldier after being attacked by the boy’s friends and relatives.

Aug. 28th, 2015, Nabi Saleh

Later in the article, Sims addresses the joint press conference held between the Israeli and Dutch leaders:

During the visit Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech that his government was calling for an immediate end to the creation of Jewish only settlements in territory seized by Israel and that the country would not prevent citizens from taking part in Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movements against firms that aid Israel’s occupation.

However, the Indy’s characterization of Rutte’s comments about BDS are, at best, extremely misleading.

Though the Dutch PM did condemn settlements, Simms cherry picks his comments on BDS to make it seem that he wasn’t critical of the movement.

Here’s the part of the press conference where he delivers his remarks on BDS.

So, while upholding the freedom of expression for those who support BDS (as the Indy correctly noted), he also made the following points which the Indy did not note:

  • His government firmly opposes BDS, including boycotts of the settlements.
  • The ‘international’ BDS campaign does not have the Dutch government’s support.
  • His country will not fund BDS activities targeting Israel.
  • His government is in fact working to strengthen their relationship with Israel.

Once again, the Indy has exaggerated the impact of BDS and significantly skewed the facts to reinforce the increasingly absurd media narrative that Jerusalem is facing ‘increasing international isolation’.

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