Australian Jewry slams broadcaster over Jewish portrayals in series


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australian Jewry’s umbrella body slammed a national broadcaster for screening a controversial TV series that it says “endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry submitted a detailed 31-page document to the ombudsman of the Special Broadcasting Service alleging that “The Promise” breaches the broadcaster’s code because it portrays its Jewish characters as “variously cruel, violent, hateful, ruthless, unfeeling, amoral, treacherous, racist and/or hypocritical.”

The four-part drama, which screened in Australia late last year, follows a young British girl who retraces the steps of her grandfather who was a British soldier in Palestine in the 1940s.

The consistently negative portrayals of the Jewish characters in the British-made series made it comparable to the Nazi film “Jud Suss,” an anti-Jewish propaganda film produced in 1940 on orders of Joseph Goebbels,” the council claimed in its submission.

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

Executive Council of Australian Jewry officials last week also formally requested that the promotion or sale of the DVD of the series should not be allowed until the ombudsman has ruled on the complaint.

An SBS spokesperson said it expected the complaint would be resolved before the Feb. 8 DVD release.

The TV drama, by Jewish writer-director Peter Kosminsky, also promoted outrage in Britain when it was screened last year. But despite receiving more than 40 complaints, the Office of Communications did not find that the series breached the code.

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