SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A Hezbollah-sponsored TV network was granted permission to broadcast in Australia.
Al-Manar TV had been banned on two occasions.
Dr. Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said the decision Friday by the Australian Communications & Media Authority that Al-Manar TV did not violate government anti-terror laws was “regrettable if unsurprising.”
“This is because the anti-terrorism standards, as revised last December, are grossly ineffective on the issue of incitement to violence and fund raising for terrorist organizations," Rubenstein said.
“Al-Manar is banned in France, Germany, Spain and the United States. It should also be banned in Australia," he added.
Robert Goot, the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said his concern is not whether the Lebanese-based TV station has breached anti-terror laws but the virulent anti-Semitism it spouts.
“We were and remain focused on how their programming can be seen with regard to the Racial Discrimination Act,” he said. “If the programs to be screened to al-Manar’s subscribers have similar content to those previously shown, then there may well be cause for concern and justifiable action under the act.”
Goot was referring to material aired on Al-Manar that lauded suicide bombers, called for Israel’s annihilation and resurrected the medieval blood libel.
Al-Manar, which is available to subscribers with satellite dishes, was banned by the United States in 2004.