Community Relations Commission Challenges “The Promise”
Stepan Kerkyasharian, the chairperson of the Community Relations Commission of NSW has told SBS that “The Promise” caused distress to the Jewish community and asked the TV station to “desist from further publication or distribution of the program”.
In a letter to SBS chairman Joseph Skrzynski, Kerkyasharian said the four part program, which flits between the contemporary position between Israel and Palestine and the 1940s when the British mandate was in place , represents “the portrayal of an entire nation in a negative light as part of a dramatic work is not acceptable”. He has quoted SBS Code 1.3 is saying that the “portrayal” as such is not acceptable.
Referring to the Jewish people as a whole, the CRC chairman said there is “the concern that the series negatively portrays the WHOLE of the Jewish People”. He added that there is “the distinct separation between condemning an action by a government on the one hand and condemning the whole of the people of a nation collectively”.
Kerkasharian has asked the broadcaster to reconsider the “representations from the Jewish community with due regard to the potential destructive consequences of racial stereotyping” and comply with the request not to rebroadcast the series or distribute the program.
Stepan Kerkyasharian was formerly head of SBS Radio and part of the team which established SBS-TV. He spent ten years as a member of the independent complaints review panel at ABC and has spen the last eight years as president of the Anti-Discrimantion Board and has chaired the CRC for 22 years. He said that the program had particularly distressed “survivors of the Holocaust”.
The Community Relations Commission is the legislated body responsible for promoting community harmony.