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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Spreading the word

I appeared on LA radio this afternoon to discuss the Israel/Palestine conflict and the Zionist lobby. "Middle East in Focus" is a weekly show on KPFK. The show started in 1980 during the Iranian hostage crisis and is currently hosted by Don Bustany. KPFK is owned by the Pacifica Foundation. They are listener sponsored and of the 140 programmers, 130 are unpaid volunteers.

The first guest on the program was a correspondent in Iran. He discussed the nuclear stand-off between America and the Islamic state.

Next up was Amy Wilentz, a contributing editor of The Nation magazine, author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier and a novel, Martyr's Crossing. Her review of Alan Dershowitz's "The Case For Israel" appeared in the Los Angeles Times last week:

"Dershowitz is not the only supporter of Israel and of peace who argues in this way. Many Jews in America never really examine how Palestinians might feel about certain Israeli policies, always assuming that Israel tries to be humane (even when it drops a bomb on an apartment complex to eliminate one terrorist and also kills 10 children; even though more than 500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers since the start of the second intifada). He always assumes that Israel will be the one to set the parameters of what's an acceptable peace. Sadly, the vicious and self-defeating suicide-bombing strategy of the masterminds of the second intifada has not changed such condescending and intemperate talk, to put it mildly."

Wilentz suggested that Dershowitz was not unlike her young boys: petulant, always claiming to be right and incapable of seeing fault with the Jewish state.

My segment consisted of a general overview of my forthcoming book on the Middle East conflict, the power of the Zionist lobby in Australia and some possible reasons why honest debate about the Israel/Palestine conflict is next to impossible without resulting in raised tempers.

A number of listeners wanted to engage in the subject. Max from LA called in and asked why the Palestinians "always want to destroy us" and if I was proud to be a Jew with my views. I said that Jews historically always questioned official dogma and they should speak out if they see injustice. Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is one such example.

It was a fascinating 30-minute session and proved that rational discussion is possible on this subject if, unlike Max, contributors don't start claiming God-given rights to the land.

On a related issue, since the recent publication of my article on Counterpunch, I've received nearly one hundred emails from around the world, orders for the (as yet) unfinished book, requests from libraries across the globe and words of support. Thank you all. The strongest message I received is the level of frustration amongst people who want to talk about America's relationship with Israel, the power of the Zionist lobby or the disgraceful role of Arab countries towards the Palestinians.

Let honest debate begin.

9 Comments:

Blogger Glenn Condell said...

Don't do a Hitchens on us will you? No swanning over there and having your head turned by the neocons, OK?

Not bloody likely I admit.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 6:18:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks for the concern.
Not likely? Less than that. Impossible. Hitchens must surely know he's hitched his ride with a bunch of extremists and war-mongers.
At least he'll get invites to the White House. Goodie for him...

Thursday, September 29, 2005 6:25:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

"Wilentz suggested that Dershowitz was not unlike her young boys: petulant, always claiming to be right and incapable of seeing fault with the Jewish state."

Well, thats a complete load of crap.

No doubt he does claim to be always right (he often is), but of course he sees fault with Israel.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 6:57:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

"Sadly, the vicious and self-defeating suicide-bombing strategy of the masterminds of the second intifada has not changed such condescending and intemperate talk, to put it mildly."

It was designed so that rational human beings were to change the way they do business? If only we had known! We thought it was to maximize the number of Jewish children killed. Silly us.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 10:27:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

"Silly us."

Indeed, you do sound rather silly. Surely someone must have tried to explain to you that terrorism is just a political movement, utilizing the only tools you have given them.

But to accept that you'd have to give up all that silliness about "they hate me because of me Choseness." And I expect that's too high a price for you to pay.

Friday, September 30, 2005 9:08:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

I have to give them tools? You give them tools. Let their Arab overlords, who keep them in poverty and in 4th generation refugee camps, give them tools.

But you come to me with terrorism, and you will be repaid with death.

Friday, September 30, 2005 9:20:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Ibrahamav, can you explain the orgins of the refugee camps for us ignorant people?

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:38:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Sorry - "origins". Bugger.

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:39:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

As long as you can tell me why the Lebanese, Syrians, and Egyptians refuse to give Arabs born in those countries, to fathers born in those countries, to fathers born in those countries, because their great grandfather happened to be among the Arabs living in the Palestinian region in 1946 and decided to leave because of a war.

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:09:00 pm  

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