Media Week – Boycott Precedents; Nuclear Naivety; This is News?
Jul 18, 2011 | Jamie Hyams
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.” He also took up the theme on his Channel 10 show “The Bolt Report” (10/7), where he showed images of Jewish shops being attacked in Nazi Germany. He made similar comments, and added, “The reason – the franchise’s parent group is an Israeli company which supports its army. If the protesters were really worried about an army oppressing Muslims, why don’t they protest against the Syrian army that’s murdering democracy protesters by the day. While protesters picket only Jewish shops, I’m calling ‘Shame’.”
Brad Orgill, chairman of the Building the Education Revolution Implementation Taskforce, had a stunningly naïve article on Iran in the Australian Financial Review (7/7). His contention was that Australia should engage with Iran rather than sanction it. He baldly stated that, from what he saw as social changes in Iran “Political change will follow.” This ignores the suffocating suppression of the democratic Green movement and all other dissent. In fact, he wrote that Iran’s human rights record is “more complex than I expected” based on his experience that women “are not burkha-clad slaves to males.” He saw no reason why Iran should not have not only nuclear power, but nuclear weapons, writing that, if it was developing nuclear warheads, “it would be the 10th country in the world to have such weapons and the second in the Middle East after Israel,” adding that, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and given its natural resources, “it could rightly feel vulnerable.” There was no suggestion that Iran wanted nuclear weapons for aggressive purposes, as is clearly the case. In fact, he claimed, “Innuendo that Iran is a major source of global terrorism is hollow. There is no evidence of a meaningful connection between Iran and al-Qaeda.” It appears to have escaped Orgill’s attention, but there are many terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda, and Iran is the leading state supporter of a number of them, including Hamas and Hezbollah.
This is News?
Graham Downie reported in the Canberra Times (4/7) on a vigil by 15 people to support the Gaza flotilla. It’s hard to imagine such a small protest on any other matter receiving newspaper coverage. According to Downie, the flotilla “sought to bring much needed humanitarian aid to Gaza.” In fact, any humanitarian aid can get to Gaza through Israel. He claimed that, in last year’s flotilla, nine participants died “in violence ordered by Israel.” In fact, the violence was triggered by the protesters when Israeli forces lawfully boarded the ship. The rest of the article consisted of propaganda from protest organiser Kevin Bray. Downie provided no alternate perspective.