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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The right to challenge Sharon

Following the continued campaign against cartoonist Michael Leunig - and false claims that he is anti-Semitic for daring to suggest Ariel Sharon is a war criminal - I wrote a letter to daily newsletter Crikey and defended the beleaguered man. It has not been published, so I reproduce it here:

"The various accusations against Michael Leunig - he's anti-Semitic, anti-Western, anti-Australian, anti-everything this government stands for - are both predictable and intellectually dishonest. His recent cartoon depicting an ailing Ariel Sharon directing a military strike against a Palestinian 'terrorist' is a case in point. Many in the world may have been seduced by the myth recently created around the Israeli leader - a 'man of peace' etc - but the reality is far different. His mission is clear. Sara Roy of Harvard University recently observed that the 'Gaza Disengagement Plan is, at heart, an instrument for Israel's continued annexation of West Bank land and the physical integration of that land into Israel." Haaretz newspaper reported last week that imprisoning 800,000 Palestinians in the northern West Bank was little more than collective punishment.

"Leunig's cartoon is a brave demonstration that Sharon was an aging war criminal who never believed in peace with the Palestinians. Furthermore, Leunig is able, unlike many others, to separate Jews and Israelis. They are not the same thing. As an anti-Zionist Jew myself, I have received hate mail from individuals who simply refuse to accept an alternative reading of the Israel/Palestine conflict. I have experienced increased vitriol during the writing and editing of my forthcoming book on the subject.

"Dissenting historian Norman Finkelstein writes: 'The real enemies of Jews are those who cheapen the memory of Jewish suffering by equating principled opposition to Israel's illegal and immoral policies with anti-Semitism.'

"I've never met Leunig but share his position that Sharon represents a bigoted and racially exclusionary Israel. This kind of Jewish state will never prosper long-term and will, in fact, inevitably fail. Perhaps Zionists would care to think about this, rather than heaping vitriol on Leunig. But I'm not holding my breath."


Blogger Shabadoo said...

I'm sorry, but you didn't just put scare-quotes around 'terrorist', did you? Oy vey...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 4:30:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

Try "The Australian", introduce it with "Although you never publish my letters....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:23:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

Egyptian journalist Monica Eltahwya wrote an excellent and honest review of Sharon where she said:

"If hatred for Sharon was based solely on the number of Arabs he has killed, then he would probably lose out to those responsible for the thousands killed in the fighting of Black September and the thousands more killed in Hama."

and this...

"And when it comes to the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, with which Sharon’s name is synonymous, it is important to remember that an Israeli state inquiry in 1983 found Sharon, then defense minister, indirectly responsible for the killings of hundreds of men, women and children at the refugee camps during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. An Arab inquiry has yet to hold directly responsible members of the Lebanese militias who actually slaughtered those men, women and children with their guns and knives."

Calling him a war criminal is legally incorrect and also slanderous. Another example of Antony's unprofessionalism.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 6:13:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

I'm sorry but whenever I hear some white bourgeois banging on about "dissent" I reach for my revolver.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 6:40:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

Ofcourse its all the 'Zionists' doing the letter writing. You might be surprised that in the real world where people aren't so blinded by a one-sided hate there are many decent people that wrote to criticize Leunig, mostly not Jewish.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 8:27:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

neoleftychick said...

"I'm sorry but whenever I hear some white bourgeois banging on about "dissent" I reach for my revolver. "

How about "off-white", or "honourary white"-You should be conversant with Apartheidspeak as an ardent supporter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:12:00 pm  
Blogger psydoc said...

Antony, you are a complete idiot.

Defending Leunig for characterising Sharon as a killer of the disabled is more typical of Dur Strumer, but you would not appreciate the uggliness of it all despite your international credentials as a journalist and author.

Pity I missed Leunig's depiction of Leon Klinghoffer being killed by Palestinian terrorists. Did I see Leunig generate disapproval for Palestinians bombing children at pizza parlours or discos?

Antony, I hope that your success in your new book is commensurate with your talent.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 10:58:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

I didn't see the claim that Leunig was an antisemite. Are you making it up? Is that what a journalist such as yourself does?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:59:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

neoleftychick said...
"I'm sorry but whenever I hear some white bourgeois banging on about "dissent" I reach for my revolver."

No, please neoleftychick - please don't kill yourself. It's not that bad. Even your life is worth something.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 12:15:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Yours most likely isn't. Feel free to join your palestinian co-workers in an 'accident'.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 1:23:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


Have you ever stopped to sonsider that you could avoid embarrassing yourself & turning your second grader twity rhetoric into a public display of amusement?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:58:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

After all the addamo that has been spread on this blog, there is little anyone else could do to be so amusing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:10:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ah Ibraham,

You can always be relied on to drag this blog down into the gutter. During your few days of absence, it was getting awefully civilised and polite around here.

You returned just in the nik of time to re-introduce the vitriol and personal insults we have come to expect from you.

Much appreciated.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:30:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I'm back too, Addamo!

For now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:59:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Just doing my best to keep the level of addamo down.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:35:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Neoleftychick, whhat definition of bourgeois are you working with?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:28:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


As much as we disagree on just about everything, I hold your opinions in high regard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:22:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

me too-except the boy is sometimes misguided.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:38:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Addamo - why, thanks! Back at you.

Orang -thanks...I think.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:37:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...


Of course he's misguided or he'd agree with me more often. ;-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:52:00 pm  

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