An Arab member of an Australian human rights commission backed the right of a TV station to call Jews “the offspring of pigs and apes.”
Roland Jabbour, a member of the Australian government’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s anti-racism and anti-discrimination committee, told the Melbourne newspaper The Age that it was reasonable for the Hezbollah-run, Indonesia-based al-Manar TV station, “in the context of the ‘crimes of the State of Israel,’ to portray Israeli rabbis as killing Christian children to use their blood in Passover meals.”
Al-Manar, which is banned in the United States, has been banned twice by the Australian government. It currently beams its programs into the country by satellite. According to Jabbour, the station is very popular and is widely watched by Arabic speakers in Australia.
Jabbour has reacted to moves to have the channel once again banned. He told The Age that it was hypocritical for a government that believes in freedom of speech to ban al-Manar. In the past, the station has screened footage of dead Israeli soldiers and has featured guests from terrorist organizations.
Jabbar told The Age that while he would not call Jews the offspring of apes and pigs, it was reasonable for al-Manar to do so.
Robert Goot, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and Philip Chester, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, wrote in a letter to Federal Minister for Communications Sen. Stephen Conroy that Jabbour’s actions contravene the country’s Racial Discrimination Act.
“Future actions may very well involve the very organization of which Mr Jabbour is a committee member,” Goot wrote.
Goot said Jabbour has not responded to calls from the Jewish community to recant but told media outlets he will not issue a retraction.
“I worked with Jabbour on a State Government committee dealing with racism issues. He went out of his way to be friendly and even suggested that there may be other areas in which we could co-operate,” Peter Wertheim, honorary secretary of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told JTA.