Monday, September 14, 2009

COMMENT: Mr Danby and racist comment moderation ...

Mr Michael Danby, former editor of what used to be called the Australia-Israel Review and now Federal Labor Member for Melbourne Ports, has a go at two popular Australian websites - Crikey and NewMatilda. He engages in a grievance mass debate in the House of Representatives on 7 September 2009, the contents of which can be read here.

Mr Danby was scathing of these websites' moderating comments that he regarded as anti-Semitic and racist comments appearing after articles. Here are some terms he uses to describe comments published here on the subject of the Israel/Palestine conflict:

... unmoderated, unleashed and unhinged comments on their websites ... the broad slabs of hate speak published in the comments section following each article ... Newmatilda publishes blatantly bigoted commentary, even though the magazine explicitly reserves the right to moderate that commentary if it is abusive or promotes hate. Only since being exposed has Newmatilda stopped publishing race hate in its comment columns.

... Crikey and its editor, Jonathan Green, have made no explanation or issued no apology. Eric Beecher, the owner of Crikey, who hails from a similar ethnic cultural background to me, owes an explanation for Crikey’s publication of these hate filled comments. Such comments would be suited for publication in Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer.

I write for both websites on a fairly regular basis. Much of my writing for Crikey has been to expose racist commentary moderated in blogs published by far better resourced international news outlets. I have also exposed racist commentary made by bloggers and columnists, some of whom Mr Danby has accompanied on trips to Israel.

If Mr Danby is serious about racism on websites, he should consider making an issue of what is published in the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph. He should consider some of the anti-Lebanese, anti-African, anti-Muslim and anti-Aboriginal commentary published on the blogs of Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman.

Perhaps Mr Danby could provide some examples of comments left on NewMatilda and/or Crikey comparable to the ones found here or here or here. Or how about these?



All this begs one question: Is Mr Danby's refusal to attack these columnists' toleration of clearly racist, violent, xenophobic and fascistic remarks somehow related to their being solid supporters of the most far-Right views inside Israel? Would Mr Danby be more vocal in his criticism of these bloggers if they were somewhat less supportive of Israel?

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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3 comments:

Michael Brull said...

Very true, and a point worth making (I've made similar comments in the past). As it happens, Bolt and Danby appear to be friends. Bolt refers to him warmly on his blog, and Danby in a speech on his site calls Bolt a "leading" commentator or something similarly warm and friendly. And the striking thing is, Bolt himself has strayed into territory hostile to Jews, but it's considered trivial, because he's pro-Israel. I document some of this in a comment I left on my article at

http://newmatilda.com/2009/08/11/bolts-ignorance-gets-another-outing

Anonymous said...

Islam is not a race.

You cannot choose your race, nor can you change it.

You can however choose to become a Muslim (it's dead easy actually) or to leave Islam (although you may face Fatwas and death for doing so).

To suggest therefore that being opposed to Islam makes you "racist" suggests you are much too quick to throw around that accusation. Muslims need to consider the problem with their religion, rather than assuming that everybody else is a racist for pointing out little 'issues' like suicide bombing, oppression of non-Muslims, global Jihad and cultural backwardness.

...Or they can just call everybody a racist and try and bomb them.

Anonymous said...

If Islam is not a race, then neither is Judaism. You can become a Jew. It's easy.

And as for oppression of non-Jews, global holy war and cultural backwardness, there is plenty of that going on in Israel and the territories.

Still, you can always call me anti-Semitic and then bomb my country and steal my home.