Moreover, as Jewish MP Michael Danby has observed:
“The ABC regularly exhibits its cultural insensitivity of having programs like Q&A on Jewish holy days such as Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Passover.”Nowhere was the ABC's bias and insensitivity more apparent than in the selection of panellists for last night's Q&A (billed as "Lobbyists, Lies & Libertarians"), as described in the following letter of protest from veteran pro-Israel federal MP Michael Danby (correctly anticipating “the inevitable attack on Israel and the Australian Jewish community” and considering the program as advertised "a set-up because the panel designed to promote Bob Carr along with overseas guest [violinist Nigel] Kennedy and [Viennese-born feminist] Eva Cox* who is a critic of the mainstream Australian Jewish community”) in an as yet unanswered letter to the ABC's managing, Mark Scott:
Dear Mr Scott,
Thank you for our telephone conversation earlier today. At your suggestion I am copying Peter McEvoy, Executive Producer of QandA to this note restating my concern with the likely content and construct of the panel of next Monday’s QandA program. Clearly there will be a focus on Mr Carr’s book, particularly given the publicity his book attracted this last week. The publicity highlighted his controversial views of the ‘unhealthy influence of the Australian Jewish Community’ on Australian Foreign Policy. A community, of which you know, I am a proud member and advocate.
Mr Carr’s advertised co-panelist Eva Cox has virulently negative views about Israel and the Australian Jewish Community which she has previously expressed on QandA. [compere] Mr [Tony] Jones has hosted Ms Cox on previous QandA programs when Israel has been a topic, in which she has vociferously expressed such views. A third panelist, British violinist, Nigel Kennedy, was censored by the BBC in August 2013 for his ad-hoc attack on Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state during a performance screened by the British network. As it stands, those criticised in Mr Carr’s book, such as myself, Mark Dreyfus, Josh Frydenberg and Mark Leibler will have not any opportunity to respond to the inevitable chorus of criticism of phantom ‘Likudniks.’ Even though our position of a two state solution brought about by an agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis is the position of both Australian Parties representing 90% of Australians. Of course each panelist is entitled to their opinion, however, it would be both equitable and instructive for an element of balance to be introduced by either myself, Dreyfus, Frydenberg or Leibler. [Emphasis added]
I accept that the British panelist Mr O’Neil[l] has at times written regarding the issues of anti-Semitism and BDS, and has expressed views that might introduce some balance on the Middle East. However, he is not cognisant of the domestic issues ventilated by Mr Carr, which are specifically with regard to Australia’s vote at the UN and a severe critique of the Australian Jewish Community, nor would he have any knowledge of the specific electoral pressures that I and many others ascribe as a primary source of Mr Carr’s conduct and writing. Nor, I doubt would [NSW Liberal politician]Ms [Kerry]Chikarovski.
.... I believe the views of at least one articulate Australian who represents a different view on the inevitable discussion of the thrust of Carr’s book should be included in the line-up.
Finally, as a suggestion, one of the panelists or Mr Jones might want to raise with Carr why he was so obsessed with this issue when there are far worse situations in the world, such as 300,000 incarcerated in North Korean Concentration Camps, or 140,000 people murdered by their own government in Syria, or indeed Bob Carr’s cruel indifference to the millions of Tibetans living under China’s boot...."For the entire letter and the full story see J-Wire here
'We are Jews from Australia, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s “law of return.” While this law may seem intended to enable a Jewish homeland, we submit that it is in fact a form of racist privilege that abets the colonial oppression of the Palestinians.
Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land—a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish, thereby potentially taking the place of Palestinians who would dearly love to return to their ancestral lands.
We renounce this “right” to “return” offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may “return” to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.'The Q&A program that was the subject of Danby's letter was broadcast last evening. It included discussion on not one but two questions (a not insubstantial portion of the entire subject matter) of relevance to Danby's fears, as set out on the ABC site:
Greg Weiss asked: Bob Carr, in your previous book “My Reading Life” you praised the Jewish Holocaust survivor Primo Levi. Primo Levi's family along with 6 million Jews were murdered while waiting for the world to speak up on their behalf. None did. That is why the Jewish people have been forced /opted to have their own lobby groups as no one lobbied on their behalf. What is the problem then with a Jewish lobby group? I see no difference between it pushing for its own case any more than a Gay lobby group fighting for Gay rights or the Groceries Lobby arguing for its interests or any other group. Why single out the Jewish lobby group from any other one?
Jessie Tu asked:Nelson Mandela famously said that our freedom will be incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians. I believe that what is occurring to them is a direct violation of the most fundamental human rights. However, I've noticed that my views are often deemed 'Pro - Palestinian' and retaliated against and labelled 'anti Semitic' by those on the other side. How can a logical dialogue even begin when the belief in the equality of all humans is met with such aggressive defensiveness?Brendan O'Neill spoke well in Israel's defence, but Kerry Chikarovski proved a cop-out, being by her own admission out of her depth on the issue. (In fact, besides panellist O'Neill, the only articulate pro-Israel speaker was Greg Weiss, a questioner, who cogently pointed out from the floor that Israel is not an "apartheid state".)
See the program (or, when it becomes available later today, read the transcript) here
Incidentally, Danby has written regarding Carr's book:
'.... Let’s look not at some of the anonymous trolls on Twitter empowered by Bob the book-pedlar but at people willing to put their names to their bigotry, who feel empowered by a man of his high rank indulging in a false and disgraceful critique of the “unhealthy influences’’, which he was ‘‘shining a spotlight on’’, of the “Melbourne-based Israel lobby”.
My ears burned. I was sent messages by Carr’s biggest fans such as ‘‘you are scum’’, ‘‘Jew loving asshole’’ and even alerted that ‘‘we all know what you people are up to … same old nonsense as last 2000 years’’. Carr is not responsible for these or for David Duke, or for the Nazi Stormfront website adulating his exaggerated claims, but their adulation ought give him pause....
None of the Australians stereotyped and caricatured by Carr in his book are the fanatics he pretends they are. [Mark] Leibler is a mate of Noel Pearson. His firm Arnold Bloch Leibler has a legacy of supporting indigenous communities and leaders, and Dadon has taken his career as an international jazz musician to new heights.
Carr, that supposed struggler for justice, offered nothing when I ran an international conference on the 300,000 people incarcerated in concentration camps in North Korea.
He says nothing about the abuse of African Muslims in Darfur or the Turkish Uighur of Xinjiang. Where are he and his Twitter-troll supporters as President Bashar al-Assad drops barrel bombs on Syrian cities every day?
Can you imagine how I felt, at a meeting with six MPs, when he jumped out of his seat, arms flailing like Mr Bean, indignant that the “Jewish lobby” was stopping him issuing a press release on a Lebanese oil spill?....'Read more here (or try googling the title...)