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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 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).

  11. cairns50

    may i suggest that all aust people boycott the aust jewish news, then again nobody else probably reads it except jews

    aust jews need to try and find some decency instead of always attacking people who rightly condemn its actions against the people of gaza

  12. ilolatu

    Belief in a swamp fairy brought all this on.

  13. tonyfunnywalker

    I suggest the cartoon by Leak in the Australian was equally inflamatory of the Hamas and equally untrue.

  14. Kevin Herbert


    are you one of the 2000 people in Australia who read the Oz?

    The rest of its purported circlation is given away at airports & hotels.

  15. AR

    “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.”
    So … are we special coz we’re persecuted or persecuted coz we’re special,the people of god and all that stuff, given an inhabited land by him(sic!).. ohhh, wayyy back.
    Yclept – methinks the Israeli Ambassador did that this morning on RN, he Godwinned here, he Godwinned there, he went & Godwinned all over the damn place, Carleton could barely get a word in let alone shut him up as the 8am news loomed.

  16. Gavin Moodie

    There are 2 meanings of ‘semitic’. The linguistic meaning refers to a language family of West Asian origin which includes Amharic, Arabic, Hebrew, etc, and by extension to the speakers of those languages.

    The sociological meaning of ‘anti semitic’ refers specifically to the hatred of Jews. It was invented in Europe in the late 19th century to refer to Judenhass (Jew hatred).

  17. Euan J Thomas

    Israel is a STATE and as such has all the power at its disposal to enforce its policies; a well resourced military, police and justice system and courts, education and health systems that work. But, just because I or others criticise its excessive use of force in Gaza, does not make me an anti-Semitic in my strong criticism of Israel. Israel reminds us all that it wants “peace” with the Palestinians; but who is setting the terms for the so-called peace? It is peace on Israelis terms and the Palestinians can ever take it or lump it. I am not against or oppose Israel. I’m just opposed to injustice and the killing of innocent civilians. The article and cartoon in the Sydney Morning Herald highlights that injustice.

  18. paul holland

    There are a lot of Jewish supporters (who are not Jewish) who are changing their support to that of the Palestinians (not Hamas) and are becoming more open about it.
    The leaders in Israel may feel that they are winning the war on the ground but the fact is that the more important battle in places like Paris and New York for the people’s minds is being lost.
    The leadership of Israel need to see how it is painting itself into corner and do something soon by addressing some of the resolutions which have been passed at the United Nations. Opening up the boarders and stopping the settlements would be a good place to start.
    When people can’t even support themselves them they feel desperate and do desperate things. Doing so would pull the carpet from under Hamas and make a lot of people around the world change their way of thinking considerably.
    This war is actually a war on the security of Jewish people outside of Israel and we can see so from the frightening re-emergence of anti-Semetic groups around the world.

  19. Ken M

    it seems that they think that the “anti-semitic” accusation can give them the right to kill any one in this world!!

    so if you say no to the children killing you are anti-semitic

    do they think that because their great grand parent suffered 70 years ago they can do the same for the palestinians?!!!!

    they are taking US and Europe as slaves. anyone say no to the war crimes is anti-semitic..

  20. Fauzer Uvais

    The anti-semitic card has expired well and truly, it is purely a distraction to take the discussion away from the genocide these monsters are committing, and acting like its business as usual. The Zionists seem like an entire different specie from another planet. Everyone else can see what nasty piece of work this Israel project is. (even the politicians and the media that suck up to them know it, but can’t or won’t say it).

  21. klewso

    Phew, so it’s still all Right to fan the flames of hatred against the Arabs?

  22. Andrew McIntosh

    “If you haven’t done so already, consider cancelling your Fairfax subscriptions today”.

    Perhaps I’m reading it wrong, but that one sentence, the only suggestion in the entire opinion piece in The Australian Jewish News, does not quite ring as a full-blooded call for a boycott. And perhaps I’m looking at it wrong, but that cartoon does seem to me to indulge in some racial stereotyping.

    Whatever feelings I have towards the conflict between Israel and Gaza, they’re neither hindered nor helped by this kind of nit picking.

  23. 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.

  24. colin skene

    Israel may well feel proud about winning the “battle” in Gaza. But they are copping a hell of a hiding in the “war” of public opinion on the scale of their response and the atrocities that have arisen from it. Congratulations to Mike Carlton for his column. I trust HIM to give me accurate versions of events, not the JN

  25. Ray Butler

    Israel, and most of the world, is at the mercy of economics and associated ambitions, that is in no way ordained by God.

  26. Jake

    The good thing is that those anti-Semites who believe Jews control the media, and I know that wouldn’t apply to anyone here (hello Kevin), will now I’m sure acknowledge they were far off the mark.
    For the record (again) “Semites” include Arabs, Assyrians and Jews, while “anti-Semites” are people who hate Jews. Just Jews. If you don’t believe me, please check in your dictionary, Wikipedia, wherever. It is inconsequential, it would just be nice to get this right.

  27. elizabeth williams

    I, as did many around the world, watched footage of Jewish settlers watching the smoke in Gaza rise and stated that they had no sympathy for any one in Palestine. Is this not a direct depiction of the cartoon .

  28. Jake

    Elizabeth, it’s like drawing a cartoon of Palestinian supporters, calling for death to the Jews. You can see any number of instances of this around the world at present. Would you find such a cartoon objectionable?

  29. Jake

    Correction: I don’t mean you can see many instances of cartoons about this – I mean you can see many instances of people in reality calling for death to the Jews (Jews, not Israelis or Zionists).

  30. 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.

  31. Ziggy

    I am a vehement supporter of Jews and Israel, but I take great exception in this article that refers to a Jewish Race.

    There’s no such thing as a Jewish Race. A religion is not transmitted by DNA, merely by indoctrination. No newborn child has any concept of a God, Yahweh, Allah and all the other claptrap that comprises a religions doctrine.

    Furthermore, there are Jews of every conceivable race – White Ashkenazis, Brown Sephardics, black Ethiopian Falashas, yellow Chinese Jews – and I have met a few of them in my time.

    None of the above are of the same race, yet many Jews will insist that they are of the same race and this is stupid beyond belief – just as stupid as claiming that a newborn baby born of a Jewish mother immediately acquires Judaism. That’s utter crap. A child acquires any religion by brainwashing.

    A Jew can renounce his religion and become a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or just become an Atheist and refuse to believe the nonsense entirely. But try changing your race. It’s impossible and even Michael Jackson found that out.

    So cut the crap about the Jewish Race – it’s a myth.

  32. Malcolm Street

    I think the cartoon is a comment on seeing the attack on Gaza as a spectacle for the whole family, like a TV show.

    Ziggy – but there’s athiest Jews as well. We’re back in the old “who is a Jew” question

  33. Ziggy

    To Malcolm – you have to be kidding. There’s no such thing as an Atheist Jew. Is there such a thing as an Atheist Christian or Atheist Muslim? Of course not, because if a person is a Christian or a Muslim, the prerequisite is to believe in the Christian God or the Muslim Allah.

    If a person does not believe in any supreme being, he is an Atheist and cannot be a member of any religion or follow it.

    Who is a Jew? Very simply, it is a person who believes in the Jewish religion and the existence of a Jewish god called Yahweh or whatever name he wishes to bestow upon this mythical Skydaddy.

    The second that this person stops believing in this stuff, he ceases to be a Jew because he has abandoned the prerequisite of belief.

    You see Malcolm, you’re falling into the same bogus argument that Judaism is a race. It cannot be – a belief is not transmitted by DNA. You didn’t become a Christian, Jew or Muslim (I don’t know what you believe in) from birth. You were indoctrinated into your religion and you are free to believe and free to discard it.

    But if you choose to discard that belief, you no longer are a member of that religion. Talk is cheap and people can call themselves whatever they want, but that does not make it so.

    There are no secular Jews or Atheist Jews. Either they believe in their Jewish god and religion and are Jews, or they abandon those beliefs and their Judaism too. They can’t have it both ways.

    To assert that

  34. fractious

    klewso #21
    “so it’s still all Right to fan the flames of hatred against the Arabs?”

    Nailed it. See Myriam Robin’s accompanying piece today on The Oz running a Bill Leak “cartoon” that demonsises Palestinians.

  35. Jake

    Malcolm is right, you can be an atheist Jew. A person is Jewish if they have a Jewish mother. Faith is not the deciding factor. In this Judaism differs from most (all?) other religions.
    Ziggy is right that Jews come in all shapes, colours and sizes, so therefore from different races. Whether Jews are a race, religion, people, whatever, I don’t know that any definition suffices.

  36. Felix Lizard

    Typical baby killer response

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