fbpx

Australian broadcaster rejects ‘Promise’ complaints

An Australian TV broadcaster rejected complaints from Jewish groups that a controversial series \"endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews.\"
[additional-authors]
February 3, 2012

An Australian TV broadcaster rejected complaints from Jewish groups that a controversial series “endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews.”

Special Broadcasting Service ombudsman Sally Begbie this week dismissed a 31-page complaint by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry into “The Promise,” a four-part drama that screened in Australia late last year.

The ECAJ, an umbrella body for the country’s Jewish groups, argued in its submission that the series breached the broadcaster’s code because it portrays its Jewish characters as “variously cruel, violent, hateful, ruthless, unfeeling, amoral, treacherous, racist and/or hypocritical.”

The series, first broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4, deals with the experiences of a British soldier during the Palestine mandate, and his granddaughter, who returns to the region after discovering his diary.

It drew criticism from British Jews for being reductive and absolving Britain of its responsibility for the evolution of the conflict in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as for depicting Palestinians as saintly and poor and Israelis as wealthy and callous.

Some reviewers repeated these critiques, although others said the series was balanced.

“The series shamelessly and persistently utilizes the anti-Semitic motif of the greedy Jew,” the ECAJ submission said. “It is a landmark in the creeping rehabilitation of anti-Semitism in Western culture.”

In dismissing the complaint, the SBS Complaints Committee said in a seven-page rebuttal that the series did not violate the SBS Codes of Practice and that “the ordinary reasonable viewer fully appreciated that The Promise was a fictional drama and nothing more than that.”

It also noted that “accuracy per se” was not a requirement in respect of a drama and said it was “an oversimplification to cast the drama as being bad Jews versus good Palestinians.”

ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim described the SBS response as “disappointing and unsatisfactory.”

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

The Respect that Aging Deserves

Joe Biden’s profound ability to lead this country and the world, for that matter, is beyond imagination particularly as his age has been questioned.

Pelosi’s Historic Handiwork

Nancy Pelosi’s role in orchestrating Biden’s departure from the race demonstrates that the former speaker may be the most savvy political mind in modern American history.

Courting the Antisemitic Vote

We’re accustomed to politicians courting the Black Vote, or the Jewish Vote, or the Youth Vote. But what about the Antisemitic Vote?

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.