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The Age suspends Backman’s columns

The editor of The Age, Paul Ramadge, has suspended columns by business columnist Michael Backman as a result of the controversy over a column condemned as anti-Semitic.

The Australian Jewish News is reporting that Ramadge has said Backman will not be published for three months.

And it seems that the Jewish Community Council of Victoria has not let up in its lobbying following Backman and The Age’s apologies for running a column perceived as anti-Semitic.

The column that caused all the controversy was published on 17 January in the Business section. The Age later apologised for its publication, and Backman also apologised publically, and protested that he was not anti-Semitic. (Read previous coverage of this controversy here, here, and here).

The AJN reports that following the apologies, JCCV President John Searle had “further phone and email dialogue” with Paul Ramadge.

This morning Searle told Crikey that Ramadge had said Backman’s suspension would be reviewed at the end of three months, and that reinstatement would not be automatic.

Ramadge and Backman have not yet responded to requests for comment.

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  • 1
    Greg Angelo
    Posted Thursday, 5 February 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    As a person of no religious persuasion, my understanding is that a semite is a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs. It would appear that the Zionists within the Jewish community are confusing Zionism with Semitism which I understand to be quite separate concepts. Being opposed to Zionist terrorism is not in itself anti-Semitic.

    An outsider, I see very little distinction between the treatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli Defence Force and some of the reprisal raids undertaken by the Nazis in World War II. Having read Blackman’s Age article as a consequence of the publicity arising from Jewish lobby protests, it does not in any way appear to be anti-Semitic, but is sympathetic to the position of the Palestinians at the hands of the Zionists who run Israel.

    The sensitivity of the Jewish lobby when the Zionists are criticised for their appalling behaviour towards Palestinian civilians, and the ongoing Palestinian resistance to the dominating power of Israel in some way reflects the struggle of the Zionists in the 1920s 30s and 40s to obtain a Jewish homeland at the expense of those who occupied it at the time. It is sobering to read of the terrorist activities undertaken by Jewish terrorists in the period leading to the ultimate formation of Israel and dispossession of the Palestinians from land that they had occupied for hundreds if not thousands of years. These are clearly forgotten or suppressed by those who would try to legitimise the use of terror on their own behalf whilst opposing it in others.

  • 2
    Kevin Charles Herbert
    Posted Thursday, 5 February 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    This Australian Zionists sure know how to boost the Palestinian / HAMAS cause in Oz

    Thanks Colin et al…you’re doing a great job of further blackening the image of Israel.

    Keep up the good work.

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