A Tale of Two Papers

January 17, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has questioned the treatment of his complaint to SBS over the screening of the TV miniseries “The Promise” which depicted contemporary Israeli-Palestinian relations and those of the time of the British Mandate in the 1940s.

Peter Wertheim -ECAJ Executive Director

Fairfax journalist Leesha McKenny’s piece received different treatment in Melbourne’s “The Age” from her same story published in “The Sydney Morning Herald”.

The ECAJ’s Peter Wertheim told J-Wire: “The Age story is far less balanced than the Herald version.  Compare the two below. Same subject-matter, same journalist, different headline and different content.  The Age piece adds criticisms of the complaint while providing far less detail than the Herald version about what the complaint is actually about.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/sbs-fields-complaints-over-series-set-in-israel-20120116-1q37z.html

SBS fields complaints over series set in Israel

Leesha McKenny

January 17, 2012

AUSTRALIA’S peak Jewish body is seeking to halt promotion and DVD sales of the SBS series, The Promise, a dramatic portrayal set in Israel it has likened to Nazi propaganda.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) said the British-made drama, inspired by accounts of British soldiers who served in Palestine during the 1940s, was anti-Semitic and in direct violation of the SBS code covering prejudice, racism and discrimination.

The four-part series, which screened in Australia late last year, tells the story of a young British woman in present-day Israel and her grandfather while he was a soldier in final years of the British Mandate for Palestine.

In its 31-page complaint to the SBS ombudsman, the ECAJ said historical inaccuracies and ”consistently negative portrayals” of The Promise’s central Jewish characters ”without any redeeming virtues” compared to the 1940 Nazi film Jud Suss, as well as Palestinian propaganda that ”all Jews are collectively guilty of the wanton shedding of innocent blood”.

It contended that identifiably Muslim characters would not be similarly portrayed by SBS.

In a letter to the broadcaster, ECAJ executive director, Peter Wertheim, said the complaint also related to any marketing, promotion or sale of the DVD, which would be ”inappropriate” while the determination was pending. ”Nothing should be done by SBS or SBS Shops which pre-empts or presumes the outcome of your final decision,” he wrote.

The television drama prompted a similar reaction following its screening in Britain last year. The UK’s Office of Communications received 44 complaints about the series, which was not found to be in breach of its code.

In an online Q&A after the final episode in the UK, its Jewish writer-director Peter Kosminsky said the 80 British veterans interviewed during research for The Promise had arrived in Palestine ”very pro-Jewish … but by the end of their stay had almost all shifted their allegiance and were feeling a great deal of sympathy for the Arabs”.

An SBS spokeswoman said the broadcaster had received a high level of positive and negative viewer feedback to the series. She said that as it was expected the ECAJ’s complaint would be resolved well in advance of the February 8 DVD release, ”it is unnecessary to provide any undertaking regarding the DVD release”.

”SBS will assess its position in relation to the sale of DVDs once the complaint has been resolved,” she said.

 

 

 

COMPARE TO:

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/jewish-outcry-on-sbs-series-20120116-1q3a8.html

 

Jewish outcry on SBS series

Leesha McKenny

January 17, 2012

A LEADING Jewish body is seeking to halt promotion and DVD sales of SBS series The Promise, a drama set in Israel and the occupied territories that it likened to Nazi propaganda.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry said the British-made drama, inspired by accounts of British soldiers who served in Palestine during the 1940s, was anti-Semitic and in direct violation of the SBS code covering prejudice, racism and discrimination.

The four-part series, which screened late last year, depicts a young British woman retracing the footsteps of her grandfather, a soldier in the final years of the British Mandate in Palestine.

In its 31-page complaint to the SBS ombudsman, the council said historical inaccuracies and ”consistently negative portrayals” of the central Jewish characters made the series comparable to the 1940 Nazi film Jud Suss.

It contended that identifiably Muslim characters would not be similarly portrayed by SBS.

In a letter to the broadcaster, the council’s executive director, Peter Wertheim, said the complaint also related to any marketing or sale of the DVD, which would be ”inappropriate” while the determination was pending.

The TV drama prompted a similar reaction following its screening in Britain last year. The UK’s Office of Communications received 44 complaints about the series, none of which were upheld.

In an online question-and-answer session after the final episode aired in Britain, its Jewish writer-director, Peter Kosminsky, said 80 British veterans had been interviewed during research for The Promise.

”If criticism of Israel becomes entirely synonymous with anti-Semitism, it becomes almost impossible to attempt any kind of reasoned analysis of what is clearly one of the saddest and most intractable conflicts facing the human race today,” he said.

The General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, which represents the Palestinian Authority, said the council’s complaint was ”an attempt to silence legitimate historical investigation, recollection and representation”.

An SBS spokeswoman said the broadcaster had received a high level of positive and negative viewer feedback on the series. She said that as the complaint was expected to be resolved before the February 8 DVD release, ”it is unnecessary to provide any undertaking regarding the DVD release”. ”SBS will assess its position in relation to the sale of DVDs once the complaint has been resolved,” she said.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/jewish-outcry-on-sbs-series-20120116-1q3a8.html#ixzz1jfBZwKSz

 

Comments

7 Responses to “A Tale of Two Papers”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ and ‘The Age’ are both Fairfax newspapers, so any difference in the reporting might be due to the Editors.

  2. Yosi Tal says:

    Fairfax is going down the gurgler anyway.With the way things are there they wont exist in their current form in the near future

  3. maurice may says:

    I have watched the four episodes of the promise.
    I have found would the production balanced and well produced.

    Of course some of the scenes were painful to watch. perhaps they remedied one one of un pleasant truth.

    There seemed to be a determination not to confront these facts.
    More is the pity.

    Maurice May

  4. Larry Stillman says:

    This is becoming laughable. Isn’t the ECAJ satisfied with getting front page coverage in the 2 major daily newspapers, and now it quibbles about the story? Subbies do this to everything.

    This whining–and that is the only word I can think of- is pitiable. Is this supposed to demonstrate that the Age is anti-Semitic and the SMH is no longer anti-Semitic?

    Which other non-government organisations other than footy teams and Oxfam or World Vision manage to get such coverage? [A slight exaggeration, but I hope you get my cynical point]

    In any case, the full text of the British Office of Media Communications ruling on the complaint brought about in the UK have now been made available. It has not been made available before. I think its experience in dealing with hate matters in the media is more than the ECAJ’s.

    See http://ajds.org.au/node/457.

  5. Peter says:

    Thanks for bringing the DVD to my attention. I’ll have a look at the DVD when it’s released to form my own opinion, thank you very much. I don’t need others trying to provide censorship services for me.

  6. Paul Winter says:

    There are two points of interest here.

    The representative of Israel’s peace partner whines that Jews are trying to silence “legitimate” questioning and enquiry. Typical of historical revisionists.

    The articles refer to Kosminsky interviewing British veterans whose sympathies swung from the Jews to the Arabs. Asking veterans who had faught Jews in the UK Palestine mandate is like asking the Waffen SS what they thought of the Bielski brothers Jewish partisan group. And somehow, the article fails to mention that Kosminsky interviewed the NIF funded Breaking the Silence mob, but omitted interviews with Jewish veterans of the Haganah.

  7. david singer says:

    Peter Wertheim is right to complain about the material variance between the two articles.

    Did Leesha McKenny write both articles as both reports indicate?

    Whose idea was it to get a statement from the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia and only include it in one of Leesha’s articles.?

    Who dug out the two different statements by the Director – Peter Kominsky? Was it Leesha?

    How come neither story told its readers that the rules in Great Britain are very different to the rules applying in Australia and that the dismissal of complaints in Great Britain were of no relevance in deciding the ECAJ complaint?

    Hope the editors of both papers have got some convincing answers.

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