Australian Arab leader defends blood libels

Australian Arabic Council head urged to step down after defending Al-Manar television's statements.

Roland Jabbour 88 (photo credit: )
Roland Jabbour 88
(photo credit: )
Recent comments by the chairman of the Australian Arabic Council, Roland Jabbour, defame the Jewish People, B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) chairman John Searle was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the ADC on Monday. According to the statement, Searle called Jabbour's defense of Hizbullah's al-Manar television station labeling Jews as the offspring of apes and pigs "despicable." "Roland Jabbour's claim, made in the name of the Australian Arabic Council, that anti-Semitic blood libels and demeaning depictions of Jewish people are acceptable in the context of the perceived 'crimes of the State of Israel,' is deplorable," he said. The ADC chairman also called on the Australian federal government to look closely at the al-Manar television station and take whatever steps necessary to prevent the dissemination of such racist, anti-Semitic material, designed to incite hatred in Australia. Jabbour's comments came after Jewish community leaders urged the Australian government and the national broadcasting authority to block the transmission of al-Manar, which twice has been stopped from broadcasting into Australia. The new broadcasts come from a satellite company that is partly owned by the Indonesian government. The station broadcasts vehemently anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-American vitriol, as well as messages from suicide bombers. Searle said in a statement that he was "distressed" at the anti-Semitic content that is being broadcast in Australia. "Al-Manar is renowned for inciting violence and hatred," he said. "It broadcasts disgraceful anti-Semitic propaganda, including the infamous blood libel allegations, and it seeks to legitimize terrorism. "Australian Jews, like all other Australians, have the right to live without being subjected to this kind of vicious defamation. The ADC condemns all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, and works for a tolerant society that recognizes the right of people of all religions and backgrounds to live free from discrimination and abuse." But the Australian Arabic Council said al-Manar should not be restricted and that Hizbullah, while anti-Zionist, was not anti-Semitic. Donald Robertson, a spokesman for the Australian Communications and Media Authority, said ACMA had "strong concerns about the broadcast of al-Manar programs in Australia."