ABC interview ‘failed to meet standard’

Orly Noy.

A NUMBER of factual errors went unchallenged during an ABC radio interview with leftwing Israeli activist Orly Noy last week, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) says.

Noy, an Israeli born in Iran, was interviewed together with GetUp! director Sara Saleh, a supporter of the anti-Israel boycott movement, on ABC Radio National’s Drive program last Monday.

ECAJ said the interview failed to meet the ABC’s accuracy standard and the standard that it would not “unduly favour one perspective over another”.

Among the issues ECAJ highlighted were Noy saying that Israel excludes its Mizrachi citizens.

“Mizrachi Jews and Arab citizens of Israel have exactly the same voting rights, and legal, civil and religious rights, as Jews of European background,” ECAJ said, noting there have been three Israeli presidents of Mizrachi background, Yitzhak Navon, Moshe Katsav and current president Reuven Rivlin.

“Mizrachi Jews are the majority group in the Jewish population, as Ms Noy acknowledged, and they are therefore prominent in government and politics, the media, academia, culture, business, sport, religion and the military.”

Citing the many Mizrachi Israelis that have served as chief of staff of the IDF, ECAJ also refuted a claim by Noy that Mizrachis are in lower positions and that Jews of European origin sit “in air-conditioned commanding rooms” and send Mizrachi officers out to confront Palestinians.

ECAJ said Noy’s statement that “very few Mizrachis today will even define themselves as Arab Jews” was truthful, however she failed to identify why.

“What is conspicuously missing from Ms Noy’s narrative is how and why some 850,000 Mizrachi Jews left their countries of birth in the Middle East and North Africa in the first place,” ECAJ said.

“It is because they were subjected to precisely the forms of persecution and discrimination in those countries which Ms Noy falsely alleges about Israel.”

Noting that the ABC Code states, “A democratic society depends on diverse sources of reliable information and contending opinions,” ECAJ added, “The interview manifestly failed to meet the standard that it would not ‘unduly favour one perspective over another’.”

The ABC has not yet responded.