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Effort to stop “The Promise” sales fails

THE DVD of the controversial television series The Promise was available for purchase on SBS and Dymocks online shops on Wednesday, despite a last-ditch appeal to have it removed.

THE DVD of the controversial television series The Promise was available for purchase on SBS and Dymocks online shops on Wednesday, despite a last-ditch appeal to have it removed.

A former head of SBS Radio and the current chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, said the drama portrayed the entire Jewish nation in a negative light and it should not be sold.

In a letter to SBS chairman Joseph Skrzynski, Kerkyasharian wrote that such a depiction could not be justified in any context.

“There is a distinct separation between condemning an action by a government on the one hand and condemning the whole of the people of a nation collectively, through stereotyping, on the other hand,” Kerkyasharian said.

“Stereotyping, particularly in the context of race or ethnicity not only creates distrust and hatred but condemns the generations yet to be born.”

He asked SBS to reconsider the representations from the Jewish community, to commit to not rerun the series on TV and to stop selling the DVD through SBS shops and online.

His comments follow months of controversy after SBS screened the series in November and December last year.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) executive director Peter Wertheim submitted a 31-page complaint to the SBS ombudsman last month describing the series as “insidious”, “racist” and “a landmark in the creeping rehabilitation of anti-Semitism in Western culture”.

However, the SBS Complaints Committee, including SBS ombudsman Sally Begbie, found that The Promise did not violate SBS’s Code of Practice because it was neither anti-Semitic nor racist, and any reasonable viewer would recognise the series is fictional drama.

Dymocks wasn’t able to provide a comment before The AJN went to print.

JOSHUA LEVI

A scene from The Promise

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