Perth Jewish newspaper The Maccabean is not backing down from its refusal to carry an ad for the Perth screening of Magash Hakesef (The Silver Platter), the documentary series about growing Israeli economic inequality that attracted over 1.5 million television viewers in Israel last year.
The Maccabean has so far not replied to requests from Plus61J for an explanation for its decision (see our report published yesterday), but it did provide a brief follow-up response to New Israel Fund (NIF) Australia, which is screening the documentary.
Liam Getreu, the Executive Director of NIF Australia, said he received a note on Friday from Tony Tate, the Chair of the paper’s Management Committee, which stated: “The Maccabean has exercised its right to decline requests to lodge advertisements. We do not intend to further discuss this decision, as has been our policy on this matter since its inception.”
The decision has polarised the local Jewish Community, with some on the right supporting the ad ban via posts on social media.
This is remarkable given that the film is an Israeli product and all sides of the Australian Jewish community, including NIF Australia and Plus61J, strongly oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and any boycott of Israeli products.
Furthermore, the film was not only made by Israelis but received a partial subsidy from the Israeli Government through the Ministry of Culture, which is clearly acknowledged in each of the episode’s end credits.
Rod Freedman, who reviewed Magash Hakesef for Plus61J, said he had also unsuccessfully sought an explanation from the paper. “As a documentary filmmaker myself, I can state that the whole situation is appalling. There is absolutely no reason for The Maccabean to be behaving this way,” he said.
Getreu, who organised a petition for the ad to be reinstated in the paper, said it had now garnered 221 online signatures, which is far more than NIF had expected or hoped for. “We’re promoting an extremely solid, Israeli Government-funded story,” he said.
This Plus61J article may be republished if acknowledged thus: ‘This article first appeared on www.plus61j.net.au and is reprinted with permission.’
For September showings of the film in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, see here.