The Australian published an edited version of this letter today:
John Lyons, in "Distant 'experts' choose to ignore Israeli realities" (8/3/2014), did not address any of the substantive criticism levelled at his Four Corners programme. Instead, he made new unsubstantiated allegations directed at critics.
Far from "ignoring Israeli realities", AIJAC has always sought to bring authoritative analyses of this reality before the Australian public, including a detailed examination of Four Corners. Not one of our criticisms has been rebutted, so it is unsurprising that senior journalist Greg Sheridan used this resource. Readers can do the same (here) and judge Lyons' journalism for themselves.
AIJAC has consistently argued that a negotiated two-state settlement is the only path to genuine peace in the narrow strip of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean - thus fulfilling the desire of all parents there to give their children a secure and fulfilling future free from terrorism and war.
Yet Lyons vilifies us as holding "extremely hardline positions on Israel" and being part of "Melbourne guys" who someone said can "declare a fatwa".
Lyons cites a politician who accused us of having misguided priorities, yet AIJAC's national Chairperson had already published, in this paper, a point by point rebuttal of this false charge.
Sheridan and others have documented that racists and bigots are using the Four Corners programme to rationalise grubby interventions in public debate. It is disappointing that Lyons belittles these concerns rather than using the numerous opportunities provided him to condemn the racists.
Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)