Danby tackles the ABC over its Israel coverage

June 21, 2012 by  
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Michael Danby MP, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, has taken the ABC to task in a grievance speech to the Federation Chamber for their biased coverage of Middle East Issues.

Michael Danby

Michael Danby has written twice to the ABC complaining about two separate reports, one on an Australian man jailed in Israel for assisting Hamas and the second on a Four Corners Program in which Robert Fisk was invited on as an  and made  his usual crass, ill-informed attacks on Israel falsely claiming ( without host Kerry O’Brien demurring ) that Israel supported the massacres in Syria.

Firstly,  Danby raised the issue of the ABC censoring the fact that Australia also regarded Hamas as a terrorist organisation,  when it reported the jailing of an Australian in Israel. Mr Danby said he “objected to the sin of omission” by the ABC in not reporting that Hamas was proscribed as a terrorist organisation in Australia. The ABC News broadcast reported that Hamas was considered a terrorist organisation  in Israel.    In their response to Danby’s letter of complaint, the ABC claimed that “the Australian government was not involved and made no representation to the court or the Israeli government so  it was not necessary to reports Australia’s views on Hamas or nay other matter.”

Secondly,  Danby stated that the response of the ABC  “ Is plainly ludicrous. The story was reported in Australia for an Australian audience. It was not a generic international news story.  It was about an Australian convicted of terrorism and being a member if an organization also considered a terrorist in Australia,” Danby emphasised.

Michael Danby also took Mr Kerry O’Brien to task for an interview the Four Corners host did on his program in February with Robert Fisk.

“ it was O’Brien’s generous-indeed, obsequious-introduction of Mr Fisk as a journalist who covered the Middle East with distinction that drew my attention. As members will no doubt know, and as Mr O’Brien presumably knows, Mr Fisk’s journalist excesses have become a byword in misreporting,” Danby said.

In the interview Fisk insisted that Israel , along with Iran, supported the Assad regime and benefits from the massacre of Syrian citizens.   Michael Danby , rightly took issue with this statement, and the failure of by  O’Brien  to question this ridiculous claim.

Dan Meridor, a high profile lawyer in Israel, has stated that the fall of Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, would end the axis with Iran and its President Ahmadinejad. The same point was made by Efraim Halevy, the former head of Israel’s secret service)

Danby said in his address to Parliament  “O’Brien allowed Fisk once again to attack without foundation his bete noire, the state of Israel. Deplorably, O’Brien did not raise a murmur when Fisk insisted that Israel seeks to support the Assad regime. ”

This is what Fisk would do in any given interview, Danby argued, but  said that any other competent compere such as the NBC host Katie Couric, the BBC’s HardTalk Host Tim Sebastian or  BBC2’s NewsNight host Jeremy Paxman would have called Fisk out on his outrageous claim.

These are just some examples of the ABC’s trend in going soft on guests who are critical of Israel. This includes recent interviews by Philip Adams on UNRWA with its Commissioner General and Jewish Peace Activists excluded from Limmud OZ.

Michael Danby has written to the ABC editor in chief and members of the board demanding that the ABC indicate that it is not neutral or negligent when it comes to terrorism, particularly terrorism committed by Australian citizens who are members of a proscribed terrorist organisation by the Australian Government.

Comments

7 Responses to “Danby tackles the ABC over its Israel coverage”
  1. gabrielle says:

    Robert Fisk ,who writes to the Independent , is not able to distinguish fact from delusion, but many in this country cannot get enough of him. I am starting to think that among the many journalists in this country there are few if any with a sharp critical mind and in depth knowledge to ask him to justify his words with facts. John Pilger ? A whining one note story teller.

  2. Michael says:

    Whilst I applaud Michael’s tireless efforts speaking out and holding to account the Islamist ABC, SBS and Fairfax and representing a voice for those Jews in Australia that do support Israel, he is up against a powerful culture of hatred for Israel and blind support for the Islamists at these leftist media outlets.
    This culture starts at University where students are brainwashed into hating Israel , Zionists and making excuses for Islamic atrocities against Jews and the West. This is where the future Editors , and journalists and overseas correspondents cut their teeth and take their left wing extremists, anti- Zionist doctrine with them. Unfortunately most of this supported by the Jewish left if they all supported Israel like the Arab/ Muslim community unconditionally all support the Palestinians Michael’s efforts would have a much bigger impact.
    Thats why they are winning the PR war.

  3. Robert says:

    P.Adams is a longtime anti Israel polemicist and those so called Jewish peace activists are uncritical mouthpieces for Arab propaganda, incitement and racist lies.
    It is perfectly reasonable to expect Australians to be informed by the ABC on a story about Hamas,that it is a proscribed terrorist organisation, that it seeks the destruction of Israel and has genocide as part of its charter.
    In the period of the Arab/Israeli conflict many millions of Moslems have died fighting each other.
    Arabs slaughtering each other is nothing new,it has been happening for millennia, they unite against Israel no matter how much they may hate and compete with each other.Fisk knows that but as an anti Israel Arabist,it does not fit the narrative and leaves innuendo in the air to somehow try to blame the Assad regime butchery on Israel.

  4. Joe says:

    I think that Robert Fisk has been very restrained in his treatment of Israel. It is, of course, of benefit to Israel if Arabs are killing each other, whilst Israel attacks Gaza under cover of the Syrian News coverage. Mr Michael Danby would not be able to hold his own in an interview with Paxman, Jon Snow, Robert Fisk or the great Australian John Pilger. I know where Robert Fiisk Lives, on the Corniche, in Beirut. He has lived there throughout the Lebanese civil war in the seventies and still lives there; although the neighbouring properties are much posher since Israel made good job of demolishing the old property on the waterfront. 5 star international hotels now curve around the Corniche and the City itself is buzzing, and cheap for really tasty Arabic food; especially near to the American University.
    Mark Regev, the Israeli PR front man is not even Israeli and gets short shrift from Jon Snow who on one occasion told his support crew to cut Regev’s mike!
    Who would Mr Danby like to do Israeli news documentaries; Bill O’Reilly?

    • Rita says:

      Anyone who mentions: “Robert Fisk ” and “restrained in his treatment of Israel” in the same sentence, has a sharp sense of irony, surpassed only by someone who would do the same thing with “great Australian” and “John Pilger”. Both samples are perfectly antonymous,.

    • Vicki says:

      Joe, what Michael Denby was asking for is a bit of honesty in reporting. I can see that this point was completely lost on you. If you wanted to be honest in your reporting of Israel’s alleged attacks on Gaza under the cover of the world’s concentration on Syria, you would have painted the whole picture, instead of cherry-picking what you report. You forgot to mention the relentless bombing of civilian populations over the past 48 hours from Gaza, the murder of an Arab Israeli working on the Egyptian boarder by Palestinian terrorists, the attempted kidnaping and murder of an Israeli soldier on the border with Gaza only weeks ago, to mention but a few incidents that have caused the current escalation of the conflict. In reality, not Israel’s timing at all, but due to the timing of the Gazan terrorists and murderers.

      The fact is that the Israeli government is mandated to protect its citizens – as is every government. The other important fact to recall is that the Hamas democratically elected government of Gaza has as its mandate to destroy the state of Israel and “push its citizens into the sea” (read, kill each and every one of them where they stand). You see, honest and full reporting easily destroys the sort of liable that you and the ABC like so much.

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