Australian Jewish News – 16 January 2009
The Herald Sun coverage of Gaza has been mixed. Its January 9 editorial concluded that due to Israel’s action, “the so-called road to peace has become impassable.” Seemingly either unaware that Israel had actually left Gaza, or regarding the whole of Israel as illegitimate, the writer stated, “The Palestinians, who were dispossessed when the state of Israel was declared after World War II, are as determined to regain their lands as the Jewish settlers are to stay there.” The paper’s January 5 coverage of the previous day’s pro-Israel rally was also disappointing. Despite most estimates putting the crowd at between 500 and 700, the paper said 100 attended, and although the article managed to mention the presence of a Greens state parliamentarian at an anti-Israel rally, it neglected the presence of Federal politicians Michael Danby MP and Senator Mitch Fifield to support Israel. On the bright side, Alan Howe used his January 12 column to attack Hamas and its supporters.
Fairfax editorials were also, predictably, critical of Israel. The January 12 Canberra Times claimed that Israel has “tested the patience of almost all of its friends, particularly in recent years, as many have come to suspect that it is not sincere about making a peace deal.” Apparently unilaterally giving up Gaza was not enough to convince the Times of Israel’s sincerity. The January 10-11 Australian Financial Review editorial cited civilian deaths in Gaza and claimed that “a country that relies too heavily on military force overreaches itself”, concluding “Israel has done just that.” The January 10 Age editorial denounced Israel’s actions as disproportionate, without saying what would be proportionate, and repeated its mantra that Israel must talk with Hamas. It also admitted that Hamas must renounce violence, but Hamas has steadfastly refused to do so, which is exactly why Israel won’t talk to it. The Age also showed disturbing standards in that editorial, recycling a comparison of Gaza to a “concentration camp”, and on January 7, running a piece by Hamas terrorist leader Khaled Meshaal alongside one by Knesset member Shai Hermesh. It sanitised Meshaal, calling him “head of the Hamas political bureau”. What next? Osama bin Laden?
Federal Labor MP Julia Irwin, frequently a virulent critic of Israel, now seems to have lost all touch with reality. In a January 11 Sun Herald piece, she bemoaned supposed pro-Israel media bias. She complained that “We talk about Darfur and Zimbabwe but say little of the gross abuse of human rights that occurs daily in the illegally occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza,” and asked, “How can we criticise brutal regimes elsewhere in the world when we condone worse atrocities when they are committed by Israel?” She was so outraged she even attacked her own government. Irwin apparently hears and sees only what suits her and ignores the rest.