Lateline and Dateline

Jamie Hyams

Australian Jewish News – 20 Febraury 2009

Lateline and Dateline

In last week’s JN, AIJAC’s Tzvi Fleischer commented on the unfairness of the ABC TV show “Lateline” using hard left Israeli commentator Akiva Eldar as for its analysis of the Israeli election. However, the program followed up on February 11 with one of the few Israeli commentators to the left of even Eldar, Tom Segev. Ignoring Israel’s many rejected offers of land for peace since 1967, Segev claimed that “the major reason why we didn’t make more progress [towards peace] is that we kept developing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.” The vast majority of Israelis would blame Palestinian terrorism and rejectionism. Meanwhile on the February 15 edition of SBS TV’s “Dateline”, host George Negus showed his anti-Israel leanings while interviewing Tony Blair. After Blair had explained that the blockade of Gaza is because of the rockets, Negus, who spent most of the interview trying to draw parallels between Hamas and Israel, asked “Why is it that we find it easy to say that but not so easy to say that maybe the rockets wouldn’t be fired if the whole interventionist attitude of the Israelis wasn’t what it was? If there weren’t settlements? If there wasn’t occupation?” Blair explained the obvious – that the rockets were fired after Israel left Gaza.  Later, in response to Blair saying Hamas needed to commit to non-violence, Negus replied, “How do you tell to people who don’t understand situation as intimately as you do, that if Hamas were committed to non-violence, as you say, what about the Israelis being committed to non-violence? There is nothing exactly peaceful about the way they go about things.”

Cartoon Capers

A cartoon by Pope in the February 12 Canberra Times had one Palestinian man in bombed out Gaza ask another “How’s Ibrahim?” The reply was “Still waiting for some sort of ‘Royal Commission’” A stunned looking Ibrahim is reading a paper headlined “Preparing your home against an Israeli election event”. This offensively both compares Gaza’s citizens to the bushfire victims and implies that Israel’s Gaza war was motivated by electoral considerations. Also implying the war was about the election was Moir in that day’s Sydney Morning Herald. He showed Ehud Barak asking Tzipi Livni, “What was the final cost of the election campaign?” Livni, reading a paper that says, “Militants 700 Innocents 600” replies, “About 1300”.

Election Editorials

The February 12 Age and Herald editorials both wrongly claimed that Benjamin 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 responsibility influence over the peace process. That day’s Australian editorial, however, noted that the evacuation of Gaza did not stop rocket attacks. “And so, 16 years on since the 1993 Oslo accords established the basis for a two-state solution, Israelis have had enough of a negotiating process in which extremists on the other side take whatever concessions are on offer and then use terrorism to extract more.”