The Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports has pulled out of a debate hosted by the Australian Jewish News and Zionism Victoria, after she was told by a journalist about the Zionist group’s involvement. As Crikey reported yesterday, Steph Hodgins-May was set to appear alongside Labor MP Michael Danby and Liberal candidate Owen Guest at the debate, but she has since alerted the newspaper that she will not be taking part.
AJN editor Zeddy Lawrence has told Crikey that Hodgins-May is “being a little economical with the truth”, and shared an email from May 30 in which he told her the newspaper was “teaming up with” Zionism Victoria as co-hosts of the event. He followed up shortly thereafter with a second email correcting a typo in the organisation’s name in the first email.
Lawrence also told Crikey in an email “it’s rather reminiscent of the incident with Greens leader Richard Di Natale last year when in an interview with us he endorsed recognition of Israel as the Jewish State, and then a few days later, was forced to backtrack and admit that’s not what he meant at all”.
The no-show has been reported in the Australian Jewish News as “Greens candidates will attend an election forum hosted by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), but not Zionism Victoria.”
It quotes Hodgins-May saying “I don’t believe it is appropriate and right to speak at an event co-organised by a politically active organisation”.
Crikey has contacted Hodgins-May for comment.