Andrew Bolt, Herald-Sun Columnist spoke at a meeting Friday December 9 2005, sponsored by Helen Shardey MP Chairman of the Liberal Friends of Israel.
Andrew Bolt opened with an aside, noting that there is a problem currently with speaking out about some contemporary issues in Australia owing to the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act which is now used often to suppress factual statements and reasoned opinion, and almost never to enhance such. Discussion of religious issues in the news could be illegal. For example, open discussion of the events of the past week of Lebanese gangs attacking life savers at Cronulla beach south of Sydney could be risky. This legislation has led to the stifling of discussion.
Bolt asked whether any of the Jews in the audience in hindsight consider their original support of that legislation to have been a mistake. He suggested that Jews should rethink their support for these laws and work to have them repealed as they (Jews) have nothing to fear from open debate based on facts. He said that the contribution of Jews in Australia is unparalleled. He went so far as to say that unofficially he has heard that Jewish peak body support for the legislation is an important factor preventing its repeal.
Bolt then turned to the official topic of the talk, giving his analysis of the reasons Israel is cast as the villain by the media today. He started by describing the problem:
In certain circles, Israel is seen as the little Satan to the US big Satan and vice versa. Examples he gave - awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature to Harold Pinter (ed. - a Jewish rabid hater of Israel who has accused Israel of using nuclear weapons against the Palestinians). Second example cited was the AGE newspaper of December 9, 2005. One cartoon by Dyson showing a large American flag dripping blood into a red pool and on the opposite page Leunig has a big brawny American holding implements of torture threatening a kneeling person with hands tied behind his back with the words: "bring me your tired, bring me your poor, bring me your huddled."
He noted that it was not always so, pointing out that Exodus the movie starring Paul Newman was a smashing success. He asked the audience to contemplate what kind of movie would be made today, even in Hollywood, describing the events leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel.
Still describing the problem itself, Bolt pointed out that the ABC, SBS, and the Age newspaper all employ Jews as shapers of opinion. Among these ranks of opinion shapers are people such as Jon Faine, Robert Manne, Michael Gawenda, Louise Adler. A former director of the ABC was a Jew. This phenomenon of Jews being well represented in the intelligentsia classes results in Margo Kingston asserting that the fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls media in Australia and USA. He noted whimsically that you could forgive Kingston for initially forming such an opinion, but when you examine the actual coverage of the issues presented by those organisations, her conclusion is untenable, and she comes out looking like a crackpot.
So the Jewish intellectual community is of the left. Chief leftist organs of this country are anti Israel. Deborah Conway (Jewish singer) was approached to stand for the Greens party in Victoria at one time, now she says because she is Jewish they want to "stand her up against a wall and shoot her".
Why is this so? Why have the media turned feral. Why is Israel cast as the villain? Bolt does not think it is because Israel has done bad things, although she may have done such things.
David Bernstein has given some analysis as to the causes of anti Israel bias in the media.
Bolt does not believe that this type of analysis holds up to scrutiny. Some examples which do not easily yield to the above analysis:
In fact the Left is the true enemy of Israel and Bolt implored Jews to join in the fight over "the culture wars". He made the following points which he sees as the core of the problem:
Journalists are selected as students on the basis that they are similar to us, middle class white etc. Journalists demand cultural diversity from all the groups on whom they report, but in their own house they have forgotten what diversity means. RMIT and similar journalism schools tended to educate students of journalism in the ideological fashion of the day. This creates a situation whereby the faculty, to keep up student numbers, and thus funding, needs to lower their standards.
Lack of leadership at the Fairfax, ABC, and SBS. Owing to lack of strong management the staff run a sort of collective. The problem is lack of strong leadership and directed direction. The journos (and trainee journos) write for their colleagues, their peer group, where they should be writing for their audience. There is a great deal of pressure against anyone who is "different" in that environment, eg there are incidents of conservative employees being hissed at by their colleagues. (ed. were this to happen in a normal workplace with a responsible management culprits would be severely disciplined. Were those same journalists reporting on some other industry where this was taking place the journalists themselves would consider such behaviour unacceptable).
Nowadays the public, including journalists do not have an understanding of history, because history is not being taught properly. They now teach "time, continuity, and change" in schools. This leads to complete unawareness of context. With history obliterated, the span of awareness of issues is very short and shallow, eg the modern history of Iraq began in 2003, there is no awareness of killing of people before then. In Israel the violence is understood by journalists to have started (a) the last time Israel mounted a raid against terrorists, or (b) 4-5 years ago if the journalist is a little older, or (c) if they "really think seriously about it" it all started way back in 1945 when a guilty Europe shipped all those Jews out of Europe and dumped them in the middle of the Arab states.
The intelligentsia wants everything to conform to a plan. To the intellectual class, the scheme is very important. Everything falls into a theoretical pattern. Everything needs to be in a book, or on a whiteboard. They are comfortable and at home only with theory. Terry Lane still quotes Karl Marx with respect. He does not allow the horrific consequences of Marxism as actually practised, to stop him from admiring Marxism in theory. Bolt considers this to be obscene from an intelligent commentator. In fact anyone with an understanding of G-d′s concern and involvement with the fate and destiny of every single individual will always be suspicious of a "grand plan solution in which people are treated not as individuals but elements of a machine or plan to be used or discarded". In a real solution, real people′s needs on the ground must always be taken into account. This flaw with the "grand plan" approach applies to Oslo, the Roadmap, and equally to Communism and Fascism.
The neo Marxist theory that wealth is never created, it is expropriated. Therefore if there is a wealthy country next to a poor, then the wealthy must have exploited the poor. Poverty is always someone else′s "fault". Thus here, if Israel is rich and the Palestinians are poor it must be Israel which is to blame.
Anti Capitalism. Israeli kibbutzim no longer reflect socialist ideology. They are actually a hub of capitalism at work. Because in capitalism, individuals are respected with their individual motivations, the "grand plan" intellectuals mentioned above find this problematic.
Anti Christianity. Maurice Samuel wrote in 1941 that any attack on the Jews is a proxy attack on Christianity. He maintained that Hitler actually hated Christians for the same reasons that he hated Jews. Christianity is against "grand schemes" which subordinate ordinary people in favour of the big cause. In Christianity even the most humble person is nurtured by G-d and it is the same with Judaism. Judaism and Christianity stand in the way of the great totalitarian movements. There is no such thing as an individual somehow "falling below G-d′s radar". The anti Christian tendencies among journalists in the feral organistions play against Israel.
He spoke of the rise of the Greens. Israel is fighting the noble savage - people who are tribal and brown. The closer to the land the more noble. The more industrialized a nation, the more sinister. It is an unfortunate obervation that in a dispute between a person of a whiter skin, and a person of darker skin favour will be shown by the journalist to the darker skin. The darker the skin the more sympathy, the more the anti racism racism.
The Left has a perverse respect for violence. They preach peaceful negotiation at one level, but simultaneously favour violent overthrow by some vanguard of perceptive people, ie they like their militarism. Journalists don′t see fit to condemn this. For example the writers festival invited Tariq Ali who supports violent overthrow.
Totalitarianism has a perverse appeal to the far left. Thus the imposition of democracy on others is too often disparaged, unappreciated or simply ignored.
Post modernism says there are no facts. Nothing is more correct than anything else, every culture is relative. Therefore facts are not important. On the security fence and the Camp David accords, reports are big on opinion but very short on fact.
Thrill of being part of the collective appeals to the left. If you happen to be on the other side of the collective and seen by them as being evil it is hard to withstand the onslaught.
Andrew Bolt concluded by saying that Jews need to recommitment to fight. This recommittment should be on wider battles against the fashionable theories of the left that threaten not just Israel but Western civilisation generally. eg the stolen children, land rights. This will mobilize climate of opinion by engaging other groups on wider community issues. We need to make it clear to the media what they are writing is not acceptable.