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ZFA statement on unfortunate ACMA decision

The Zionist Federation of Australia is disappointed at the outcome of the Australian Communication and Media Authority investigation into the biased Q&A panel on 27 May 2021.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “While we’re disappointed that the ACMA accepted the ABC’s arguments that tokenistic airings of a pro-Israel perspective amounts to ‘balance’, what is particularly concerning is that the ACMA chose not to investigate whether the ABC concealing Jennifer Robinson’s professional engagement in the Palestinian cause breached the ABC’s commitment to fair and honest dealings.”

In its submission to the ACMA, the ZFA argued that the ABC breached its obligations of fair and honest dealings by presenting Ms Robinson as a ‘human rights lawyer’, rather than someone who is professionally involved in the Palestinian cause. Thus, the panel had two professional Palestine activists and no Israel activists, but was presented to the public as having one Palestine activist and one supposedly neutral ‘human rights lawyer’ (who, having come out so strongly for the Palestinian side on the panel, appeared more convincing to the general public).

Mr Leibler continued, “The panel was stacked in a way that ensured a one-sided outcome. That the ABC argued that two audience questions, which were sympathetic to Israel, balanced the panel is insulting. We are surprised that the ACMA accepted this argument.”

Further, the ZFA rejects the ABC’s argument that Liberal MP Dave Sharma effectively balanced the panel by providing a voice that was sympathetic to Israel. Mr Leibler said, “Mr Sharma balanced Ed Husic, the Labor MP on the panel. No one balanced Randa Abdel-Fattah or Ms Robinson.” 

In November last year, the ZFA made a submission to the ABC’s ‘independent inquiry’ into its complaints handling mechanism (here). That inquiry is ongoing.