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Wider community says 'NO' to antisemitism at Fairfax

 

Mr Carlton,

As a scholar of Genocide, your use of the term 'facism' and the cartoon that accompanied yesterday's opinion piece were calculated to maximise offense. Not only to survivors and their descendants (proportionally, Australia has the second largest community after Israel) but to everyone with a sense of decency. My family is not Jewish, yet they were victims of fascism: my maternal grandfather was murdered by the Nazis in 1942, shot in a reprisal for Resistance activities, while my father was left homeless when the Nazis occupying Hellas burned it down in October 1943. Resorting to such gutter commentary is hardly worthy of the man who 30 years ago developed 'Friday News Review'. By all means criticise Israeli policy. Please do not lower yourself to using the same sort of emotive and distasteful imagery and language employed by antisemites and other extremists across the world to justify their prejudice. Israel has all the freedoms other democratic states have. This includes the right to defend its citizens and its territory. Self-defence is hardly 'fascism'.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Panayiotis Diamadis
Lecturer, Genocide Studies
University of Technology, Sydney
President
Australian Hellenic Educators' Association NSW


To SMH
Mike Carlton's column is in desperate need of considered response, certainly not the vitriol he believes he will be submitted to by those he refers to as Australian Likudniks, a quote from an apparent comment by Bob Carr. I most certainly will not call him, or anyone else, a Nazi, and I am confident. judging from his record, that he is not a holocaust denier. However, his attack on Israel potentially reaches deep into a rich vein of anti-Semitism that can so easily be brought to the surface, even here.

Often absurd and easily dismissed, like blaming Jews for a credit squeeze in the 1960s, or denying them membership of a club, such ludicrous claims nonetheless feed into an anti-Semitic narrative that has its roots in history.

It is against this background of ignorant prejudice that Mike Carlton's diatribe should be viewed. The results, as history illustrates, can be terrifying. The Jewish community in Australia is critically aware of the dangers it faces once a stereotype takes root in the public mind.

Most disturbingly, the cartoonist, LeLievre's, depiction of a Jew (not simply an Israeli - as a gentile I could be an Israeli citizen if I migrated there), seated in a chair with the Star of David on its back, and wearing a kippa while presumably taking aim at Gaza, is a disgrace. It smacks of all the vile depictions of Jews we have seen for centuries.

I am not suggesting censorship but I am appalled to think that a publication like the Sydney Morning Herald would allow the publication of this piece without some critical editorship and responsible oversight. That isn't censorship, it's balance.

Trevor Robertson
Upper Crystal Creek NSW 2484


To Mike Carlton
Normally I appreciate your column, but this time I am appalled. I will not join a "customary torrent of abusive emails" and I do not make references to you as a Nazi. That is an abuse no-one should receive. However, your column plumbs a well=worn stream of anti-Semitism. I've been around for at least as long as you have and have heard Jews blamed by my fellow-Australians for just about everything from the credit squeeze of 1960 to control of the film industry in Hollywood. By Australians.

History shows us that it takes remarkably little to cause anti-Semitic diatribe to surface.

This current conflict is dreadful but instead of the kind of vicious diatribe you've engaged in, assisted by the cartoonist whose appalling depiction of a Jew (not just an Israeli), sitting in a chair with the Star of David on the back, and wearing a kippa, presumably taking aim at Gaza, why not work constructively in your columns to help bring about a resolution, instead of appealing to a mindless anti-Semitic underbelly in our community, because that's what you have done . Leave the hate spiel to the shock-jocks.

I am surprised the SMH allowed this column to go to print as it stands. I will shoulder any criticism that I'm suggesting censorship. I'll be letting SMH know my feelings.

Trevor Robertson


Letters At SMH
To Whom It May Concern

To see such anti-Semitic material as the cartoon and content of Mike Carlton’s article  "Israel's rank and rotten fruit is being called fascism" is a stench in the nose of any decent Australian. This is racial and religious vilification of the worst kind. Such cartoons have been used for years to promote hatred and stereotyping of the Jewish people: objective opinion and discussion around the politics of the Middle East does not need to stoop to such. Fiona Stucken, St Ives NSW


To Mr Carlton

I am not a ‘Likudnik’, neither do I lunge for my keyboard in order to insult journalists for their opinion, however I cannot allow your article to pass without objection. Any student of European history would recognise the cartoon used above your article as portraying the same kind of racial and religious stereotyping of the Jewish people as has been indulged in for hundreds of years and as a precursor to the pogroms and murder of European Jewry. You made use of an image that was emotive and devoid of truth; the content of your article was likewise lacking in objectivity, levelling criticism using half truths and left wing opinions. No-one needs to accuse you Mr Carlton – your writing speaks for itself. Fiona Stucken, St Ives NSW

I can’t believe what I read over the weekend. Mike Carlton’s lopsided article only serves to incite hatred and serious contempt for Israel, a nation that has had to put up with Islamic terror not only since its modern inception as a state but as a people group for centuries.   The west and in particular western media need to refocus on the reality of what is happening in the Middle East. We are sick of Jews being demonized and Christians being overlooked. These two communities have had to put up with Islamic jihadist expansionist ideals for centuries. Today one stands strong, Israel, and the other weak, Assyrians and other Christian minorities. Assyrians and other Christians are defenceless in the face of mad ideologies that Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS all subscribe to. The only choice for Middle East Christians is to die, convert or live in dhimmitude.

When Israel stands against the same terror that Christians cannot, they are demonised.  The Israeli defence force warns the Gaza communities of when they are about to attack. Israel’s hand is forced in attacking cowards who hide in hospitals and schools.
The cartoon is downright bigoted! The image of the man sitting down is not one that symbolises neither Israel nor the Israeli Defence Force, but rather the Jewish faith.  This horrible cartoon inspires hatred and could encourage violence against the Jewish people. Shameful!
 
Ninos Aaron / Chairperson

The Young Assyrians
Fairfield, New South Wales, Australia

Mike Carlton,

You have a voice that reaches millions of ears. Do you have any idea how easy it is to stir up hatred in your fellow human beings? Your article along with the little cartoon you have does exactly that. There really is no need for that cartoon as all you are showing is a Jew, not an Israeli dropping bombs. Most Jews I know are against what is happening in Gaza and support a two state solution. There is also a lot more to what is happening in Gaza than what you have reported. Israel is not indiscriminately bombing civilians for the sake of killing Arabs as your article implies. They, by all reports, are targeting Hamas militants and sending prior warning to residents beforehand, this however is not mentioned in your article. I think if there was indiscriminant bombing the death toll would be significantly higher. Please, in future articles, be more sensitive and try to keep an unbiased view as we don’t need violence and bloodshed on Sydneys streets.

Aden Jacob, The Young Assyrians
Fairfield, New South Wales, Australia


From: Assyrian Australian National Federation  To the Attention of Mr Mike Carlton

Re: Israel's rank and rotten fruit is being called fascism

"Well Mr Carlton as you justifiably foreshadowed you are hereby accused of being anti- Semitic. Your article is not just about facts but about characterising Israel by an individual Jew sitting on a chair with the Star of David on its back! If this is war then it is a war between Israel & Hamas, not between the Jews & Arabs. The way you have characterised this sad event (both for the Israelis & the Palestinians), is nothing short of racism. And you know what? We are not Jews or Palestinians but an objective organisation in Australia who sees both sides of the story. You cannot deny that the great majority of the Jews believe in the two-state solution; you also cannot deny that each time there has been an attack in that region it has been Hamas that has started it. Why can't the media, especially in Australia, report on facts rather than incite hatred & violence that just leads to more violence.
Why do you not report about the genocide against the Assyrian Christians in Iraq, those people who, if you know your history, will know are the original people of that land & who have been forcefully deported from their ancestral homeland in the most barbaric & brutal way. Thousands have been killed, raped, beheaded, robbed & tortured in the most inhumane & unimaginable way. If you are a journalist with integrity & truthfulness, then report with accuracy and not with bias."

Vilification is no way to report the news
The recent Israel/Palestine conflict has led to some distributing methods in which the media has been reporting on the crisis. Certain journalists have resorted to racially vilifying various ethnic groups in their attempt to report the “news” (see Israel's rank and rotten fruit is being called fascism: SMH 26/7/14). This is not a new phenomenon but one, which has sadly resurfaced as the world watches on with despair as events in the Middle East continue to unfold. The obligation of journalists is to report the news of the day in a manner, which is factual, accurate, and relevant. There should never be the need for racial vilification to report the news and there can never be any justification of such actions. Media outlets have a high standard to uphold and that standard should be free of racial vilification. Anything short of that is not reporting of the news and is a stain on journalism.

Vache Kahramanian, Executive Director Armenian National Committee
Sydney, 28 July 2014


Dear Sir/Madam
 
I am sure you have received many responses to Mike Carlton’s article that was printed in the Saturday SMH - both for and against the opinions expressed therein. As a teacher of World Religions at university level I am familiar with several cultures and a variety of religious ideals.  I have friends across a broad spectrum of the many multi-faith and ethnic groups that we are privileged to live with in Australia.  So I was deeply saddened to read such an unbalanced article.  But I was even more profoundly fearful of the cartoon which was chillingly reminiscent of 1930’s Nazism.  I am very concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism that could be enflamed by such an article in this country.  I have sadly observed in recent years after careful relection that there is an incipient rise in anti-Semitism in this newish millennium in the form of anti Israel or anti Zionism.  So that deplorably the new anti-Semitism is now anti Israel.  This is supported generally by the media presenting not the whole truth about what is happening.  We rarely hear the good news stories and there are many of Jewish aid for Palestinians. In-depth and balanced research is required for more accurate journalism.  Criticism of  Israel or Palestinian activities can be appropriate but fascist and unbalanced libel is not.  
 
I hope you can redress the issue in future articles.
 
Dr Antoinette Collins

 

Carlton
 
Dear Michael
 
I am sure you have received many responses to your article that was printed in the Saturday SMH - both for and against your opinions. Unusually I for my part do not support your ideas on this occasion.  I am not Jewish so do not have any conflict of interest in fact I teach World Religions at university.  So I am familiar with several cultures and religious ideals.  I have friends across a broad spectrum of the many multi-faith and ethnic groups that we are privileged to live with in Australia.  So I was deeply saddened to read your own unbalanced article.  But I was even more profoundly fearful of the cartoon which was chillingly reminiscent of 1930’s Nazism.  I am very concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism that would be enflamed by your article in this country.  I have sadly observed in recent years after much deliberating on the whole situation that there is an incipient rise in anti-Semitism in this newish millennium in the form of anti Israel or anti Zionism.  So that the new anti-Semitism is now anti Israel.  This is supported generally by the media presenting not the whole truth about what is happening.  We rarely hear the good news stories such as the health care available to Palestinians in Israel or the hospital Israel has set up on the Syrian border to heal wounded Syrians who come their way- incidentally one the doctors staffing the hospital is an Australian Jew from Melbourne. Criticism of  Israel is appropriate but fascist and unbalanced libel is not.  
 
I hope you can redress the issue in future articles.
 
Yours hopefully
Dr Antoinette Collins
Dip. Teach; BA; MA; MLitt; PhD
Broken Bay Institute
University of Newcastle

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