Aus­tralian TV gets more neu­tral

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

the lan­guage of UN reso­lu­tions”.

Has SBS’s de­ci­sion put Aus­tralia “fur­ther into Is­rael’s camp than any other coun­try, in­clud­ing the US,” as claimed Jake Lynch, an ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber of the Syd­ney Peace Foun­da­tion? Is the SBS de­ci­sion a victory for Zion­ists and the Beeb’s ver­dict a victory for an­tiZion­ists? Does it re­ally mat­ter?

No and yes. The lan­guage used by a broad­caster in far­away Aus­tralia, or even Eng­land, will not bring about a peace treaty. How­ever, the bat­tle for hearts and minds does mat­ter as Is­rael faces a seem­ingly end­less cho­rus of con­dem­na­tion. In 2003, the Aus­tralia/ Is­rael & Jewish Af­fairs Coun­cil tabled a 67-page re­port in par­lia­ment ac­cus­ing SBS of “an en­trenched and strongly pro­nounced bias against Is­rael”.

Un­sur­pris­ing then that AIJAC’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Dr Colin Ruben­stein, de­scribed SBS’s de­ci­sion as “a step in the right di­rec­tion”, which “brings it into line” with the ABC, Aus­tralia’s other ma­jor pub­lic broad­caster.

Its com­plaints re­view panel rec­om­mended in June that the terms “dis­puted land” and “oc­cu­pied ter­ri­tory” could sug­gest “lack of im­par­tial­ity”.

Di­rec­tor of News Paul Cut­ler would only say that “SBS doesn’t com­ment on in­ter­nal ed­i­to­rial de­ci­sions”.

As a se­rial scep­tic, I won­der whether SBS has sim­ply tired of re­ceiv­ing count­less com­plaints of bias from the likes of Mr Ruben­stein. As a jour­nal­ist, I won­der whether it is in fact pos­si­ble to re­port on the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict without stir­ring the pas­sions of ei­ther side — even in far-off Aus­tralia. Dan Gold­berg is the JC’s Aus­tralia cor­re­spon­dent

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