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« PA Budget (And Donors) Funds Hamas Terror | Main | The Washington Post: An In-Depth Analysis »

Monday, September 20 2010

Australian Journalist Cleared of Anti-Semitism Charge

The Australian Press Council dismissed a complaint against Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton.

Background: On June 5, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton reacted to the Mavi Marmara incident. Complaints from outraged Jews sparked followup columns on June 12 and June 19 (scroll down to the second half).

A reader then filed a formal complaint against Carlton with the Press Council, saying the latter two commentaries were anti-Semitic. The APC regulates Australia's print media.

Is Carlton entitled to express his views? Yes.

Were the two columns offensive? Yes.

Were they anti-Semitic? I don't think so.

It was fair of SMH readers to write letters to the editor, for bloggers to fisk Carlton's pieces, for people to share their outrage on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. That's all part of the online conversation.

But accusing someone of anti-Semitism is too heavy a charge to throw around lightly. It changes the terms of the debate, and that's a shame because other issues raised by the substance of Carlton's columns were overlooked. Such as:

  • Accusing a Jewish lobby of coordinating a response rudely dismisses legitimate criticism out of hand.
  • There's no comparison between the Mavi Marmara and The Exodus.
  • Calling Israel's prime minister a "thug addicted to the use of Israeli military might" is a cheap shot.

So I can't say I'm surprised by the Press Council's ruling. Even worse, it now became just a little bit harder to fight real anti-Semitism (especially Down Under).

With the chapter closed, I can only wonder if Carlton ever appreciated the more legitimate reasons why SMH readers were offended.

 

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Comments

If the Australian version of the National Union of journalists is anything like that in UK, they are run by the interNational Socialists who hate Israel, love islam.

Juniper you are 100% right-

So the next step is to ask these "Left Wing"- Old Soviet type supporters- How come they support the Jihadi Islamist when their views on life are diametrically opposite!

We know why they hate Israel- thats because after the USSR voted in favour of partition in 1948 thinking they could turn her into another Soviet satellite in the ME- Israel went to the USA for help.
They have never forgiven Israel since.

The reader didn't object to the commentary about the flotilla, but to the follow-up columns in which Carlton lashed out at his Jewish critics eg "It is a ferocious beast, the Jewish lobby. Write just one sentence even mildly critical of Israel and it lunges from its lair, fangs bared".
Carlton also wrote: "The Israel lobby, worldwide, is orchestrated in Jerusalem by a department in the Prime Minister's office".
The reader complained that these were anti-semitic stereotypes.

The Sydney morning Herald by allowing the printing of Mike Carlton virulent anti Israeli comments need congratulating as the Sydney Morning Herald has achieved to give honor and respectability to the oldest profession on Earth .

The Sydney morning Herald by allowing the printing of Mike Carlton virulent anti Israeli comments need congratulating as the Sydney Morning Herald has achieved to give honor and respectability to the oldest profession on Earth .

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