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Terror apologist Yvonne Ridley given a free ride on the ABC

Terror apologist Yvonne Ridley given a free ride on the ABC Author: Gabrielle Debinski and Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

On September 26, controversial British Muslim convert and journalist, Yvonne Ridley, delivered an address at a radical Islamic conference in Melbourne. Promoting her ‘speaking tour' in Australia, the contentious Ridley, who converted to Islam in 2003 after she was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, appeared on ABC Radio's "AM" program the following day. Ridley is well-known for her role as a former presenter and current frequent guest on Press TV, the Iranian government's English language station, notorious for its anti-Zionist, anti-Western propaganda, and for her apologetics - sometime sounding almost like justification - for Islamist and Arab terrorism.

Not that you would know any of this from the ABC interview itself.

Media Microscope: A media "seizure" Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

An AFP story claimed Israel was seizing "400 hectares of Palestinian land in the Bethlehem area in the occupied West Bank" and stated that it was part of "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of settlement expansion on land the Palestinians claim for a future state," Adelaide Advertiser (Sept. 3).

Both statements are dubious. Israel has not seized any land - it determined that the land is not privately owned and is therefore public land, nothing more.

The Last Word: The Darville in the Detail

The Last Word: The Darville in the Detail Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Terrorism    

Twenty years ago, this writer, academics, media personalities and political and ethnic community leaders were, to use the language of the time, "debating Demidenko" - after the respected Miles Franklin Prize was awarded to a book, purportedly written by an Australian of Ukrainian heritage, which sympathetically portrayed Nazi murderers and their supporters.

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The truth about the Gaza war (hint: it's not what Ruth Pollard tells you)

The truth about the Gaza war (hint: it's not what Ruth Pollard tells you) Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Over the past couple of months, readers of the Fairfax papers the Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times have been subjected to Middle East correspondent Ruth Pollard's coverage of the Gaza conflict.

In our opinion, her general coverage – especially her feature article in the Saturday August 30 editions of the papers – has been full of misrepresentations, omissions and lack of context. The August 30 article appears intended to portray Israel as the villain, and the party that has come out of the conflict in the worst possible light, as compared to Hamas.

Below is the article, with our comments inserted where relevant.

Three experienced journalists critique media coverage of Gaza

Three experienced journalists critique media coverage of Gaza Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

There has been much criticism of the media's performance during the recent Gaza conflict (where, happily, the ceasefire agreed to on Tuesday seems to be holding.) Examples from AIJAC include the Australian piece by Gabrielle Debinski, Tzvi Fleischer and Or Avi-Guy last month and Israeli academic Eytan Gilboa's piece in the latest edition of the Australia-Israel Review. This Update features detailed critiques of aspects of the media's performance by three senior, experienced journalists who appear to be in a good position to know what they are talking about - including two former Middle East correspondents for major international wire services. 

Media Microscope: "F" for Fairfax Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

The perception that Fairfax's metropolitan newspapers and associated websites were glaringly biased against Israel over the course of the Gaza war to date has left many of their pro-Israel readers annoyed.

A significant factor in this irritiation was the reporting of Middle East correspondent Ruth Pollard, whose work appeared to focus largely on civilian deaths and injuries in Gaza, frequently seemed to suggest that most were deliberate, and appeared to uncritically accept Palestinian statistics and claims when reporting.

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The strange justice of William Schabas and the UNHRC

The strange justice of William Schabas and the UNHRC Author: Gabrielle Debinski Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

Many people, both within Israel and around the world, were unsurprised when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) announced that it was launching a formal investigation into "possible war crimes" committed by Israel during Operation Protective Edge, which was launched on July 8 in response to incessant rocket fire from Hamas in the Gaza Strip into Israeli cities.

It did so in a resolution passed on July 23 which never mentions Hamas but declares Israel guilty, stating that the council "condemns in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations" in the occupied territories...

The Media Failure in Gaza Author: Eytan Gilboa Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

The media is the main source of information about damage to infrastructure and casualties, especially civilian. Western media coverage of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza has been marred by an anti-Israeli bias and professional and ethical failures.

Fairfax doubles down on poorly informed and tendentious commentaries

Fairfax doubles down on poorly informed and tendentious commentaries Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Peter George was the ABC's first Middle East correspondent, dating back to the 1980s. Yet by the looks of an op-ed that he wrote and was prominently published on August 6 in Fairfax' flagship papers - The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times, he is still living in the past - refusing to acknowledge the numerous concessions and policy risks Israel has taken since the 1993 Oslo Agreement towards reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, including under current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nor the shift in Israeli views since then, with clear public majorities and all major political parties supporting a two-state resolution.

Instead, George literally rewrites history in his op-ed, bizarrely seeming to blame Netanyahu for the security fence and unfairly portraying him as an impediment to Palestinian statehood.

Madly Yours – The truth about the media’s favourite Gaza doctor

Madly Yours – The truth about the media’s favourite Gaza doctor Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Media/ Academia, Updates    

During the coverage of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, many officials, experts, and other personalities have been called on to offer reports, insights and analysis to the public. Unfortunately and puzzlingly, one such voice making its way into the media has been that of Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert. So just who is Dr. Gilbert?

The truth about the population density of Gaza and Hamas tactics

The truth about the population density of Gaza and Hamas tactics Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

The piece by former ABC correspondent Peter George, published in three Fairfax papers today, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times, is replete with misinformation, lack of knowledge, and dubious claims. This is not the place to confront all of them in detail, but one telling example is his repetition of an increasingly common but easily disproven myth - that Gaza is so densely populated, Hamas has no choice but to locate its military infrastructure and launch missiles from built up areas. 

Trapped in Gaza: How Hamas punishes reporters for the truth

Trapped in Gaza: How Hamas punishes reporters for the truth Author: Gabrielle Debinski, Or Avi-Guy & Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Palestinians    

HAMAS is not just targeting Israeli civilians, threatening Gazans and using them as humans shields. It has another terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists.

Journalists who have taken pictures of Hamas operatives preparing to shoot rockets from civilian structures and/or fighting in civilian clothing have been threatened by Hamas operatives and had their equipment confiscated.

Reporter Peter Stefanovic, of the Nine Network's news, stationed in Gaza, received a surge of abuse and threats when he tweeted that he had seen rockets fired into Israel from near his hotel, in a civilian area.

Media Microscope: Foreign correspondents Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

It is far from scientific, but the quality of local television and radio coverage of the latest Hamas-Israel war seemed to dip when it relied upon foreign news services.

Two reports from Jeremy Bowen, a long time senior BBC reporter, were yet further reminders of why his anti-Israel reporting has long generated controversy.

Hamas’ other terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists

Hamas’ other terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists Author: Gabrielle Debinski Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its third week, foreign journalists are increasingly flocking to the region, reporting from both Gaza and within Israel. In addition, more and more accounts of intimidation and abuse towards foreign journalists stationed in the Strip, both via social media as well as from Hamas operatives on the ground, are emerging.

In recent weeks several foreign journalists have released details of threats, intimidation and blackmail directed against them in the wake of their reporting on the reality as they see it in Gaza. Much of this abuse has stemmed from journalists' coverage of Hamas' tactic of firing rockets into Israel from civilian institutions or highly populated civilian areas. At the same time, reports relating to Hamas' use of Gaza's Shifa hospital - the largest and most important in the Gaza Strip - as a ‘hotbed' for storing weapons and launching rockets has also elicited intimidation from Hamas operatives in Gaza - as well as threats and abuse from pro-Palestinian advocates online.

Many Arab commentators “get it” with respect to Hamas

Many Arab commentators “get it” with respect to Hamas Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

In the past, whenever there was violence between Israel and the Palestinians or other Arab groups, the Arab media have generally been pretty uniform and predictable in denouncing whatever Israel is doing as an evil crime, and defending whatever the side fighting with Israel is doing as completely justifiable, even heroic. This seems to be changing in the current Gaza conflict.

How did the latest Gaza War start? Despite the claims of some, it is no mystery

How did the latest Gaza War start? Despite the claims of some, it is no mystery Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Ruth Pollard, while reporting on operation "Protective Edge", claimed that "Any attempt to mark a starting point in the latest hostilities is a fraught process."
Apparently the obvious idea that this war was caused by Hamas' decision to shoot rockets at Israel in vastly greater numbers is one that some reporters are simply unwilling to consider.

Al-Jazeera documentary scapegoats Israel for Egypt's problems

Al-Jazeera documentary scapegoats Israel for Egypt's problems Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Egypt, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Egypt has a domestic gas shortage, even though it continues to sit on decades worth of proven reserves. Industry analysts, as well as some of the world's top business publications, have made clear that the reason for this shortage has absolutely nothing to do with Israel, which only imported Egyptian gas through a pipeline over a period of about three years, in quantities that amounted to an infinitesimally small fraction of all Egyptian gas exports. Moreover, rather than being the source of Egypt's gas problem, Israel is today part of its solution, and is now coming to Egypt's aid to help ease its production shortfall and meet Cairo's contractual obligations to its trading partners.

In light of these facts, al-Jazeera has plumbed new depths of its historic bias against Israel with its release, with much fanfare, of a documentary on June 9, "Egypt's Lost Power", that blamed Israel for "ripping off the Egyptian people" through the purchase of low-priced Egyptian gas, further implying that this sale was responsible for creating Egypt's gas shortage. It also aired the allegation that Israel is now opportunistically seeking to profit from the crisis and using it as a "tool to screw" and subjugate the Egyptian people.

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At crucial point in #AJtrial, al-Jazeera provokes Egypt

At crucial point in #AJtrial, al-Jazeera provokes Egypt Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Egypt, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Updates    

Many Australians have been following the lamentable plight of Peter Greste, the Australian journalist working for al-Jazeera who has been jailed along with two other al-Jazeera colleagues in Egypt since December on charges of conspiring with the banned Muslim Brotherhood to harm Egypt's reputation.

They should now be doubly worried about both their fate and about the judgment of al-Jazeera which published an inflammatory report this week alleging wrongdoing in Egypt's energy trade with Israel that could only serve to fan the flames of Egyptian anger against the Qatari-owned news organisation.

ABC breaks the silence on inanity

ABC breaks the silence on inanity Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

ABC Newsradio Drive host Tracey Holmes is an accomplished journalist with Middle East experience. As such, it was puzzling that she would use the controversial NGO Breaking the Silence - an organisation dealing exclusively with IDF conduct in the West Bank - as her source for a lengthy interview regarding Australian policy towards east Jerusalem, a territory both she and her subject should be well aware is covered by Israeli law and not subject to military administration.

Media Microscope: Carr's Ride Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

On balance, most commentators rejected the accusation Bob Carr made in his published diary of his stint as Australian Foreign Minister - alleging that Melbourne's Jewish leadership, in particular AIJAC, exercised an "unhealthy" influence on Prime Minister Julia Gillard regarding Australia's Israel-Palestinian policy.

Rewriting history

Rewriting history Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Jordan, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Pro-Palestinian propagandists often allege that measures such as checkpoints and the Security Barrier are not necessary for security but are rather there merely to subjugate Palestinians. They also claim that Israel never seriously considered returning the land to Jordanian control or, alternatively, weighed the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state. Such claims ignore mountains of evidence to the contrary - dating back to 1967, including the eyewitness accounts of journalists which form part of the historical record of the period.

Part two of a two-part blog.

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Through the eyes of a dove: the truth about the early years of Israeli rule over the West Bank

Through the eyes of a dove: the truth about the early years of Israeli rule over the West Bank Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

As one of Israel's most highly respected legal scholars, columnists and politicians who spent his political career in parties left of Labor - and a fierce critic of Israeli West Bank settlements - Amnon Rubinstein has never been accused of sugarcoating his country's policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

This is why - as we approach 47th anniversary of the Six Day War next month - it is revealing to take a look back at some of Rubinstein's earlier writings on the subject - especially, his body of seven feature-length articles that he wrote for the New York Times between mid-1968 and mid-1973.

Part one of a two-part blog.

An antisemitic answer to the question: How long is a piece of string?

An antisemitic answer to the question: How long is a piece of string? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, United Kingdom, Updates    

A report last week by Barak Ben-Shem in the Times of Israel analysed an outbreak of antisemitic comments that followed an application by Jews to the local council in the small English town of Bushey, seeking permission to establish an "eruv". It recalled a similar occurrence in the Sydney suburb of St. Ives in 2010.

Media Week - Lyons in the Doogue house

Media Week - Lyons in the Doogue house Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Updates    

ABC Radio National's "Saturday Extra" (March 15) spotlighted the historic law passed by Israel's Knesset to phase out the national service exemption for thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Host Geraldine Doogue interviewed John Lyons, the Australian newspaper's Middle East correspondent, for his take on the issue.

Lyons' angry roar hides lack of substance

Lyons' angry roar hides lack of substance Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

In a nearly 1,100 word response to Greg Sheridan's dismissal of his "Four Corners" hatchet job on Israel, one might have expected John Lyons would have found space to answer the factual questions raised by his critics. Instead he preferred to attack Sheridan for relying on analysis by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) that debunked many of Lyons' claims (Australian, March 8).

Media Microscope: Blurred Lyons Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia    

"Stone Cold Justice", the one-sided collaboration between the Australian newspaper's Middle East correspondent John Lyons and ABC TV "Four Corners" program (Feb. 10) on Israel's treatment of Palestinian children - see pp.19-22 - saw Lyons do the rounds on TV, radio and in print to generate publicity for his claims.

The groundwork was prepared with an ABC video promo featuring a narrator ominously asking "are children the newest target in the Middle East's longest running conflict?"

Actually they are - but not the Palestinian children featured in the story.

Four Corners producer gets it wrong again on antisemitic comments

Four Corners producer gets it wrong again on antisemitic comments Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Media/ Academia    

On Saturday, the Weekend Australian ran an op-ed by Julie Nathan from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. Nathan's piece concerned vicious anti-Jewish bigotry which has appeared on the Facebook page of ABC's Four Corners in the discussions surrounding the 'Stone Cold Justice' episode by the Australian's Middle East Correspondent John Lyons. ... Nathan detailed a number of comments on the page which were overtly and indisputably antisemitic ...

In response, the Executive Producer of Four Corners, Sue Spencer, wrote into the Australian on Monday to say just how offended she had been -- not by the racist material published on her page, but by Nathan's article exposing it. ... Given that Spencer chose to categorically deny any lax moderating on behalf of the ABC, it would perhaps have occurred to her to make sure that the comments which Nathan mentioned were no longer on the Facebook page. Not so, it appears. ...

Editorial: Sense and Sensationalism Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

Last year, the Australian's Middle East correspondent John Lyons interviewed Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor on camera over the treatment of Palestinian minors arrested by the Israel Defence Forces for violent crime.

Asked about a critical report on the subject by UNICEF in March 2013, Palmor answered: "I have to say one thing that may come as a surprise to you. UNICEF did not write this report by themselves. They were assisted all along by Israeli lawyers, from the Military Attorney General, from the Ministry of Justice, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by Israeli civil servants who deal with this issue day by day and who want the situation to improve with the help of UNICEF."

Red Hot Injustice

Red Hot Injustice Author: Jamie Hyams and Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

The ABC's Four Corners, together with the Australian newspaper's Middle East correspondent John Lyons, produced a story, "Stone Cold Justice" about the alleged Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian minors it arrests in the West Bank. Their basic thesis is that Israel has a new policy of arresting Palestinian children in the West Bank in the middle of the night, then torturing them to create a culture of fear and to gather information to use against Palestinian non-violent resistance. This is categorically untrue.

Abbreviated version - Red Hot Injustice

Abbreviated version - Red Hot Injustice Author: Jamie Hyams and Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

This analysis is a shortened summary of a much longer and more detailed critique of the ABC Four Corners program in question - complete with full sourcing for all claims made in it - available on the AIJAC website. We urge anyone interested in the subject to view the full critique at www.aijac.org.au/news/article/red-hot-injustice

The ABC's "Four Corners", together with the Australian newspaper's Middle East correspondent John Lyons, produced a story, "Stone Cold Justice" about the alleged Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian minors it arrests in the West Bank. Their basic thesis is that Israel has a new policy of arresting Palestinian children in the West Bank in the middle of the night, then torturing them to create a culture of fear and to gather information to use against Palestinian non-violent resistance. This is categorically untrue.

AIR
"Stone Cold Sensationalism" from ABC's Four Corners

"Stone Cold Sensationalism" from ABC's Four Corners Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Palestinians    

The ABC has done it again - this time in the massively promoted "Four Corners" program on Monday about Israeli treatment of children - created together with the Australian's Middle East correspondent John Lyons. Most of the allegations in the program about abuses of Palestinian minors during arrest and interrogation were just that - uncorroborated allegations, with no supporting evidence provided by the ABC or the Australian. While the story claimed that UNICEF "found" the allegations to be true, this is wrong - the UN agency merely "found" that these concerning allegations exist but did not investigate further.

When a journalist becomes a storyteller

When a journalist becomes a storyteller Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

In an extended version of a viewpoint that originally appeared in the Australian Jewish News, AIJAC Policy Analyst Ahron Shapiro slams the ABC's latest Four Corners episode, "Stone Cold Justice". In the essay, Shapiro suggests Middle East correspondent John Lyons may have sacrificed basic principles of ethical journalism in order to create an unsubstantiated documentary script that fit a particular world view.

Three telling factual problems with 4Corners' "Stone Cold Justice"

Three telling factual problems with 4Corners' "Stone Cold Justice" Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

AIJAC is currently researching and compiling a detailed critique of all the elements of the controversial ABC Four Corners documentary "Stone Cold Justice", made with John Lyons of the Australian, and aired on Monday (Feb.10). We hope this will be available shortly.  In the meantime, here are three examples of obviously inadequate fact-checking or failure to provide proper context in the documentary and the parallel article in the Australian by John Lyons last Saturday (Feb.8). Sadly, they seem to be typical of a larger pattern in a documentary that appears to have been much more about sensationalist point scoring than about the careful weighing of evidence or fair and balanced journalism.

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Statement on Four Corners/The Australian report

Statement on Four Corners/The Australian report Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media Releases, Media/ Academia    

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. 

Four Corners "Stone Cold Justice" - links to useful sources

Four Corners "Stone Cold Justice" - links to useful sources Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

On February 10 ABC "Four Corners" broadcast an episode titled "Stone Cold Justice", in cooperation with John Lyons from the Australian, which looked at Israel's policies regarding the treatment of Palestinian minors arrested in the West Bank.

While the episode raises important issues regarding the treatment of Palestinian minors, the ABC's report failed to provide adequate background and its approach was sensationalised and one-sided. In addition, Israel has already publicly committed to changing its practices as a UNICEF report in October 2013 confirmed, which the program only mentioned in passing.

We recommend that those interested in the problems with the ABC Four Corners report read the following sources...

New Phase of Israeli-Palestinian Talks?/ The Media and Disinformation

New Phase of Israeli-Palestinian Talks?/ The Media and Disinformation Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Today's Update deals with reports that, as US Secretary of State Kerry visits Israel yet again, the US is apparently preparing to change its currently low-key role in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and present a "framework agreement" setting out the broad outlines of a peace deal. It also contains an important article on an increasing willingness by both some journalists and others to recognise propaganda outfits as legitimate media outlets.

Media Microscope: Polonium and Bolognium Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

A Swiss lab's finding of elevated levels of the radioactive element polonium-210 in samples taken from Yasser Arafat's body suggesting he might have been poisoned - released days before the ninth anniversary of his death - proved to be media gold. It also served as a good promo for al-Jazeera, which was responsible for running with and to an extent, creating, this story.

The truth behind the wrecking ball

The truth behind the wrecking ball Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

The Palestinian Authority-aligned news agency Ma'an is hardly ever used as the primary source for an article in major international outlets, and for good reason. They produce advocacy journalism for the Palestinian cause, and have a pattern of one-sided and sometimes wildly inaccurate, biased and misleading reporting.

On November 2, however, John Lyons did just that in a story for the Weekend Australian. The story, "New wave of demolitions in Jerusalem", was based on a story published online by Ma'an on October 31. In his story, Lyons uncritically parroted a claim by a Palestinian official that 200 buildings were threatened with demolition, potentially displacing 15,000 Palestinians.

BDS bigotry undermines peace prospects: Response to Randa Abdel-Fattah

BDS bigotry undermines peace prospects: Response to Randa Abdel-Fattah Author: Daniel Meyerowiz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

Does boycotting Israelis make someone racist? Randa Abdel-Fattah says no.

She disagrees with the claim being brought against Associate Professor Jake Lynch of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) under Australia's racial discrimination laws for engaging in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS). According to Abdel-Fattah, the lawsuit is "clearly an external political attack on Australian democratic principles and freedoms." Israel, she says, is "exporting its brand of oppression into Australia."

Media Microscope: Rouhani Roulette Author: Allon Lee Categories: Iran, Media/ Academia    

Although Iran's new President, the avuncular Hassan Rouhani, received sympathetic coverage following his star turn at the United Nations in late-September, there was a multiplicity of views on the significance of this new face of the Iranian regime.

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The Yom Kippur War: Australian controversies of 1973

The Yom Kippur War: Australian controversies of 1973 Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Egypt, Media/ Academia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

This blog, the last instalment of a three-part series on the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, uses original Australian source material to obtain some insights into the Australian government's controversial response to the war at the time, as well as the persuasive but ultimately futile arguments used by Israel's supporters to convince Canberra to improve its response. Finally, the blog concludes with some observations about how the Australian coverage of the Yom Kippur War can tell us something about the way the Australian media views Israel today.

Arafat NOT poisoned? Media yawns

Arafat NOT poisoned? Media yawns Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

In a sane world, it would not be al-Jazeera's overblown boast on Saturday of supposed scientific confirmation for its 2012 'scoop' that Yasser Arafat might have been poisoned by polonium-210 which would have made headlines, but instead the revelation on Tuesday of genuinely new and apparently decisive information contradicting any such theory. That's when a senior Russia toxicologist who had access to testing of samples of Arafat's body tissues stated that, according to these definitive tests, Arafat "could not have died of polonium poisoning."

The Yom Kippur War in Australian editorials and analysis

The Yom Kippur War in Australian editorials and analysis Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: America, Australasia, Egypt, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

In June, AIJAC took a look back at the coverage of the Six Day War of 1967 in two major Australian newspapers, the Age of Melbourne and the Sydney Morning Herald. Now, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, we open the archives once again to look at the coverage of that war in Australia, this time expanding the scope of our research to include the Australian, as well as touching upon the coverage of the Canberra Times, and the Melbourne Herald.

As a much longer war, there is more to take in, so the retrospective will be split into two parts. This blog will discuss the editorials and some of the in-house analysis of the period, while the second will revisit some of the on-the-spot coverage by the newspapers' foreign correspondents covering the war. Finally, similar to our blog from June, we'll conclude by weighing some of the key contextual facts of the Israeli-Arab conflict that were widely understood by journalists at the time but are largely absent from the narrative in the news today.

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Media Microscope: Legal Beagles Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Some media professionals were especially concerned over what potential changes might be made to foreign policy regarding Israel by an incoming federal Liberal/National government.

The day before the federal election, James Carleton reported on how Labor and the Coalition differ on the legality of Israeli settlements, and was very obviously unimpressed with the Coalition's policy.

Tax dollars bring 9/11 "truther" and other extremists to ANU anti-Israel fest

Tax dollars bring 9/11 "truther" and other extremists to ANU anti-Israel fest Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Australian National University has come under fire for hosting a conference purporting to focus on "Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories". ... Academics are, no doubt, free to invite whomever they choose to present on any issue and to air any views they see fit. Just because someone is free to take a course of action, however, does not mean that doing so is necessarily the right idea. ... political activism is not an appropriate use of government money...

AIJAC letter to ANU Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media Releases, Media/ Academia    

On September 4, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) wrote to the Vice-Chancellor and President of the Australian National University Professor Ian Young AO, to raise concerns regarding the one-sided nature of the "Human Rights in Palestine Conference" that runs from 10-12 September.

Duplicate stories, multiple personalities

Duplicate stories, multiple personalities Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

It is common for two different newspapers in the same country to present a wire story on Israel in two different ways. In such a case, one version can be interpreted as being subtly more pro-Palestinian or more pro-Israel than the other.

It is rare, however, for such a discrepancy to surface on the same wire story that appeared twice in the same paper on the same day. Such a bizarre occurrence, however, happened last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the paper The Press.

A noted Arab journalist reveals the biases of al-Jazeera English

A noted Arab journalist reveals the biases of al-Jazeera English Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Media/ Academia, Middle East, Updates    

Claims that al-Jazeera, the Qatari-based media outlet, is biased would hardly be considered news to those who follow Middle East media coverage. Al-Jazeera in Arabic has been preaching anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-Western "analysis" masked as journalism for a while now, and is facing criticism around the world, often from its own former employees. Al Jazeera in English has attempted to be more subtle in the way it slants its reporting and thus distance itself from the obvious advocacy of its Arabic counterpart.

Media Week - Hand wringing over Iran; Tom after Tom

Media Week - Hand wringing over Iran; Tom after Tom Author: Allon Lee Categories: Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, is a good guy the West can do business with according to an Age editorial (Aug 9).

Whilst it admitted that Rouhani was vetted by "Iran's overlords", that "he is not signalling capitulation on the issue that triggered sanctions - a uranium enrichment program that raises the spectre of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons", the paper still places its faith in his ability to make a deal because "he wants to resume talks 'with seriousness and without wasting time'".

However, as Rouhani himself noted in 2004 when he was Iran's main nuclear negotiator, time wasting with a smile is his forte - "While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the nuclear conversion facility in Isfahan. By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work there."

Media Week - Dense & density, Background checks please; Cycle of stupidity

Media Week - Dense & density, Background checks please; Cycle of stupidity Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

ABC "Radio National" host Phillip Adams (July 23) introduced an interview with Dr. Mona El Farra, who works for the Red Crescent in Gaza, with the fallacious claim that "the Gaza Strip...[is] the most populated strip of land in the world. Yes, the most populated strip of land on Earth!"

In fact, it's not even close to being the most densely populated area of land in the world.

According to the CIA World Fact Book (2008), there are 4,603 people per square kilometre in Gaza. This is positively roomy compared to Calcutta (24,718), Paris (20,246), Athens (20,235), Singapore (6,816) or even nearby Tel Aviv (7,524) and Jerusalem (6,045).

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The Mideast Media War

The Mideast Media War Author: Lee Smith Categories: Media/ Academia, Middle East    

In early July, al-Jazeera staffers were driven out of a news briefing held by the Egyptian military - apparently because of perceptions by those in the crowd that the Doha-based network is biased toward the Muslim Brotherhood government. This incident is only the latest salvo in what's emerging as an ongoing media war in the Middle East.

The Biblio File: Faithfully Offensive

The Biblio File: Faithfully Offensive Author: John Levi Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Jane Caro, explains that she is an atheist and introduces the book by writing how "revealing (it was) to me personally to see what we all agree on" with "grace, humour, civility, flexibility and decency." If only those words were true. It is hardly gracious of Antony Loewenstein to dub the only Jewish State in the world "an occupier and a brute" and write that "mainstream Judaism has largely become, a deformed beast."

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Al-Jazeera biases spark backlash in Egypt

Al-Jazeera biases spark backlash in Egypt Author: Jeni Willenzik Categories: Egypt, Gulf states, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Updates    

Al-Jazeera has been subject to a significant backlash as a result of its alleged favouring of the Muslim Brotherhood in its reporting on Egypt's recent crisis. Since Egyptian Army Commander Abdul Fatah al-Sisi declared that the Egyptian constitution was being suspended on July 3, 22 of al-Jazeera's staff members have resigned in response to what they consider to be its "biased editorial policy" in covering the events.

Additionally, al-Jazeera reporters were forced out of an Egyptian news conference to the sound of chanting by other journalists, while threatening leaflets were dropped near the al-Jazeera offices in Cairo displaying graphic images and slogans such as, "A bullet may kill a man, but a lying camera kills a nation." 

Media Week - Antony blowin’ steam; Do the math; Don’t bank on Barclay

Media Week - Antony blowin’ steam; Do the math; Don’t bank on Barclay Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Egypt, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

Channel Seven's "Weekend Sunrise" (July 7) featured the authors of a new book debating religion called "For God's Sake" which includes a Christian, an atheist, a Muslim and a Jew. The Christian, Muslim and atheist were committed believers.

The "Jew", however, was that well-known non-authority on Judaism, the self-described atheist and extreme anti-Zionist Antony Loewenstein.

Predictably, Loewenstein preferred to bash Israel rather than talk about Judaism.

Media Week - Moaning Mona

Media Week - Moaning Mona Author: Allon Lee Categories: Egypt, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

Speaking to SBS Radio's Ron Sutton (June 5), Dr Mona El Farra, head of the health committee for the Red Crescent for Gaza Strip, blamed Israel and to a lesser extent, Egypt, for a litany of health problems in Gaza.

SBS's website noted that El Farra held a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and no doubt plied him with her propaganda.

Which is a pity, because she would do better to demand the world hold Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to account for their woeful and negligent governance...

Media Week - Birds of a feather; Trigger-happy headliners; Down the memory hole

Media Week - Birds of a feather; Trigger-happy headliners; Down the memory hole Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Lebanon, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, Updates    

SBS TV's "Dateline" program (May 21) travelled to Greece to look at the worrying rise in the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement which has used the economic crisis there to increase its Parliamentary representation through scapegoating Jews, foreigners, homosexuals and other rival political groupings.

Whilst it is clear that Golden Dawn mirrors its behaviour on the intimidatory tactics of fascism, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayotaros told Evan Williams that they take inspiration from Hezbollah, which has cannily attracted supporters over the years through the provision of social services.

As Panayotaros explained, "Golden Dawn wants to become and will become like the Hezbollah in Lebanon which in effect is a second government which helps even its poorest citizen and over time Golden Dawn will do more for our fellow citizens."

But that, of course, doesn't tell the full story. It's a pity that Williams did not follow up on the Hezbollah angle, and point out how it is not only a proscribed terrorist organisation in many countries but actually controls the Lebanese government.

Media Week - One sided conversation

Media Week - One sided conversation Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

The Conversation is a website funded by Australian universities and the Federal government for academics and post-grad students to share the fruits of their enquiring minds.

Unfortunately, where the topic of Israel is concerned the Conversation is fast devolving into an outlet for a great deal of slothful, partisan and just plain stupid analysis.

Media Microscope: The Fading X-Factor Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

And so the Prisoner X story came full circle, with ABC "Foreign Correspondent" reporter Trevor Bormann on May 7 following up on his February 12 expose that Melbourne-born Ben Zygier was Israel's mysterious "Prisoner X".

After the original broadcast, it appeared that Bormann's scoop had been largely superannuated when former Fairfax Middle East correspondent Jason Koutsoukis stepped forward to share his interactions with Zygier in the months leading up to his arrest.

Media Week - A sprinkle of BDS;  Minority report

Media Week - A sprinkle of BDS; Minority report Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism, Updates    

In a bizarre move, the hardcopy edition of the Daily Telegraph failed to run any coverage before or after a BDS protest on April 30 at the University of NSW against a planned Max Brenner outlet set to open on campus in June.

However, in the paper's "They Said It" section (May 1) which highlights quotes of the day, this appeared:

"‘These brigades have committed war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza and are involved in Israel's continual ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Students and staff of conscience demand that the Max Brenner be shut down! We don't want companies that endorse the apartheid state of Israel and it's apartheid practices.' A Facebook page set up by UNSW students opposes a campus chocolate shop."

Media Week - So near, and yet so far; Justified fears;  Shalom Salam; Justice done; Conspiracy-land; Howe's that

Media Week - So near, and yet so far; Justified fears; Shalom Salam; Justice done; Conspiracy-land; Howe's that Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians    

On Fairfax's "Daily Life" site (April 23) Ruby Hamad, who has previously penned some ill-informed and one-sided pieces on Israel, presented a sober account of the escalating restrictions imposed by Hamas on Gazans.

Unfortunately her explanation for Gaza's economic difficulties was entirely predictable...

'Sue me Jew' part 2: hate-speech off campus and online?

'Sue me Jew' part 2: hate-speech off campus and online? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

On Monday, AIJAC reported on the first two days of vicious anti-Jewish hate-speech on the Facebook page for an anti-Israel rally held this afternoon at the University of New South Wales ('UNSW') to protest the opening of a Max Brenner chocolate shop...

Thankfully, the event saw little identifiable antisemitism -- although those present were likely 'on their best behaviour' due to the significant media presence. Nevertheless, the real story remains the Facebook page. Below is a continuation of yesterday's account...

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The Biblio File: Scholarshipwreck Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

Did you know that "the Israel-Palestine conflict" is "the central factor in Islam-West relations"? Not one of a number of factors, not an element of a larger, multi-faceted engagement, but "the" central factor?

Readers of the latest volume in Australia's "Islamic Studies Series" are presented with this "fact" as an attempt to justify a thin book on "Making Australian Foreign Policy in Israel-Palestine" being published as part of its catalogue.

Media Microscope: A week of weak coverage Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

The death of convicted Palestinian terrorist Maysara Abu-Hamdiya from throat cancer in an Israeli jail on April 2 amid Palestinian accusations that he did not receive adequate treatment prompted rocket fire from Gaza and violent demonstrations in the West Bank.

Coverage of these clashes unfortunately followed a familiar pattern of focussing primarily on Palestinian claims against Israel and on Israeli actions against Palestinians.

Media Week - No experience necessary?; Flotilla details sink; McGeough shrugs; Doubting Thomas; One among the pack; Relationships advice

Media Week - No experience necessary?; Flotilla details sink; McGeough shrugs; Doubting Thomas; One among the pack; Relationships advice Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Turkey, Updates    

Ahead of PM Julia Gillard's cabinet reshuffle Michael Danby's name was touted in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald (March 25) as a potential foreign affairs parliamentary secretary (in the end he got the gig for the Arts instead).

Danby of course has excellent foreign policy credentials...Unfortunately, unlike the five other MPs profiled whose professional experience was touched upon, Danby's only qualification appears to be that he is a "staunch supporter of Israel", according to the Fairfax papers.

Media Microscope: Intelligence Scared Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

The tragic death of Australian-Israeli citizen Ben Zygier continued to play out in the media long past the initial revelations on February 14, and much coverage contained speculation on whether Australian Jews could feel warmly toward Israel and remain loyal to Australia.

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Media Week - One-Way Traffic

Media Week - One-Way Traffic Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

It is one of the seminal images that appeared over and over again in the early stages of last November's Second Gaza-Israel war. 
 
Distraught Palestinian father Jihad Masharawi, holding the dead body of his 11-month-old son, Omar, who was reported to have been the victim of an Israeli rocket hitting the family home.
 
Except on March 6 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced that its investigation into the circumstances of Omar's death suggests he was most likely a victim of a rocket fired by Hamas or one of its affiliates that fell short.
 
So, yes, in a very real sense, Omar was a symbol - a tragic victim of the callous indifference of the so-called Palestinian resistance movement that is based in, and operates from, built up civilian areas in Gaza.

Media Week - Friendly advice; Immoral equivalence

Media Week - Friendly advice; Immoral equivalence Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

When Australia's federal government decided to abstain and not oppose a UN vote to upgrade Palestinian representation, Foreign Minister Bob Carr justified the move explaining how "a good friend will share with his friend reservations about that friend's behaviour".

It would be interesting to know if Carr feels similarly after reading the Australian foreign editor Greg Sheridan's very public and eye watering critique of his and predecessor Kevin Rudd's attempts "to put more distance between Australia and Israel" (March 9).

The take down was even more startling given Sheridan's acknowledgement that he is broadly admiring of both Carr and Rudd in most respects.

The Economist discusses al-Jazeera’s biases

The Economist discusses al-Jazeera’s biases Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Media/ Academia, Updates    

Al-Jazeera's credibility as an editorially independent news provider is increasingly under the spotlight.  AIJAC has previously blogged about growing concerns that al-Jazeera, owned by Qatar, is being used by Qatar to promote its foreign policy interests - in particular the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Sunni Islamism generally. There have also been a number of reports of journalists resigning from al-Jazeera citing its lack of editorial independence.

Now even the venerable Economist has endorsed these concerns in its piece "The Muslim Brotherhood: It's hard being in charge". The article notes that despite the early success of the Muslim Brotherhood in the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring', the Brotherhood's popularity is now falling, and with it, the popularity of a key sponsor - al-Jazeera.

The Truth about Iraq WMD "Lies"

The Truth about Iraq WMD "Lies" Author: Talia Katz Categories: America, Iraq, Media/ Academia, Middle East, United Kingdom, Updates    

The release of The Art of Betrayal, by Gordon Corera, the highly-regarded veteran BBC journalist, should, if our media indeed has the commitment to truth which it constantly proclaims, rightfully see the last decade of often conspiratorial rhetoric about the 2003 war in Iraq fade to reveal a different and more complex and nuanced reality.

Media Week - Sensible on Syria; Lazy lines; Neither doom nor gloom

Media Week - Sensible on Syria; Lazy lines; Neither doom nor gloom Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Israel's attack on a Syrian weapons convoy generated considerable interest on ABC Radio.

Radio National's "Breakfast" (1/2) spoke to Ehud Yaari via telephone in Israel.

Yaari told Fran Kelly that Israel attacked a convoy carrying weapons that would give Hezbollah capabilities such as the "Yakhont coast-to-sea missiles that could threaten, for example, the Israeli gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean."

He also said that the Assad regime accused anti-government Islamist rebels in Syria of co-responsibility for the Israeli attack, "a collusion, which does not exist, of course."

Melbourne newspaper readers left in the dark about alleged Aussie Hezbollah terrorist

Melbourne newspaper readers left in the dark about alleged Aussie Hezbollah terrorist Author: Allon Lee Categories: Media/ Academia, Updates    

The revelation that an Australian passport holder was allegedly involved in last year's bus bombing coordinated by Hezbollah which killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria understandably garnered much local media coverage. In addition to numerous radio and TV reports, news briefs in yesterday's newspapers were followed up with more extensive reports today.

Except, bizarrely, there was no mention of the allegation by Bulgarian authorities in the hard copy editions of the national Australian Financial Review (AFR) or in either of Melbourne's two daily newspapers - the Age and Herald Sun.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's mission "To set Israel on fire"

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's mission "To set Israel on fire" Author: Talia Katz Categories: Australasia, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The principle argument being made by opponents of strong action against Iran's nuclear program is that Iran is a "rational" actor, whose regime values survival above all else and a nuclear Iran can be contained just as the Soviet Union was during the Cold War.

Now a new report offers yet more evidence to doubt whether Iran's "rationality" is so obvious and assured. And the report concerns not the loud-mouthed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the man everyone agrees has ultimate control over Iran's nuclear program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Does the CPACS boycott of Israel pass the 'racism' test?

Does the CPACS boycott of Israel pass the 'racism' test? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

Racism is not always as obvious as some would like to believe. There is generally a 'perfectly rational explanation' for each isolated racist incident. The underlying prejudice only becomes apparent when looked at in a broader context.

One such case is policy adopted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney ('CPACS') of boycotting any ties with Israel and shunning anyone who supports Israel's existence. There have been numerous accusations of racism, especially as the centre has a history of promoting some particularly virulent antisemites, but they are not calling for the slaughter of the 'Christ-killers' just yet, and their explanations for the boycott can sometimes sound reasonable.

Media Week - Inane Faine; Spot the difference; Out of sync

Media Week - Inane Faine; Spot the difference; Out of sync Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

ABC Radio's Melbourne host Jon Faine (23/1) should hang his head in shame for his line of questioning to Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the results of the Israeli election.

Even though the evidence showed the opposite, Faine claimed that "the Coalition likely to be elected in the new Knesset in Israel looks like it is going to oppose the peace process."

Media Microscope: Hagelian Dialectics Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

US President Barack Obama's nomination of controversial former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his next Defence-Secretary excited many local America watchers - with pro-Hagel enthusiasts celebrating his views on Israel, Iran, and Iraq while failing to inform readers of his more problematic stances.

Paul McGeough of the Sydney Morning Herald penned a long article comparing pro-Israel voices concerned over Hagel's nomination to the US gun lobby defending its near absolutist pro-gun rights stance in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre.

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Media Week - Half-cocked; Nuclear handwringing; Off key; The value of values

Media Week - Half-cocked; Nuclear handwringing; Off key; The value of values Author: Allon Lee Categories: America, Anti-Zionism, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

In the Sun-Herald (30/12), Paul McGeough penned a long article devoted to offensively comparing pro-Israel voices concerned over President Barack Obama's possible nomination of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his next Defence-Secretary to those Americans who defend their right to own guns in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre.

More questions about al-Jazeera as it purchases a network to create US subsidiary

More questions about al-Jazeera as it purchases a network to create US subsidiary Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Gulf states, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Al Jazeera TV, located in and financed by Qatar and owned by Qatar's ruling al-Thani family, has just bought the struggling US left leaning channel Current TV, founded by Al Gore in 2005. This will allow al-Jazeera to have access to millions more US homes.  Al-Jazeera reportedly plans to create a new channel, "Aljazeera America," instead of using its existing English-language channel.  However, this announcement has called attention to growing claims that al-Jazeera is being used a propaganda tool for Qatari foreign policy interests.

Israel’s Blockade and Construction Materials for Gaza

Israel’s Blockade and Construction Materials for Gaza Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Everyone knows that, while Israel has eased its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza, it is still blocking the import of almost all construction materials, arguing they can be used for military purposes, right?

You would certainly think so if you read the Australian and New Zealand press coverage of a recent deal between Israel and Egypt to allow 20 trucks worth of construction material into Gaza this week... But it is just not true that Israel has banned construction materials entering into Gaza...

Hamas over-reporting civilian casualties in Gaza, again

Hamas over-reporting civilian casualties in Gaza, again Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The most heartbreaking consequence of any conflict is the unavoidable toll taken on the local civilian population. Sadly, in the hyper-politicised realm of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, these events seem unable to remain mere tragedies. Instead, each civilian killed takes on the additional mantle of a propaganda point scored in the conflict of public opinion.

This leads to the unfortunate tactic that Hamas and other Gaza-based groups seem to have adopted of cynically exploiting international sympathy...

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Media Microscope: Tooning Out Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

As mentioned in last month's "Noted and Quoted", on Nov. 21, at the conclusion of the recent Hamas-Israel fighting the Age published a highly provocative cartoon by Michael Leunig which paraphrased German pastor Martin Niemoller's famous epigram ("First they came for the...") to position the Palestinians as today's equivalent of Holocaust victims. It also referred to how "doors would close" and "bitterness and spiteful condemnation" would be applied to those who speak out for the Palestinians.

What followed was a series of bizarre decisions by the Age that threw doubt on that paper's commitment to offer balance on a sensitive issue involving the Holocaust.

Media Microscope: Media War Winners and Losers Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Unlike the result of the latest round of intense Hamas-Israel engagement, the winners and losers in Australian media coverage of the conflict were obvious.

After spending a week somewhere in the Gaza Strip, Fairfax Middle East reporter Ruth Pollard appears to have ended her coverage of the war the way she started it - framing reports decidedly tilted with sympathy toward the Palestinian perspective, while openly sceptical of Israeli claims.

Propaganda, lies and the Gaza conflict

Propaganda, lies and the Gaza conflict Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is also being played out in the media including social media, with Hamas and anti-Israel activists attempting to demonise Israel with false accusations.

The latest fabrication exposed concerns the tragic death of four-year-old Mahmoud Sadallah from Gaza - whose picture made international headlines when his body was cradled by the Egyptian Prime Minister. News agencies including CNN wrongly reported that the child was killed by Israeli missile fire. However, it has now been revealed that he was killed by a Palestinian rocket fired from within Gaza that did not reach Israeli territory.

Media Microscope: Bidding Wars Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Australia's successful UN Security Council campaign garnered much coverage prior to and after the secret ballot on October 18.

Before the vote, a number of commentators pontificated on whether the government's support for Israel at the UN would affect the bid.

Israel poll misleads Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

As anyone acquainted with Israel and its people can attest, the conclusions of the poll of Israelis reported on in the Herald seem puzzling (''Poll finds Jewish Israeli support for segregation'', October 25). However, detailed scrutiny of the poll data and questions reveals that, in fact, the poll itself is methodologically questionable, and the interpretation being placed on its data even more so.

As in every other country with minorities, social gaps and some discrimination exist in Israel. But the government, high court and civil society are achieving much to reduce both...

Media Week - Shalit - the Fairfax directors’ cut; Christians in Israel – the gospel truth; Headline misfire.

Media Week - Shalit - the Fairfax directors’ cut; Christians in Israel – the gospel truth; Headline misfire. Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

As a matter of course newspapers make changes to stories. Some of these can be spelling or cuts for length.

But a number of questionable alterations were made to a story from the New York Times' Middle East correspondent Isabel Kershner that appeared in Fairfax papers noting Gilad Shalit's first major interview.

Media Microscope: Our APBC - The Activists for Palestine Broadcasting Corporation Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) repeatedly gave a platform to radical anti-Israel political activists during August and September.

Discredited Israeli-born historian-cum-extreme anti-Zionist Ilan Pappe told Geraldine Doogue (ABC Radio National "Breakfast", Sept. 17) that the "mainstream Zionist leadership from the very beginning understood that... they could not have a Jewish state as long as the Palestinians remained in Palestine".

The fact is that the mainstream Zionist leadership accepted and still accepts partitioning the disputed territory into Jewish and Arab states, and did so in 1922 (when Jordan was created), 1937, 1947, 2000, 2008. Moreover, Zionist documents have always discussed the expectation that the Jewish state would have a non-Jewish minority.

Media Week - Sound off; Clear as mud

Media Week - Sound off; Clear as mud Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

ABC Radio National's "360documentaries" series (9/9) featured a 50-minute program from Australian anti-Zionist activist Peter Slezak with interviews he recorded on a recent trip to Gaza and the West Bank.

The program's producer was Cathy Peters - the Marrickville Councillor from the NSW Greens party who was instrumental in proposing the notorious BDS motion in 2010.

Despite this pedigree, ABC presenter Kirsti Melville meekly introduced Slezak as a "Jewish writer and commentator" without mentioning his activism.

The program itself is the equivalent of "the best of the worse of the anti-Israel" NGO and UN brigade featuring the usual array of one-sided claims. Neither Hamas nor any Palestinian violence was so much as mentioned.

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Media Week - Newton’s gravity-free zone; Village idiots; Exceptionally bad

Media Week - Newton’s gravity-free zone; Village idiots; Exceptionally bad Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Australian Palestine Advocacy Network vice-president Robert Newton offered up a series of red herrings in the Canberra Times (21/8) to justify why "Unless Israel stops the illegal construction of settlements in the West Bank there will be no resumption of negotiations which have been stalled since December 2010".

Between 1993 and 2009 the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not insist on a settlements building freeze as a precondition to peace talks.

The truth (and lies) behind Rachel Corrie's death

The truth (and lies) behind Rachel Corrie's death Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Yesterday, Israeli Judge Oded Gershon of the District Court of Haifa handed down his verdict in the civil case between the State of Israel and the parents of a young American woman killed in Gaza in 2003, acquitting the State on all counts. The circumstances surrounding the death of then 23-year-old Rachel Corrie are well known, however there has been a long-standing dispute regarding some key facts. 

Corrie's parents had claimed that the IDF either deliberately killed Corrie or was guilty of gross negligence. Judge Gershom dismissed the claim on the grounds that the IDF could not be liable for civil damages that occurred in a 'war zone' during the course of armed conflict.

Nevertheless, he went on to...

Media Week - Burns' lukewarm analysis; Some get it, others don’t; Justice denied

Media Week - Burns' lukewarm analysis; Some get it, others don’t; Justice denied Author: Allon Lee Categories: Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Former US diplomat Nicholas Burns argued that a diplomatic solution will only arise when America "create[s] a direct channel between Washington and Tehran and begin[s] an extended one-on-one negotiation with all issues on the table...To be successful, however, the US must be ready to compromise by offering imaginative proposals that would permit Iran civil nuclear power but deny it a nuclear weapon."

A Brazilian-Turkish deal in May 2011 offering Iran medium-enriched uranium for medical research came unstuck when Iran started putting impossible conditions on any such deal, Sydney Morning Herald (Aug. 17).

Media Microscope: All President Morsi's Men Author: Allon Lee Categories: Egypt, Media/ Academia    

This month, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, acting on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, offered a stunning display of the political adage that one "should never allow a good crisis to go to waste".

It was a tectonic shift. August started with Mubarak's cronies running the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), having severely restricted the powers of the Morsi Presidency, but ended up with Morsi assuming full executive and legislative control, with neither constitution nor legislature to check his power.

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Media Week - Time out;  Growth is good; A quote without foundations

Media Week - Time out; Growth is good; A quote without foundations Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Time's Karl Vick (13/8) offered a simplistic account of the effect of the growing population of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem.

Vick implied that Jewish control over Jerusalem since 1967 has been bad for Christians and Muslims: "Millions visit the Holy City each year. Most are pilgrims to the signal sites of Christianity, though Muslims gather at their own great shrine above the Western Wall. Neither, however, are terribly welcome as residents. Since 1967, Jerusalem has become a resolutely Jewish city."

Except that Jerusalem has been a majority Jewish city since the 1850s. Furthermore the 68,000 Palestinians living there in 1967 have quadrupled to 288,000 in 2012, with Palestinian Arabs now making up 37% of Jerusalem's residents, compared to 25.8% in 1967.

Media Week - Low Blows; Acres of coverage; and Small steps and megabytes

Media Week - Low Blows; Acres of coverage; and Small steps and megabytes Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Anti-Zionist writer Antony Loewenstein advanced his dream of a one-state solution on the Conversation (30/7).

Loewenstein wrote that for Israel the "occupation is a God-given right to populate land", and claimed that the recent Levy Commission had "found that its decades-long occupation of Palestinian land wasn't an occupation at all. The report granted quasi-legal justification for illegally moving Jews into the West Bank."

The report did not endorse unlimited settlement building. It confirmed that legally the West Bank is disputed territory since no sovereign state was established there when the British left in May 1948, and various decisions by international bodies grant Israel legal rights in the West Bank.  And, as the report noted, since 1967 Israel has adopted a "pragmatic approach" in the hope of encouraging peace negotiations about the future of the "the territories".

Media Week - Remembering Shamir; Grave doubts; Over the top

Media Week - Remembering Shamir; Grave doubts; Over the top Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Ruth Pollard in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald (2/7) asserted that former Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir's "most criticised decision...was to undermine the 1987 agreement on Palestine reached by his foreign minister Shimon Peres and Jordan's King Hussein".

Contrary to Pollard's implication, the agreement would not have created an independent Palestine but seen a resumption of Jordanian rule over the West Bank.

Media Week - Delusional on Damascus; Major doubts; Holey claptrap

Media Week - Delusional on Damascus; Major doubts; Holey claptrap Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Syria, Updates    

Joseph Wakim revealed on ABC "Unleashed" (27/6) the true cause of internecine violence that has roiled Syria since February 2011 and blackened the good name of the Assad dictatorship:

There is nothing civil about the war in Syria - it is a proxy war to protect Israel from a nuclear Iran. This was confirmed when Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak declared that toppling Assad 'will be a major blow to the radical axis [Iran] ... It's the only kind of outpost of the Iranian influence in the Arab world ... and it will weaken dramatically both Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza'.

But this hardly amounts to a smoking gun for proving Israel is fomenting civil war in which more than 13,000 people have been killed; more a desperation to blame shift onto the usual scapegoat.

 Media Week - Waterlogged; Horse and cart reporting; Simplistic moralising

Media Week - Waterlogged; Horse and cart reporting; Simplistic moralising Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

Age/Sydney Morning Herald (June 23) Middle East correspodent Ruth Pollard reported on an NGO study claiming that Gaza drinking water is "too contaminated", "never in continuous supply because of daily power shortages," and the infrastructure distributing it is in disrepair because Gazans have lived under an "Israel-imposed military blockade for five years."

Nowhere in the article was Hamas mentioned, which is astounding given that it has been the sole governing authority in Gaza since 2007 and has been effectively at war with Israel while doing little for its own population's welfare or water needs.

Furthermore, she ignored or was unaware of IDF reports documenting at least 27 water and sewage purification projects in place in Gaza - all of them facilitated by Israel, and not a single one funded by Hamas.

Media Microscope: Refugees Revisited Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

For the first time in many years there has recently been an intense media focus on how international aid is spent on the Palestinians and why the number of Palestinian refugees in the world is constantly increasing.

Phillip Adams interviewed United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner General Filippo Grandi, who visited Australia in June. Whilst Grandi was here, the Australian Government agreed to gift UNRWA A$90 million over five years.

One comment by Grandi partly showed how UNWRA helps delay an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He said "To be a refugee, to maintain one's rights as refugees does not mean that you don't have a right to a better life, to better opportunities." If assistance comes wrapped in a promise that you are entitled to maintain your "rights" as a refugee even if you have citizenship in another country, then no realistic peace plan will ever satisfy Palestinian refugee demands.

BBC admits bias in its “Arab Spring,” Itamar coverage

BBC admits bias in its “Arab Spring,” Itamar coverage Author: Andrea Nadel Categories: Media/ Academia, Middle East, Updates    

In a rare admission this week of what many who follow the organization have long observed, the British Broadcasting Corporation admitted that significant aspects of its coverage of the "Arab Spring" uprisings had been biased. They have also apologised, albeit somewhat half-heartedly, for a failure to report one of the most heinous terror attacks in recent years against Israelis.

This week in Parliament - Fletcher calls for one minute’s silence at London Olympics, and Danby criticises ABC's alleged media bias on Israel

This week in Parliament - Fletcher calls for one minute’s silence at London Olympics, and Danby criticises ABC's alleged media bias on Israel Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

As discussed in my previous blog post, prominent Australian political leaders, including the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, signed a petition calling for one minute's silence at the London Olympics to honour the victims of the 1972 Munich massacre, joining a growing international chorus on the subject. Now Paul Fletcher (Bradfield, Lib.) on June 19 in the House of Representatives gave notice for a motion on this issue.

Meanwhile on June 18, Michael Danby (Melbourne Ports, ALP) made a speech in the House of Representatives criticising the ABC's alleged media bias, particularly against Israel, as well as the ABC's "laughably labelled ‘complaints procedure'".

Media Week - Antisemitic poster boys; Radio daze; Go Canada

Media Week - Antisemitic poster boys; Radio daze; Go Canada Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

A Sydney Morning Herald story (16/6) on the Egyptian Supreme Court overturning a ban on the presidential candidacy of former Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq featured a picture of a male protester holding a poster of Shafiq covered in at least five Star of Davids.

The paper's accompanying caption stated: "Hatred....protesters hold a defaced poster of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq". Perhaps "Stereotypical antisemitism that is a feature of Egyptian political discourse" might have been a more apt description.

The ABC and UNRWA

The ABC and UNRWA Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

ABC radio's "World Today" reported on the growing recognition that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) may actually be perpetuating the ongoing Palestinian refugee issue (see AIJAC's update from June 6 2012 for more on the issue).

Unfortunately, a serious issue suffered from the not-so-subtle insinuation that the enterprise is essentially a right-wing plot to deprive aid to Palestinians rather than a question of who should rightfully be deemed a Palestinian refugee and how it might just be hampering solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

AIR
Media Week - BDS is anti-peace; Worrying findings; Sandstorm on the horizon?

Media Week - BDS is anti-peace; Worrying findings; Sandstorm on the horizon? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Egypt, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

In the Australian (25/5) academic Philip Mendes analysed the conceptual and practical flaws underpinning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement noting that it "is a by-product of the second Palestinian intifada and the collapse of the Oslo peace process.... It is essentially war by other means...and intended to coerce Israel into surrendering to Palestinian demands".

Media Microscope: Starved of information

Media Microscope: Starved of information Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

The humanity of Israel's system of administrative detention of Palestinian prisoners was the main interest when Israeli-Palestinian issues were covered in the first two weeks of May.

On May 7, Ruth Pollard wrote in the Age/Sydney Morning Herald that "the number of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails has grown to at least 2,800, human rights groups say... Israel's practice of jailing people without charge - known as administrative detention - is the main issue driving the hunger strikers...About 320 Palestinians are being held in administrative detention in Israeli prisons."

If there were more than 2,800 Palestinian prisoners starving themselves in protest against administrative detention but only 320 of them are actually there on administrative detention charges, what were the crimes of the 2,480 who were convicted or awaiting trial?

Media Week - Go figure; Bergs of a feather; Inclement comparison; Total fiction

Media Week - Go figure; Bergs of a feather; Inclement comparison; Total fiction Author: Allon Lee Categories: Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

Go figure

An unattributed Age story (12/5) on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails stated that a "fifth of all Palestinians living under occupation - some 700,00 people - have served time in Israeli jails, according to activist groups."

Although the article did not include the origin of the claim of 700,000, it is a number pushed by the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian NGO, and is not credible.

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Media Week - Unbelievable, because it's wrong!; New Blood; Not so popular front

Media Week - Unbelievable, because it's wrong!; New Blood; Not so popular front Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

The Australian's John Lyons (5/5) reported on an Israeli law passed during the Second Intifada in 2003 designed to prevent terrorists exploiting family reunion laws to enter Israel.

This has meant Israeli Arab Taiseer Khatib's wife, Lana, who is from Jenin on the West Bank, can only stay in Israel on a temporary residency visa, something Khatib denounces as "beyond apartheid".

The newspaper offensively headlined the piece Living under the cloud of Israel's cruel apartheid implying this was a statement of fact rather than Taiseer Khatib's opinion. The online edition has since rectified this error.

Professor's irrational criticism of Jews crosses the line

Professor's irrational criticism of Jews crosses the line Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

NORWEGIAN professor Johan Galtung, an "off-site lecturer" at the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, recently exposed himself as one who irrationally criticises Jews.

Galtung's previous commentary on Israel was indistinguishable from the general line followed by CPACS and other academics in the dubious "peace and conflict studies" discipline that he is credited with founding.

The crisis of bad journalism: why Lateline guest is being ridiculed everywhere

The crisis of bad journalism: why Lateline guest is being ridiculed everywhere Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, International Jewry, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Last night, ABC Lateline featured an interview by Emma Alberici of former New Republic editor Peter Beinart. Beinart has been a figure of much controversy lately due to his new book The Crisis of Zionism -- an extension of his 2009 essay 'The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment' in the New York Review of Books -- in which he makes the case that the Jewish community in America is taking an incorrect line on Israel and provides his own perspective on how the Israeli/Palestinian conflict ought to be addressed.

The book provoked a litany of responses from across the political spectrum, with almost every senior figure in the American foreign policy world deriding or distancing themselves from his contribution. As a result, there is a very substantial body of work from which to draw in order to evaluate every point that he makes. In general, most experts agree that Beinart is largely well-intentioned and does genuinely want the best for Israel, however he is at the same time hopelessly naive and heavily encumbered by a lack of serious research on the topic. His views are those of...

How about an award for hypocrisy?

How about an award for hypocrisy? Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

Hypocrisy frequently rears its ugly head in the Middle East, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) has just succeeded in producing something close to a new examplar on the issue of media freedom. As a Jerusalem Post editorial ("Palestinian responsibility", 2/4/2012) has documented, the Palestinian Authority is intensifying an ongoing crackdown on journalists operating in the West Bank, while at the same time it's introducing a new award honouring press freedom.

Media Week - Which lobby?, A wolf in wolf's clothing, Take a hike

Media Week - Which lobby?, A wolf in wolf's clothing, Take a hike Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

In its first story since December 2011 looking at Iran's nuclear program, ABC TV "7.30" (21/3) reporter Michael Brissenden described the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as "the most powerful Jewish lobby group in the United States". This may surprise the many non-Jews who attended AIPAC's recent annual conference, including pro-Israel Latinos, African-Americans and Christian delegates.

Strange Australian commentary on the UN's controversial "peace plan" for Syria

Strange Australian commentary on the UN's controversial "peace plan" for Syria Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The Syrian Government's decision to accept UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan has been met with a lot of scepticism to say the least. A number of experts have been predicting that the initiative would only paper-over the Assad regime's continued violence and that there would be negative consequences felt in Syria as a result.

Another by-product of the issue has been some rather strange commentary emerging from Australia. Anthony Billingsley, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, has written his thoughts about the Annan plan on Australian academic blog site The Conversation. His reasoning is a little difficult to follow – in more than one instance, his assessment of the geopolitics seems either misinformed or contradictory, particularly in regards to the American and Israeli role in the Syrian uprisings (emphasis added)...

Jihadism, Antisemitism and the truth about the Toulouse murders

Jihadism, Antisemitism and the truth about the Toulouse murders Author: Tzvi Fleischer & Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

When is a hate crime not a hate crime? Apparently, when a self-proclaimed "Islamic warrior" seeks out an obscure Jewish school, and shoots dead a teacher and three small children simply for being Jews - at least according to some reactions to the massacre that occurred in Toulouse, France on 19 March.

Scribblings: The Media, the Disease and the Cure

Scribblings: The Media, the Disease and the Cure Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

The Finkelstein Inquiry into the Australian media has provoked a great deal of comment in the Australian media, most of it critical. And I share the view of the majority of commentators that the major proposal put forward by Finkelstein - for a government-funded body empowered to make legally enforceable and unappealable rulings on any alleged failure to meet agreed standards by any media outlet (including small blogs) - is, at the least, problematic. Any cure worse than the disease would be a mistake.

Media Microscope: Bombing in the Rocket War Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

During the four days of violence starting on March 9 that saw hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel, the Israeli military's precision responses remarkably managed to limit Palestinian fatalities to 25, of whom 22 were terrorists.

However, coverage of the conflict for the Age and Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) by Ruth Pollard, Fairfax's Middle East correspondent, consisted of two pieces that included glaring factual errors, lacked important background detail and obscured this reality.

Toulouse school's decision to cut security may have implications on Australia

Toulouse school's decision to cut security may have implications on Australia Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Europe, Media/ Academia, Terrorism, Updates    

In this post last month, I argued that the Jewish community in Australia does have the unfortunate need for security at Jewish schools, which remain a target for terrorists, a statement that I later affirmed after the Toulouse attacks. This was to rebut statements made by former Australian Jewish News editor Dan Goldberg, reported in The Age in January - well before the attack in Toulouse - suggesting that the money could be better spent elsewhere:

[Former AJN editor Dan] Goldberg suggested the rising costs of security were helping push up education fees so that ever more money would be spent on protecting ever fewer children...

On Toulouse shootings, Sydney Morning Herald editorial writers fail to read their own coverage

On Toulouse shootings, Sydney Morning Herald editorial writers fail to read their own coverage Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Far Right, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Terrorism, Updates    

The Sydney Morning Herald editorialised this morning on the possible identity of the Toulouse shooter and pondered what group he may have been affiliated to. Curiously, these questions seem to have been answered just three pages earlier.

...As to whether he [the shooter] is a deranged loner or a fanatical terrorist acting for some group is unclear.  While this week's school attack was an atrocity against Jews, anti-Semitism alone does not seem to account for last week's murders in which the paratrooper victims were dark-skinned, hailing from either Muslim North Africa or the West Indies. One notion is that the gunman thought he was striking a blow for the Palestinian cause - French paratroops have served in Afghanistan...

AIR
Another child's death falsely blamed on Israel as leaked emails reveal Assad's scapegoating

Another child's death falsely blamed on Israel as leaked emails reveal Assad's scapegoating Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Syria, Updates    

Just days after being exposed for fraudulently blaming the accidental death of a 15-year-old boy on an "Israeli airstrike", Hamas officials have again attempted to implicate Israel in the death of a Gaza youth -- this time, seven-year-old Baraka al-Mughrabi. Just after Mughrabi passed-away last night, reports started emerging that he had been killed by an Israeli strike.

Not long after, however, these remarks were retracted as the truth of his death emerged...

False reports about the death of 15-year-old Gaza boy - and other internet falsehoods about the Gaza situation

False reports about the death of 15-year-old Gaza boy - and other internet falsehoods about the Gaza situation Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

The Kony2012 campaign was not the only viral campaign in recent days that spread some dubious information. A number of allegations of Israeli targeting of civilians that surface over the past few days have been outed as downright lies.

The most glaring example is the death of 15-year-old Nayif Shaaban Qarmout, who was killed in northern Gaza on Monday. The first reports emerged from Palestinian Authority-controlled media outlet Ma'an News, citing unnamed "witnesses" who attested that the boy was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

The claim caught the eye of the Israeli military, who were understandably confused, given that they had not launched any airstrikes on northern Gaza during the time that he was killed. An AFP reporter confirmed that there did not appear to be any evidence of an airstrike in the area, but the dead boy did seem to have been killed by an explosive device, albeit apparently one that he himself was carrying...

Media Week - Foreign advice; A word to the wise; and SMH's headlining act

Media Week - Foreign advice; A word to the wise; and SMH's headlining act Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans was quick out of the blocks to suggest Kevin Rudd's successor should still make the case for Australia winning a temporary UN Security Council seat in 2013/14.

"It will certainly be almost impossible if we paint ourselves into a tiny minority corner on the Palestinian statehood issue, should that come to a vote in the General Assembly before October," Evans wrote (Age, 1/3).

However, last October, Australia, the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, and Vanuatu all voted against admitting the non-existent state of Palestine to UNESCO as a full member state. A further 52 countries abstained from voting.

 

Arab commentators: Syria far worse than Israel, but treated more softly

Arab commentators: Syria far worse than Israel, but treated more softly Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Syria, Updates    

As official estimates of Syrian civilians killed in the Assad regime's bloody crackdown climb steadily past the 7,500 mark, a couple of recent Op-Eds in the Arab media have compared the Arab world's strong outrage to Israeli military actions in the West Bank, Gaza and southern Lebanon to their muted response to Syrian slaughter of their own people.

Putting aside the moral inequality of such a comparison (the pieces make no effort to differentiate the defensive nature of Israeli military campaigns from the cold-blooded ruthlessness of the Syrian dictatorial regime suppressing dissent from its own citizens) the pieces nevertheless mark a significant break from the traditional narrative in Arab media that the Palestinians are the region's principal human rights victims...

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The SMH’s quest to downplay the Iranian nuclear program

The SMH’s quest to downplay the Iranian nuclear program Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, International Security, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Seldom has there been such a brazen attempt to pass off pantomime as intelligent debate.

Saturday's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald's (SMH) weekly "The Question" section - which canvasses the opinions of four experts with presumed standing on a specific issue - addressed the topic of "Is the West destined for war with Iran? Deepening distrust is fuelling a new round of sabre-rattling."

A fair enough subject for discussion, however, the range of views left a lot to be desired...

Wikileaks' Assange using faux intelligence to bait journalists?

Wikileaks' Assange using faux intelligence to bait journalists? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

On Monday, Wikileaks began releasing an alleged 5 million emails stolen by "hacktivist" group Anonymous from geo-political consulting firm Stratfor. The sensationalist title that Wikileaks gave the material -- The Global Intelligence Files -- as well as the statement announcing the release attempt to make the released emails out to be top-secret information from some sort of clandestine "private CIA".

The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and "other government intelligence agencies" in "becoming government Stratfors"...

Media Microscope: Nuclear Reactions Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

The recent international focus on Iran's nuclear ambitions generated a lot of heat and occasionally some light in the Australian media.

A Sydney Morning Herald (February 6) editorial astutely warned "there is simply no precedent for a revolutionary Islamist regime getting its hands on nuclear weapons." But there was no grasp that sanctions need a credible military option too, with the paper insisting "Israeli air strikes will only strengthen Tehran's determination to get the bomb".

An additional SMH editorial (Feb. 20) sensed Iran was holding out "the white flag of negotiation."

Fisking Four Corners: getting the facts straight on Syria, Israel and Iran

Fisking Four Corners: getting the facts straight on Syria, Israel and Iran Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Syria, Updates    

Last night, ABC's Four Corners program focussed on the uprising in Syria. The program mostly featured a British Channel Four documentary on the Assad regime's systematic torture of Syrian opposition-members, including children, which gave a shocking insight into the events besetting Syrians opposed to their government's policies. The program ended, however, with host Kerry O'Brien interviewing notorious Middle-East correspondent Robert Fisk for 15 minutes in which Fisk was essentially given a pedestal to promulgate his views unchallenged...

Angelic Arabs and murderous Jews add up to televisual propaganda

Angelic Arabs and murderous Jews add up to televisual propaganda Author: Jamie Hyams & Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Palestinians    

PROPAGANDA comes in many forms. The British/French mini-series, The Promise, recently shown over four consecutive Sundays on SBS TV, is a particularly insidious example. It tells the story of a British girl, Erin, just out of school, who stays with the family of her closest friend in Israel during the second intifada.

She has taken the diary of her grandfather Len, who served as a British soldier in mandate Palestine from 1945 to 1948, so the action switches between the British battling the treacherous Jews in the 1940s and the brutal Israelis oppressing the Palestinians today.

ABC "World Today" interviewee says Israel may have bombed their own Embassies

ABC "World Today" interviewee says Israel may have bombed their own Embassies Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iran, Media/ Academia, Updates    

In an interview with the ABC radio show "The World Today" yesterday afternoon, Geneive Abdo, a former Guardian journalist in Iran now working as an Iran expert at a Washington thinktank:

  • Said it's "entirely possible" Israel bombed their own embassies to provoke a war with Iran.
  • Complained about the "extremely powerful" Jewish lobby in the US.
  • Argued that the "very extremist Israeli government" has not even considered the dangers of a military strike on Iran, and lacks "any voices of reason" - basing her argument on the grounds of what Israel "did for many years in Lebanon" (Abdo is of Lebanese-American extraction).

 

Antisemitism should be shunned in Australia (and elsewhere)

Antisemitism should be shunned in Australia (and elsewhere) Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Australian Financial Review today ran an article from last month's Atlantic by Robert Kaplan, which was originally published under the headling 'Why John J. Mearsheimer Is Right (About Some Things)' but republished as 'Great Power Politics'. As revealed by the headline, the piece largely praises University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer, focusing on his self-dubbed "offensive realist" take on China. Mearsheimer, however, is a rather dubious acadamic, particularly for his record of fomenting antisemitism in mainstream discourse, but also for his generally biased and factually questionable material.

Kaplan does acknowledge Mearsheimer's most notorious work, the much maligned 2006 essay and 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy that he co-authored with Harvard professor Steven Walt, as well as his recent endorsement of the abhorrent Gil Atzmon. Kaplan, however, glosses-over these controversies as "tragedies" that threaten to "obscure" his otherwise important work...

When propaganda masquerades as fact

When propaganda masquerades as fact Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

To its great discredit, the Melbourne Age has republished a Guardian newspaper feature that alleges mistreatment by the Israeli judicial system of West Bank Palestinian youths detained on suspicion of terrorism.

As a previous AIJAC blog post revealed, many allegations of Palestinian children being tortured, kept in solitary confinement, denied legal representation, and forced to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, rely on half-truths, manipulation of facts and figures and unsubstantiated claims by anti-Israel organisations.

That is, organisations with anti-Israel political agendas that extend beyond the remit of the specific goals they profess to be concerned with and into areas of delegitimising the Jewish state.

Media Week - McDonald's harm; Palestinian racing story the pits; Highly speculative speculation Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Sydney Morning Herald's Hamish McDonald (Jan. 21) came away from a recent visit to Israel with the view that the country's "old liberality" is being whittled away by the right and the ultra-orthodox.

The latter, he wrote, "are 20 per cent of the population, breeding three times faster than more secular Jews." In fact the ultra-orthodox are 11 per cent of the Jewish population. He also wrote that they "are spilling out into the lands occupied since 1967, whittling down the territory held out to the Palestinians for their future state."

Wrong again. Settlements themselves take up no more than 1-2 per cent of the West Bank, a fact Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accepted as true last November 3 on Arabic Radio As-Shams...

Broadcasting Revolution

Broadcasting Revolution Author: Oren Kessler Categories: Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

On August 1, 2011, al-Jazeera English (AJE) began broadcasting to two million cable subscribers in New York - the third major US city to carry the station. AJE's gutsy, driven reporting - one commentator aptly commended its "hustle" - has won it friends in high places: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded the channel as "real news," and US Senator John McCain (Republican, Ariz.) said he was "very proud" of its handling of the so-called Arab Spring.

Qatar, al-Jazeera and the Arab Spring

Qatar, al-Jazeera and the Arab Spring Author: Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi Categories: Gulf states, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

How could Qatar's foreign policy best be defined during the Arab Spring? In the midst of the conflict between Gaddafi's forces and the rebels in the Libyan civil war, Qatar was hailed by US President Barack Obama in April for building a broad coalition of international support for the NATO campaign against Gaddafi. Obama also hailed the Emir of Qatar for supposedly being a pragmatic mediator and negotiator in the wider region.

The Last Word: Prejudice and Promise

The Last Word: Prejudice and Promise Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Media/ Academia    

Cabramatta is one of my favourite suburbs in Sydney. It is colourful without being too boisterous, assertive without being too aggressive.

The substantial Vietnamese-Australian immigrant population has contributed in many ways, devoting industry and passion in efforts to ensure that their children were given every chance to be part of, and succeed in, Australian society.

As the SBS documentary series "Once Upon A Time in Cabramatta", broadcast in January, highlighted, there were quite a few factors militating against the migrants who came to Australia in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

AIR

Scribblings: Al-Jazeera in Australia Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Gulf states, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

This month's AIR cover story deals with the myths and realities of al-Jazeera televison, the Qatari network that undoubtedly helped to bring about the "Arab Spring" and re-shape the Middle East political and media environment over the past decade. And in its English language incarnation, it has been moving out of the Middle East into the wider world for a number of years now.

As the cover story demonstrates, while it's clear that the English language version of the channel does not contain the blatant radical political agenda that the channel often features in its Arabic incarnation, it is also apparent that, even in English, it is not simply another public broadcaster.

Positive Palestinian racers profile couldn't avoid token Israel swipes

Positive Palestinian racers profile couldn't avoid token Israel swipes Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

This weekend's Fairfax papers included a report on an all-female Palestinian racing team by Ruth Pollard. While the piece was an interesting read overall, there are one or two small inconsistencies that are worth noting. In addition to this, there were a number of instances where the Age inserted small changes to make the tone of the article seem more anti-Israel. Some of these have been noted below.

Pollard profiles Noor Daoud, a Palestinian woman who won an Israeli formula-three competition last month. In the interview, Daoud explains how it is that she can no longer drive on the road.

''It is not the first time I have driven 200km/h - I lost my licence in 2009 when...

Killing Iranian scientists: Overland editor's unintentional Orwellian irony

Killing Iranian scientists: Overland editor's unintentional Orwellian irony Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Jeff Sparrow, the editor of literary journal Overland, has written a missive in The Drum today on the "terrorism campaign" going on in Iran. This refers not to what first comes to mind when one reads "Iran" and "terror campaign" in the same sentence, but rather a horrendeous campaign of murder and intimidation against scientists being waged, of course, by Israel: (emphasis added)

Last Wednesday, a motorcyclist attached a bomb to a car carrying a man called Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, killing him instantly, and injuring his two companions.

That was merely the latest atrocity inflicted upon individuals and facilities associated with nuclear physics in that country ... this is terrorism, pure and simple - the systematic infliction of deadly violence launched against civilians and their families so as to create a climate of fear among Iranian physicists and other nuclear personnel. 

As Sparrow explains, the assassinations of Iranian nuclear physicists cannot be justified by pointing out that they are working towards a nuclear weapon. You see... 

The Media is the Message

The Media is the Message Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

A young Italian journalist named Ruben Salvadori has prepared a film about how he and other photojournalists reporting from the West Bank not only report what they see but help to create the clashes and dramatic scenes which helps them sell photographs...

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Media Week - Unpromising Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

In recent "Media Week" columns, I have reviewed the first three episodes of the British/French drama, "The Promise", shown on SBS TV. This series has been characterised throughout by rampant and crudely propagandistic political messages directed against Israel and Jews and selective, distorted portrayals of history, and it really hit its straps in the final episode (18/12).

When the media becomes the story

When the media becomes the story Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

It wasn't even close. In fact it was a "landslide". That is how pro-Israel media watchdog Honest Reporting describes its decision to bestow the Guardian newspaper the 2011 "Dishonest Reporting Award" for its relentless anti-Israel coverage.

Readers of Fairfax newspapers will be familiar with the Guardian's news stories and one-sided selection of opinion pieces via their regular appearance in the Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times.

Essay: The Blindness of the Intellectuals

Essay: The Blindness of the Intellectuals Author: Alan Johnson Categories: Iran, Media/ Academia    

Don't listen to the nuclear nonsense, screamed one of the main left-wing weeklies, the New Statesman, only days after a sober and authoritative International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report had laid bare Iran's pursuit of a nuclear bomb.

Why do some of our intellectuals find it so very difficult to see dictatorship when it is clear, or to summon up the moral clarity to oppose it? This question has preoccupied me since 9/11. It led me to create the online journal Democratiya and to co-author the statement of principles for a new democratic left, The Euston Manifesto.

Media Microscope: Unpromising Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

SBS TV showed a four-part drama, "The Promise", from Britain's Channel 4 and France's Canal+ and Arte France, which was characterised by rampant and crudely propagandistic political messages directed against Israel and Jews, selective, distorted portrayals of historical events, and the sanitising of Arab behaviour throughout the past seven decades.

Media Week - Serial Offender; Bad Move; White Wash

Media Week - Serial Offender; Bad Move; White Wash Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Episode three of "The Promise" (11/12) sees British Mandate soldier Len, who has had his platoon raided and soldiers shot, has been caught in the King David Hotel bombing and has been shot on the street, kidnapped with two colleagues and held in a hole for 15 days, until he is released and his colleagues hanged. He must be the unluckiest soldier in the British army. In the present day, Len's grand-daughter Erin takes a Palestinian to the house, where he very pointedly asks her friend's parents where they are from "originally" and the mother begrudgingly tells him Hungary. She visits Hebron where she hears an Israeli tell a group, "You'll notice most of the streets around here are deserted. It's known as the sterile zone. Why? To make room for 500 Jewish settlers who have no right to be here under international law, almost the entire Palestinian population of Hebron has been moved out." This is a gross exaggeration and ignores the ancient history of Hebron's Jewish community, and its religious significance.

Media Week - Unpromising Start; Solar Flares; Court Out Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

SBS TV is showing a four-part drama, “The Promise”. The series, from Britain’s Channel 4 and France’s Canal+ and Arte France, has been widely criticised for its rampant bias against Jews and Israel. The first episode (27/11) introduced the main character, Erin, an 18-year-old English girl who stays with a rich Israeli family. She has the diary of her grandfather Len who served with the British troops in Palestine immediately after World War II, so the story switches between the British battling the treacherous Jews and the Israelis oppressing the Palestinians.

 

"Fisking" Hugh White on Iran

"Fisking" Hugh White on Iran Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Oft-quoted Australian "strategic analyst" Hugh White had a piece in The Age yesterday day on the Iranian nuclear crisis which betrayed such a lack of serious and logical strategic thought, so many shallow and glib yet ill-informed assumptions, that it seemed to be simply begging for a thorough "fisking" (Urban Dictionary definition: "The word is derived from articles written by Robert Fisk that were easily refuted, and refers to a point-by-point debunking of lies and/or idiocies.") Here's my effort.

“The Promise”

“The Promise” Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: International Jewry, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

On Sunday night, SBS-TV screened the first of four episodes of a controversial British historical drama set in pre-state and contemporary Israel, entitled "The Promise". When it was screened in Britain by Channel 4 in February, it led to an official letter of complaint by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as strong critiques from Booker prize winning novelist Howard Jacobson, noted British academic expert on the Holocaust David Cesarani, and others....

I include below some of the critiques of "The Promise" from Britain for the benefit of Australian audiences.

Media Week - One-Sided History; Freedom Riders?; Newton's Nonsense

Media Week - One-Sided History; Freedom Riders?; Newton's Nonsense Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

As part of its "Lost Worlds' series, SBS TV is showing a seven-part series from Britain's Channel 4 titled "The Bible: a History". The second instalment (13/11), "Abraham", was presented by Rageh Omaar, a former BBC journalist now with al-Jazeera. He described Israel as "land the Palestinians have occupied for centuries and which the Jews believe belongs to them." He seeks to cast the Jewish claim to Israel solely in religious terms, neglecting to mention that Jews have occupied the land continuously for thousands of years.

Media Week - Wild Woolcott; Bedouin Brouhaha; Sober Warning

Media Week - Wild Woolcott; Bedouin Brouhaha; Sober Warning Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Former DFAT head Richard Woolcott wrote a piece for the Age (11/11) critical of Australia's vote against Palestinian membership of UNESCO. Having spent more than half his article setting out the merits of Australia obtaining a seat on the UN Security Council, he then wrote, "In these circumstances, I find it both surprising and a decisive setback to our election prospects that the Prime Minister decided Australia should vote against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO."

Freedom to print falsehoods

Freedom to print falsehoods Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

A media stunt by a group of Palestinians trying to falsely tar Israel as an apartheid state not only caused some in the fourth estate to fall hook, line and sinker but to abrogate basic journalistic standards.

Six Palestinians called The West Bank Freedom Riders cynically tried to lay claim to the legacy and imagery of African Americans who fought against segregation in the 1950s/60s in the United States by "proving" they are banned from using Israeli public buses to cross over from the West Bank into Jerusalem.

But an analysis by Simon Plosker from Honest Reporting of the claims made by the six "Freedom Riders" and the media coverage shows the absurdity of the stunt and how easily it could be proved as dishonest propaganda.

UNESCO: Palestine -  in, Freedom of Speech - out

UNESCO: Palestine - in, Freedom of Speech - out Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Eric Falt, assistant director general for external relations and public information at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has issued an official letter of protest from UNESCO's director general, Irina Bokova regarding a cartoon which UNESCO claimed constituted incitement.

This could have been an encouraging sign that UNESCO is finally acting against incitement, racism and specifically antisemitism prevalent in Arab and Muslim media, especially in the state-sponsored press. However, the cartoon that so inflamed UNESCO officials was published in Haaretz, an Israeli independent newspaper, which is protected under Israel's laws regarding freedom of the press. Moreover, the only incitement that seemed to concern UNESCO is incitement against UNESCO.

AIR
Fairfax’s Chomsky and Holocaust Denial whitewash

Fairfax’s Chomsky and Holocaust Denial whitewash Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Antisemitism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Media/ Academia, Updates    

On October 22, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald "Good Weekend" magazine ran a profile written by Jane Wheatley of prominent American linguistics expert, radical author and political activist Noam Chomsky. It is not available online, but was almost wholly complimentary to its subject - so much so that it completely re-wrote the history of one of the most controversial aspects of Chomsky's long career in public controversy, his 1979 defence of French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson...

I penned a letter to "Good Weekend" setting this matter straight.

Media Week - Culture Wars; A Grandstanding Seat; Rice Revelations

Media Week - Culture Wars; A Grandstanding Seat; Rice Revelations Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Writing in the Australian (4/11) in support of the decision by UNESCO to grant membership to the Palestinians, Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, claimed, "Israeli occupation has not seen the protection and preservation of these riches. Israeli occupation has seen deliberate neglect, damage and the ongoing seizure of Palestine's cultural heritage and territory as its own, violently and with impunity, excluding the interests and rights of all others. Yet Australia voted no to Palestinian membership of UNESCO, preferring, it would seem, the theft and destruction of Palestine's and the world's heritage and saying no to peace." By contrast, he claimed, "Palestine is committed to the protection and preservation of these treasures." The track record shows the opposite to be the case.

Media Week - Centre for Conflict; Panning partisan posturing; ‘Imbalanced' article Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Jake Lynch, Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, criticised his university for holding a research forum between Israelis and Australians. He told Imre Salusinszky, "The university risks sustaining reputational damage if the forum goes ahead. It risks being seen as condoning the complicity by Israeli universities in Israel's breaches of international law and indirectly raises problems with the university's social inclusion policy" (Australian, 25/10). Salusinszky reported that, in a letter to the university's Deputy Vice Chancellor, Lynch "says the forum is contrary to the university's social inclusion policy, which requires it to reach out to students in western Sydney. He says most Muslim students live in the west and feel ‘a sense of resentment and alienation resulting from the predominance of pro-Israeli voices in Australia's political and media discourses'." Lynch, who is also an executive member of the Sydney Peace Foundation, which awards the Sydney Peace Prize, seems to have a very skewed notion of what peace actually entails.

Ilan Grapel and AIJAC

Ilan Grapel and AIJAC Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Egypt, Media/ Academia, Updates    

As readers will note from the accompanying media release, AIJAC is very relieved and pleased that Ilan Grapel, a bright young Israeli-American student, has now been released after more than four months of detention in Egypt. Ilan served a 2009 stint in AIJAC's Melbourne's office as a visiting Goldman Fellow, part of a program run by our American partner, the American Jewish Committee...

In honour of the occasion of his release, it seems worth recalling some of the work Ilan did for AIJAC back in 2009...

Meanwhile, there has been some interesting discussion internationally about the motivations for Grapel's arrest and detention by Egypt's interim government, and what it says about where Egypt is going...

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Media Week - Shalit editorials; Who to ask; Protestor points Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange prompted various editorials. The worst, an inaccuracy-riddled effort in the Age (20/10), remarkably expressed the hope that the exchange would "prompt a rethink in Israel" and "be an incentive to renew negotiations". It doubted it would be, continuing, "In part, this is because Mr Netanyahu...refuses to end Jewish settlement activity on Palestinian land." This is clearly untrue, as the recent ten-month moratorium on building of houses in settlements demonstrated. That this did not lead to negotiation shows that Palestinian intransigence, not building within the existing boundaries of settlements is the problem. In addition, the land is not "Palestinian". The borders are to be settled by negotiation. The editorial goes on to advocate that Israel "accept Mr Abbas's conditions for talks." It should urge the Palestinians to talk without preconditions, as the Middle East Quartet proposed. Similarly, the Sydney Morning Herald editorial (20/10) stated, "The Israeli Prime Minister should also be reviewing his stance toward the Palestinian Authority."

Media Week – Shalit editorials; The Price; The Prisoners Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Australian (13/10) titled its editorial about the deal to release Gilad Shalit "Upholding a hallowed principle". With typical insight, it concluded, "It is galling to see terrorists released. We take comfort however from Shalit's imminent release from detention, which was against all international norms. We will share his joy when he is reunited with his family. The Israelis emerge with honour, having upheld the principle that human life is sacred and needless suffering cannot be endured. We can only hope that the returning Palestinians will do the same." A Sydney Morning Herald editorial (14/10) also sensitively considered Israel's dilemma, stating "To accede to the demands of any kidnapper is repugnant. It is all the more so when Hamas, which controlled Shalit's fate, has never abandoned the destruction of Israel as its stated aim. Yet equally, to abandon a captured soldier goes against human nature, as well as political good sense and the interest of Israel's defence force." 

Media Week - Fraser Strikes Again; Wakim's Rant; Perspective on Gilo Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

There has once again been a plethora of pieces about the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN. Probably the most misguided was by Malcolm Fraser in the Age (4/10). Dismissing as "thin" the sensible argument that agreement should come through negotiations, he disturbingly claimed that Western opposition to the Palestinian bid was "because of the lock that Israel has over the policies of too many Western countries." His "two major stumbling blocks to peace" were not Palestinian intransigence, but Palestinian division and "the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, the daily diminution of what might become Palestine." In fact, building in settlements since 2003 has only been within the existing settlement boundaries, so there has been no diminution of land.

 

Media Week – Statehood Stand-off; ABC's Boycott Boost Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Palestinian unilateral move for the UN to declare them a state again produced a vast array of media comment. The Australian (19/9) featured pieces by Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem and head of the General Delegation of Palestine Izzat Abdulhadi. Abdulhadi gave a history of the peace process that somehow omitted the offers of a Palestinian state and the Palestinian terrorism. Instead, he claimed, "Negotiating in good faith for 19 years, Palestinian people have not achieved freedom and independence in their own state, nor the end of the Israeli occupation."

On ABC Lateline, Palestinian official's veiled rejection of Israel's existence

On ABC Lateline, Palestinian official's veiled rejection of Israel's existence Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

ABC TV Lateline's Ali Moore interviewed Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath last night about the PA's UN statehood bid. Shaath , an experienced statesman, gave what on the surface may be perceived as a compelling argument for supporting the statehood bid; however, further analysis reveals inherent problems in his argument.

A key point that Shaath was attempting to put across was the PLO's supposed recognition of Israel:

Up till this minute, Israel have not recognised the right of the Palestinians to a Palestinian state on the border of '67. We still recognise Israel as an Israeli state...

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Abbas losing support over hypocrisy in the UN

Abbas losing support over hypocrisy in the UN Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

As expected, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for Statehood to the UN Secretary General. The application can be downloaded HERE. In addition to this, both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly and their two speeches (below) have provoked international uproar, especially in light of the speech one day earlier by US President Barack Obama. As The Australian reported, this was a different Obama from the one who spoke previously in the same forum.

That persistence has put the Palestinians on a collision course with the US and Israel. A frustrated Mr Obama told world leaders yesterday in his UN speech that "there are no shortcuts" to peace...

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In Palestinian statehood bid endgame, the real loser will be peace

In Palestinian statehood bid endgame, the real loser will be peace Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

As the day of reckoning for the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, now reportedly slated for Friday, draws ever closer, there is a frantic last-minute effort to avert the potentially disastrous showdown in favour of peace talks. Such talks are widely recognised as the only possible way to reach a genuine and lasting solution to the decades-old conflict. For example, Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair said yesterday that:

"What we will be looking for over the next few days is a way of putting together something that allows their claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized whilst actually renewing the only thing that's going to produce a state, which is a negotiation directly between the two sides...

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Media Week - Undiplomatic posting; Missing link still not found; No conversion for this Paul; Seeing red over Greens' BDS support

Media Week - Undiplomatic posting; Missing link still not found; No conversion for this Paul; Seeing red over Greens' BDS support Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Perhaps one can dismiss the opinion in the Canberra Times (8/09) of Peter Rodgers, former Australian ambassador to Israel, that Israeli intransigence prevents a Palestinian state on the basis that his tenure ended there in 1997.

Perhaps Rodgers doesn't know that Israel offered a statehood deal in 2000 so generous that former US/President Bill Clinton "couldn't believe anyone would be foolish enough to let it go", or Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's even sweeter offer in 2008 was humbly declined by the same leadership now demanding UN recognition for a state previously rejected as unacceptable because of the need to grant Israel peace in exchange.

Media Week - Five star hotel, one star article; Gymnast for Palestine; Palestinian UN-truths exposed Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Age (27/8) ran a profile by Guardian Middle East correspondent Harriet Sherwood of Gaza's only five-star hotel. Adopting the usual kid gloves on Hamas but iron fist for Israel approach the Guardian excels at, Sherwood blamed the blockade for the hotel's lack of guests: "At times there have been long delays in getting imported supplies through the tightly controlled crossing from Israel into Gaza".

The blockade was co-enforced by Egypt on its shared border with Gaza until recently but the article ran in Britain last month at a time when Egypt had supposedly lifted the blockade. Failure to mention either of these facts, suggests alarming ignorance, partisan bias or both.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good polemic

Never let the facts get in the way of a good polemic Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Media/ Academia, United Nations, Updates    

Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough has written an op-ed in this morning's Sydney Morning Herald on the recently released "Palmer Report" - the UN investigation into last year's flotilla incident. As we noted yesterday, the report, while critical of Israel's operational response, essentially vindicated Israel's blockade of Gaza and was very critical of IHH, the Turkish Islamist group that organised the flotilla. A flotilla participant himself, as well as publicly sympathetic to its aims, McGeough had this to say on the first 3/4 of the report:

The panel headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer sharply criticises the flotilla organisers and suspects their motives - why so many passengers, why so many journalists, why so little aid? It stops well short of "they deserve what they got" but it describes the flotilla as a "dangerous and reckless act . . . exposing a large number of individuals to the risk that force [would] be used . . . and people [would get] hurt...

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Speaking truth to anti-Israel stupidity

Speaking truth to anti-Israel stupidity Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

Clearly piqued by the incessant anti-Israel bigotry, Dr. Denis MacEoin, a former lecturer in Islamic studies, has come out in a passionate defence of the Jewish state in a letter to the Edinburgh University Student's Association committee and separately to the leader of the British Greens party over their support for BDS.

First up, MacEoin, who is not Jewish, expressed his outrage that his alma mater had passed a motion to boycott Israeli goods, services and people on the grounds that Israel is an apartheid regime.

He makes the case that Israel is not a perfect state but to compare it to Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa is not true "even as a metaphor".

 

Media Week – Doug's Diatribe; This is a Moderate?; Durban Planning Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

On the ABC TV panel show, "Q & A" (22/8), the conversation turned from Israel, to whether an Islamic country could achieve sufficient separation of church and state to become a true democracy. When the question was put to Labor Senator Doug Cameron, he replied, "Look, I think the issue of Israel and Palestine is huge in terms of trying to get world peace. I think Israel have had a massive amount of support from the world community over the years to establish the Israeli state but with that, I think, comes responsibility. And I don't think it's a beacon of democracy to have Operation Cast Lead. I don't think it is a beacon of democracy to use phosphorous bombs on kids. I don't think it is a beacon of democracy to be demolishing infrastructure in Palestine. So I just think we've got to get a bit of balance in this." It appears Cameron was so eager to attack Israel, he didn't care that it was irrelevant to the question.

AIR
The good oil Saikal

The good oil Saikal Author: Allon Lee Categories: Libya, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Updates    

Some analysts just cannot help themselves.

Take ANU Professor Amin Saikal who has articles in today's Age, the Australian Financial Review and on ABC's Unleashed website playing an old favourite love song - Libya's Colonel Gaddafi (or insert Middle East dictator's name here) remained in power for so long because the West supported him for his oil.

Well, analysts like Saikal who peddle a predictable line in blaming the West for all the Middle East's ills should note that Libyan rebels are unhappy, not with Western states but China, Russia and Brazil for abstaining from voting for the UN Security Council Resolution authorising NATO's use of force to impose a no-fly zone in Libya.

Please don't bother seeking out any references to China, Russia and Brazil in Saikal's pieces; they aren't even mentioned.

 

Palestinian refugees chased out of homes by shelling

Palestinian refugees chased out of homes by shelling Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Syria, Updates    

Israel has been accused of many deeds over the years. Removed from their context, the below paragraphs from a report in The Guardian could almost sound like an exaggerated report on an Israeli military operation in the 2008/09 Gaza conflict - the kind that would be released by Palestinian state-controlled media outlets.

UNRWA, the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, said the camp's residents fled after [the city] came under fire from gunboats and ground troops over the weekend. It was not immediately clear where the refugees were seeking shelter.

... The Local Coordination Committees, an activist group that helps organize protests... also confirmed troops fired at fleeing families. It said random gunfire erupted Monday in addition to a campaign of raids and house-to-house arrests...

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Media Week: Bitter Chocolate; Unsettling introductions; Chill It

Media Week: Bitter Chocolate; Unsettling introductions; Chill It Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

The Daily Telegraph's Tim Blair commented in the Spectator (July 30) on the motivation of Leftist activists directing their rage at Israeli-owned chocolate shop Max Brenner.

Blair suggested they are obsessed with the chocolatier as a rallying cause in lieu of criticising federal Labor policies identical to those they noisily attacked when the Coalition was in power.

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Media Week: Uni scholars miss the mark; None so blind...; All at sea Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

ANU PhD scholar Lee Schrader writing in the Canberra Times (22/7) doubted "whether any compromise is possible under the Netanyahu leadership, regardless of regional developments." Schrader's assessment is unduly harsh considering Netanyahu implemented a ten-month unilateral settlements building freeze in 2009 as a gesture towards restarting peace talks. With one month left of the freeze Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took up the invitation but then only wanted to discuss extending the settlement freeze.

New Zealand’s Mossad Paranoia

New Zealand’s Mossad Paranoia Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

After New Zealand media outrageously accused an Israeli victim of February's Christchurch earthquake of being a Mossad spy, Prime Minister John Key yesterday publically announce that an investigation demonstrated that neither the victim, Ofer Mizrahi, nor any of his friends, had any involvement in espionage. In a statement on Wednesday, Key said, "Security agencies conducted the investigation and found no evidence that the people were anything other than backpackers." It turns out Mizrahi held two passports, his Israeli and his EU one, rather than the five that a Southland Times article initially alleged. The story quickly spread throughout New Zealand newspapers, and was covered as one of the biggest stories of the week.

Only hours before Key's announcement, Fred Tulett, the journalist behind the initial story, said he was "unshakable in his conviction his facts are accurate."

Media Week - Boycott Precedents; Nuclear Naivety; This is News? Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

In his column in the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Adelaide's Advertiser (6/7), Andrew Bolt vented his disgust at the attempted picketing of a Max Brenner shop by pro-Palestinian activists. He wrote, "[In Australia] I never thought I'd see people picketing shops because their owners were Jewish...I've seen pictures of Jewish shops attacked before, of course, but they were in black and white, in another country at another ghastly time."

A False Linkage: Indonesian slaughterhouses and Kosher killing Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Australasia, International Jewry, Media/ Academia, Updates    

As a number of backbench Labor MPs have come out against the recent government decision to lift the suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia, partly on the basis that all animals should be stunned before slaughter, a false linkage has been made by some critics between the images from Indonesia's slaughterhouses and the killing of animals for Kosher consumption.

As noted in a recent post, numerous experts on the welfare of livestock, prominent amongst them Professor Temple Grandin, testify that Kosher slaughter is ethical and painless, with Grandin noting "I have observed that cattle held in an upright restraint device had almost no reaction to correctly done Kosher slaughter that was performed with a special long knife...the cut with the special knife appear to not cause pain" . Grandin concluded "It appears the animal is not aware that its throats has been cut."

 

Media Week – Threatened Journalists?; Who's a Goose? Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

In the lead up to the flotilla's proposed departure, Israel's Government Press Office wrote to journalists warning that any who sailed on it would be subject to exclusion from Israel for up to ten years, as is anyone who enters Israel or its territorial waters illegally. A June 28 Age editorial, however, made it seem journalists were singled out. It stated, "it is most disappointing that the Israeli government is threatening journalists with reprisals" and referred to it as a "threat to punish journalists." At least the following day, when Israeli PM Netanyahu intervened to ensure that journalists would be exempted from this routine policy, a Jason Koutsoukis article made it clear that was the case. However, the Israeli letter to the journalists should never have been misrepresented as it was, and had Netanyahu not intervened, Age readers may well have remained unaware of the true situation.

Flotilla activists drop all pretence of "humanitarian" mission, declare victory and plan to test Israeli airport security

Flotilla activists drop all pretence of "humanitarian" mission, declare victory and plan to test Israeli airport security Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Europe, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

As AIJAC has been reporting, the planned flotilla to Gaza has been facing a number of obstacles in recent weeks. In the wake of the Greek decision over the weekend to prevent any vessels planning on sailing to Gaza from leaving Greek ports, the flotilla organisers appear to be looking to shift tack, dropping all pretences that they may have had of bringing any humanitarian aid to Gaza.

While it will not revoke the order preventing the ships from leaving, the Greek Government has offered to transfer all humanitarian aid that was on board the flotilla to Gaza through other means; this offer was accepted by the Israeli Government but the flotilla organisers rejected it outright, opting instead to try and pressure the Greek Government into reversing its policy. Similarly, Israeli authorities offered last year to...

Journalistic ethics and flotilla sabotage claims Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Following up on Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz’s post yesterday - now that Turkish authorities have found baseless widely-reported claims by leaders of the Gaza flotilla that an Irish boat was sabotaged by Israel in a Turkish port, it is worth noting that the Australian media has, to date, largely failed to report this (one exception was The Australian today.).

In terms of journalistic ethics, this is particularly problematic with respect to the Sydney Morning Herald.

For Evans Sake!

For Evans Sake! Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans appeared on Jon Faine’s “Conversation Hour” on 774 ABC Melbourne on June 16, giving his take on the Middle East and demonstrating we’re lucky he is no longer in the role.

AIR
Bold or spineless? Strong conviction or a lack of direction? Responses to Obama's speech

Bold or spineless? Strong conviction or a lack of direction? Responses to Obama's speech Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, America, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Just a few hours after President Obama's recent speech on Afghanistan, there was a wide array of responses, positing a number of theories as to the ramifications of the new US policy.

In general, the focus was on Obama's decision to end the troop surge that he implemented only 18 months ago. Michael Cohen from the American Security Project writes in The Atlantic that Obama was never fully invested in the surge strategy and is now returning to a strategy which is more congruent with his generally dovish stance on foreign policy.

If there is one overriding takeaway from Obama's speech tonight, it is that the same President who 18 months ago was led by his generals into an escalation that he didn't appear to fully support has now taken back control of his policy in Afghanistan.

The Curious Case of The Dog in The Rabbinical Court

The Curious Case of The Dog in The Rabbinical Court Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: International Jewry, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Israeli newspaper Maariv published a report over the weekend alleging that a group of rabbis in Jerusalem had made a bizarre ruling to stone to death a dog that they believed was a reincarnated rabbi. The story was picked-up by Ynet, the English-language website for Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahoronot, and subsequently made it into the world’s media, including the News Ltd tabloids in Australia.

A JERUSALEM rabbinical court has condemned to death by stoning a dog it suspects is the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago. ...Clearly still offended, one of the judges sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children. The canine target, however, managed to escape.

If this sounds a little far-fetched to be true, that’s because it is. As observed here, a simple story involving a dog that was safely removed from a rabbinical council by the municipal dogcatcher became "sexed-up" somewhere in the Israeli secular press. It also seems like the fact-checking department had a day off at a lot of normally reputable publications.

Media Week - BDS Q&A Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Updates    

BDS Q & A

The issue of Marrickville Council's support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel was raised on the ABC TV discussion program "Q & A" (6/6). Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon reaffirmed her support for the campaign, accusing Israel of apartheid. Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said calling Israel apartheid is "an extreme link that doesn't really serve the arguments well." Comedian Sandy Gutman, better known as Austen Tayshus, said, "It's just antisemitic. That's all it is." Asked if he supported the boycott, Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough certainly seemed to do so, saying, "Well, I think it's a very clear way to get the debate about the Middle East going in western communities. It's fantastic in Washington at the moment where you get BDS campaigns outside Joe the Trader and various other shops, in particular about a brand of hummus that comes from Israel... Because it's part of a campaign against Israel to make Israel respond on the two state solution." Despite his being a foreign correspondent, it seems to have escaped McGeough's notice that Israel has been responding on the two-state solution since 1993.

Deconstruction Zone: Festival follies Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

"We need to be wary of the rise of the polemicist. Polemic is different from journalism."

This simple statement from veteran journalist Paul Kelly at a session of the recent Sydney Writers' Festival seems as if it should go without saying. Unfortunately, it served as a rather ominous warning for those attending other sessions at the partially tax-payer funded Festival.

On Israel/Palestine issues, this year's Festival featured two high-profile international guests with important things to say related to the Middle East - Palestinian doctor and writer Izzeldin Abuelaish, who lost three daughters in the 2008-9 Gaza war, and British novelist Howard Jacobson. Both of these figures have very positive messages, promoting a genuine Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace and reconciliation. However, the program and atmosphere of the Festival managed to both prevent their positive views from being fully explored, and constantly pitted them against much more extreme Australian voices.

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What's Old is New Again

What's Old is New Again Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

Peace is not made solely through agreements, it is made through both sides accepting each other's legitimacy and working together. BDS and other attacks on Israel's existence have only ever served to vindicate the voices saying that peace and reconciliation are impossibilities. Well-meaning people have been duped by this movement into thinking that they are fighting for human rights. However the policy today is as malicious as the boycott of Jewish settlements was in 1922. For all its carefully-framed rhetoric, its leaders have but one true aim, which they occasionally admit - to end the Jewish state.

The Biblio File: Jacobson's Ladder

The Biblio File: Jacobson's Ladder Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Howard Jacobson is a master of the craft of entertaining, thought provoking and humane fiction. While his latest novel, The Finkler Question, has been applauded as the first work of humour to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize, that label is a little misleading. The book is rather a wonderfully written, engrossing story featuring, interestingly, three-dimensional characters, with comic devices employed to flesh out their successes, doubts and fears.

As the author admits freely, it is a very "Jewish" novel. In fact, it is arguably the most "Jewish" English novel ever published.

Not only are many of the central protagonists Jewish, but the book revolves around the relationships of the broad cast of characters to Jews, their own Jewishness, their own perceived Jewishness, Jewish ritual, history and contemporary culture.

Media Microscope: Age Old Problem Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

The Age newspaper has, at times, been noticeably skewed against Israel. Recently, there seemed to have been some signs of improvement, but sadly, over the last month, it has regressed. For example, some time ago, it was common that phrases in stories by Fairfax correspondent Jason Koutsoukis would appear in the Age with an anti-Israel slant not present in the same report in the Sydney Morning Herald. Now the same is happening with reports sourced internationally.

The Islamist revolution will be televised Author: Avi Jorisch Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia    

Even though I'd watched thousands of hours, the rhetoric that I saw on al-Manar really shocked me. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. They call for an Islamic republic. They call for the killing of coalition troops, including Australians, in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis. They call for the destruction of the State of Israel, throwing all the Jews into the sea.

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Media Microscope: Housing Crisis Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

On ABC TV, Anne Barker declared, "The growth of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank is the biggest obstacle to peace." Apparently the ongoing Palestinian terror and refusal to even talk come somewhere behind the building of houses.

White paper should tackle terrorist television Author: Bren Carlill Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Terrorism    

Concern about domestic radicalisation and home-grown terrorism is a big part of the government's white paper on counter-terrorism released last week. So why haven't successive governments banned Hezbollah's television station, al-Manar, from screening in Australia? After all, al-Manar is all about radicalising its viewers.

Media MIcroscope: Siege Mentality Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

The media predictably commemorated the anniversary of Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza with pieces and reports bemoaning the continuing state of "siege". Many failed to blame Hamas for this situation, which would be remedied if Hamas renounces violence, recognises Israel and accepts existing agreements, as the Quartet has been demanding.

Media Microscope: Cracking the Codes Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

AIJAC was confident that Bowen's comments were in breach of both the Codes and the Directive, so we sent a formal complaint to the SBS Ombudsman. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the rights to the disputed land, yet Bowen clearly arbitrates in favour of the Palestinian claim.

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Media Microscope: Questionable Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

It has become increasingly noticeable that while the ABC TV show "Q & A" sometimes features members of the Muslim community who are also effectively there representing their community, Jewish individuals featured tend to be those strongly critical of Israel.

Media Microscope: Settling for Spin Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Much of our media has taken the Palestinian line that the settlements are the main obstacle to peace. Unfortunately, not only are the settlements focused on too heavily, at the expense of the real problem - especially continued Palestinian intransigence and division - but many reports on the West Bank and east Jerusalem are becoming increasingly one-sided and exaggerated, with some bordering on hysterical.

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Poor Advice Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Palestinians    

In a March 9 Age piece, the ANU's Amin Saikal took it upon himself to advise Barak Obama on Middle East policy. He claimed the Bush Administration's policy had "denied Hamas its right to exercise power as the democratic choice of the Palestinian people." This is untrue.

Symposium: Perceptions of the Middle East and the Gaza War - Australia Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Iraq, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Monographs/ Submissions    

The reaction of Australia's government, media, and elite, and public opinion to Israel's December 2008-January 2009 military operations against Hamas in Gaza was mixed. At the government level, both the Labor government as well as the Liberal opposition voiced strong, consistent, and principled support for Israel's right to defend itself.

Wild and Woollacott Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Palestinians    

A review by Guardian writer Martin Woollacott of Patrick Tyler's book A World of Trouble: America in the Middle East appeared in the "Panorama" section of the February 14 Canberra Times. Tyler strongly criticises US actions in the Middle East and Woollacott, a long time critic of Israel, strongly agrees.

Media Microscope: Wrong on the Right Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

The Feb. 12 Age and Herald editorials both wrongly claimed that Netanyahu rejects a two-state solution and the peace process, and portrayed Israel's election results as a blow for peace, implicitly absolving the Palestinians of any responsibility for the state of the peace process.

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The Last Word: An Intolerable Tolerance Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Mixed with chants such as "Bomb the Jews" and children bearing placards bemoaning that Jews didn't get enough Nazi treatment, were many posters and signs claiming Israel/Jews were perpetrating a Holocaust, that the Star of David was the same as the swastika and/or that the Jewish people are involved in genocide.

The Good, the Bad, the Very Ugly Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

In a truly disgusting piece in the Business section of the January 17 Age, for which the paper subsequently apologised, Michael Backman ludicrously claimed that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is "at the nub" of the 9/11, Bali and London terror attacks and solely responsible for Muslim enmity for Israel.

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Editorial: Failing the Grade Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia    

The Majority report's politicised approach to the inquiry was very disappointing, as there are legitimate and serious issues regarding bias and intimidation at Australian universities that concern students, and should concern legislators of all political stripes.

Media Microscope: Lessons from Mumbai Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Terrorism    

As tends to be the case after any major terrorist attack, media commentators and editorial writers reacted to the Mumbai atrocity by trying to extract lessons for the benefit of their loyal readers. Two Age editorials were careful to appropriately condemn the terrorists, but still inappropriately put the onus on the civilised world.

Media Microscope: Roy-al treatment Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

Each year the Australian Friends of Palestine bring out a speaker to give the Edward Said Memorial Lecture and, while they're here, to do the media rounds. Naturally, the speaker shares their views about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, but this year, they had a beauty in Dr. Sara Roy, a Jewish senior researcher in "political economy" at Harvard University and the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

The Last Word: Lack of Debate Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Iran, Media/ Academia    

As Adelaide's Fredrick Toben awaits judgements on whether he will, on appeal, be extradited from the UK to Germany, and/or will be found to be in contempt of the Federal Court of Australia due to the Holocaust denial material he has published over many years, reports reached Australia of the publication in Iran, of a "100-page book of cartoons on the Holocaust".

Cast out terror TV Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Lebanon, Media/ Academia, Op-eds, Syria, Terrorism    

HEZBOLLAH'S terrorist television station is once again being beamed into Australia. Al-Manar, translated as "the beacon", has been called more accurately a beacon of hatred and violence. It is to be hoped that the Rudd Government and the Australian Communications and Media Authority are doing everything in their power to block the station.

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Submission to Senate Committee Inquiry into Academic Freedom - 2008 Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Monographs/ Submissions    

AIJAC's position in this matter is that academic freedom is a right that should be respected, and that the balance between the right of academic freedom and the duty to educate students - as well as maximise excellence in academic research grounded in analytical clarity and quality empirical evidence - is one that can be maintained.

Media Microscope: Botched Balancing Act Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

To mark the anniversary of Israel's independence, SBS showed two documentaries about the war of 1947-49. The first, "I Remember 1948", shown on May 13, was so tilted towards the most extreme, absurd Palestinian narrative of the events of 1947-48 that it was laughable.

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Media Microscope: Latest from Ramsey Street Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Alan Ramsey has become known for writing his articles by quoting at length and endorsing those with whom he agrees - as well as for his vitriolic attacks on Israel. So the occasion of the parliamentary motion congratulating Israel on its 60th anniversary could not be allowed to pass without a Ramsey classic.

AIR New Zealand: Columns and Calumny Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Happily searching for a good merlot at the local supermarket, I sensed rather than heard the commotion in a distant part of the store. On listening more closely, I could hear a familiar voice saying something about Israel. Curiosity piqued, and clasping my bottle of wine, I headed towards the checkouts - where I found my partner engaged in a heated ?discussion? with a local political columnist.

Media Microscope: Balance at the Age Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

British-based Palestinian writer and academic Ghada Karmi, in Australia recently giving talks at various universities, represents an extreme school of thought in relation to the peace process. Her solution is that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state, being replaced with a single state, which obviously would have an Arab majority.

The Last Word: The Pen and the Saud Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia    

On a recent visit to Lakemba, I popped in to one of the larger Islamic bookstores and enquired about texts outlining and explaining different schools of Islamic jurisprudence. The bookseller was keen to help, showing me what he had for sale, and explaining that some books were much cheaper than others because of state subsidies for Islamic texts.

Scribblings: Yvonne's New Job Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Readers may recall the visit to Australia in 2004 of Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist who was captured by the Taliban, converted to Islam, and began defending Islamist terrorism and terrorists, including the leader of the Beslan school massacre, al-Qaeda bombings of weddings in Jordanian hotels, and the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

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Media Microscope: Stephen Strikes Back Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia    

As mentioned last month, Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld appeared on Radio NationalÂ?s Â?Religion ReportÂ? to comment on the British and Australian Â?Independent Jewish VoicesÂ? groups. As Rosenfeld was critical of these groups, the following week, on Feb. 21, the program gave equal time to Tony Lerman, a supporter of the British group.

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Scribblings: The "Culture of Bias" exposed Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

I have often written before about the "culture of bias" that exists in some media organisations, especially public broadcasters such as the ABC, SBS and their "Big Aunty", the BBC. But claims along these lines are generally dismissed by representatives and dedicated supporters of these organisations as attacking the integrity of journalistic professionals, or being too one-eyed to see the whole truth, as presumably the reporters do.

Proposed anti-terrorism broadcasting standards need to be implemented Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Media Releases, Media/ Academia, Terrorism    

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes the Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) proposed new standards that will prohibit broadcasts that directly support terrorist organisations.

The ACMA decision to ban programs that are "directly recruiting persons to join, or participate in, the activities of a terrorist organization" or that are "soliciting or assisting in the collection or provision of funds for a terrorist organization" come as a result of a lengthy investigation following an AIJAC complaint into the broadcast of Hezbollah television "al-Manar" in Australia by satellite company TARBS in 2003.

Al Jazeera comes to Australia Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Op-eds    

So will Al Jazeera give Australians a new perspective on the Middle East? Joining us now in Sydney to discuss this is Media analyst Dr Adel Iskander who is visiting from the American University in Washington to talk about his latest book, one of the first studies of Al Jazeera, "How the Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East". Also in Sydney, Dr Colin Rubinstein from the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Committee, who has been critical of Al Jazeera saying it maintains a consistent anti-Israeli bias in its broadcasts.

Just the facts, Maam Author: Ted Lapkin Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

The proposition that political argument should be built on an accurate factual foundation is neither revolutionary nor controversial. Or so I thought. But Melbourne University Publishing's (MUP) Louise Adler seems to think that factual exactitude is a secondary issue where anti-Israel polemics are concerned. She sidesteps any real mention of the inaccuracies that pervade Loewenstein?s work, dismissing any such complaints as mere manifestations of a malign Zionist conspiracy to demean his book. But in retrospect, Adler's lack of critical judgement on Israel-related topics should come as no surprise.

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Antony Loewenstein's Reign of Error Author: Ted Lapkin Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Op-eds    

After only a week on the bookstore shelves, it seems that Antony Loewenstein's My Israel Question is undergoing a second print run. This might indicate that the book is going like hotcakes. But according to Neilsen?s Bookscan, which keeps tabs on book sales nationwide, only 318 copies were sold during that period.

Australia's Israel Question: A matter for civilised debate or partisan? (2006) Author: Alan Goldberg Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Media/ Academia, Speeches    

The catalyst for this conversation was the publication of Antony Loewenstein's "My Israel Question". But what is that question? Loewenstein calls it "a plea for mutual respect and understanding". Yet his text does not consider mutuality in any way. He says his central concern is "a sustainable future for Israel and the Palestinians".

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Pro-Israel lobby: helping or hindering policy making? Author: Ted Lapkin Categories: Anti-Zionism, Australasia, Iraq, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Op-eds, Palestinians    

TONY JONES: Well, to discuss the role of the pro-Israel lobby and its degree of influence and whether it exists here in the same way as the US, we're joined now by Ted Lapkin, director of policy analysis at the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. He's in our Melbourne studio. And with me in Sydney is the author of My Israel Question, Antony Loewenstein.

The Best and the Brightest Author: External author Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Media/ Academia    

There's an old saying, It's not so much what is poured into the student, but what is planted that really counts. And, at both the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales, on-campus Islamic Societies have been diligently planting seeds of ethnic hatred and intolerance into the minds of young Muslim students.

Poison Pen Author: External author Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Michael Leunig once wrote that 'the pen is mightier than the sword.' But I fear that the cartoonist would be as dead as one of his ducks in pyjamas if he attempted to defend himself against a suicide bomber by stabbing with his quill.

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Books: Rose Coloured Glasses Author: Ted Lapkin Categories: Anti-Zionism, Media/ Academia    

Being assailed by one'?s ideological enemies is all in a day'?s work for a political writer. But when an author'?s ideological allies are forced to concede that a particular scribe has writing problems, the reader becomes aware that something must be seriously amiss.

Bad Information Author: External author Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

A wave of journalists from around the world descended upon Israel to cover the evacuation of the Gaza settlements. The last time a media event of this scale took place in Israel was April 2002, when the IDF entered West Bank cites, including the city of Jenin, following 18 months of Palestinian terror attacks.

Media Microscope: Never Enough Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Most media coverage devoted to Israel's disengagement from Gaza has been sympathetic. Opinion pieces and editorials alike have recognised the pain Israelis are suffering as a result of the disengagement, and praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his courage.

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Books: War and Peace Prize Author: Ted Lapkin Categories: Anti-Zionism, Europe, International Jewry, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists urges the media to "diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrong doing." And if this rule pertains to the hurly burly world of journalism, one would think that it might apply with redoubled force in the more slowly-moving realm of academia. Think again: at least where Drs. Philip Mendes and Geoffrey Brahm Levey are concerned. This ethical lapse surfaces in a new anthology that is co-edited by Levey and Mendes. Entitled Jews and Australian Politics, the book features a chapter jointly written by the editors that strongly criticises AIJAC over its actions during the Hanan Ashrawi controversy.

Media Microscope: Poll-er Opposites Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: America, Australasia, International Security, Media/ Academia    

The term "gigo" (garbage in, garbage out) was invented by computer scientists in the 1950s. Back then, the term was another addition to the growing vocabulary of the computer industry. Yet, according to critics, this unusual acronym could just as easily be applied to the findings of the heavily-publicised Lowy Institute poll, which was published on March 28.

SBS-TV and the Middle East Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Australasia, Iraq, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Monographs/ Submissions    

This report originates in the long-running concern of the Australian Jewish community that SBS exhibits an entrenched and strongly pronounced bias against Israel in its news, reportage and selection of documentary material and in the lack of responsiveness, indeed negativity, of SBS to reasoned and documented complaints. It examines the problem of bias in SBS news and current affairs coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.