Saturday, March 31, 2007


The Australian Broadcasting Commission produces a rather innocuous radio programme on religion known as The Religion Report, normally hosted by one Stephen Crittenden. Well, it was innocuous enough until recently when it moved out of the area of religion and into the political arena by covering the issue of anti Zionism – originally because of the controversy relating to the introduction of the British Independent Jewish Voices and it's little brother counterpart in Australia - the IAJV.

So far, three programmes on the topic have been aired and you can judge for yourself as to the content and the way in which Crittenden deals with his interviewees. My one comment is that I noticed a marked change from a hard hitting interviewing style when Crittenden engaged the pro-zionist Professor Alvin Rosenfeld to his totally fairy floss treatment of Holocaust abuser Leni Brenner.

The transcripts are here, here and here.

I understand that the ABC has received a substantial amount of correspondence about the way these programmes have been presented and the following transcript of a letter sent by Mr Manny Waks, Executive OfficerB'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, which came across my desk yesterday is reprinted here in full:-

Mr. David Busch
Executive Producer for Religion (RADIO)
ABC Radio National
GPO Box 9994
Brisbane 4001
Email: busch.david@...

Dear Sir,

Re: Complaint regarding "The Religion Report" on Radio National

I am writing to you after receiving a deluge of intensely angry calls from both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals alike concerning the Religion Report of March 21, 2007. It featured gross misrepresentations, innuendo, and odious assertions by the well-known Marxist anti-Zionist, Lennie Brenner.

A reading of the manuscript of the program by any fair-minded person would, without doubt, fully confirm the validity of these listeners' concerns.

For three consecutive weeks of programming, your station has featured the subject of Jews and Israel under the guise of discussing religion but really focussed on the politically-motivated questioning of the legitimacy of Israel, raising questions about the possible abiding prejudice of the presenter and his team, and the ABC itself.

Specifically, why were extreme Left wing criticisms of Israel, which are designed to undermine its legitimacy, permitted under the guise of religion? Why was Brenner asked to answer these questions when has no expertise or authority on the topic of religion? And moreover, knowing full well the interviewee's biased claims, why wasn’t there a credible historian in place to challenge them? Indeed, the programme's promotional rhetoric undoubtedly was designed to achieve maximum negative titillation by linking Zionism with Nazism. To quote:

"Which Israeli Prime Minister in his youth was a member of an organisation that offered to collaborate with the Nazis at the height of WW2 because of their shared racial ideology of blood and soil? This question is answered…etc."

The programme itself carried on in this style without question, and without demur from the presenter suggesting his total acceptance of the views being presented. A further example of this is when Brenner provides so-called statistics that are unascribed to any credible authority as when he claims "the average Jew in America first off, resents Israel because it’s an orthodox Jewish state".

Brenner goes on to assert (again without backing his claims with any credible source) that "(the American Jews) see America's ties to Israel as creating problems from America, and wars for America and so on, and as American they don't feel why America should have to go to Israel's defence".

Your interviewer Crittenden, instead of attempting to clarify these so-called "facts" accepts them blindly and responds: "OK".

Brenner's notions have been used extensively and equally by the ideological Left and ultra-Right in their denunciations of the legitimacy of Israel and her right to exist. Any programmer on top of his game would not only have known this but would have related this fact during the course of the interview. Indeed Mr. Crittenden could have logged onto the ABC's own website at, titled "the Sacred Site" to glean this information about Mr. Brenner. There, Brenner’s book is lauded on the extremist sites that promote hatred. Not to alert the listener to this smacks of professional negligence on behalf of Crittenden.

Had the interviewer done his homework, he may also have pointed out facts about Arab-Nazi collaboration, or explained the facts surrounding the Soviet Union inspired push to have Zionism linked with Nazism, or even perhaps the traditional ideological Left’s objections to Judaism, then Zionism, on the basis both were "forces for reaction".

The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission's (ADC) disquiet is less with Brenner whose outlook is well-known. Rather, it is with the ABC and its presenter who has allowed such propaganda under the heading of religion to go to air unchallenged.

Yours sincerely

Mr Manny Waks
Executive Officer
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission

The ABC’s own Code of Conduct requires it to "demonstrate a diversity of principal relevant perspectives when it deals with matters of contention." TRR has now covered the topic of "Anti-Zionism and antisemitism" on three occasions, and anti-Zionist views have twice been highlighted.

Will the ABC now allow a speaker to present a rebuttal of Brenner’s views and will that speaker be afforded the same respect and opportunity to present his case as was given to Brenner? Perhaps the opportunity could be given to someone like Michael Ezra to discuss The Abuse of Holocaust Memory or would that prospect be too embarrasing for the programme's presenter to stomach?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thank you for this article.

It proves again that where the issue of zionism is concerned it has become open season for racists to operate freely under the mantle of fair criticism of a particular political or religious philosophy.

Crittenden's allusions (provided so often and with enthusiam) to the so called "original sin" of Israel's creation makes clear his racist proclivity.

Israel was created not out of sin but as a result of a resolution of the United Nations in 1947 which voted 33-13 in favour of creating a Jewish and an Arab State in Palestine. At the time the description "Palestinian" was largely a reference to Palestinian Jews. The Arabs rejected the 2 state solution and chose war instead. The "original sin" was therefore that the Jews refused to lie down and be slaughtered like their brothers and sisters in Europe.

India and Pakistan were both created by similar U.N. partition of land. Would Crittenden consider this as original sin?

I doubt it.

That is what makes him and those of his ilk racits and we shouldn't be afraid to describe him thus.

(Morton - U.S.A)