Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Statement on Four Corners/The Australian report

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AIJAC is appalled by the intellectually weak and fundamentally misleading collaboration between the ABC and the Australian, "Stone Cold Justice", which aired on the February 10 edition of "4Corners".

The basic claim in this unbalanced and misleading quasi-documentary is that Israel has a new policy of deliberately targetting Palestinian children for judicial abuse and to intimidate them into acting against their own friends and families.

Viewers were expected to abandon critical faculties and accept that every word spoken by Palestinians was true, despite a long documented history of Palestinian distortions and fabrications against Israel, and that every counter claim by Israelis should be dismissed.

The background on interviewees was insufficient if even presented. Gratuitous references to alleged Biblical promises or political machinations were included in a manner which seemed designed to incite prejudice and contempt.

Typical of the lack of basic integrity were references to Israel's sudden West Bank presence in 1967, without reference to what happened before that year, why things changed and what has happened since, and the omission of the fact that more than 95% of the Palestinian population live under Palestinian, not direct Israeli, administration.

Most tellingly, the relentless incitement in Palestinian society, including from their government, which fills children with such hatred of Israel, and the recruitment that sees them throwing rocks at soldiers and civilians, or taking part in terror attacks, the parents who either direct children to attack Israelis or, at best, do nothing to prevent them doing so, was completely unmentioned.

There are undoubtedly areas where Israel needs to improve, and Israel has acknowledged that this is one of them,and indeed UNICEF's praise for Israel in its October report last year for reviewing its tactics, was only cryptically mentioned by "4Corners".

In short, Australians have the right to expect that our national broadcaster will attempt to reasonably present all the facts and context of a situation, and present an unbiased, dispassionate account, rather than the blanket demonisation we saw here.

Mark Leibler AC, National Chairman

Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM, Executive Director

 

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