Carlton to keep AM despite comments about Jews
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Honours controversy

Carlton to keep AM despite comments about Jews

Journalist Mike Carlton and men's rights activist Bettina Arndt will not be stripped of their Order of Australia awards.

Mike Carlton.
Mike Carlton.

JOURNALIST Mike Carlton will not be stripped of the Order of Australia award, organisers have said, despite criticism of his past derogatory remarks about Jews.

Carlton was honoured with a Queen’s Birthday AM in June this year for significant services to print and broadcast media.

The controversial commentator was the subject of a complaint alleging racial vilification of Jews six years ago after his column about Israel in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) led Jewish leaders to deride it as racist.

Claiming that the Israeli response to the 2014 conflict with Gaza “has been out of all proportion,” Carlton charged, “It is a breathtaking irony that these atrocities can be committed by a people with a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race memory.”

He resigned from his longstanding role as a columnist at the SMH in 2014 after Fairfax asked him to apologise for sending abusive emails and tweets to Jewish readers in which he called them ‘Jewish bigot’, ‘pissant’ and ‘Likudnik’.

“This behaviour is completely unacceptable,” Darren Goodsir, then editor-in-chief of the SMH, said at the time.

“In dealing with our readers, it is a basic principle that our staff, columnists and contributors should always behave with respect and courtesy.”

Carlton has also made derogatory past comments about women but Shane Stone, who chairs the awards committee, said the decisions had been reviewed and that “no further recommendation” would be made to the governor-general.

“The Council for the Order of Australia has considered requests for the cancellation of appointments to the Order of Australia of Ms Bettina Arndt AM and Mr Mike Carlton AM and will make no further recommendation to the governor-general,” Stone said in a statement.

“In a system that recognises the service of hundreds of people each year, it is inevitable that each list will include some people who others believe should not be recognised.

“Unanimous community approval is not a criteria for Council to make a recommendation.”

Arndt, who was honoured for significant service to gender equity through advocacy for men, sparked outrage for comments on Twitter on the murders of a Queensland mother and three children.

She praised a Queensland police officer for keeping an “open mind” about whether the estranged husband responsible for the murders had been “driven too far”.

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