ABC apologises for content

July 30, 2019 by Roz Tarszisz
Read on for article

Following a complaint from Peter Wertheim, Co-CEO, Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the ABC has issued an apology concerning the content of an interview which was broadcast on Radio National on July 8.

Peter Wertheim

An Editor’s Note has been appended to the online version of the piece.

The interview of Orly Noy, an Israeli born in Iran and Sara Saleh an Australian citizen of Palestinian background by Jonathan Green contained errors that went unchallenged at the time.

The interview touched on the status and circumstances of Mizrahi (‘eastern’) Jews in Israel.  At the time, Noy was touring Australia promoting “an Arab and Middle Eastern alternative to Zionism”.

Noy stated that Israel “excludes” its Mizrachi Jewish citizens and, also its Arab citizens. She said Mizrachi Jews in Israel “have the sad choice to either hold onto this [Arab] identity” or pay “the price of not being included in the Zionist project”.

If a listener had no knowledge of Israeli Mizrachi Jews they would be unaware that there have been three Mizrachi Israeli Presidents, including the current President, Reuven Rivlin.  According to the two interviewees, it would also appear that Israeli Mizrachi citizens have no status.

Saleh claimed at one point that Israel was “apartheid” for Mizrachi Jews.

However, there was one statement that ECAJ did not take exception to. Noy said that “every few Mizrahis today will even define themselves as Arab Jews”.

She did not explain why some 850,000 Mizrachi Jews left their countries of birth because of persecution and discrimination.

ABC News apologized for the lapse and invited Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission Ron Gerstenfeld to respond on Radio National to the issues raised by Noy and Saleh.

In a written response to the ECAJ, the ABC said

“Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that the broadcast omitted material context and therefore was not in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy.  On a number of occasions during the interview Ms Orly claimed that Mizrahi Jews are still at the bottom of the social, economical (sic), political hierarchy in Israel …. 

”While there are claims of discrimination towards Mizrahi Jews, it is also well documented that Mizrahi Jews have been and continue to be prominent in Israeli society, including in politics, business and the military.

An Editor’s Note has been appended to the online version of the story to note this fact (”

“This is the first time during my 10 years at the ECAJ that we have been called personally by an Executive Producer of a high-rating news and current affairs program to respond to a complaint, the first response that has been so sympathetic to what we were saying, and the first to result in a speedy right of reply” Wertheim told J-Wire.


One Response to “ABC apologises for content”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    Well done, Peter Wertheim and ECAJ. This has been a classic case of just how distorted and dishonest presentation of an issue can be through omission of salient facts.

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