Australia's Jewish community has criticised a national broadcaster for screening the controversial British series The Promise.
When the four-part programme, set in the years leading up to Israeli independence, aired in Britain on Channel 4 last year, it was condemned by an Israeli embassy diplomat as the worst example of anti-Israel propaganda he had ever seen on television. Its screening prompted numerous complaints to Channel 4, as well as an investigation by regulator Ofcom.
Novelist Howard Jacobson described it as a "ludicrous piece of brainwashed prejudice" and disparaged its Jewish writer/director, Peter Kosminsky.
The series was shown in Australia at the end of last year, provoking similar outrage. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has now submitted a report to the country's broadcasting ombudsman, complaining that the series is guilty of several breaches and calling for the DVD collection's release to be delayed until after a ruling.
"The series promotes, endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews as a group," wrote the council, in the official complaint.
"They are cast as variously cruel, violent, hateful, ruthless, unfeeling, amoral, treacherous, racist and/or hypocritical. The ancient libel that holds all Jews throughout history to be collectively guilty of killing Jesus has been segued into the equally ludicrous proposition that all Jews are collectively guilty of the wanton shedding of innocent blood, a staple of contemporary Palestinian propaganda."
The council added: "We assume [you] would never contemplate screening a series in which all the principal characters who are identifiably Muslim are either ruthless, murderous terrorists or morally coarse people who condone terrorism.Yet this is precisely the way all of the principal characters who are identifiably Jewish are portrayed in The Promise."