Danby critical of the ABC

September 23, 2012 Agencies
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Labor MP Michael Danby accused the ABC of a “studied insult” against the Australian Jewish community for dedicating almost half of its Q&A program to the Israel-Palestine debate on the second night of Rosh Hashanah.

Michael Danby

Monday’s Q&A featured controversial Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, who argued that the pro-Israel narrative “serves as the basis for the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine”. Jewish barrister Irving Wallach and The Australian’s Greg Sheridan rebutted Pappe’s claims.

But in a speech in federal parliament on Thursday, Danby said: “Having an academically undistinguished extremist on Rosh Hashanah is like having someone from Hizb ut-Tahrir advocate the abolition of Christianity and Australia on Christmas eve.”

Program host Tony Jones said it was the only night that Pappe was available to come on show. “A lot of people have made this same point but we thought it was an important debate and should go on anyway,” Jones said.

Pappe, one of Israel’s “new historians,” is in Australia to give the annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide and to speak next weekend at the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas on the topic “Israel is an Apartheid state.”


12 Responses to “Danby critical of the ABC”
  1. Michael says:

    Phillip with due respect whether you call your fringe group of leftists Progressive because it sounds less offensive or less divisive makes no difference to me. I’m not sure if you are aware that there is a major PR war and a demonization of Israel program going on in Australia organized by the Palestinian, Arab , Muslim lobby groups. They are supported by their storm trooper friends Socialist Alternative. Instead of concentrating all your efforts in fighting this epidemic of vilification of Israeli- Jews you choose to add fuel to the fire with your selection of invitees.
    Whilst Pro- israel advocacy groups like AIJAC, SZC, ZFA, ECAJ bring out Israeli speakers and commentators that try to portray Israel in a positive light your progressives join extremist left wing Pro- Palestinian groups like AJDS , Australian Palestinian Network and other Palestinian activists to promote anti- Israel activists or Israelis that come here to further inflame hatred towards Israeli Jews. The recent ‘ Breaking the Silence activists come to mind as an example.
    As far as Israel is concerned your progressives are more concerned about Arab/Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights than Israeli Jewish Human Rights. There are a multitude of so called Human Rights organizations in Israel and abroad that obsess over their human rights [ NIF ,UN etc] and concern them selves about so called Israeli human rights breaches.
    Your group is divisive not helping to promote peace between to waring parties at all just helping the Palestinian Lobby .

  2. Clive says:



    A dreamer of nightmares: Ilan Pappe’s foolish plan to dismantle Israel

    By Clive Kessler – posted Thursday, 20 September 2012

    What, I wonder, does Ilan Pappe imagine he is doing in Australia?
    And what good do his local sponsors think he might be able to accomplish by urging here in our midst the voluntary self-dissolution of Israel, its excision from the global network of sovereign states that constitutes international political society?
    Pappe’s position is confused but his purpose is clear. While other nations are entitled to express their common historical identity through the political vehicle and public life of a state, for Pappe and his champions Israel and the Jewish people uniquely are not.
    The reason for this special disqualification is never made fully clear. All that is clear is that these dreamers of nightmares would make Israel a Chosen Nation, one singularly chosen for delegitimation and dismantling.
    Let us be clear.
    There has been a continuing and unbroken Jewish connection to the land of Israel since biblical times.
    The ancient Jewish connection is not simply the defining presence of the land of Israel in the historical consciousness — in language, culture and religion — of the Jews. It is a matter of the unbroken historical presence, physical and demographic, of Jews in the land of Israel since late biblical times, despite the Romans’ attempts at diasporic expulsion.
    That unbroken connection to the land long predates the birth of Muhammad and the rise of Islam. As all of Islam’s own classical sources record, when the Byzantine Patriarch Sophronius handed the keys of Jerusalem to the Caliph Omar in 638, there was a substantial Jewish population in the city and land.
    After the Roman dispersion the Jewish presence waxed and waned but it persisted. The expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 prompted a significant Jewish return to the Holy Land and an augmentation of its Jewish population, notably to the northern city of Safed, home of the mystics and Kabbalists, but also to Jerusalem.
    The idea that the land was “empty of Jews” until, motivated by so-called “post-Holocaust guilt”, the world suddenly “gave” Palestine to them, and that the newly intruding Jews then acquired it from the Palestinians by theft, is an historical absurdity. But that fatuous claim is basic to the political position of those who think like and follow Pappe. This fantasy has even become the “standard received knowledge”, the “default position” of the uninformed.
    In “Israel/Palestine” both sides now have strong historical claims of substantial connection to the land. But these deeply rooted claims, if asserted absolutely, are mutually exclusive. So some process of conciliation and mutual recognition of entitlements is necessary.
    The essential problem remains how to realise the right of national self-determination of two peoples claiming the same land. The failure yet to achieve that outcome of “two states for two peoples” is a sad fact for which each side in its own way is partly responsible, since each is ultimately part of the problem.
    Some compromise is essential. The claims of the two sides are not just incompatible but mutually incommensurable. It is not easy to say, or find any basis on which to declare authoritatively, that one of them is stronger than the other.
    Yet the claims of each are incomparably stronger, and far more deeply grounded, than are the late-comer, appropriating claims of all and any non-aboriginal Australians to Sydney Cove, Toorak, Canberra or any other part of Australia whose well-meaning, and more naïve, citizens Pappe now seeks to enlighten.
    Not only his audiences but Pappe himself and his claque must also either recognise this — in which case he is a dangerously disingenuous advocate of Israel’s self-dissolution and Islamist hegemony in the name of Middle Eastern “peace” — or else he is simply obtuse, intellectually and morally and historically, a political bungler to whom we ought not to give any serious hearing or any credence.
    Non-indigenous Australians are not about “to go back to where we all came from”. Nor is Pappe urging that course. That is not why he has come to Sydney. He wants, rather, to enlist as many of us as he can to support the equally quixotic project of Israeli self-abnegation.
    Pappe seeks to recruit his listeners to his insight that, if only there were no Jews in the picture to complicate things for others, the world would be a simpler place; and to his ensuing action plan of voluntary or enforced Jewish disappearance in order to make things easier for everybody else.
    Pappe and his friends claim to hold the key to peace in the Middle East. But they are dreamers of a silly dream, captives of the naïve wish-fulfilling fantasy of an end to “the Jewish problem”, theirs and the world’s.
    Who are Pappe’s local supporters here in Australia? Some of them claim to speak as Jews. In a sense they do, a very weak sense. They may be Jews by origin, by fate of birth. They may even purport to be guided in some sense by “Jewish values”, even though those values are grounded in traditions of which they know and care little.
    But they are not really any part of Australian Jewish life. They contribute nothing to the Jewish community’s diversified network of social welfare, educational and religious institutions. Nor are they other than marginal participants in that living community’s range of socio-cultural activities centred upon the exploration and development of a broad and evolving sense of Jewish identity.
    That is just not who they are. They simply voice a view from and for the periphery, remote from the many currents of the mainstream, whom they ineptly address and for whom they absurdly presume to speak.
    Pappe’s local champions sometimes claim, although on a much narrower and less passionately committed basis than Jews who are broadly engaged in the mainstream, to be part of the Jewish tradition. Yet they are happy to “sell off”, and to be widely praised for their “principled” readiness to sell off, the greater part of that ancestral tradition, including any notion that in the age of modern nationalism (which has seen so many ancient identities similarly reconfigured) being Jewish is, for most Jews, a modern cultural and national political identity.
    Pappe’s tiny band of Jewish supporters are entitled to their views. Yet, choosing to stand largely outside Jewish tradition, they cannot plausibly claim to speak in its name or for most other Jews, nor may they appropriate the mantle of any deeply-rooted Jewish legitimacy.
    Theirs is the kind of Jewish “authenticity” that finds favour, and an honoured place, in those captive academic bastions of the new Islamist triumphalism where amenable sophists and doctrinaire casuists such as Pappe have found a home. And from where, should their efforts ever succeed, the dismantling of Israel might be contemplated in detached, risk-free tranquillity.
    Yet we are now to give Pappe a hearing and platform at Bennelong Point. A poignant irony. Land rights as a political entitlement for all, except Israel and its Jews. A splendid renunciation! Caring so little for what most Israelis and Jews treasure, how generously, in the name of “Jewish principles”, Pappe and his admirers would give away what is not his, or theirs, to cede.
    What is worn lightly, a flimsy surface garment, is easily cast off. What is worn closer to the heart less so. And casting off what others value far more than oneself and cling to dearly is not generosity of spirit or exemplary political courage but farcical self-delusion.
    Those “other Jewish voices” get a “good hearing” because there are so many non-Jews who, for their often confused and ignorant reasons, want to hear that capitulation voiced, especially when it is voiced by some Jews ostensibly for all Jews. There are many who like to think that if only there were no difficult and ever-awkward Jews to be acknowledged, the world would be a far simpler place, one more amenable to their own designs and congenial to their own preconceptions.
    A way forward is needed, one that acknowledges, on Israel’s side, both the ancient connection, unbroken over the centuries, of the Jewish people to their land and also the modern political transformation of Jewish identity and public life.
    Pappe’s is not it.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      By well calculated design, Pappe is peddling his twisted wares in Australia to a ready, off the shelf audience made of the known – and very active – local Islamists with political passions, and that makes roughly 99.99% of all local followers of Islam, to which a motley pack of psycho-polityical actiivists and less sanguine pseudo-intellectuals it found, more or less at the ornamental fringes.
      The Jewish contingent is, in numerical fact, by far, the smallest. Their presence is more visible and audiable simply because they are the kind of side show more readily comparable to the freak shows at the village fair. The names are of such repute that media outlets with a modicum of selfrespect avoid them lest their respectability – whatever afforded – will sink beyond the dredges of repulsive tabloid vomitives. We know them better simply because we are far more acutely irritated by their ethically distorted mores. Yet, in spite of their choices of association, it is rather satirical to see, for instance a certain NSWU academic, seekinf visual public Tv attention in the midst of a savage march displeying Hamas slogans up and down Sydney’s CBD.But the grey haired deluded prodigy of Holocaust survivors is out there into our face confirming the known adage that “barba non facit filosofum ” ( the beard does make one a philosopher ).
      Pappe’s condition is not that foreign to certain Jewish traits. Considering that Jewish communities in the millenarian Diaspora were concentric on a very solid democratic norm of leadership self-reliance, that each community, large, medium and small, had to rely on its own structural resources of human co-dependancy, the authority under which all members relied was one of their own making and, of course, dependability. That simply meant that challeges to the ledarship upper eschellons were not only constant, but allowed. We have, as a result, a very intense proclivity to critical comment at the Jew, ne that is also responsible for the greaster concentration of modern Jewish participants in a vast raft of cultural and intellectual domains of critique, compettitive prommotional ventures – agents and promoters of all kinds of cultural activities- and, how can we escape, some of the best, most famous humorists, the apex of critical enterprise. To the modern Jewish mind almost nothing is off the table. This is so consistent with the notion of each Israeli being a Prime Minister, at least in his/her own mind.
      This proclivity for criticims, whic involces so intimately, the cukltivation of one’s very personal interpretation of everything that swims, flies or has a communal position ( just look at …me ! ) , is bound to contain extremmes, some of which are so centrifugally disposed that an Illan Pappe is inevitable. How he fares in the much wider world of tangible conflicts depends on how depleted of political “talent” the other side is, and, to be honest, as we are saddled with a plethora of fairly well trained genuine articles on the other side of the dialectical fence, one may well presume that our Ilan would be happy to be fed crumbs of nototiety and fringe acclaim from the camp of his choice. I reckon that NO ONE can really survive on a strict diet of hatred, existential misconception, and self emulation. This does not mean that we should abandon our own little habibi to his own devices !
      Oppose him we should, confront him intellectually is a must, simply because “academic” impostors must be revealed in all their ridicule, but, just as important, we must not allow the lesser forms of the Pappe-Landau syndromme to function among us, just because this oyf kippure is so comprehensively repulsive.

      But dealing with the likes of Jewish Democratic Society and even NIF is , slightly, another story…..

      ….. to be continued.

  3. EthanP says:

    To do this on Rosh Hashana, 1st or 2nd day is totaly biased, as most Jews would not be watching and not be able to comment. And it tells you all you need to know about Mr Pappe’s Judiasm that he was traveling on, and avalable on this day. ABC should apolagize. ABC in the USA also has a blatent pro Palestinian anti Israel bias. As it has a far left political view, and the far left seems so anti Israel, we should not be surprised.

  4. Paul Winter says:

    Michael Danby’s second point is more pertinent than his first point about Q&A being on the second night of Rosh Hashana. Ilan Pappé was an inappropriate guest to have on Q&A for any debate. He is not a historian, old or “new”. He is a far left wing polemicist and he should not have been provided a forum to dicuss anything. No one advocates censorship, but I have yet to hear the ABC provide a platform for anyone from the far right like Saleam. The point that I am making is that the ABC is owned by all Australians and its role is not to advance the views of the left elite with its conceits of open-mindedness, lofty ideals and love of all creation. In the cold light of day, they are intolerant and contemptuous, democratic processes and anyone who contends with reality and is thus not goose stepping with them to the beat of their secular cultic saints.

  5. Philip says:

    Michael – I can agree with some of your comment, but as an involved member of the Progressive movement, I have to take strong exception to the way you lump together “Australian left wing/Progressives”. This implies that Pappe’s visit was in some way sponsored by the Progressive movement. Well, it wasn’t. You may not like the Progressive movement, although it sounds like you may not know much about us, but you should avoid the gratuitous coupling in your comment.

  6. Robert says:

    Michael Danby why did SBS put this documentary to air on Friday night? I thought SBS would be considerate of its multi cultural audience and be aware of the Jewish Shabbat.


    In 2005, Australian Danny Ben-Moshe travelled to Lithuania, where his grandparents died in World War Two. What he discovered horrified him. In a country where 95% of Jews were eradicated by Nazis and their local collaborators, anti-Semitism remains rife. More than that, ultra-nationalists are growing in power and there’s an official government campaign to rewrite the destruction of their own Jewish citizens out of Lithuanian history – not only locally, but globally. This is the story of Danny Ben-Moshe’s campaign to ensure that history is not rewritten.

  7. Michael says:

    Kol Ha Kavod Michael Danby you are doing your best under overwhelming odds you are the only Jewish MP Lib or Lab that tirelessly stands up for Israeli Jewish Human Rights.
    Unfortunately we have the relentless ABC and Fairfax media representing the Muslim/ Arab community, a conga Line of Israeli activists representing ARab/ Palestinian interests coming here sponsored or promoted by the Australian left wing/ Progressives adding fuel to the fire and making the Palestinian Lobby groups work that much easier.
    You may be of the mark when it comes to Multiculturalism but your efforts in trying to respond to the epidemic of anti Zionism, Israel bashing in this country is appreciated. Thank You

    [A Liberal Voter.]

  8. Otto Waldmann says:

    A bit tired on criticism without any decisive measures to address the issue, such as Michael Danby making himself available on the same night as Irving Wallach, also Jewish and to some extent, as he confessed, observant ( see ” today in the Synagogue I was told…..” ) found the time and fortitude to appear on ABC. If being on Q&A was so much less important, than was having dinner on the SECOND erev Rosh Hashana and N O T the EVE of Rosha Hashana, which was on SUNDAY and, as such MONDAY EVENING WAS NOT A CHAG !!!!!!! Michael Danby must have been there, considering that one would expect a Federal parliamentarian of his repute to trump an otherwise unknown barister who holds NO Jewish communal position of importance AT ALL.
    To be further clear and honest, Michael Danby has NEVER availed of his political clout in showing up on ANY Q&A sessions, considering that Israel has been the centre of attention on Qanda quite often so far.

    So, howz about an “A” to my numerous “Qs” so far posted, Mr. Danby !!!!

    • Lynne Newington says:

      You seem so well versed Otto, on current affairs and your history, maybe you should make yourself a candidate, and I’m not saying it with tongue in cheek either, in case you think I am.

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        …thanks Lynne for the confidence, but I would not enter politics unless sure of becomeing at least Minister for Fisheries and Recreation.
        To that extent I am now practising angle fishing and more tennis; get me angle !!!??

      • Harry says:

        If most of us understood half of what the learned gentleman said, then maybe you would have a point. To be a politician or a spokesperson on behalf of the community, one requires the ability to express arguments simply and cogently…

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