VAJEX not happy with the AJN

May 3, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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The Victorian Association for Jewish Ex and Servicemen and Women Australia (VAJEX Aust) has  expressed its utter disappointment in the Australian Jewish News (AJN).

Commemorating the ANZACs

Commemorating the ANZACs

The disappointment is focused on an article titled ‘Disrespectful’: criticism of Jewish schools that opened on Anzac Day that appeared on page 6 of its May 3 edition.

VAJEX alleges in the following statement: “The article grossly misrepresents VAJEX spokesperson Ben Hirsh in attributing statements to him which he never said, and in particular the word “disrespectful” as a reference to those Jewish schools that elect to hold commemorative services on ANZAC Day rather than closing for that day.

Ben Hirsh has confirmed he told the AJN as follows:

“We can’t tell the Jewish Schools when they can open. We are a part of the greater community and should honour our fallen from all wars on ANZAC Day, including the late Gregory Michael Sher of Blessed Memory, Killed in Action in Afghanistan. Last year on ANZAC Day, I addressed the school at their ceremony where they had the sounding of The Last Post and Rouse with the reciting of The Ode.”

Mr Hirsh has confirmed that at no point did he use the word “disrespectful”. VAJEX has since contacted the AJN who maintain that Mr Hirsh did use that word and that the journalist who interviewed Mr Hirsh had recorded that word in his notes.

To this end, VAJEX will take steps to ensure that any and all future correspondence with the said newspaper will be strictly in writing to ensure clarity so as to prevent sensationalistic journalism that divides the community.

Please be assured that VAJEX has not and will not criticise a school’s policy and respects the right of school’s decision-makers to conduct their schools in the best interests of its students.

AJN editor Zeddy Lawrence told J-Wire: “The AJN sticks by its journalist and his understanding of what Mr Hirsh said. Nevertheless, we had no intention of misrepresenting what he said and we have offered him the right of response in the paper.”

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