The Fairfax group of newspapers which publishes The Age in Melbourne is shedding 550 of their staff. My only regret is that no editors will be among those to go.
Both my husband and I like to read the paper and since coming to Melbourne we decided to subscribe to The Age. We had been warned it was pretty anti-Semitic, but we thought “let’s give it go. How bad can it be?”
Well, it’s so bad that we are reconsidering our subscription. The only thing stopping us is that it’s good to know what the other side is thinking and doing. To be informed is to be armed.
Note the language I am using. It does not say much for a paper that describes itself as being “Australia’s Independent Newspaper.”
We were at a Jewish function on Sunday night where one of the speakers actually referred to The Age by saying “those of you who still read The Age…” A comment like that reveals it all, doesn’t it?
My first experience with this newspaper was one when I wrote a reply to an offensive letter written by Moammar Mashni of the “Australians for Palestine” organisation whose complaint was that the Jews are too sensitive about anti-Semitism. According to him, Jews should not equate anti-Israelism with anti-Semitism. He said that it’s not fair that one can’t criticise Israel and Zionism without being called a bigot.
I felt upset enough to try to point out to him that saying you are anti-Israel is just a convenient cop-out for an anti-Semite. Anyhow, I wrote to the Editor with a letter that I will now include below seeing it did not get published.
The Age’s accepted response to Mashni’s letter was a paricularly mild one written by Louise Deutscher. It was obvious that the paper wanted to say, “we publish responses from the other side.”
This morning, however, there were three separate letters against Jews and Israel and not one from “the other side”. There was one from a self-hating Jew, one from Taimor Hazou, an Arab, and then a letter from Moammar Mashni once again, this time attacking the mild letter from Louise Deutsher. He wanted to point out that he did not actually refer to blood-libel. But Mashni failed once again to deny Hezbollah’s right to broadcast blood libel allegations in Australia via the al-Manar channel. All in all, there are three letters attacking Jews and not a single one in support.
So much for balance in letters to the editor. I’m certain that there had been many letters responding to Mashni. There was mine, for one.
So because of this, and because this way many people will get to read my letter since I have readers all over the world, I invite you to read my response which The Age did not publish.
To the Editor of The Age,
Isn’t it amazing that the enemies of the Jews have rationalised that now they can legitimately vilify the Jews by criticizing Israel, the Jewish state. This approach is just a convenient cop-out for anti-Semites.
As for the horrible accusations about blood-drinking in Hezbollah’s TV station, al-Manar, well, they sound pretty anti-Semitic to me. That ancient vilification had nothing to do with the State of Israel but was included in that newspaper article. So much for separating attacks on Israel from attacks on the Jews.
Anybody who claims that accusing Jews of drinking children’s blood is not anti-Semitic is anti-Semitic himself, no matter how much Mr Mashni protests.
If free speech is what Mr Mashni of the Australians for Palestine group is defending, then he is fortunate that he lives in Australia and not in the Palestinian territories where he would be exposed to the censorship by Hamas or Fatah. At least in Israel you can express your views since it’s the only democracy in the Middle East. As for Israeli brutality that Mr Mashni writes about, isn’t it ironic that some members of Fatah had to find refuge in Israel when they were being attacked by their Palestinian brothers in Hamas.?
In conclusion, I wonder if Mr Mashni comprehends how offensive his own definition of anti-Semitism is? What does he mean when he says that anti-Semitism “should be reserved for those who hate Jews just for the sake of it” ? As if that’s okay…