Aunty under fire over bias
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Aunty under fire over bias

THE ABC has again come under fire from communal leaders for anti-Israel bias.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim.

THE ABC has again come under fire from communal leaders for anti-Israel bias.

In separate complaints lodged by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and Australian Voices for Israel (AVFI), the broadcaster was accused of a lack of balance in two reports on its Radio National channel.

David Schulberg of AVFI wrote to the ABC following an interview on Late Night Live with Palestinian activist Dr Mona El-Farra, who described Israel as being “founded on the ruins of the Palestinian people” and accused the Jewish State of ­“ethnic cleansing”.

Schulberg said comments he posted about the errors in the interview never appeared, adding that he was yet to receive responses to an email he sent to the network and calls to the show’s producer.

“There was a total lack of accuracy in the remarks that the interviewee was permitted to speak on the program and at all times [host Phillip] Adams allowed El-Farra to peddle her lies and propaganda without a single rebuttal. Adams has acquiesced in everything that El-Farra said, giving her a free ticket to spread her sham agenda,” Schulberg wrote in his complaint.

“The ABC has allowed gross falsifications to go to air which is what you might expect of a partisan political organisation that aims to push its own particular agenda,” he continued.

In a statement to The AJN, the ABC said the complaint was “currently being investigated”.

Meanwhile, ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim issued Aunty with a “please explain” over comments from Radio National Breakfast presenter Timothy Latham that “in some religious yeshiva schools [in Israel] there is segregation on the basis of skin colour”.

Latham made the astonishing assertion in the lead-up to an interview with Mickey Gitzon, executive director of Yisrael Hofshit, but it was never discussed.

“The effect of this was to leave listeners with an unchallenged, unsupported but highly defamatory characterisation of Jewish religious institutions and Israeli society as a whole, as if such a characterisation is an incontrovertible fact,” Wertheim wrote in his complaint.

In its response, the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs department conceded that Latham’s was an assertion it had been “unable to substantiate in correspondence with ABC Radio”.

The offending comment has been removed from the Radio National website and the audio of the ­interview.

ADAM KAMIEN

ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim.

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