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Aug 1, 2014

Australian Jewish News calls for Fairfax boycott

The Australian Jewish News has called on its readers to cancel their subscriptions to Fairfax Media after a column by Mike Carlton and its illustrating cartoon were slammed by the paper as antisemitic.

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The Australian Jewish News has called on its readers to cancel their subscriptions to Fairfax Media after a column by Mike Carlton and its illustrating cartoon were slammed in the paper’s August 1 edition as antisemitic.

Carlton’s column, published last Saturday, quotes Israeli journalist Gideon Levy accusing the Jewish state of fascism. Carlton writes:

“It is a breathtaking irony that these atrocities can be committed by a people with a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race memory. But this is a new and brutal Israel dominated by the hardline, right-wing Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition.”

That was the line that most offended AJN, whose editors quote it in their editorial and say the column was “no longer about a country, this was about a people and a race — a people and a race who should know better because of what they themselves went through”.

The AJN also slammed the cartoon that illustrated the piece, which featured an old man “with a hook nose” sitting in a chair emblazoned with the Star of David on the back, pressing a remote to blow up a Palestinian area. The cartoon was labelled “clearly anti-Semitic” by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, who sent a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald claiming it could lead to the “inciting of hatred against Jew”. The ECAJ said the cartoon had been slammed by Holocaust survivors, who “compared the cartoon to those which regularly appeared in Nazi newspapers in occupied Europe”.

The piece carries a response from SMH editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir, who says he “deeply regret[s]” the offense the cartoon has caused. “I take a very dim view of any racist behaviour – as do all members of the Herald — newsroom.” The ECAJ told AJN that Goodsir did not address the substance of their complaint, and that they were considering lodging a formal complaint against Fairfax Media with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. The cartoon still illustrates Carlton’s article online.

Also coming under fire was a 60 Minutes segment on the war in Gaza, which the AJN slammed for its “false equivalence of a conflict perpetrated by extremists on both sides”. An analysis by Allon Lee of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council slams the segment for focusing on Jewish settlements and the separation wall, while not mentioning Palestinian refusals to accept Israeli peace offers. “To condense in three words,” Lee writes,” [60 Minutes‘] explanation for this war … would be ‘occupation, occupation occupation'”.

Reporting on claimed media bias takes up many pages of the edition and is also discussed in the paper’s editorials. In one, AJN publisher Robert Magid calls the media war the “second front” in Israel’s Gaza war. He criticises the media for totally ignoring events in Syria, Iraq and other war zones even though they have led to great loss of life, and says the media ignores Muslims killing Muslims.

“The question of why there’s this obsession with the Jews is too complex to deal with here. At its source, it is for European society to expiate its guilt for centuries of anti-Semitic persecution by showing that the Jews are just as brutal as they were, if not more so.”

Later on, he notes that Hamas does not have a powerful military, but knows how to play the media far more effectively:

“The power of the media is such that it will extract unreasonable concessions from from Israel, forcing it to terminate its mission before it adequately downgrades Hamas’ offensive capacity, which can only lead to an early future resumption of hostilities.”‘

Correction: This article originally stated the AJN had also asked its readers to cancel advertising with Fairfax. This is not the case.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

Myriam has been Crikey’s media reporter since 2014. Before that, she was a business journalist with sister site SmartCompany, covering economics and corporate strategy.

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36 thoughts on “Australian Jewish News calls for Fairfax boycott

  1. Kevin Herbert

    Child of a survivor:

    Racism against any ethnicity of religious group, cannot be tolerated in a civilised society.

    Racism against ALL religious & ethnic minorities has been documented throughout history e.g. in WW2 the Romany lost the greatest proportion of their total community of any ethnic group (1.5 million out of 4 million) but I haven’t yet seen any widely promoted cinema which depicts their terrible plight, nor am I aware of their establishment of literally thousands of representative groups globally, who regularly publicise the guilt that must be collectively borne by non-involved communities for their WW2 plight. I also am not aware of any similar lobbying on behalf of the close to 14 million Congolese slaughtered by the Belgian Government between 1894 and 1905…surely the world’s most heinous genocide.

    Further, I contend there’s no such thing as ‘anti-semitism’ – there is only racism. The late 19th century Zionist proposition that racism against one ethnic group of Jews, is more heinous than that against another group, is both intellectually & morally repugnant.It’s tantamount to saying that a Vietnamese child napalmed in the US genocide of 3 million Vietnamese is not as immoral an act as the gassing of a child in Nazi holocaust.

    Thankfully, over the past 20 years as more followers of Judiasm globally see through the lies of Zionism & the ethnic cleansing/apartheid Israel, their traditional rights of discourse on any topic are being re-established.

    The high profile anti Zionist Jew Paul Eisen has analysed the traditionally taboo subjects e.g. such as the once sacrosanct Zionist ‘historical fact’ regarding widespread racism against European Jews, and presents scholarly research papers such as one by late 19th century UK diplomat, contesting the then alleged newly developed Zionist ‘anti-semitism’ narrative, and successfully arguing that such claims are groundless. His scholarly research shows that the low public reputation of a very small section of the then Jewish communities in the UK, occurred not due to their ethnicity or religious beliefs, but solely for the flaunting of their wealth in the face of the grinding poverty faced by the vast majority of the 19th century population, including Jews.

    So much for the Zionist narrative that rampant racism against ALL people of Jewish ethnicity simply because of their religion/ethnicity.

    Indeed you sound like just another hasbara, particularly since your arguments are in the identical order that they appear in the Israel Foreign Ministry’s talking points, of which I have a 2005 copy.

    I also have a copy of the The Israel Projects Global Language Dictionary 2009…a text book promoting race hate of Palestinians.

    Unlike Paul Eisen & his ilk, you’re attempt to use the suffering of your or anybody’s family as a justification for Israel’s current war crimes & crimes against humanity, clearly evidences you are part of the problem.

  2. Child of a survivor

    Personally I don’t like the hang up people have with terms. I don’t want to live through the issues that my parents, grand parents , great grandparents …… Just go back as many centuries as you choose have had to endure. I don’t want to feel any different from any other Australian. I agree with the view expressed in the above article as it highlights an anti Jewish feeling which is becoming more open after several decades of being hidden. I have great grandparents who died as the result of progroms in Europe in the 1800’s. I have family members who acquired land around Jerusalem in the 1800’s after escaping Europe and who were subsequently killed by Arabs and their land repossessed. I always laugh when I hear the term that the land is being ‘occupied’ when my family paid for their land and it was stolen. I have relatives who were dispossessed of their land in Alexandria in Egypt In 1956 by Nasser. I also have in laws who survived the concentration camps and were fortunate enough to be offered a home in Australia. To see a picture of a man with a large nose and a Star of David is horrific. It is very anti Jewish. My in laws family fought for the Germans in WWI and were very pro German. Their family helped vote Hitler into power in the 1930’s. My mother in law is extremely lucky to have survived not only the concentration camps but my mother in law was interned in Berlin and survived the bombing by the British. War of any nature doesn’t solve issues. Believing that some Jews think that Israel shouldn’t exist is in my opinion twisting what the majority think. It is similar to my in laws family thinking that Hitler was the best person for the job of leadership in Germany. We all know what that did for my relatives who perished.

    I find it hard to see anyone killed. I would like the people of Gaza to live in peace alongside the Jews Muslims Bahai Christians Druise etc who inhabit Israel Ask the people of Gaza why they build tunnels with the cement that has been sent to them instead of using it to build schools and hospitals. Ask them why they let their children be suicide bombers. A friend of mine from Melbourne Arnold Roth lost his 15 year old daughter to a suicide bomber. Ask yourself why you are only looking at this issue since the State of Israel was declared. Ask why are there only some Palestinians in Gazza, some Arabs living in peace with voting rights etc with Jews in Israel, many Palestinians living in Jordan many being killed in Syria. Some living in Hebron, Jerico etc. Ask when was the last election held in Gazza? How long is it between elections in Australia? Do you really think that the people of Gazza want Hamas to currently rule them? They are supposed to go to the poles this year. Do you think that Fatah will have a look in if Hamas looks stonger? Why does Egypt not help Gaza and Hamas? Why is the border between Egypt and Gaza closed. Please remember my family were dispossessed of their land in Egypt. The entire Middle East is a mess and added to the mess is the influence of anti Jewish feeling together with the cost and supply of oil provided by the Arab nations in the area.

    When I am told by people ( and I was a recently told this to my face) that the numbers dying in the conflict are the wrong way round and that more Jews should die (the person who told me didn’t realise I was Jewish) I thought great its just like my family has said to me. It’s the 1930’s all over again. This is being reinforced by the current spate of anti Jewish articles both here and overseas.

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