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Australian Jewish Editor Resigns over Controversial Editorial Cartoon

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The acting editor of Australia’s largest-circulation Jewish newspaper has resigned after he published and tried to justify an editorial cartoon that drew an analogy between Yugoslavia’s mistreatment of Kosovar Albanians and the circumstances leading to Israel’s establishment in 1948.

David Bernstein, who has been acting editor of the The Australian Jewish News, Melbourne Edition, since last year, left the paper after the publishers and editorial chairman withdrew a column he had written about the cartoon shortly before going to press last week.

Bernstein had taken other controversial positions such as a public stance opposing male circumcision, which ran counter to overwhelming community consensus. He had also run articles highly critical of Israel’s political leaders and society.

When he was appointed acting editor, the rabbi of Melbourne’s Mizrachi Synagogue wrote in a letter published in the newspaper, “If ever a Jew could be labeled as an example of Jewish self-hatred, it is David Bernstein.”

In excerpts from his resignation letter expected to be published in Friday’s edition of the newspaper, Bernstein identified his position on Israel as the cause of the “climate of distrust” he felt at the newspaper, but a letter from the publishers to Bernstein challenged this, saying he had displayed “a willful disregard” of his “position as acting editor.”

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