Update – 16 May 2007

Dear Advocates,

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. After maintaining its silence on many issues which highlight discord and discontentment among Palestinians not to mention outright incitement such as the Farfour/Mickey Mouse story (to read more about this click here for the Palestinian Media Watch analysis), the Melbourne Age has today decided to look at the current events in Israel/Palestine with no less than five articles ranging from a short “In Brief” piece to the usual reporting (partially disguising within them the writer’s views and opinions) to an Op-Ed from staff writer Maher Mughrabi blasting PM John Howard’s acceptance of the Jerusalem Prize.

It comes as no surprise that they all carry a decided anti-Israel slant.

The “In Brief” Section features the following item:
“MIDDLE EAST

Palestinians Killed

GAZA. At least 10 Palestinians were killed yesterday – eight members of the Presidential Guard in one incident – in the deadliest fighting between Hamas and Fatah since the rivals formed a unity government to end bloodshed threatening to spill into civil war.

For many Palestinians, the violence was particularly disturbing, coming on the “Nakba”, an annual day of national reflection over the shared suffering in the conflict with Israel.” –

Surely, only The Melbourne Age of all our Australian newspapers could include such a blatantly Op-Ed sting in the tail of a “News in Brief” Section!

The three “news reports” appeared in the World News Section – to read them, click here:

Israel Accused of Humanitarian Breach,

A Tale of One City, Two Policies: Build and Demolish, and

Diplomats Boycott 40th Anniversary

On reading them it is apparent that there is no attempt by any of The Age’s correspondents to place these events in their true context or in any sort of balance.

As a result, Israel’s perspective of the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem was completely ignored.

Our advocates should consider responding to these articles in an informed manner.

There are some excellent websites that supply background information on the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem – the MFA website and sixdaywar.co.uk. I know from the many calls and emails I have received, that a number of letters have already been sent to the Age but that should not stop anyone from letting the Age know that there is more than one perspective on the conflict in the Middle East and the Israeli side needs to be presented as well. The more letters that are sent, the more likely it will be that a number of them will be printed.

In a few weeks time we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War on the standard calendar. We can rest assured that just as night follows day, those who wish to demonise Israel will attempt to turn history on its head and seek to show that Israel, in its battle for survival against those who sought to destroy it (and said so very loudly at the time) was the aggressor and that it deliberately set out to occupy neighbouring territory. The above websites will assist in educating/re-educating ourselves about the events of those times.

Another matter which has come to my attention with regard to The Melbourne Age is that its Sydney counterpart, The Sydney Morning Herald, ran a positive story on Israel in its World News section entitled, ‘Israel Develops Anthrax Vaccine’. From what I can see from their online edition, none of the other stories featured in The Melbourne Age made it in and of course The Melbourne Age which routinely ignores any good news about Israel remained true to form on this story. Again, unsurprisingly, The Melbourne Age’s broad coverage of events failed to mention the barrage of 21 rockets that rained down on Sderot yesterday, carried out by which injured at least 26 people. Today there have been further reports of more Kassam rockets, to read more – click here and here.

The Op-Ed article by Mughrabi is entitled ‘Perpetuating Conflict’. The writer does not disguise the fact that it is his intention to undermine Israel’s democracy and legitimacy while, at the same time ignoring the anti democratic nature of so many of its neighbouring societies and in particular the many problems endemic within Palestine which themselves make the attainment of peace almost difficult to achieve.

The State Zionist Council of Victoria and the Zionist Federation of Australia is formulating a response to The Age, which we will be posting on our website tomorrow.

Best Wishes,

Emily Chrapot
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507
www.szcvic.org