Friends of Palestine (WA) member Alex Bainbridge wrote the letter of complaint that appears below to the producers of The Bolt Report and Network Ten after a segment on the show tried to link the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid with the racist measures taken against Jewish businesses by the Hitler regime in the 1930s.
Bainbridge said the claim was a dishonest attempt by opponents of Palestinian human rights to discredit the BDS movement as public interest and support for BDS continues to increase.
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To the producers of The Bolt Report and the managers of Network Ten.
I am writing to make a complaint about the content of The Bolt Report that was aired on TV on July 31 and available online.
The episode in question includes the statement by Andrew Bolt: “You remember the boycott of Jewish shops in Germany 70 years ago, here’s what the Greens-backed boycott of a Jewish shop now — today — looks like in Perth.”
This is immediately followed by a video clip (presumably taken from a YouTube video) that clearly features my voice and image as I participated in a BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) action in Perth in May.
It is well known that the “boycott of Jewish shops in Germany 70 years ago” was promoted by the Nazi regime in Germany and was motivated by anti-Semitic ideology.
Since there was a clear attempt to link these Nazi boycotts with the contemporary BDS campaign, this amounts to a clear implication by The Bolt Report that the action in which I took part was similarly anti-Semitic and/or had fascist tendencies. This is a false implication.
Second, the show describes the action as the “boycott of a Jewish shop”. This implies that the shop in question was targeted because of its (presumed) association with the Jewish religion. Again, this is a false implication.
(Incidentally, to this day I do not even know if the shop has any association with the Jewish religion whatsoever.)
In the research I carried out before taking part in that action, I was able to ascertain that the shop sources its product from the Dead Sea in occupied Palestine — a violation of international law.
In fact, it is because of this violation of international law and the shop’s association with apartheid Israel — a state not a religion — that the shop was targeted.
My concern about how your show misrepresented me and the action in which I took part was increased after several friends and associates who saw the show contacted me.
They said that your show presented me as having participated in an anti-Jewish action, which is something I would never do.
Therefore, it is the case that The Bolt Report has defamed me by falsely presenting me, and the action in which I participated, as anti-Jewish.
I would like you to redress this defamation by making an apology on the next episode of The Bolt Report and allowing me the right of reply on your show to explain clearly that the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign does not target Jewish businesses but instead businesses that profit from their connection to the illegal occupation of Palestine.