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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 10 Apr 2020 05:41 PM and ends Sat 11 Apr 2020 06:40 PM

Condemnation of Age for Backman article

כ"ב טבת ה' אלפים תשס"ט




John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), and Dr Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), today jointly called on Melbourne’s The Age to apologise for publishing a blatantly antisemitic article (attached) in the Saturday Age yesterday.

Searle and Lamm stated:

“Sometimes criticism of Israeli foreign policy becomes so irrational and so hate-filled that it spills over into antisemitism. Yesterday Saturday’s Age (17/01) published such a piece wherein its columnist Michael Backman encapsulated centuries of hate speech against Jews in a few hundred words.

Among other things, Backman wrote:

  • Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians caused the London, Bali and World Trade Centre bombings.
  • Israel has united the Islamic world against Western nations.
  • The historical persecution of Jews constitutes punishment for Jesus’ death.
  • Israelis and Jews are disinterested in the welfare of others, and do not invest financially or socially in the broader community.

It is inexplicable why The Age would publish such a pernicious article, and why by one of its business columnists, a man whose field of expertise is Asian business and art, a man apparently without credentials on the Middle East, international politics or contemporary religion.

Each of the above statements is demonstrably wrong as are other assertions in the article. It is sheer nonsense to claim, for example that “The enmity many Muslims now feel for Israel has nothing to do with religion”. Really? Perhaps Backman should read the hate-filled Hamas Covenant which explicitly talks about extermination of all Jews, not merely Israelis.

It is unacceptable that The Age gave a platform to this man’s hatred of Jews and Israelis and incitement against them. The Victorian Jewish community’s experience is that such commentary rouses violence and hatred against local Jews. Indeed, the JCCV and the ZCV made this very point to The Age only two weeks ago. We were assured by acting editor Mark Baker that its reportage was totally even-handed. And yet its editors saw fit to publish this vile piece. We are outraged with The Age for publishing Backman’s disgusting falsehoods.

The JCCV and SZC have complained to The Age today in the strongest possible terms on behalf of the Victorian Jewish community. We have further committed ourselves to further steps, including possible legal action. This is not 1930s Germany. We will not accept this hatred.”

Media enquiries should be directed to:

John Searle 0412 251344

Dr Danny Lamm 0408 408929


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COSV chat

I am absolutely stunned! I am also absolutely outraged. This type of journalism is reminiscent of Julius Streicher"s "Der Sturmer". This piece of diatribe contains a vast array of old anti-Semitic favourites: "Jews are to blame, Jews are rude, Jews are don"t fit in, Jews killed Christ, Jews don"t trust non-Jews - especially to teach their children (which is interesting given that there are no more than probably a dozen Jewish Schools in Victoria where as there are a couple of thousand Catholic Schools - so just who doesn"t trust who??? & I went to Catholic Schools!). This same type of rhetoric fuelled the fires that led to Tsarist Pogroms, the Shoah, and countless other miseries for the Jewish people. And just what was the rubbish about trekking in Nepal all about??? What was the stuff about Bendigo bombing Melbourne??? Outrageous!!! Insane!!! Holidaying in Melbourne is also a popular holiday destination for Israelis. In fact I spoke to a couple at Glicks in Flinders Lane this morning and they were far from rude. If anyone is rude, crude, and most unattractive it is Michael Backman, the author of this poisoned article. I am only too proud to lend my name to the fight against anti-Semitism.

Posted by Bruce T Colcott OAM on 2009-01-19 03:24:01 GMT