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SBS knew the promise was offensive to the Jewish community


Senator Helen Kroger has today asked questions of Mr Michael Ebeid, Managing Director of the Special Broadcast Service (SBS) in Senate Estimates about the controversial screening of the documentary The Promise.

As a result of questions by Senator Kroger, Mr Ebeid revealed that SBS entered into a pre-sale arrangement with the producers of The Promise in full knowledge that the subject matter was going to be controversial.

Questions by Senator Kroger also revealed that when SBS received a series of complaints about the documentary, an internal investigation was initiated to determine if the documentary would be aired. A decision was taken by the review board, which included Mr Ebeid, that SBS would go ahead with the screening.

“What is most concerning about the decision to air The Promise is that SBS appears to have put a business decision ahead of independent assessments which determined that it was offensive to the Jewish community,” Senator Kroger said.

“Equally concerning was Mr Ebeid‟s assertion that, with hindsight, he would make the same decision to put the program to air.”

“This documentary was portrayed as fact and any suggestion that it is merely fiction is even more offensive and is an overt slap in the face to the Jewish community.”

“Any suggestion that the Jewish community is „manipulative‟ and „self interested‟, as portrayed in The Promise, is shameful. This documentary fails to portray the continuing valuable and constructive contribution that the Jewish community makes in Australia.”

“This issue is not over. I will ask more detailed questions of the SBS on notice and try to get to the bottom of this lunacy”, Senator Kroger concluded.
Media Contact:Brad Rowswell 0402 916 935

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To the smart anonymous commenter, who ended with.. "Maybe if I had added my complaint and many more other people had, something would have been done. Imagine if letters had rained down on SBS in huge quantities . . ." You are correct!... and with a larger concerted effort it may indeed have helped! Please join us at AUSTRALIAN VOICES FOR ISRAEL (av4i) as we send out on-line alerts and encourage people to write letters, and also are planning an informal workshop with letter-writing tips and information. Please feel welcome to contact us at for more information, and to be added to our mailing list.

Posted by Mary on 2012-02-17 02:45:50 GMT

The heart of the matter is this: Jews are perceived by the Western intelligentsia as some kind of privileged minority - unlike Muslims, Blacks, indigenous Australians, and every other ethnic minority. Consequently all principles of equality are suspended (wrongly of course). The people who hold these views apply anti-Racism laws only when dealing with "perceived underprivileged" ethnic groups. Unfortunately all the people within SBS who handle complaints are of this ilk.

And that is exactly why they unashamedly would do it over again!

Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2012-02-17 00:00:58 GMT

When I find someone actually going out on a limb to correct bias against the Jews I am always astonished. By and large the Jews are such complacent people when it comes to protest. Strange. We will kvetch like mad if the service is bad. We will battle the odds if we feel we are being financially screwed by a cent etc but protest over an issue like this? Nah, too much effort. And I am no different. I saw the first episode and was furious. Unacceptable! I was going to write to SBS. I was going to complain to whatever powers there be. And, did I do anything about it? Therein lies the rub. So my most grateful appreciation to Senator Helen Kroger for coming to our defense. Maybe if I had added my complaint and many more other people had, something would have been done. Imagine if letters had rained down on SBS in huge quantities . . .

Posted on 2012-02-16 21:34:40 GMT

Senator Kroger spoke intelligently, to the point and brought to attention a very important bias that exists in our society. What is most disturbing is the fact that anti-vilification knee jerk response is always very strong when it"s against the Muslims, but it"s a shame that a managing director can so blatantly show disrespect when the complainants are Jewish. Talk about prejudice!

Posted on 2012-02-16 09:41:06 GMT

Clive, The program is defended by SBS who claim that as it is not a documentary and doesn"t claim to be factual, it therefore does not need to be accurate.

Posted on 2012-02-16 02:46:03 GMT

Each false assertion or misleading portrayal in the program should be detailed and made public. Can SBS sued for bradcasting misleading information?

Posted by Clive Berger on 2012-02-16 01:15:24 GMT

Thankyou Helen Kroger. One also should ask why SBS brings Al Jazeera into Australian living rooms. This media organisation proudly broadcasts Al Quaida messages to the world, and has a bias in favour of extremist Islam. Thanks for the neutrality, SBS.

Posted by Ruth on 2012-02-15 11:43:33 GMT

Dear Senator Kroger, in the todays world, most business decisions are by far, ahead of independant assessments including ethical ones, didn"t you know.

Posted by Lynne Newington on 2012-02-14 19:56:12 GMT

This is very interesting, but not surprising. SBS seems to be in the pockets of the Arab world, with most of its news and live feeds via Al Jazeera. Why are we tax-payers funding this propaganda machine for Islamists? This is multi-culturalism at its worst, with a total Arab/Islamic slant aimed to indoctrinate Australian viewers. Bravo to Senator Helen Kroger for challenging this dreadful propaganda series.

Posted by MT on 2012-02-14 13:38:16 GMT

Of course SBS knew it was offensive! But it fits their own skewed ideology. Here"s a great quote on their internal examination process: "As anyone who has ever made a formal complaint to the BBC knows, internal investigations into allegations of bias, if they proceed at all, tend to be dismissed and Al Beeb thus vindicates itself, amid its characteristic self-puffery. Until there is a complaints procedure that is independent of the broadcaster itself, conducted by an external body which is genuinely free of Al Beeb’s influence, this will always remain so. Internal investigations tend, in all likelihood, to favour an organisation put on the defensive and eager to extricate itself from blame, especially when political bias is so ingrained in the culture of that organisation that it fails to recognise bias as such." You can read the rest here: I hope that if we complain loud enough, they will be forced into some sort of accountability and a bit less bigotry. But so far, they seem too infatuated with their own pseudo intellectual, cookie cutter mindsets to pay attention to what their critics are saying.

Posted by Dee Graf on 2012-02-14 11:34:57 GMT

senator Kroger"s email address is

Posted by Ralph Zwier on 2012-02-14 11:11:00 GMT