ALI KAZAK. Hong Kong and Gaza: media dance to different tune

Compare the ABC’s and SBS’s coverage of the pro-democracy marches in Hong Kong and the “Marches of Return” in Gaza.

Gazans have been marching every Friday for the last 80 weeks since 30 March 2018, for the lifting of  a 13-year Israeli siege which has turned Gaza into a concentration camp, and for the right of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian refugees to return back to their towns and properties stolen from them in 1948.In Hong Kong, pro-democracy citizens have been marching for the last 21 weeks against the introduction of the “Fugitive Offenders amendment bill” and democracy.

In Gaza, Israeli troops have killed during this period 214 demonstrators including 46 children, 2 woman, 9 disabled, 2 journalists and 4 paramedics, and wounded 18,764 according to Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights.

While in Hong Kong, about 2000 have reportedly been injured and not one death recorded, even though the protests have been much more violent than the ones in Gaza in terms of the disruption to public life and commerce, setting fires, hurling petrol bombs, attacking and  injuring a large number of police, attacking banks, shops and public facilities, blocking roads, shutting down and destroying the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system and the international airport.

The ABC and SBS in particular, and the media in general, are defending and supporting the demands of Hong Kong protesters and we are bombarded by radio and television news bulletins and current affairs programs’ with extensive coverage of the marches, interviews with demonstrators, pro-demonstrators commentators and politicians who were questioned on their stand and asked what action they are going to take against China.

When a demonstrator was wounded in the chest and another in the eye an uproar broke out. We were given the names of the wounded, their age and every personal detail.

On the other hand, and in spite of enormous Israeli crimes which amount to war crimes, the ABC and SBS have hardly covered the Palestinian marchers’ just demands for freedom and the right of return, let alone interviewed politicians on their stand and asked what actions they are going to take against Israel violations and crime.

Occasionally when they do, the report is covered from behind Israeli troops, careful terminology measured to free Israel from any responsibility of its crimes, Israel’s allegations are always reported as facts, Israelis or pro-Israelis are interviewed and hardly Palestinians.

The contrasting coverage of the marches in Palestine and Hong Kong reveal the pro-Israeli and anti-Chinese coverage of the ABC and SBS, the unwritten guidelines they have to adhere to and the politicisation of public media in the service of conservative right-wing politics, while claiming to be independent, for all Australians, impartial “according to the recognised standards of objective journalism” and fair.

Democracy, human rights and respect of international conventions are nothing but instruments the media, Australian politicians, and the West claim to support when they serve right-wing Western interests.

Anyone who follows the ABC and SBS will realise the conservatives and right-wingers have succeeded in their attack tactics against publicly funded media to toe an even more conservative line.

Media hypocrisy, double-standard and bias are also evident in the coverage of the so-called “Chinese lobby”.

There is nothing ASIO and the media suggest any Chinese lobby of doing that the Israeli lobby has not done for over 30 years on behalf of the Israeli government. Any Chinese lobby is child’s play in contrast to the well-established Israeli lobby.

No country has more interfered, spied and forged Australian passports, recruited Australians into its army and spy agencies and endangered Australia’s security, sovereignty and the integrity of its national institutions than Israel.

By their own admission, the Israeli lobby receives funds from Israeli institutions, coordinates and cooperates with the Israeli government and embassy, and has ‘established a long tradition of strong public advocacy on behalf of Israel‘ to shape the opinion of members of the Australian public, media organisations and government officials in order to advance Israel’s own political objectives.

Consecutive Liberal and Labor governments have been selling Australia’s foreign policy to Israel for decades, with huge campaign donations and all-expenses-paid trips for MPs, officials, staffers, union officials and media personnel.

Yet, while the media has been bombarding us with scare campaigns against China, we hardly see any reference to the danger of the Israeli lobby.

Imagine how Australia would react if China forged Australian passports and used them to spy on other countries and carry out assassinations in friendly countries.

Imagine the media hysteria that would follow if China assassinated leaders of the Hong Kong protest with drones and sniper troops killed 214 demonstrators including 46 children, disabled, journalists and paramedics?

So why do Australian media and politicians let Israel get away with murder while scrutinising China?

Ali Kazak is a former Palestinian ambassador and head of delegation to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.


Ali Kazak is a former Palestinian ambassador and head of delegation to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.

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7 Responses to ALI KAZAK. Hong Kong and Gaza: media dance to different tune

  1. Charles Lowe says:

    To attempt some sort of answer:

    1. Australia depends critically on our trade with China. We hardly trade with Palestine.

    2. Australians understand that China could (i. e. it has the capacity to) militarily overrun Australia. What an incentive to (at least) demonstrate ‘respect’ to China.

    3. China is “in our Region”. It is proximate. Palestine is not.

    4. The ‘dynamic’ between China and the U. S. is complex, perpetually changing and endemically relevant to Australia’s strategic interests. Palestine does not rate.

    5. Australia was an abiding sponsor (since WW I) of “the need” to establish a Jewish homeland.

    6. Israel has mercilessly exploited both the simple presence as well as the social status of its sympathisers within Australia (as it has the U. S. and many other nations). Palestinians are easily depicted as “the opponent” to Israeli viability.

    7. Our media reports in terms of a sociological matrix Not in terms of an objectifiable “justice”. Not least because the media has to sell its product. To the overwhelming majority of us who, on the one hand, may be under-informed and on the other are tribal – with tribal ‘loyalties’.

    I hope that the above helps answer your question.

  2. Rory McGuire says:

    Ali Kazak asks, “So why do Australian media and politicians let Israel get away with murder while scrutinising China?” This question has been asked in various forms for over half a century, say since at least 1967. Concerning Israel, the answer is obvious, so obvious that people rarely spell it out. For several reasons we, especially the MSM, are reluctant to criticise Israel. So we let Israel continue with its genocidal actions against the Palestinians, even though it should be obvious to any informed observer that Israel is driving itself into a very tight and unpleasant corner. Israel, if it continues along this path, has to exterminate every Palestinian in the region, leaving no traces, not even memories, or it has to drive them out, so far from home that they don’t remember where they came from. And in either case Israel has to persuade all Arabs and sympathetic Muslims, and everyone else, that this is not an issue. Does either of these two possibilities have any prospect of success? There is a lot of historical precedent to say there is absolutely no prospect of success. The most persuasive evidence is provided by the history of the Jews. To sum it up: after 2000 years they still yearn to return. Yet they expect the Palestinians to forget their equally strong rights to and affection for their land after 50 or 100 years. And we in Australia, and most of the West, accept this completely absurd proposition.
    Sometimes, when people misbehave, their friends have to tell them to cease their misbehaviour. We are not doing this. Does this mean we are not friends of Israel? That our expressions and actions of support are pure hypocrisy? Or perhaps our failure to advise Israel of the error of its ways is an indication of deep-seated, subconscious anti-Semitism. Do we not set for Israel the same humanitarian and ethical standards we set for the Chinese in their mistreatment of the Hong Kong protesters or the million Uighurs locked up in their “re-education” camps?
    Perhaps John Howard, Wayne Swan, Alexander Downer, Stephen Conroy, Brendan Nelson and all the other notables now in Israel, on a tour organised by the Zionist Federation of Australia (Sydney Morning Herald 29 October, who pays?) will come home with some answers, especially after their meetings with Binyamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Of course, any wisdom from our Foreign Affairs people would be most appreciated.

  3. Joseph Furolo says:

    Thank you

  4. Rex Williams says:

    ” There is nothing ASIO and the media suggest any Chinese lobby of doing that the Israeli lobby has not done for over 30 years on behalf of the Israeli government. Any Chinese lobby is child’s play in contrast to the well-established Israeli lobby.”

    Very true! It is called AIPAC in the USA and along similar lines, AIJAC here in this country with the Zionist Federation of Australia as the controlling body over all local Jewish activities. Well funded, influential and slowly but surely infiltrating the ranks of politicians through financial support during elections, sponsorship of academic study programs and learning institutions and special funded visits to Israel by probably almost half the politicians resident in the nation’s capital. How is that different to China and its efforts to gain a measure of support in this country?
    Israel oriented activities are far more structured and effective and have been in train for decades as the writer has stated with total support from the Israel government.

    It is well known that Australian passports for Jewish Australian youths to fight in Israel against the real owners of Palestine has occurred for years with never a slight indication of any restriction on their ability to return back to this country after probably having committed murder against Palestinians in Palestine. Standard practice and not a murmur.
    The support for politicians, Governors, one of whom is now even our current Governor-General, yet another ex-military man who was associated with the Israeli lobby in this country being an ex-Patron of the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women (NAJEX), saying the Jewish community has a “proud tradition” of service to Australia. Really?

    Currently the whole world regards the real government and power structure in the USA, what is known as “America’s Deep State”, as an Israeli influenced shadow government and a contributing factor to the current unhealthy rightwing climate in that country with its never ending wars against all the Middle Eastern countries, all of which is decidedly to the benefit of Israel. This allows Israel’s long range plan of ‘Eretz Israel’ (Greater Israel) to move one step closer to fruition. This will mean constant military wars in that part of the world as Israel covets all of Palestine, large parts of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and is doing all it can every day to turn the world against Iran, a country with no known nuclear warheads, as compared to Israel and it’s well documented 300 + nuclear warheads.

    As one Israeli historian, Martin van Creveld said in 2003, “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome.”
    A comforting thought. Has China ever threatened all the other nations in the world in any way?

    And still Australian governments voted in the US-corrupted United Nations against taking action against Israel’s injustice, cruel military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.
    Clearly, that is influence in Australia on a grand scale, a better example one could not find anywhere when most other countries voted in favour of Palestine, rightly so.

    China is a novice when compared to Israel and its self-serving political base. As is often stated, the USA is Israel’s bitch but you can be absolutely sure that Australia is on ‘standby’ as a substitute when needed.

    Finally. Anyone like to compare the value of both countries to the well-being of our country?
    So, if you are reading this in China, please stay with us. We do appreciate your business.

  5. Russell Smith says:

    Well said Mr Kazak, the treatment of the Palestinian people by Israel is shameful and the fact they are not brought to account by the Western media is equally as bad. An interesting read for those wanting a bit more background on Israeli tactics in dealing with their “enemies” and “allies” alike is “Rise And Kill First – The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” by Ronen Bergman. Eye opening.

  6. Kevin Bain says:

    The Australian Palestine Advocacy Network organised a tour for Aust journalists in 2016. Indigenous journalist Chris Graham couldn’t help but compare the 2 situations in this interesting piece from Overland. I wonder if the other journos wrote up their impressions.

  7. Anthony Pun says:

    Many thanks to HE Ali Kazak for calling the spade a spade when he said ABC and SBS converage of Hong Kong was politicized in the service of conservative right wing politics. Compared to global the instances of police/army actions (and fatalities) to quell protesters, Hong Kong police, by comparison, are angels.
    Through violence, vandalism and riotous behaviour, the HK protesters have lost their cause for democracy and whatever empathy they had was destroyed by the violence. Instead, the public sentiment (local & international) has turned against them except for the US & others as participants of the proxy ideology war in Hong Kong.
    To understand why is really going on in Hong Kong, the two articles below may be worthwhile reading to get an informed view.

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