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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.

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.

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36 comments

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36 thoughts on “Australian Jewish News calls for Fairfax boycott

  1. Todd Hannett

    I don’t see what exactly is anit-semetic in relation to the cartoon. It’s pretty much taken from these photos – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/middleeast/israelis-watch-bombs-drop-on-gaza-from-front-row-seats.html?_r=0

  2. Bill Hilliger

    Yes play the anti Semitic card it always gets results. Their day of reckoning will surely come.

  3. extra

    re the last para- it wasn’t Hamas that engaged US Republican media expert Frank Luntz to advise on media strategy- see the recent article in the Independent.

    Mr Majid’s claim that Hamas know how to play the media more effectively is almost as sickening as Israeli Government Ministers’complaints that the Palestinians are exploiting telegenic corpses.

  4. Bill Hilliger

    This is the way it works nowadays.

    Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes. Netanyahu to Obama …go fuck yourself.

    Netanyahu: we are busy wiping out Palestinian families, destroying infrastructure and at the same time radicalising any surviving Palestinian children to create the next generation of terrorists. The next future wave of terrorists will always provide an excuse to bomb the crap out of Palestine forevermore whenever we want to.

    Netanyahu: Obama this is a clear message to you, we are your best customers in regard to buying weapons of mass destruction, which is good for your economy. Once again I say, if you don’t like what we’re doing, go fuck yourself. And while you’re at it, tell that wet bus ticket John Kerry to go and suck a lemon.

    Failing that, unless you find favour Israel, we still have some capital left in playing the anti Semitic card and we will always use it no matter what.

    By the way, on another matter; Mr Obama be responsible for once in your life …impose sanctions on Russia, they may have done something wrong. I think.

  5. Alex Harper

    To be fair, the cartoon does depict the likely deaths of Gazans and most Gazans are semitic. So it is anti-semitic, only not in the way that was implied.

  6. Peter Bayley

    Finally, finally, finally, people are beginning to wise up to the cries of Anti-Semitism every time Israel starts killing children in order to seize more land. I’m not Anti-Semite (Arabs are semites too, after all) but I’m very anti Israeli Government and their terrorist killing of innocent women and children. Go away you tired old Isaeli apologists. The world now has eyes and ears and now sees you for the ugly nation you are.

  7. Bill Hilliger

    Peter Bayley: The Israeli government and their apologists work so hard to galvanise even the moderates of world to become Anti Semitic. America is always happy to be seen trying to broker peace but continues to send weapons of mass destruction to the Israeli Government to use against the Palestinians As for that grasping and sinister Israeli Government they will one day get their comeuppance. There will be no sympathy when that day arrives.

  8. Yclept

    There needs to be a new Godwin’s law for when the anti-semetic card is constantly dropped out to quell any and all commentary that doesn’t agree with the RWNJ propaganda of the Israeli government.

  9. My Comment

    What a misleading headline! I had expected better from Crikey.

    I have just read the Jewish News editorial being discussed in the article. It is about journalism and the way parts of the Australian media have reported the situation in the Middle East. Only in one sentence at the end of a long editorial, does the newspaper suggest readers “consider” cancelling their subscriptions. The Crikey headline and opening paragraph do not reflect the Jewish News editorial.

    And the comments to the article (see link from Crikey) indicate that they did not read the editorial either.

  10. Glen

    The cartoon? As Todd said, a grotesque satire of those photos … tough, but why be otherwise. The article? Careful, thoughtful and balanced on my read. The response? Hysterical, but what else would we expect. And the outcome? That will be a peaceful Israel “inside secure borders”: to the south, the canal of course (difficult tunneling there); the east, the far bank of that river, or preferably some kilometres beyond; the north, the top of the catchment (Golan and south Lebanon).

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