How not to run a major paper

The following letter appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Robert Magid’s defence of his decision to refuse an advertisement in the Australian Jewish News promoting the tour of Jeff Halper doesn’t cut it (Letters, March 18). He offers two grounds. First, someone promoting Halper’s tour spoke at a demonstration where other people said and did objectionable things. That’s two full removes from the visiting speaker, and reeks of disingenuousness.

His second ground is that Halper “has repeatedly called for Israel to be dissolved as a Jewish state”. Halper, with many other Jews, favours Israel reconstituting itself as a secular state for all its people (including its dispossessed indigenous population), just like Australia. Magid’s use of the apocalyptic term “dissolved” is calculated to misrepresent.

But more to the point, Halper’s is a legitimate argument. That it is denied an airing by the AJN is a sorry reflection on the openness of the publication, and its publisher, to debate.

Jeremy Gilling Sydney