On March 26 I documented various inaccuracies in this ABC story in my article Straightening out Professor Iain Benson and followed this up with a complaint to the ABC.
On May 18 the ABC responded to my complaint, which in part advised:
ABC Radio advises that although you were not referred to by name, your activism was one of the issues discussed in the program. In response to your complaint, Radio has acknowledged that listeners would likely have drawn the conclusion that your activism concerning Mark Allaby focussed on the issue of same-sex marriage rather than Pride in Diversity. Radio apologises for this oversight. The following clarification has been published on the program page:
If Colin Rubenstein of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council wishes to dictate to the ABC who they should not have on Q&A, perhaps he might like to relocate to somewhere like China, North Korea or Iran.
In this week’s Australian Jewish News the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said the ABC should not have invited Ilan Pappe to appear on Q&A:
“The decision by Q&A to frame a program around an individual whose single claim to notoriety is his defamation and demonisation of Israel – a longstanding advocate for Israel’s demise and a man repeatedly caught misusing historical sources to push his openly declared ideological vendetta – is an extraordinary example of contempt for the intelligence of viewers,” Rubenstein said.
I’d like to put it to Colin Rubenstein, and those who concur with his point of view, that the viewers of the ABC, myself included, are intelligent enough to make our own minds up as to whether the ABC should have invited Ilan Pappe to appear on their show and that we don’t need pro-Zionist moral guardians to make our minds up for us.
If Colin Rubenstein wishes to censor the ABC he can take himself off to somewhere like China, North Korea or Iran and open his own state media outlet and not invite Ilan Pappe, over there. In the meantime, in Australia, he should respect the independence of the ABC and the intelligence of its viewers.
ALISON CALDWELL: What are your views regarding same sex marriage?
JOHN SEARLE: My views?
ALISON CALDWELL: Yes.
JOHN SEARLE: My personal views, I have no issues with it.
ELEANOR HALL: That is the chairman of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, John Searle. He was speaking with Alison Caldwell in Melbourne and Professor George is still Victoria’s deputy chief psychiatrist.
Well, a most welcome admission indeed. For a person who is out of character in making supportive public statements on GLBT issues, this admission that he “has no issues with it” is a quantum leap forward.
Only a pity he was unprepared to make such a declaration on GLBT matters during his recent term as President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. Having done so would have actually assisted many in need in the community he was claiming to act in the best interests of.
With John Searle’s new-found support of marriage equality I’m sure the team at Equal Love will be booking him in to address the August 11 Equal Love Rally. They should be prepared for his unavailability though, with the rally being on a Saturday, so a pre-recorded address from him should suit nicely.