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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Define power

The Zionist lobby likes to believe that anti-Semitism is just below the surface of anybody who dares criticise Israel. It's a powerful argument, though palpably false. Few journalists or politicians wants to be tarred with the anti-Semitic brush, but then, how else to rationally debate Israel and its brutal occupation of nearly 40 years?

AIJAC, Australia's leading Zionist propagandists, are long on rhetoric and quick to label any journalist, advocate or politician with seemingly anti-Israel comments. They are masters of the "boy who cried wolf" school of politics.

In this week's Jewish News, AIJAC's Tzvi Fleischer has a few requests for the coming year:

A media wishlist for 5766
TZVI FLEISCHER

"As we wish each other a sweet, happy and prosperous year 5766, what should wish our colleagues in the Australian media?

"Of course, we wish these largely hardworking and dedicated people a personally happy and successful year.

"Yet this is also an appropriate time to ruminate on what would be the most important developments we would like to see to improve the Australian media, vital as it is for maintaining the multicultural, tolerant democracy we all value.

"Like any other profession, there are many general principles of journalism that it would be good to see implemented better.

"However, for current purposes, I have compiled an idiosyncratic wishlist of the top four developments I think the Jewish community would want to see in the Australian media in the next 12 months."

The rest of the article rambles through a desire for more "balance" at the public broadcasters - essentially whitewashing Israel's crimes in the West Bank and Gaza - and "a principled rejection of anti-Semitic themes." We agree on this point, but his definition is curious:

"Old fashioned anti-Semitism has fortunately been fairly rare in mainstream Australian media commentary, at least since the 'Ashrawi affair' in 2003.

"At that time, however, we saw that large segments of the media contributed to or had objection to claims that 'a powerful Jewish lobby uses it money' to shut down debate on the Middle East in Australia, and ensure that the Palestinian case remains unheard.

"Sorry, this is both untrue and a classic anti-Semitic line. Unfortunately, I am expecting a reignition of such themes this year, because Jewish anti-Zionist Antony Loewenstein is publishing a book, and according to his weblog, this exact claim is going to be a major argument in it.

"Wouldn't be nice if the media was strongly sceptical and unwelcoming of such claims, as they would be if similar attempts were made to demonise and delegitimise the public participation of any other minority ethnic group?"

I wonder if Fleischer kept a straight face while writing such nonsense. Powerful Jewish groups, such as AIJAC, use their political and financial muscle to influence media and political decisions. This is not a conspiracy. Other ethnic groups do likewise and have every right to do so. However, the often underhanded and intimidatory behaviour - some of which I'll be examining in my book - is unacceptable in a democracy. Besides, AIJAC's definition of "balance" is little more than paying lip-service to whatever government currently resides in Israel. That is their right, but it is likewise my right and responsibility to provide an alternative perspective.

AIJAC dislike dissent and regularly attempt to pressure journalists and editors to portray only one side in the argument. I know because I've interviewed many of them for my book and experienced it myself. They should expect to be challenged on this.

Sometimes I wonder if the AIJAC's of this world would be better suited to a country in which every media outlet simply reports what the government tells them.

8 Comments:

Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

A.L.,

Assuming what you say about the AIJAC is true (have to wait for the book), what is the motivation for its actions?

Do AIJAC actually believe that anti-semitism is lurking in the unconscious and needs to be kept there by careful stewardship of the media?

Or does it actually believe that influencing the federal government via the media is important to the state of Israel?

Neither of these look that sensible. The anti-semitic demon theme is just plain silly. I can't believe that is a genuine belief of AIJAC members. The second option - helping Israel - while less silly, still doesn't seem to warrant the shutting down of debate given that Australia is an insignificant player in the world of Middle East politics. If AIJAC-style bullying were happening in, say, the United Kingdom, then it would make a bit more sense - but it doesn't seem to make sense in the case of a minor side-show like Australia.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 3:57:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Motivations?
Not unlike most Western countries, especially the UK and US, honest debate about Israel/Palestine is deemed dangerous and must be stopped. After all, does AIJAC et al want the world to know what Israel does in the territories? And that's just the beginning.
Never underestimate the paranoia of these people.
And yes, people will find some rather illuminating material in my book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 4:12:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Considering the controvesy of the weekend, it's amazing that Loewenstein has the stones to write about people being "tarred with the anti-Semitic blush"!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 4:54:00 pm  
Blogger dusty_buster said...

Antony, Why do you hate yourself and your heritage so much? What happened to you as a child that caused you to turn into this evil nihilistic creature? Why do you do the bidding for the forces of darkness that would destroy your kin?
Why?
Why?
Why?
Answer - Ego.
You're a traitor to your kind and you will be treated like the people you most identify with -
an Arab.
Go to Paleostine and see for yourself what happens to people like you that dont have 'racial pride'.
There'll be no respect or mercy shown to you by the people that you're defending. These people will be happy to see EVERY JEW dead, regardless of their political positions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 7:56:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Sean.M. said...
"Antony, Why do you hate yourself and your heritage so much?
...
Answer - Ego."


Err - is it just me, or is there just a tiny logical problem with the rhetorical answer this rhetorical question?

"What happened to you as a child that caused you to turn into this evil nihilistic creature? Why do you do the bidding for the forces of darkness that would destroy your kin? Why?
Why? Why?"


Perhaps every night he reads and re-reads the angry words of Isaiah 1, and wonders how best Israel might redeem itself:

טו וּבְפָרִשְׂכֶם כַּפֵּיכֶם, אַעְלִים עֵינַי מִכֶּם--גַּם כִּי-תַרְבּוּ תְפִלָּה, אֵינֶנִּי שֹׁמֵעַ: יְדֵיכֶם, דָּמִים מָלֵאוּ.

טז רַחֲצוּ, הִזַּכּוּ--הָסִירוּ רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיכֶם, מִנֶּגֶד עֵינָי: חִדְלוּ, הָרֵעַ.

יז לִמְדוּ הֵיטֵב דִּרְשׁוּ מִשְׁפָּט, אַשְּׁרוּ חָמוֹץ; שִׁפְטוּ יָתוֹם, רִיבוּ אַלְמָנָה.

Who knows? Maybe A.L. is seeking a redemptive path that some of Israel's "rebellious princes" have closed their eyes to.

"You're a traitor to your kind and you will be treated like the people you most identify with - an Arab."

Well, as Chaim Weizmann once wrote of the Arabs, "they are to some extent our cousins."

"Go to Paleostine and see for yourself what happens to people like you that dont have 'racial pride'."

Apparently A.L. has done precisely that!

To quote from his Counterpunch note : "Danby and numerous pro-Israel supporters are clearly confronted by me posing questions about Australia's pro-Israel media, the Howard government's relationship with Israel and America, the role of the pro-Israel lobby, America's relationship with the Jewish state, my experiences in the Middle East, including through the Palestinian occupied territories and Jewish and Arab voices of dissent."

"There'll be no respect or mercy shown to you by the people that you're defending. These people will be happy to see EVERY JEW dead, regardless of their political positions."

Now that was a little anti-Semitic, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 10:19:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Anthony, I think Sean.M. just provided us with a perfect example of what you wer referring to.

The measure of a society is in it's willingness to aknowledge it's mistakes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 10:32:00 pm  
Blogger A Lag said...

The Zionist lobby likes to believe that anti-Semitism is just below the surface of anybody who dares criticise Israel. It's a powerful argument, though palpably false

Your argument, whilst "powerful" is palpably false as is the entire premise behind it.

Jews do not automatically think criticism of Israel is antisemitic. The above argument however is used all too frequently by paranoid antisemites such as yourself.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote: "Criticising Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction - - out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East - - is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest."

To argue as you so cynically do, is to disarm Jews from defending against real antisemitism which does exist and is fuelled by attitudes such as yours. Amazing considering that if you were a Jew by birth, there are any number of people who you claim to support that would cut your Jew throat.

Looking at the above bleating, it is clear that you, Lowenstein, seem terribly paranoid about being called an antisemite. Now why might that be anyway?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 10:45:00 am  
Blogger A Lag said...

Alan Dershowitz summed you and your Big Lie up to a tee.

Tyrants understood that if you repeat a big lie often enough people will begin to believe it. The big lie that’s being repeated all around the United States, and especially on college and university campuses, is that anyone who is critical of Israeli policies or the Sharon government will automatically be labeled an anti-Semite. It would be terrible if that were true, since criticism of Israel is important, as is criticism of any imperfect democracy. But the reality is that in the many years that I have been speaking about the Arab-Israeli conflict, I have never heard anyone ever actually label a mere critic of Israel or Sharon as anti-Semitic. Nor have I ever heard mere criticism of Israel described as anti-Semitism.

Yet the big lie persists.


Read it all and find out how you have been sucked in:
http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/dershowitz/Articles/bignewlie.html

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 9:08:00 pm  

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