ECAJ Slams Fairfax

August 28, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Dr Danny Lamm, today slammed a story alleging maltreatment of children by the IDF which appeared in Fairfax newspapers on Monday.

Dr Danny Lamm

“How sad it is that once-great broadsheets like the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have been reduced to featuring crude propaganda on their front page.

Their story alleging maltreatment of children by the IDF relied on statements supposedly made by ex-IDF personnel to the veterans’ group ‘Breaking the Silence’. But the thrust of these statements is a rehash of reports published in previous months by a group of British lawyers who visited Israel’s military courts and by the NGO, Defence of Children International, and they appear to be based on the same or similar sources.

The statements published by ‘Breaking the Silence’ were characterised by the Herald and the Age as “testimonies” but in fact they are anonymous, non-specific as to times and places, devoid of critical detail and untested by any kind of cross-questioning. The photographs of crying children lack any detailed explanation or context and are calculated to play to the emotions of readers, not to inform.

It is impossible for the IDF, or any organisation, to investigate allegations of such a generalised nature, especially while Breaking the Silence insists on maintaining the anonymity of all of its sources and with-holding other relevant information. One suspects that their complaints are not being made with a view to having them investigated and

addressed but solely for their propaganda effect.

If Breaking the Silence is genuine in its complaints and is not simply seeking to pursue a political agenda, it has a moral duty to make all relevant material available to the office of the Attorney General or the Military Advocate, who have repeatedly offered to investigate any complaints as soon as they have something concrete to investigate. They have never shrunk

from investigating, and where appropriate prosecuting, specific allegations of wrong-doing that have been referred to them.

Sadly, many Australians will have read this story in a superficial way or merely viewed the headline and the photographs. They are being left with the false, indeed ridiculous, impression that the IDF is a serious abuser of children’s rights, indeed the most serious abuser of such rights in the Middle East. There is not a word in the story about the systematic indoctrination of Palestinian children at school and through the media and the deliberate use of children as combatants and terrorists by armed Palestinian organisations.

It was also telling that a genuine and substantiated report about a massacre of approximately 300 civilians by the Asad regime in Syria the previous day was relegated to a minor story on page 7 of the Herald and was unaccompanied by photographs of dead and dying Syrian

children, which are distressingly easy to find online.”


25 Responses to “ECAJ Slams Fairfax”
  1. Susan says:

    The SMH should realise by now that there is a world bias against Israel, and should not so easily participate in, or, publish, articles against Israel unless thoroughly checked out with reliable sources, such as organisations in favour of Israel, rather than organisations who are anti-semitic. The SMH and their journalists should get an education on what is really going on!

  2. Jason says:

    would like to lodge a formal complaint against Ruth Pollard who wrote the following article

    ‘Israeli soldiers expose plight of Palestinian children’-dated 27th of August. Please note your response may be made public.

    I refer to Ruth Pollards article in the Sydney morning Herald.

    Ruth Pollard refer to the Israeli Defence Forces ‘arbitrary’ use of violence against Palestinian children. Arbitrary implies subjective and illogical cruelty and sadism. For eight years prior to Operation Cast Lead Palestinians terrorists fired rockets into civilian areas of Southern Israel with the intent of killing as many innocent Jewish men, women and children as possible. Need we forget the Palestinian iniquity?

    Ruth tries to attract sympathy by portraying the Palestinians as underdogs which they are not. Citing information from ‘Breaking the Silence’ is unreasonable since the organisation has been discredited. Along with the Goldstone Committee their ‘evidence’ was rejected. Their allegations along with Goldstones were proven to be outright lies yet Ruth, projects their assertions as truth. The terrorist groups Hamas and Fatah which both seek to destroy Israel , were created, when the West bank and Gaza were under the control of Arabs, not Israel. There is no reference to Palestinian evil, or the morality of the Israeli army which has higher levels of decency, ethics and principles than any other.
    The disproportionate loss of life Ruth refers to does not absolve the Palestinians, since war is never fought on a level playing-field.

    During World War 2 the Americans killed more Germans than vice versa, yet the former acted on the side of good, whilst the Germans acted on the side of evil. Throughout the article there is a continuous reference to soldiers, but none have been named and details are lacking. Truth carries more detail than empathetic statements made by ‘nameless soldiers’ We see consistent references to Palestinian children, yet we have no mention of their ages. If a Palestinian ‘child’ of eighteen fires a gun, or throws a Molotov cocktail at Israeli soldiers then neither are children. Ruth, uses the word ‘child’ in an attempt to portray Palestinians as victims, innocent of sin.

    There is no reference to location, we have no idea where any of the alleged events happened. During the Second Intifada (2000-2005) Palestinian gunmen used their women and children as human shields, since they respect neither the lives of their own children nor that of the Israelis. Being the most moral army in the world the IDF has always announced impending attacks, compromising their own security for the lives of their enemy and civilians. We know nothing about the sample picked by discredited organisation ‘Breaking the Silence’ Thousands of combatants fought in Gaza, yet judgements are made on unverified data which doesn’t appear to be the result of random sampling. Truth cannot be told hiding behind broad assumptions. Truth cannot be told through anonymity and testimony is not hearsay.

    Ruth, has made every effort to paint Israel as evil, and the Palestinians as victims. She plays on emotions by referring to ‘occupation’ as if Israel is the aggressor, yet fails to mention how many innocent Jews were killed by Palestinians prior to Israel’s control over the west bank and Gaza. Children are not necessarily good, if they act as terrorists, then they are terrorists.

    I look forward to a prompt response.

    Kind regards,
    Jason Brill

    Hi Peter,

    Please read through my email and address it accordingly.

    1) Why does Pollard use the word arbitrary? It implies that Israelis use subjective and illogical cruelty.

    2) Breaking the Silence has been discredited- true or false?

    3) Palestinian ‘children’ who throw Molotov cocktails are terrorists, as are those who fire rockets and kill innocent Jewish civilians. There is a moral distinction between Israeli soldiers who fight in uniforms, defend their civilians and drop messages warning innocent people to leave an area, and Palestinians who use their own children as human shields, who teach their offspring to hate Jews.

    Let me remind you children are not born equal, and man is not basically good-Children are born innocent and they are taught values. Watch this clip
    Israel is on the side of good, terrorists are on the side of evil. Why does Pollards article fail to draw a moral distinction?

    4) Why does Pollard refer to disproportionate loss of life. More Germans died in WW2 than Americans – Who fought for good? Who fought for evil?

    5) Jews were being slaughtered in Gaza before the ‘occupation’- True or false?

    6). Why does Pollard omit FACTS like bombs being fired at Israeli civilians- Is she saying that the lives of Jews taken in suicide bombings in Pizza parlors, on buses and on the streets are not worth mentioning?

    7) You have vilified the IDF. Can you name another country in the world that would let terrorists fire rockets into their country for eight years without reaction? If your wife and your child were in the line of fire, would you not want your country to protect them. If a child killed a member of your family with a Molotov cocktail- Would that child be innocent?

    8) Why is Pollard trying to paint Palestinians as underdogs?

    I am appealing to common sense. Please do not send me additional hyperlinks which do not address the article in question. You know that if the Palestinians lay down their weapons we would have peace. If the Israelis lay down theirs-There will be no State of Israel.

    9) Why does Pollard paint Palestinians as guilt free. When countries are at war-Do both side always have a completely clean slate? Yes- or -No

    I look forward to answers to these questions

  3. Rita says:

    To Raine who says: …various reports from Amnesty International,…and other respected human rights groups on how the Israeli military regularly use Palestinian children as human shields…

    1. It’s been a while since Amnesty International has been unanimously “respected”: WARLPIRI woman Bess Price, a truly respected Elder of our indigenous communities for example is not a fan (nor am I):

    2. Israeli military regularly use Palestinian children as human shields???? WHAT???

    3. I admire the IDF unreservedly and salute them:

  4. Rita says:

    In response to Raine who says:
    “…various reports from Amnesty International,…and other respected human rights groups on how the Israeli military regularly use Palestinian children as human shields…”
    1. It’s been a while since Amnesty International has been unanimously “respected”: WARLPIRI woman Bess Price, a truly respected Elder of our indigenous communities for example is not a fan (nor am I):
    2. Israeli military regularly use Palestinian children as human shields???? WHAT???
    3. I admire the IDF unreservedly and salute them:

  5. harry joachim says:

    The main issue with the original story is that it is entirely based on information provided by an NGO that is far from an impartial observer, being staffed by left-wing Israelis who are avowedly in support of the Palestinian narrative. Breaking the Silence has no credibility among Israelis, and is not recognised as a respected human rights organisation with a sound research methodology.

    Even the left-leaning Haaretz has said that, “Breaking the Silence… has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization’.”

  6. Ben says:

    Lam convenietly pretends the Israeli army is keen on investigating its own activities. In 2002 Israel declared it was prepared for a UN inquiry into massacre allegations in Jenin, a resolution backed by the USA, and it was the army which refused to cooperate with the inquiry because it did not wish soldiers to be charged with war crimes. Israel refused permission for the inquiry and it wa closed.

    Now we are expected to believe Lam’s claims that the Israeli military will not try to conceal the truth.

    • Yitzhak says:

      There was no massacre in Jenin in 2002. There was a great deal of Palestinian propaganda about a “massacre” but there was no massacre. This was certified by Amnesty International, HRW and the UN.

      There was an IDF military operation against terrorists who used Jenin as a staging area to launch suicide attacks into Israel against civilians. March 2002 saw numerous such attacks, killing 130 and maiming hundreds more in less than 30 days. This included the Passover Massacre at the end of March when a suicide terrorist exploded himself at a Passover meal in a Netanya hotel, murdering over 30 Israeli civilians. Only after that heinous attack did Israel launch Operation Defensive Shield into Jenin to root out the terrorists. Over 25 Israeli soldiers were killed in this operation in intensive house-to-house fighting, some 25 or so terrorists were also killed, and another 25 or so Palestinian civilians were killed in the crossfire. I have yet to hear of any internal investigations by any Palestinian armed group into the deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians, a clear war crime.

  7. Larry Stillman says:

    From Ruth Polland–

    As the author of the story Danny Lamm is slamming, I’d like to point out that a) the soldiers in my story were not anonymous – they appeared on camera and were named b) Breaking the Silence requires at least two witnesses to each testimony c) the report is not a rehash of anything – it is independent of the UK lawyer’s report and the Defence of Children International reports, both of which focused on the military court system as opposed to the actual arrests and d) as someone who has just reported from inside Syria for the SMH and The Age I find it extraordinary that the ECAJ can allege my news organisation does not devote significant resources and space to Syria stories. Quite the contrary.”

    • Paul Winter says:

      How very interesting; Ruth Pollard seems unable to access J-wire so a usefull – well genius(?) – submits her protest.

      Now Ruthie baby, I have your smear piece in front of me, and had I not wanted to retain it as evidence of infamous scribbling, I would have followed the example of an C18 Frenchman and taken it to the smallest room in the house and it would soon have been behind me.

      With regard to point:
      a) the SMH appears in print and not as a video. Perhaps that difference in modalities has not yet landed on Planet Pollard. In the print article, three reports – all anonymous – appeared; they gave not names, dates or details that could be investigated.
      b) Truth is not established by the collaboration of two (or more) liars. Truth is established when the stories are detailed and open for investigation. The IDF’s frustration at the lack of details to investigate were buried in the smear piece
      c) Not a rehash? Rubbish! DCI-Palestine’s smear was carried by the SMH in April and related to parts of the article Danny slammed with justification.
      d) I don’t care where the SMH sends its journos. Their pieces are not worth a tinker’s dam when they practise advocacy journalism. If Pollard was the bootlace of a journalist, she would have checked out the “testimonies” of BtS people and questioned IDF officers about details she dug up. It is of course easier to dig dirt and chuck muck hoping that some of it will stick.

      The Jewish historian Dubnow’s last words as he was being beaten to death were: write and record. For unfairfax journos, when it comes to Jews and the Jewish state, tendentiousness has unfortunatley become trendy.

  8. Michael says:

    You are right Jon about the al, age however
    The damage over so many years including
    Under a Jewish leftist editor has already been done
    Thanks to fair fax the Israel brand has bee n trashed

  9. Raine says:

    Clearly Lamm didn’t even bother to read or watch the video report that went with Pollard’s article. The soldiers in her story were not anonymous, they not only appeared on camera but used their anmes. As for Breaking the Silence, all their testimony’s must verified by at least two other witnesses. Finally the Pollard’s story was not a “rehash: of either the UK lawyer’s report or the Defence of Children International reports, instead it was based on an independent report from Breaking the Silence. The two previous reports focused on Israel’s occupation court system and the treatment of Palestinian minors, while the BtS report focused on the soldier’s treatment of Palestinian minors. What the three separate reports to go to show is the systemic abusive and racist nature of Israel’s occupation.

    As for the claims about the “indoctrination” of Palestinian children “at school and through the media and the deliberate use of children as combatants and terrorists by armed Palestinian organisations”, Lamm clearly needs to take the time to read Israeli academic, Nurit Peled -Elhanan’s book “Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education”, which lines how Israeli children are indoctrined at school through text book. He should also take the time to examine the various studies on how Israeli school children are indoctrined into militarism by the Israeli school system from kindergarten age and the studies on Israel’s media and is negative depiction of Palestinians. And while he is at it, he should take the time to read the various reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Btselem and other respected human rights groups on how the Israeli military regularly use Palestinian children as human shields.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      “raine” whatever your real name
      Take my reply to someone who can explain to you the following:

      – palestinians educate their young within the spirit of destruction, hatred, martyrdom, lack of culture.

      – considering the palestinian propensity for criminality, as well indoctrinated within their “education” system, the projected victims of the said criminals have no choice but create a spirit of vigilance, awarness and preparedness in order to stave off the successive generations of palestinian criminals. Israel is also creating in the same vigilant Jews scientists, artists, decent family people whose aim is to ensure that the Holocaust so clearly prepared by your protected species of criminals will not happen again. So, you getting stuffed with all these rubish calls for you getting stuffed.

    • Rita says:


  10. Ben says:

    Danny lam is misleading. The testomonies mentioned times, place and dates. The charges have been investigated and made earlier even by Israeli human rights organisations Btselem and Gush Shalom and Amnesty International.
    Shooting the messenger will not conceal the crimes. Lam can challenege the organisations to substantiate their charges if he is confident of his charge. This a crude attempt to muzzle inconvenient truth. The report even took the staement of Israeli rep. Regev.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Ben, before you quote B’Tzelem and Am Nasty as your sources of information, read what I wrote earlier: they use unsubstantiated unverifiable sources to blacken the Jewish state. Another name for such group defamation is antisemitism. Just because some B’Tselem and Gush Shalom groupies are halachicly Jewish does not remove them from the ranks of the antisemites when they ally themselves with islamofascists and extreme lefties to advance their political agendas which have nothing to do with justice or reality. The Pals have little and deserve far less.

  11. Lynne Newington says:

    The peace before the storm, that’s what I think.
    Breaking the silence, abuse of children’s rights it’s all to familiar to be a coincidence.
    Ne’re a word from Australia of the abuse of rights of vulnerable young Afghanistani boy’s recruited and sold to war lords and powerful business men to be used as “play boys”.

  12. michael says:

    As a member of the Jewish community I would like to thank the Palestinian Advocacy group AJDS and the Jewish Progressive Movement Rabbi Johnathan Keren Black along with the Palestinians lobby groups for hosting and promoting these Anti- Israel activists from Breaking The Silence .

    There isn’t enough Israel bashing and vilification of the Israeli Government and IDF in this country we needed some more propagandists in the Israel/ Arab PR war to come all the way from Israel to add fuel to the Fire. well done Guys you make us proud! { and the Palestinians , Arabs and Muslims here would be very pleased with the outcome particularly from Fairfax}

  13. Otto Waldmann says:


    Most relevant your NIF connection.
    Unfortunately the positions of the immediate past NSWJBD President cannot be altered and as such your objections are redundant. Implicitely NIF will not alter their stand on Israel and, from what I could gather, they are proud that the general media are embracing their views and provides this sickening publicity.What we should ask ECAJ is why are they attacking Faifax ONLY and continue to fail to address NIF directly and publicly. This is where I consider ECAJ a semi-spineless entity, unless they reckon that by attacking a so called Jewish organisation, i.e. NIF, they would cause……………..disunity in the community. One other – also partially redundant – is how did the immediate past Pres. of the NSWJBD get to that position in the first place. Also one would expect NSWJBD leadership to also address the issues of NIF causing the problems ECAJ is raising unilaterally with Faifax.
    When is think of the NSWJBD leadrship and their suitable critical attitude toward NIF I can only say: fat chance !!!

  14. jon says:

    Chill, the Age and the SMH will be gone within 2 years. Fairfax is the “walking dead” and has no hope of surviving in its current form. All those left wing fascists will out of a job forever. It will be a great day when Fairfax is gone…….

  15. Paul Winter says:

    You are perfectly right Peter, the NIF has a lot to answer for. But the Pollard propaganda piece has other points worthy of condemnation. As Danny mentioned the Defence of Children Intermational has a DCI-Palestine branch, which published a report in April and that branch is headed by a pommy lawyer who is also a pro-pally activist. Pollard also uses B’Tzelem as a source of “testimony”, which like BtS publishes anonymous case studies. She also refers to ACRI, which is another NIF grantee.

    As Danny pointed out there is no context to any of the story; it is pure propaganda. It not only deserves to be denounced, but a formal complaint should be made against the Unfairfax press.

    But there is more to the NIF story as well. When I proposed a motion to the effect that no organisation or person who failed to comply with the NSWJBD aim of Zionism could be a member, I could not get a seconder. At the AGM earlier this month a comment was made that one should play the ball not the man, as though the criticism of NIF-A was an attack on the former president.

    The role of all of those disguised entities is to blacken Israel in order to make it comply with international demands to surrender to the fake nation of “Palestine”. In doing so they denigrate the Jewish state and anyone who supports it. The effect, if not the intention of Jewish denigraters, is antisemitic. And their actions are anti-democratic because they want to impose their agendas which were rejected by the Israeli electorate.

    The sad fact is that too many Jewish organisations and leaders who are not prepared to denounce anti-Israel people and groups. In NSW we have NIF members and in Vic. there is the AJDS. Our leaders are so preoccupied with burnishing their statesmen and diplomat credentials that they have forgotten th ability to speak plainly and honestly. And they have given up any thought of acting. They are a hopeless lot acting as an fatal anchor on a boat sinking in a whirlpool.

  16. vag says:

    Opponents of Israel use every opportunity to quote disgruntled Jews, Israeli or not, to criticize the country. In this case, emotional headlines are given to an article quoting “anonymous” people and making Israel out to be a terrible villain.
    No background is given to the circumstances that may have been behind the occurrence, if indeed it did happen.
    Israel’s record may not be perfect, but on human rights it is so far superior to all it’s neighbours ,that Israel should be left alone.
    the old equation One Arab child mistreated by Israel equals 100 innocent Arabs, butchered by their own country

  17. Peter says:

    Well said Danny !

    But this all raises another set of questions and they revolve around the fact that Breaking the Silence (BTS) is an organisation funded by the New Israel Fund (NIF) – as can be clearly seen from both the NIF and BTS websites.

    On that basis I would ask the following questions of the directors of NIF Australia.

    1) I note that the chairman of NIF Australia is on the Board of the ECAJ and is on the Immediate Past President of the NSW Boad of Deputies as such what action is he going to take in respect of NIF’s funding of BTS.

    2) Why did NIF fund BTS in the first place

    3) Why is NIF continuing to fund BTS

    4) Why should anyone continue to support NIF Aust when NIF is funding organisations such as BTS.

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