Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman, Anti-Defamation Commission.
We write in response to the article “Palestine friends to target north coast MPs, ABC offices” that appeared in the Echonetdaily on January 19th.
The report begins with the following statement:
Byron shire’s supporters of Palestine are ramping up their protest against apartheid Israel with planned actions against federal MPs on the north coast in coming weeks.
Your reporter Luis Feliu should have known better than to repeat this offensive slur that bears no resemblance to the realities of contemporary Israel.
This loaded and inflammatory term been continuously employed by Israel’s detractors to delegitimize and demonise the Jewish state by arguing that it promotes the vile racial policies similar to those promulgated by the former apartheid government in South Africa.
Freedom of the press is an important and universal value. However, to allow your platform to function as a vehicle for anti-Israel messages is irresponsible and undermines the reputation of the Echonetdaily as a welcoming space for all groups and individuals.
It is indeed a shame when any publication appears to abandon its objectivity in order to become an unabashed spokesperson for one side. By peddling and recycling this myth, your publication is not contributing in any meaningful way to the prospect of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, it doe the opposite, empowering those wishing to fan the flames of division in our nation.
In a region of dictatorships and theocracies, Israel has established one of the most robust and free democracies in the world, safeguarding the rights of Jews, Muslims and Christians, and ensuring that its Arab citizens enjoy full and equal rights before the law, including the right to vote and the right and publish freely. Surely your reporter is aware aware that Israel, which in its Declaration of Independence pledges to protect the equal rights of all citizens, does not favour an apartheid policy and has long accepted a two-state solution and self-determination for the Palestinians— trying to achieve this outcome through negotiations, territorial withdrawals and peace offers that clearly rebut any claims that Israel’s objective is to rule over the Palestinian population indefinitely, or to persecute and racially segregate them.
I would remind you of the words of Justice Richard Goldstone who has maintained that accusing Israel of apartheid “is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”
We urge you to remove this particular word and to refrain from using such hurtful and thoughtless statements in future. I also hope that you put in place the necessary measures to ensure that similar articles employing such terms will not appear again in your publication.
The words ‘apartheid Israel’ have been retained in the original story but placed in inverted commas to indicate they do not represent the official viewpoint of Echonetdaily. – Ed