Freedom of the local press?

The following letter appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Jeremy Gilling’s assertion (Letters, March 20) that Robert Magid’s reason for pulling an ad promoting talks by Jeff Halper “doesn’t cut it” is irrelevant. Magid is not answerable to Gilling or to the Herald.

Extending Magid’s first reason (Halper’s promotion by groups that Jews find offensive), one would not find an ad for condoms in a Catholic publication. Gilling’s claim that Magid’s second reason (Halper’s argument that Israel should be dissolved as a Jewish state) is “calculated to misrepresent” does precisely what it accuses Magid of doing. Web searches and listeners to Halper confirm Magid’s impression.

Your editorial (“With friends like these ”¦”, March 13) and subsequent letters criticising Magid are discriminatory. They imply that unlike any other publication, a Jewish one must accept an ad offensive to its readership; that the Jewish community’s opposition to Halper’s views makes it a supporter of cruelty and oppression; and that the all-powerful “Israel lobby” suppresses dissenting views.

Paul Winter Chatswood

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