The Zionist Federation of Australia lodged two official complaints with the ABC this week regarding two stories on its Behind the News (BTN) platform. BTN is a news program created for school children and screened in schools across the country. Jewish parents have reported that their children were subject to bullying and intimidation after their class viewed these stories.
The stories, on 25 May and 19 May, attempted to provide context to the then-ongoing Hamas-Israel violence. Both stories emphasised the Palestinian explanations for the violence, omitted key facts and used background imagery and other story-telling techniques to completely undermine Israel’s defensive actions and, indeed, it’s moral and legal right to exist in the eyes of school children, who cannot be expected to discern bias or have the background knowledge to argue against the factual errors and undermining of Israel’s narrative.
Zionist Federation of Australia Jeremy Leibler said, “The recent Hamas–Israel violence revealed so many examples of anti-Israel bias on ABC platforms that it’s hard not to conclude that there is systemic anti-Israel bias within the organisation. What makes the BTN stories even worse is that children cannot be expected to detect this sort of bias. The ABC is indoctrinating children to reject Israel’s right to defend itself and, indeed, Israel’s right to exist.”
According to its website, the ABC takes up to four weeks to respond to complaints. The ZFA wrote to the ABC Managing Director David Anderson, asking him to remove the content from the ABC website immediately, pending investigations, given the undue impact such story telling could have on impressionable children.
The ZFA is yet to receive a response and the stories remain on the ABC website and YouTube channels.
Mr Leibler appeared on Sky News to discuss the episodes. You can watch his interview here.