Australian Jews Irked by Holiday TV Debate

Middle East Conflict Dominates Rosh Hashanah Airwaves

By JTA

Published September 21, 2012.
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Australia’s public broadcasting network was accused of a “studied insult” against the Jewish community for dedicating on Rosh Hashanah almost half of its weekly current affairs show to the Israel-Palestine debate.

Monday night’s weekly “Q&A” program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation featured controversial Israeli historian Ilan Pappe – who said the pro-Israel narrative “serves as the basis for the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine” – as well as Jewish barrister Irving Wallach.

But in a speech in federal parliament Thursday, Jewish lawmaker Michael Danby accused the ABC of “a studied insult” against the Jewish community.

“Having an academically undistinguished extremist on Rosh Hashanah is like having someone from Hizb ut-Tahrir advocate the abolition of Christianity and Australia on Christmas eve,” Danby said, referring to the Sunni group that seeks to unify Islamic states in a caliphate ruled by Islamic law.

Program host Tony Jones said it was the only night that Pappe was available to appear. “A lot of people have made this same point, but we thought it was an important debate and should go on anyway,” Jones said.

Pappe, one of Israel’s “new historians,” is in Australia to give the annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide and to speak this weekend at the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas on the topic “Israel is an Apartheid state.”


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