Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Saturday Paper

Is Melbourne publisher (The Monthly, Quarterly Essay) Morry Schwartz's TSP a brave new venture in fearless, investigative journalism? Or just another exercise in Zionist gatekeeping?

"[Peter] Craven [editor of Quarterly Essay 2001-04] is on friendly terms with Schwartz but acknowledges the publisher's heart 'will always belong to Robert [Manne*, La Trobe University academic, author and member of QE's editorial board]. He says Schwartz was always keen for robust editorial debates, becoming noticeably 'toey' on discussions of Israel. Everyone says Schwartz responds viscerally to this question. 'Loyalty to the idea of a Jewish homeland is very important to him,' argues Manne. Says Craven: 'He's very one-eyed on these sort of things. I once said to [his wife] Anna I was going to see [the opera] Tristan und Isolde and she said, 'Peter, I won't even buy German goods.' In 1982, Schwartz published Blanche D'Alpuget's biography of Bob Hawke after Penquin and Melbourne University Press turned it down. 'Morry was very influenced by the fact that Bob was a huge supporter of Israel,' D'Alpuget tells me. 'It was really Bob's connection to Israel that he leapt at.' (Schwartz disputes this; he says he sensed the public was hungry for political biography...) Critics wonder how TSP will cover the Middle East. Schwartz says: 'I think Israel is over-tackled. The media are too obsessed with it; but a balanced view, sure.' He imposed upon Craven his preference for Australian-centric content but concedes a newspaper can't ignore world crises..." (Paper tiger: Morry Schwartz's gamble, Kate Legge, The Australian, 14/12/13)

[*For Robert Manne and QE, see my three posts: Who Speaks for Palestine? (2/9/11); The Silence of the Intellectual 1 (6/9/11) and 2 (7/9/11).]

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