SYDNEY, Australia (Jul. 14)
The editor of the only daily newspaper in Perth, the capital city of the state of Western Australia, has accused the local Jewish community and its “cohorts” of making Australia “less free and democratic than it was.”
Paul Murray, editor of the newspaper West Australia, made the comments in a letter to Doron Ur, president of the Council of Western Australian Jewry.
Ur had written a letter to the paper responding to an editorial attacking proposed anti-racism legislation. Ur’s letter was not published by the newspaper, which also declined to publish other responses critical of its editorial line.
In response to Ur’s argument that existing state anti-racist laws had not had a negative effect on freedom of expression in Western Australia, Murray wrote that “your powerful lobby has had a small win” over “democratic freedoms” and that “you and your cohorts have made this country less free and democratic than it was.”
Given the crusading nature of Zionism, your motives are not above suspicion,” Murray’s letter said.
Ur demanded an apology, which Murray refused to give.
There are approximately 6,000 Jews among Perth’s population of 1,200,000. The West Australian has a daily circulation of some 250,000, the third-highest circulation of any Australian paper.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, while supporting public and vigorous debate on the merits of anti-racism legislation, has also protested Murray’s “extraordinary” letter, which it said contained views that “would have been comical if not expressed by the editor of a metropolitan newspaper.”