Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The Melbourne Age did its level best today to help compound the tragic story of the Palestinian people by pushing a heavily slanted case against Israel on the 40th anniversary of the reunification of the City of Jerusalem while, at the same time, ignoring damning stories of malfeasance and incitement to hatred by the Palestinian leadership that continues to render the attainment of peace in this troubled region well nigh impossible.

That's the only conclusion one can reach on the evidence of what this newspaper produced for its readers today.

This is the story of what happened after a week in which the Age totally ignored the inflammatory use by Hamas, the party elected to lead the Palestinians, of Disney favourite Mickey Mouse to teach hatred and Islamic supremacy to its children, ignored continual barrages of quassam rockets into Israeli homes and schools and downplayed the bloodletting and lawlessness occurring in Gaza and to a lesser extent in the West Bank. Scarcely a word was written about the deadly clashes between Fatah and Hamas whose toll was 17 dead on Naqba Day (Tuesday) and has now reached 30 in 4 days including innocent children.

The Age also chose to ignore the news today that international aid to the PA nearly tripled in 2006, despite the international boycott of the Hamas-led terrorist government. Tripled while the rocket attacks, hatred and incitement in the media continued! Heaven forbid that this gets out to a world force fed with news of starving Palestinians in a land where the gun rules and the charter of the party elected to govern calls on its people to kill Jews!

Also consigned to the blank pages was this story: ISRAEL DEVELOPS ANTHRAX VACCINE, a good news story about the pesky zionists which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald - the Age's sister publication. Hidden entirely have been stories of co-operation between Israel and the PA to maintain employment for Palestinians even in areas where they fire rockets at the Jews. Heaven forbid that something nice about Israel can be written by this newspaper that spouts about tolerance and seeking peace.

Exactly what news did the Age bring its readers today?

Here’s the line up:-





The first three articles are a collection of news items that have been around for most of the week but were obviously kept on hold for today. They are news items but all are presented from an anti-Israel perspective. There's no balance, the Israeli viewpoint if presented at all, comes almost as an afterthought and there's no context either given that the Age airbrushes out of existence news of Palestinian behaviour that would explain in many cases why Israel is forced to take the action that it does – often as a deterrent to the very terror attacks, the news of which the Age routinely suppresses and keeps out of the view of its readers.

The fourth item by Age staff writer Maher Mughrabi is an Op Ed piece that follows the same formula of telling one side of the story and embellishing it in such a way that the Israelis look bad and the Palestinians come out smelling like roses. Mughrabi's article stunningly makes the claim that John Howard's acceptance of a "Zionist award" (meant to sound sinister but it's actually the Jerusalem Prize) will not help bring about Middle East peace.


I have news for Mr. Mughrabi. Hanan Ashrawi was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2003 and that hasn't helped in bringing about Middle East peace. Not one iota. Of course, nobody believed that it would at the time and nobody expects that an award made to John Howard is going to be a turning point in the attainment of peace in the Middle East either!

So give us all a break please. You know well what's needed to bring about peace in the Middle East and it involves good faith on both sides. The two major parties - Howard's Liberals and Kevin Rudd's ALP are both pushing the same message - supporting the right of Israel and a future Palestinain State to live side by side together in peace and harmony. You should take a leaf out of their book instead of attempting to damn one side in the conflict while ignoring the terrorists whose aim is to fight on until it wipes out the Jewish State. Why not start by reading the article by Professor Shlomo Avinery which I featured yesterday?

We know it takes two to tango but in the Melbourne Age, one side seems only to want to dance the twist. This twisting and distorting and the hiding of what's happening and why it's happening will only see the Palestinian downward spiral to continue on its merry way. The Age is doing untold damage to Israel and Palestine by telling half the story and keeping the rest on the blank pages.

That is the real naqba.


Justin Cohen said...

Two comments

(a) if the Age touches the fighting between Hamas and Fatah at all it will be to blame Israel, and

(b) the increasing incidence of quassam rocket fire is obviously a ploy to take the heat off the fightng between Hamas and Fatah. The Israeli government has a tough job but it shouldn't get involved yet. Meanwhile, the Age wouldn't even consider discussing this dilemma for Olmert and his government.

The Gharqad Tree said...

I know of at least three people who responded to the Age letters editor on the Mughrabi article but none appear to have been published today. I was somewhat mystified about this so I dug up my own version of the Age Letters Policy posted by me a little while ago.


We prefer letters of no more than 200 words but if we agree with your viewpoint we might give you double that space. If we disagree with you or if you write anything that might paint our friends in a bad light, then we might cut your letter down to the point where it's meaningless or not publish it at all. Letters must indicate your full name, address (not a post office box) including name of roommate if you are a resident at an asylum and a daytime telephone number for verification. By submitting your letter to us for publication you agree that we may edit the letter for legal, space or reasons of trying to make your argument sound illogical if we disagree with you or you support a zionist position and may, after publication in the newspaper, republish it on the Internet or in other media including hate sites.

Dan Lew said...

When the Jewish community complained about the Ashrawi prize, we were accused of "bullying", unfair "lobbying tactics", manipulation of government and every other argument used by antisemites and anti-Zionists. You will recall this incident was the epoch of Antony Loewenstein.

However, when the Palestinians want to complain? Well, that's just fine isn't it.

Anonymous said...

As a refugee from the Soviet gulag I read yesterday's Age with a heavy heart. For a moment I imagined I was back in Russia with the antisemitic/antizionist hate propaganda running non-stop through the pages of Pravda.

I will never touch this dreadful newspaper again.


Anonymous said...

Leonid, the articles themselves - each on their own - were reasonable pieces of journalism. Perhaps a bit biased but nothing that would provide me with any problems. I agree though that the entire presentation was a disgrace because it was so unbalanced and the opinion piece was nothing more than propaganda that most readers would see through before they reached the end of the first paragraph. After reading about the incitement Hamas generated with Mickey most people with any brains know who the aggressor is in this battle.

Gulliver_on_Tour said...

The Age has graciously given space for a response to Mughrabi's Oped from Wednesday.

It has also been remarkably even-handed by allowing an equal number of letters on the issue:-

Real democracy

IT IS sad that Maher Mughrabi (Opinion, 16/5) concentrates his attacks on Australian leaders, Israel, the Jewish community, democracies, Israel's Winograd report, but fails to criticise the failings of Palestinian leaders. Even the deadly violence raging in Gaza between Palestinian factional groups, criminal gangs and kidnappers was ignored.

Mughrabi should acknowledge that it is the corrupt, uncompromising and fanatical stance of Palestinian leaders that perpetuate the conflict and prevent their people from achieving an independent democratic
state. The Palestinians could learn from the Israelis who are courageously prepared to be self-critical and correct past mistakes.

Instead of using gun power on the streets, as in Gaza, Israelis took to the streets in their hundred of thousands to peacefully protest against their Government's failed policies. That's how democracy operates.

Rachel Merhav, Bentleigh

Inherent bias

MAHER Mughrabi's essay demonstrates why Australia should not support Israel, despite claims about its democratic values. As a state defined by an ethno-religious identity, Israel's inherent bias is offensive to the secular, non-racial principles that genuine liberal-democracies
require. Even worse, Israel's identity as a "Jewish state" is dependent on the exile of the majority of people who lived in western Palestine or their children and grandchildren, thereby denying them their human rights.

Kevin Rudd may laud Australia's UN vote to partition Palestine in 1947, but this was in denial of the wishes of the Palestinian majority and therefore anti-democratic. Still, given their support for Zionist colonialism in Palestine, it's no surprise that Rudd and Howard are willing to kowtow to the Chinese occupation of Tibet by refusing an official reception for the Dalai Lama.

Jason Foster, Windsor

Middle East

MANY kudos and heartfelt thanks to Maher Mughrabi. It's rare to be presented with such a thoughtful, insightful and factual view of Israel.

William F. Hassell, Hopetoun

MAHER Mughrabi criticises Israel but doesn't address the sick symptoms of Palestinian society, including inciting children to death.

Philip Ioannou, Paddington, NSW

Gulliver_on_tour said...

Now I can understand how the Age would want to keep up appearances as being even-handed but Jason Foster's letter was simply a repeat in slightly different form of the bullshit that Mughrabi was frothing about in the first place.

I guess that was the best shot the anti-Zionists could fire.

Anonymous said...

Mughrabi suddenly seems to be interested in China's occupation of Tibet?

I suppose he could explain why it is that his union mates in Britain pick only on Israel and don't boycott China. And why don't they boycott the Palestinians for their racism, child abuse and mysogyny?

Maher Mughrabi said...

1) The real Nakba is spelt
with a `k'.

2) Not only is good faith needed on both sides, two sides need to
be created. Until then, all talk of sides living side by side is nonsensical. PS: what exists in the Gaza Strip is not "two sides".

3) Perhaps while I am reading Shlomo Avineri, some of you might read Baruch Kimmerling and Bernard Avishai.

4) "Untold damage"? Oh please. Now that's real frothing.

5) The people who complained about Dr Ashrawi and the Sydney Peace Prize were trying to reverse the decision of those awarding the prize and to prevent Bob Carr
handing it to her. I made
no such "lobbying" effort.
The Prime Minister is a fitting recipient for the prize.

6) Apparently referring to the prize as "Zionist" is an attempt to make it sound sinister. Three organisations, all with the word "Zionist" in their names, are responsible for the award.

7) I didn't mention China in my piece. I do have a position on China and Tibet, one that I did not dream up yesterday, but the piece was intended to make a very specific point about Israeli democracy, which it did. Indeed, the host of this blog got a sneak preview of the argument a while back when I applied precisely the same logical approach to the term "press freedom".

8) Despite all the froth, no one has pointed to a single thing in my piece that they wish to debate.

Anonymous said...

You're in trouble when the first point you try to make is how to spell a word that's translated from the Arabic.

There's your Nakba.