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Departure of Andrew Jaspan

02 September 2008

Fews tears shed over Andrew Jaspan's departure.

Anton Block, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, the peak body of Victorian Jewry, said today:

“On balance it is fair to say that most of Victoria’s Jewish community have not shed tears over Andrew Jaspan’s departure from the editorship of The Age.

While The Age and its supporters have constantly lauded its journalistic excellence, our perception is that coverage of the local Jewish community lacked subtlety and nuance during the Jaspan era. In the pages of The Age, local Jews were largely depicted as exotic, perhaps as Holocaust survivors or members of the so-called Jewish lobby, rarely as normal people leading normal lives in a culturally diverse Victorian society.

What particularly raised the ire of many in the local Jewish community during the past few years was The Age’s perceived bias against Israel.

While editorials and letters were generally even-handed, Ed O’Loughlin’s reportage was seen as constantly skewed, as were Michael Leunig’s cartoons and many articles on the opinion page. Indeed there was even bias by omission, as evidenced by The Age’s recent failure to note France’s Appeals Court’s decision that Israel apparently had not been responsible for the notorious killing of Mohammed Al-Dura, a former cause celebre for The Age. Unfortunately Andrew Jaspan’s attitude towards complaints was, in our experience, dismis

The Age is a powerful institution. It reaches many hundreds of thousands of readers, both locally and also abroad, who are influenced by its contents. We can only hope that Fairfax will be more judicious in its choice of Andrew Jaspan’s successor resulting in a more balanced approach to the Middle East conflict and also to our community.”

For further information, please contact:

Anton Block 0418 320 417 or Geoffrey Zygier 0413 731 545

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