ECAJ “The Promise” Complaint not about Bias

January 19, 2012 by  
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Harold Zwier and Larry Stillman  were published in The Age [ Letters 18/1] and agree with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) that the Jewish characters portrayed in The Promise are generally unsympathetic in comparison with the Arab characters, but disagree that this bias amounts to antisemitism.

The ECAJ’s complaint is not about bias.  It is about racist stereotyping of Jews throughout the series.  Numerous examples are listed in the Table provided by the ECAJ and in the text of the complaint itself.

All of the principal characters who are Jewish are portrayed in a deeply negative way – betrayers (the Judas stereotype), murderers of innocents (blood libel), thieves (Fagin), ruthless and amoral (Shylock) and so on.

If a series about the Israel-Palestinian conflict portrayed every Arab character as a murderous terrorist, betrayer or thief or a vocal supporter of these, perhaps the racism would be more evident to Messrs Zwier and Stillman.

The reference to the Nazi propaganda film is solely to illustrate that an award-winning, critically-acclaimed film can nevertheless be deeply tainted by racism.

I do not believe that every criticism of Israel is antisemitic.  [I wonder  what the reaction would be if  Palestinians or Arabs and Muslims were depicted is such a negative manner and SBS were to promote DVDs to ensure wide coverage.]  It is equally false to suggest that no criticism of Israel is antisemitic.  There is clearly some overlap. The test is whether the criticism makes use of anti-Jewish stereotypes.  The Promise certainly did so.

Michael Burd

Toorak, Vic.


3 Responses to “ECAJ “The Promise” Complaint not about Bias”
  1. BB Burd Burd Burd BB B Burd – Wipe out (with apologies to the 1960’s surfing pop song). SBS rejects complaints concerning “The Promise” documentary/drama series. I agree with that.

  2. Amir says:

    Michael, what do you expect from the AJDS when it supports BDS which is a campaign designed to destroy the Jewish State?

    The AJDS is a small fringe group who simply do not live up to their name. They might campaign against bigotry against other minority groups but when it comes to the Jewish people they urge us to be shtum and not defend ourselves against attacks by others. At the same time they remain silent in the face of relentless attacks on Jews and Israel by the Palestinians and their lobby (of which they are virtually part anyway). Read the disgraceful misinformed comments under Stillman’s piece running in the drum at the moment and note how he only appears to defend himself when there is a pro Jewish statement.

    Notice also how he avoids the substantive debate about the distortion of history in The Promise and how he defends it because the producer researched the views of British soldiers. The fact that The Promise is also an apologia for the brutal colonial British rule that prevented Jewish asylum seeks from gaining safety for the Nazis goes right over his head. These extreme leftists in bed with colonial rlers. Never would happen anywhere else except where the Jews are involved.

    Australian? No they’re unAustralian.

    Jewish? They’re in bed with those who would destroy us.

    Democratic? Not when it comes to the democratic rights of Jews to have their say.

    Society? You can fit em in a phone box – that makes them a society?

  3. Daniel says:

    They should change their name to “Australian Jewish Dhimmi Society”.

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