Anti-Semitism in the Jewish News (Friday 13 Jan 2012)

Ok, so I think today’s issue of the AJN is pretty revealing, and probably a good demonstration of a reason why banning racist speech is problematic. I’m also reading an excellent book called Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex. Henry Louis Gates Jr’s essay is brililant.

Anyway, the front page of the AJN screams:

Broken Promise: Amid fears that SBS TV will rebroadcast anti-Semitic drama The Promise, Jewish leaders have this week called on the ombudsman to shelves the series.

Anyway, page 3 continues the coverage. On the right hand side at the top it decalres “TV series The Promise akin to Nazi propaganda”. It has quotes like “insidious” “racist” “a landmark in the creeping rehabilitation of anti-Semitism in Western culture”. This is taken from an ECAJ complaint about it to the SBS ombudsman. It “consistently casts Jews in a negative light” to “demean Jews as a group”. And Jews are supposedly portrayed as “aliens, predators and thieves and who enforce their usurpation by brutal, racist policies akin to those inflicted by the Nazis upon the Jewish people” (says Wertheim). This story is 3 columns, and also gets a pullout quote. There is no one else quoted – just ECAJ and ECAJ head, and a tiny quote by SBS saying it wasn’t planning on rebroadcast yet. That’s it.

Oh, and this was remarkable:

Comparing The Promise to infamous Nazi propaganda film Jud Suss, Wertheim wrote that both interpreted historical events not only as a tragedy, but as a tale of “Jewish wrongdoing”, and that both “made liberal use of anti-Jewish stereotypes”.

A more minor story – with smaller headline, and only 2 columns is on the left. It begins “The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has urged the federal government to act on a Neo-Nazi music event that is to take place in Brisbane later this year.” It’s scheduled for the day after Hitler’s birthday. ECAJ president Danny Lamm said

Those who say Australia’s laws against racial villification are an unwarranted intrusion into free speech should hang their heads in shame. Those laws are clearly not tough enough.

Queensland AG Paul Lucas said “We are not in the business of banning people who express moronic, stupid and wrong points of view”. Qld police Service spokesperson said it’s not a poilce issue, so long as they abide by the law. (public safety and amenity).

The AJN clearly knows which is more important, and which is a greater threat to the Jewish community, and what should be of greater interest to the Jewish community.

Anyway, the editorial speaks about the terrible anti-Semitic revival – that is, The Promise. It says the show is guilty of “promoting a plethora of anti-Semitic stereotypes”. Ok. And then they praise their beloved dictator, King Abdullah of Jordan. Now that Mubarak’s overthrown, they hope they can “improve his image as a statesman and promoter of Palestinian interests”. You get an idea of how supportive of the Palestinians Jordan is when the Jewish News think he’s doing a good job. They want him to “take on the regional peace-brokering role.”

Anyway, the op ed pages are entirely devoted to The Promise. It goes on and on, extracted from a 20 page letter. It then has a special section “Distorted and Balanced”. The crimes it accuses this Nazi propaganda show of are of course pretty grim. For example, “There is a focus on atrocities committed by Jews and these are not placed in context.” Or “The character Eliza mentions how Israelis say,  ‘f**k Arabs”, and “drive the Arabs into the sea”. Or Arab characters say “The Jews are in our country, the problem started when the Jews came from Europe, Jews aren’t interested in being good neighbours.” There is no mention of the various Arab attacks and pogroms against Jews since the 1880s.”

Now I want you also to remember this: ECAJ and other Jewish groups routinely accuse those who make Nazi comparisons of anti-Semitism. The headline of the p 3 story says – “TV series The Promise akin to Nazi propaganda”. Anyway, Robert Magid, AJN publisher, gave himself two columns to attack The Promise in the remainder of the op ed pages. I mean…. you just have to read this for yourself

How does one present today’s Palestinian society – which venerates mass murderers of Israeli civilians – as ubiquitously gentle and innocent?

Suppose anyone spoke in that manner of the Jewish community. What kind of response might we expect? And this is in the midst of their fury about Nazi propaganda – a boring SBS historical drama – not about an actual Nazi festival. His historical insights are also interesting: “As for the so-called expulsion of the Arab population by well-armed Jewish forces, this is pure propaganda. Far from being well-armed, Ben-Gurion felt that the odds were against the survival of the Jewish community.” The tacit admission here is almost funny. But does go on to write “Yet in other cases Jews drove out Arab neighbours they felt were a long-term security threat.” Oh? Why were civilians a “long term security threat”, Mr Magid?

Anyway, much of this is simply comical. But the point I originally wanted to make is this. When racist speech is banned, leftists think of the Nazis being banned and celebrate. But just as much – if not more energy – will go into trying to silence critics of the Israeli government and so on. Even makers of boring SBS dramas aren’t immune (I should admit, I barely watched any of The Promise).

I hope there isn’t a big turnout at the neo-Nazi festival. But I think it is good and important that people be allowed to express such grossly offensive points of view. This is what freedom of speech means. And if there is a serious attempt made to shut down their show (which would be predictable, if the Jewish organisations found a little time off from their obsession with The Promise), I hope the swarms of defenders of Andrew Bolt find their voices a second time.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Anti-Semitism in the Jewish News (Friday 13 Jan 2012)”
  1. Dave says:

    Really disagree that its a good thing Nazis be able to have their festival. Allowing them to air their hideous views will not ‘expose’ them to the wider population as reaching the general public is not the aim of the Nazis. The aim of the festival is to indoctrinate and cohere their cadre. Allowing them to do this unmolested will strengthen them and make them a bigger problem for minorites and the Left in the future.

  2. The far right loonies of Australian Jewry again show themselves to be race supremacists. How can any credible ethnic representative group comprehensively ban factual discussion of its community’s activities around the globe, without falling into the category of race supremacists.

    What AJN, ECAJ and the remainder of their approx 1% of supporters drawn from Australia’s 100K+ Jewish community, are actually saying is that in their opinion, nothing contentious about Jews may be discussed without their approval !!!

    Amazing !!!!

    So it would appear that the current fascist, aparthied far right Israeli government’s murderous campaign against Palestinians in the West Bank & Gaza, has the full support of these Aussie Jewish race supremacists.

    And to think that both major political parties kow tow, at the US’s firm direction, to the criminal Israeli Government…..even more amazing when you look at it closely. They even jointly entertained accused Israeli war criminals in Sydney & Melbourne in 2010.

    If I was a Palestinian I’d take up arms against Israel..no doubt about it.

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