Jewish leaders are demanding an apology from the ABC for giving a platform to a British writer who attended a Holocaust denying conference in Iran.
Dr Stephen Sizer, a former Anglican reverend who speaks out against Israel, was treated to a 17-minute Radio National interview on Good Friday, which was also the start of the Jewish Passover.
ABC breakfast presenter David Rutledge had asked the critic of Christian Zionism if criticism levelled against him was unfair, as he embarks on a tour of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Dr Stephen Sizer, a reverend who speaks out against Israel, was treated to a 17-minute Radio National interview on Good Friday, which was also the start of the Jewish Passover
Jewish leaders are demanding an apology from the ABC for giving a platform to a British writer who attended a Holocaust denying conference in Tehran in 2014
‘I accept you’re not an anti-Semite but do you accept you do sail pretty close to the wind or at least invite that accusation?,’ he asked.
Rutledge had pointed out Dr Sizer’s 2014 appearance at the New Horizon conference in Tehran, which featured Holocaust deniers, and his 2015 Facebook post which linked Israel with the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States during 2001.
‘You seem to have stuck your neck out further than most,’ the ABC presenter said.
Dr Sizer responded by saying he was an expert on evangelical Christian supporters of Israel.
‘I did my Master’s thesis and did my PhD looking at Christian Zionism, and that’s my main contribution to the debate if you like,’ he told the ABC.
Dvir Abramovich, the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Defamation Commission, said the ABC had ‘crossed the line big time’ airing Dr Sizer’s ‘anti-Israel venom’
Dvir Abramovich, the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Defamation Commission, said the ABC had ‘crossed the line big time’ airing Dr Sizer’s ‘anti-Israel venom’.
‘The ABC and the producers should hang their head in shame for providing this individual, on the eve of Passover, with a credible platform to spew his anti-Israel venom,’ he said in a statement.
‘Worse, during the interview, Mr Sizer seemed to endorse the racist conspiracy theories and slurs promoted in that ugly article.
‘Taxpayer dollars should not have been used to allow such a figure to appear on a respectable national program, and this outrageous lapse in judgment should be seriously investigated.’
Peter Wertheim, the chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said the ‘soft’ interview was an insult to Jewish people.
At the New Horizon Conference in Tehran in September 2014, Dr Sizer asked why Israel had been the subject of more United Nations resolutions ‘than any other country in the world’.
An ABC spokeswoman said Rutledge was a ‘highly experienced and knowledgeable academic and broadcaster’ who had been clear with listeners that Dr Sizer was a ‘controversial figure with strongly contested views’.
‘Dr Sizer was closely questioned on his views throughout the interview, including in a detailed exchange about the accusations of anti-Semitism made against him (which he denies),’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
The ABC received one complaint about the interviewed, which the national broadcaster’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs unit will investigate.