JEWISH parents have reported their children were subject to antisemitic bullying after watching coverage of the recent Israel-Hamas conflict on the ABC’s flagship news program for schoolchildren in class recently.
The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) has lodged two complaints with the broadcaster regarding the coverage on Behind the News (BTN), which emphasised the Palestinian narrative “by omitting key facts” and using storytelling techniques to “completely undermine Israel’s defensive actions”.
BTN is created for schoolchildren and used as a resource for teachers nationally.
ZFA president Jeremy Leibler said two episodes, posted on May 19 and 25, placed “emphasis of the Palestinian over the Israeli narrative”, including presenters using neutral phrases like “Hamas doesn’t recognise Israel’s right to exist”, rather than mentioning the Hamas charter that calls for the total destruction of Israel.
Since the episodes aired, Leibler said the ZFA had received multiple reports from Jewish parents stating that their children were subject to bullying and intimidation after their class viewed the stories.
The ZFA has accused the ABC of “anti-Israel bias” and submitted two formal complaints.
The complaints state that the ABC has contravened its editorial policies, including, “Do not unduly favour one perspective over another,” and, “Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented”.
“What makes the BTN stories even worse is that children cannot be expected to detect this sort of bias,” Leibler said, accusing the ABC of “indoctrinating children to reject Israel’s right to defend itself and, indeed, Israel’s right to exist”.
“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,” he told The AJN.
Leibler also appeared on Sky News to discuss the episodes, flagging the ABC’s recent “Trauma and Truth-Telling” episode of Q&A on the conflict, as another example of the broadcaster’s anti-Israel stance.
The ZFA has written to ABC managing director David Anderson, asking him to remove the content from the ABC website immediately, but is yet to receive a response.
The AJN also contacted the ABC, to be told, “Editorial complaints are assessed by Audience & Consumer Affairs according to the usual processes and their findings will be made in due course.”
In the meantime, the stories remain on the ABC website and YouTube channels.