DEPRIVING FREE SPEECH
PROFESSOR Douglas Kirsner has entered the debate on behalf of Michael Danby, justifying his attempt to prevent the publication of Antony Loewenstein’s book next year. Kirsner’s justification is that the author has taken a range of activities against the interests of Israel.
If we are to limit our reading to authors who support our views, or even to writers who are not too strenuously opposed to them, the result would be to deprive all of us of significant intellectual stimulation, and would damage the cause of free speech.
If that is Kirsner’s choice, he is entitled to express it, but he wrote on behalf of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation Commission. As a long-time member of that organisation, I resent its use to promote actions calculated to interfere with freedom of speech.
I CANNOT comment on either Professor Jacqueline Rose’s book or Antony Loewenstein’s without reading them. But I can observe the information that is available.
I’m baffled as to how a scholarly practitioner such as Professor Bill Rubinstein (AJN 9/9) can compare Antony Loewenstein with Noam Chomsky. Has he ever read what Professor Chomsky has written?
"The only feasible and minimally decent solution is along the lines of the international consensus... a two-state settlement on the international border (Green Line), with ‘minor and mutual adjustments’... There has never been a legitimate proposal for a democratic secular state from any significant Palestinian (or of course Israeli) group.
"One can debate, abstractly, whether it is ‘desirable’. But it is completely unrealistic. It is understood that this would soon become a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority, and with no guarantee for either democracy or secularism."
This is actually not a million miles from Michael Danby’s publicly-stated view. It is a long way from Loewenstein’s preferred option of a one-state solution.
It is difficult for me to take the rest of Professor Rubinstein’s comments seriously if he gets the elementary details wrong.
[Ed: I have indeed suggested a one-state solution as the ideal way to solve the conflict, however I strongly support a two-state resolution in the short to medium term.]
UPDATE: Also in this week's AJN, Julia Irwin, the federal Labor MP for Fowler, tells a few home truths about the Israeli government and its treatment of the Palestinians. Unsurprisingly, Kim Beazley and the paper itself dismiss her as "arguably antisemitic."
I've never met Irwin, but I strongly suspect she is nothing of the sort. Questioning the motives of the Israelis - after generations of duplicity - should be encouraged in a democracy. Or indeed, the motives of the Palestinians. Once again, is Israel's position within Australia so insecure that one parliamentarian has the power to rattle people this much?