Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Other Side of the Story at LionFM, by Shoshanna Silcove


There is an article here that is filled with so many half-truths and distortions that I really am at a bit of a loss as to where to begin. At this point since I am pressed for time, so I will simply address some general points.

I have been a volunteer for LionFM for several months, almost since the start of the station. I produced and hosted five installments of my program the Melbourne Jewish Women's Show. I have also attended several of the meetings. One could say I have a bit of the inside story of the goings on, and I couldn't disagree more with Bram Presser's characterization of LionFm's operation and its people.

Bram Presser's description of the LionFM contract is a total mischaracterisation. The presenter's agreement is a perfectly benign and legal document. It is a brief two sided document. Contrary to Bram Presser's assertion, there are no stipulations at all that would inhibit anyone from freedom of expression.  To state otherwise is a bold-face lie.  One need not even be Jewish to be a presenter. All one needs to agree to is that one is pro-Zionist. It emphasizes tolerance and unity within the Jewish community, and with the outer community as well.  There is a brief mention of confidentiality, but it is not at all overly secretive, and it is certainly not paranoid, nor are the executive behaving in any manner as if they were CIA agents, as Bram Presser described.  And nowhere does this contract give the executive 'unfettered right" to any of the volunteer's private life as Bram claims. This sounds a bit hysterical to me. This is total hyperbole on Bram Presser's part. I would be happy to show the contract to anyone who asks me, and anyone can see for themselves that what I say is indeed true.

The executive of LionFM refuse to allow this station to join the ever growing chorus of Israel-bashers  of the mainstream media. For this the executive should be applauded and supported, not slandered, denigrated, and demonised, as Bram Presser has done.   Their vision is that Lion FM is to be one corner in the media where Israel bashing will not be tolerated. I admire the executive for taking a courageous stand against today's avalanche of anti-Zionism and, in taking a proactive role in turning back the general media's anti-Israel tide. This makes them neither part of the Chareidi right wing, nor does it makes them pro-Shas, nor are they anti-peace, or undemocratic, as all these accusations  of Mr. Presser's are completely false, insulting, disrespectful, and slanderous. Where is Mr. Presser's own journalistic integrity? 

The executive have their own particular vision for LionFm.  From my many discussions and meetings with them, it is my opinion that they are quite clear and united in this vision. And they have every right to set the tone for the station. As organisational leaders they have an obligation and a responsibility to set standards, and to steer the station's direction, and that is what they are indeed doing.  There is a small group of very active and vocal individuals who are not happy with this direction, who would like to see the station go in a different more far-left wing direction. These active individuals have made every effort to rile up others against the executive, and to rally them to their side, by spreading lies, and fomenting division and discontent.  These people are overstepping  their bounds, budding their noses into areas that are not their purview and that they know little about, and are trying to take control.  Ego, psychological control issues, combined with their own personal agenda, and a desire to use the station to promote their own political views, all seem to be contributing factors towards their motivation.
Some of Bram Presser's statements could be seen as defaming. His calling Menachem Kheon a bully, for instance, is certainly unfair.  Mr. Khoen, along with all the executive, are simply taking a firm and clear stand in and effort to bring about their vision of LionFM as being balanced,  fair, Jewishly proud, tolerant, inclusive, and pro-Zionist.  While Bram Presser accuses LionFM of being hijacked, I believe this is his own psychological projection revealing that, in fact, it is he, and others along with him, who are the ones who wish to hijack LionFM for their own narrow purposes and political agenda.
I wrote the following comment to Bram on the GalusAustralis website:

My comment to Bram on GA;
Bram, I am up at this late hour finishing my Yom Tov preparations. I feel perhaps we started off on the wrong foot. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt, after all, it is Sukkos, a time when we rejoice in the unity of our people, in the things we have in common with each other as Jews.

I understand you were rejected by LionFM and you feel hurt, disappointed and angry. You really wanted to make a contribution on the air and I can empathise with the pain you are feeling that so far, this has not worked out for you. Nonetheless, I feel it is not right of you to write an article smearing the good people of LionFM who have dedicated their time, energy, and resources to build it from a mere pipe-dream into the reality that it is today. It took the executives and their fellow volunteers several years of sweat and toil to reach the stage the station and is at now. And it really isn't fair of you to use the GA website as a platform to vent your personal anger against them.

What would be the purpose of your article? Do you truly think that this article is going to help the radio station move forward and grow? Do you really think that demonising the executives is good for the future of the station? If the future of the station and the good of the community are your main interests, then how does such an article as this help foster those interests? Personally, I can't see how besmirching the executives, thus damaging their reputations and the reputation of the station can do any good for the station or the Jewish community. It can only bring about divisiveness.

So what is your goal? Is it to help build the station? Or is it to help bring it down? Could it be that you feel rejected and angry and feel that if the station doesn't want your services then maybe it shouldn't exist at all? I do doubt that is the case but I am truly trying to understand your motivations here. What do you want? Do you want to rewrite the LionFM constitution and volunteer agreements in your own image? Do you want to run things the way you want? Are you unable to compromise, or do you only want everything to be your way or else you will mercilessly attack the station executives?

You took this opportunity to tell your side of the story of what led up to your being ousted from doing your program. As the old saying goes, there are three sides to every story--your side, the other guy's side, and the truth. The latter is usually in between the other two. Until we hear the other side none of us can make a definite assessment as to who was in the right or in the wrong. Thus far, all we have is hearsay, and as a lawyer, you know how unreliable that is. Having said that, I do believe the executives have an obligation to have standards and policies and it is their right to oust whomever they feel is not acting within those guidelines. If you feel that your were hard done by, then instead of writing an article smearing and attacking them, there were other much more constructive ways you could have handled your grievance. You did not, in my opinion, choose to resolve things constructively, but instead chose to be contentious with this highly emotionally charged a public diatribe.

And some of your assertions are blatantly and absurdly false. For instance, not one of the executives is either Chareidi or a promoter of the Shas party platform.

I happen to respect and have a high regard for the executives and for what they have accomplished. I think I understand their vision and I concur with it. Of course, I too have had my differences with some of their policies etc., but I am flexible and able to compromise and adapt and I know that when working in community organisations, things will never  be 100% to my liking. The best way to go about accomplishing goals is to try to work in a positive and constructive manner. Your article does not, in my view, accomplish anything positive, nor is it constructive, in fact, the opposite is true. And I feel if you think about it and take a hard honest look at this, then you will come to the same conclusion.

A Gut Yom Tov and a Gut year with open and revealed blessings for you and your loved ones.


What Bram Presser really said about Israel on the radio

What does Bram Presser really believe about Israel? It has come to may attention, although I have not heard it, that Bram Presser said on his radio program that not only does he believe in a two state solution but, that Jerusalem should not be the capital of Israel. That is anti-Zionist in my book, how about yours? If he did indeed say this, then LionFM has every right to oust him


Unknown said...


Thank G-D there are some rational media people out there who stick to their guns with regard to Israel. Be strong Shosh and fellow pro Israel people.

The Repenting Jewess said...

look at Bram Presser's answer to me and my reply on GA:

Bram Presser says:
September 29, 2010 at 12:59 am
I urge people to read Shoshanna’s response to my article. Contrary to her assertions there are no half truths and it is she who mischaracterises the volunteer agreement. For what its worth I’d like to know her legal credentials – I for one am a practising lawyer and legal academic. Credentials aside, I would not expect her to agree with me – she is a lackey of the executive who is well-known for her far-right wing views.

If she chooses to say I am trying to hijack the station for my political agenda then perhaps, in her characterisation, she is right. And here’s my agenda: Building a community radio station that represents and welcomes all the views in our wonderfully vibrant and diverse community. That includes people of Shoshanna’s political views. And therein lies the difference between me and her. I encourage debate, she and her like try to stifle it.

My reply: Shoshanna Silcove says:
September 29, 2010 at 1:04 am
You are the one who is well known for your outrageous out of the mainstream rebellious shtick and far left wing radical views! And as for me being a lackey of the executive, how would you know? You never even met me. You never even spopke to me once about me, or my involvement with the radio. Are you listening to slander, perhaps? You like to make up stories about people, don’t you? You are obviously overly emotional about being tossed out of the station and are now on a vendetta against them. You are a disgruntled ex-voluntee

seraphya said...

Only two comments?

I would have thought people would have a lot to say about this, as seen with the vibrant discussion in the Galus blog on this topic.

Where are the people with a variety of opinions, and where are their comments here?

Bemused said...

If you are willing to show the presenters agreement to anyone, why not just put it up on this site.

And when you say Lion-FM have a vision of being "balanced, fair, Jewishly proud, tolerant, inclusive, and pro-Zionist" I wonder if you could demonstrate that.

A balanced perspective might include Left Wing Zionist presenters. It might include passionately Jewish non-Zionist presenters. (Do you not believe they exist?)

It might even include anti-Zionists. Are they not to be tolerated by the tolerant station?

(The constitution doesn't actually specify what Zionism is, so it's very hard to know if anyone is pro,non or anti-Zionist according to the station. For example, they make take a Weizmannesque view and say that Zionism means you can only live a meaningful Jewish life within Israel and that the Diaspora is to be totally negated. I know lots of card-carrying Zionists who are anti that version of Zionism).

If the station were truly "tolerant and inclusive" I can't see why they wouldn't tolerate and include somebody like Bram Presser who has a long track record of positive Jewish communal activity.

The Repenting Jewess said...

This station is pro-Israel. The Israel bashers are welcome to join the ABC, The AGE, and all the other anti-Zionists, as there is no lack of media outlets that will be more than happy to air their vile biased intolerant rubbish.

bemused said...

Could you please clarify what you mean by "pro-Israel" and by "anti-Zionist". And above all, what do you mean by Israel Bashers?

Please explain what degree of criticism of Israel - or Israeli society, or Israeli policy, or Israele government action - do you think is within the realm of fair comment, and when does it cross the line into "Israel bashing".

Do Hashomer and Habonim count as sufficiently pro-Israel? Do they have a place on LionFM? What about Meretz?

Does advocating a distinct two-state solution count as anti-Zionist?

What about a two state-solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital?

What about advocating a one-state solution from sea to sea? Is that pro-Israel or anti-Zionist?

The Repenting Jewess said...

Thanks for asking my views about Eretz Yisroel. My views are encapsulated in this article here:

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