Sunday, February 1, 2015

Junk Journalism at the Herald

Is it really too much to expect someone describing herself as a journalist to do some elementary research before pronouncing on the issue of Palestine/Israel?

Take the following, for example, from yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:

"In Australia, there has been a marked increase in harassment of identifiably Jewish people in public. One consistent trend is a spike in attacks on Jewish communal buildings - and people - when conflict breaks out in the Middle East. The recent disputes in Gaza have underlined this. This suggests we have a particular responsibility to be careful when it comes to the discussion of Israeli-Palestinian conflicts." (Hate speech should be shut down, Julia Baird)

Frankly, any journalist who can reduce the near 100-year-old, Anglo-American-backed, genocidal Zionist project in Palestine to the level of mere "disputes in Gaza" and "Israeli-Palestinian conflicts" brings discredit upon herself, upon her paper and upon her profession. For one so clueless to then go on and advise that "we have a particular responsibility to be careful when it comes to the discussion of Israeli-Palestinian conflicts," merely adds insult to injury.

The following bald assertions in the same opinion piece, moreover, raise the issue of just how much research, if any, went into her piece:

"In Sydney... Hitler placards and T-shirts were sported at rallies here and elsewhere as people chanted 'Jews, Jews to the gas'; swastikas were sprayed on buildings. Facebook pages identified Jewish people and provided their location to aid attackers."

Turning to my copy of the Executive Council of Australia Jewry's (ECAJ) 2014 Report on Antisemitism in Australia, I note that the section headed Leaflets, posters, stickers, other (pp 36-9) contains no reference whatever to Hitler placards or T-shirts. Likewise, there was no mention of the allegation regarding Facebook under that heading on p 34. Nor, for that matter, could I find any mention of the alleged anti-Semitic chant in the report. And as for that old, anti-Semitic standard, the swastika, the report records just 8 instances, only one of which appeared on a wall. (For the record, 5 were found scratched onto, variously, a lamp post, tram stop (x2), door frame and park bench, while the other 2 appeared at a skate park and on a whiteboard respectively.

It is still possible, of course, that Baird has relied on ECAJ's report for her assertions.

If so, however, she hasn't looked further than the lousy cartoon reproduced on page 2, which smears anti-Zionists as neo-Nazis who revere Hitler and chant 'Jews to the gas'. Surely, any informed journalist, after seeing the cartoon, would respond by consigning the report, in its entirety, to the rubbish bin on the grounds that ECAJ's real agenda has more to do with discrediting and silencing opposition to Israeli apartheid and genocide than with exposing genuine instances of anti-Semitism.

If she hasn't relied on the ECAJ cartoon, whence the above assertions?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is a new combination : Smear by association with a straw man.