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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Speaking in Tongues

Following my appearance on SBS TV this week [now available online, select "Episode 11: Monday 16th January" and here], it's worth offering some reflections (for further background reading, check here.)

I was moderately happy with my performance. I remained calm throughout, explained why Jews shouldn't be Zionists due to its racially exclusionary doctrine and that present-day Israel is on a path to oblivion unless it undergoes a fundamental shift. As Israeli historian Ilan Pappe said in 2002: "I think the de-Zionization of Israel is a condition for peace."

My debating opponent, "comedian" Austen Tayshus, preferred the tactics of bullying and arrogance. Tayshus served a useful purpose in exemplifying the ugly bigotry of the mainstream Jewish community. On the other hand, sadly, it reinforced very unfavourable opinions that have been created in the wider community - through the 2003 Hanan Ashrawi affair - of the intolerance of many Jews towards dissenting opinions and Palestinian voices of reason. Jews are often their own worst enemies. It also might help if Tayshus didn't look so much like those awful caricatures we know from the 1930s!

After the screening, a friend reminded me of a passage by Marc Ellis, University Professor of American and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for American and Jewish Studies at Baylor University. In his book, "Out of the Ashes", he describes his participation in a panel on Israel/Palestine in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was up against Yossi Olmert, brother of Ehud [current Israeli Prime Minister]. He writes, parroting Olmert's paranoid style:

"After all, isn't every violation of order and decency in the Middle East a violation by Arabs who, if they had the power, would drive the Jews into the sea? Isn't that the aim of every Arab on the street and every Arab government from now until the end of time? Aren't moral arguments made on behalf of the Palestinians actually hypocritical, veiled attacks that carry the ominous prospects of another Holocaust? Am I, with others who criticise the Jewish state, contributing to a gathering storm of violence and retribution that might result in a catastrophe for Jews approaching or even surpassing the mass death of Jews in the twentieth century?

"As it turned out, my fears for the integrity of the panel discussion were unfortunately realized. Olmert dominated the discussion as if it were a solo lecture. Not only did he speak far longer than his allotted time, he resisted any attempt to stop him. As his orations grew longer, his vehemence increased.

"Olmert seemed obsessed with the era before the 1967 Israeli-Arab War when Jordan occupied east Jerusalem...With the evening ended, I returned to the home where I was staying. I reflected on the discussion and felt almost as if I had been physically violated...In the morning I had another sense of the previous evening. Rather than by debating skills or truth telling, Olmert had dominated me and the audience with bully tactics. This understanding of Olmert as a bully, remembering that bullies, absent their entourage or, in the case of Israel, an overwhelming arms advantage, are essentially cowards, forced me to a deeper level of sadness with regard to Israel and its future...I view this encounter with the 'bully of Christchurch' as a window into the Jewish world as it has evolved over the last decades. With the evolution and expansion of state power in Israel and the accelerated empowerment and achievement of elite influence in the United States, Jewish life around the world has been mobilized and militarised."

Tayshus tried to steer the conversation away from the Middle East and highlighted the shameful subjugation of the Aboriginal people in Australia. He asked whether I felt ashamed living on occupied land and whether I was campaigning for the country's rightful owners. I have spoken out on such matters and indeed used to work for a Victorian state government unit dedicated to increasing understanding between white and indigenous Australia.

Zionist adversaries will talk about everything other than Israel's illegal behaviour and human rights record: Aborigines, Native Americans, Rwanda, life on Mars even. It is a telling tactic. Israel's behaviour is so indefensible that even in a debate about the Middle East, Zionists prefer to talk about other matters. Indeed, his point was actually in my favour. Tayshus was acknowledging the problems created by an occupied state and showing what happens when that occupation continues unabated - genocide.

Within minutes of the program going to air, I received many emails from complete strangers, keen to learn more about the true situation in Israel and Palestine and engage on a rational level. A small selection of these messages follow:

"I'm sure you will get plenty of emails re: tonight's show. Just a quick message to say that I thought you came across as sensible, intelligent and balanced. You kept your cool and were not an irrational bully – unlike Austen Tayshus. He embodied the aggressive intolerance that is present on a larger scale that make peace in the middle east so difficult to achieve. Keep up the good work."

"Watched SBS tonight (Monday) and wondered whether Gutman realises that he does his cause more harm than good by his attitude and approach. It really was an appalling display of ignorance and prejudice. He didn't give you much opportunity to say a word, and I know it was cut from its original half hour or whatever, but if it was all rant and rave, it is just as well it was cut."

"You behaved with great restraint and dignity in the presence of a right bully. Whoever edited the piece, though, should be whipped."

Edward Mariyani-Squire, a regular commentator on this blog, wrote:

"Gutman gave the impression of being a mannerless ranter due to his constant talking over the top of both A.L. and Safran. (I'd hate to say Gutman was living the stereotype of a dogmatic apologist for the occupation, but I think I just did.) Loewenstein, on the other hand, came across as fairly polite and reasonable. Of course, weaker minds who are not across the issues, think yelling over the top of people constitutes civilised debate, and mistake dissembling apologetics for solid arguments, are bound to be impressed by Gutman."

It never ceases to amaze me that many vocal supporters of Israel are incapable of arguing with anything other than venom, and as my profile increases (and the release of my forthcoming book, speaking engagements and the like), so does the personal abuse. Perhaps it's because they realise that Zionism's sheen has been rightly blackened in the last two decades. Or maybe it's due to the fact that Israeli supporters would rather a brutal occupation remains hidden to the world. Either way, it's a damning indictment on the desperation of a people long known for suffering degradation and isolation.

Ami Eden, national editor of the leading Jewish publication Forward, challenged this Jewish establishment view in the New York Times in early 2005. "It is time Jews recognise that the old strategies no longer work", he wrote. "Jewish organisation and advocates fail to grasp that they are no longer viewed as the voice of the disenfranchised. Rather, they are seen as the global Goliath, close to the seats of power and capable of influencing policies and damaging reputations. As such, their efforts to raise the alarm increasingly appear as bullying."

It is still far too politically and morally convenient for Zionists to portray Israel as "disenfranchised" rather than a global power.

I am a Jew who believes in the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. And as a Jew, I believe it is my responsibility to speak out when abuse occurs, especially when perpetrated by fellow Jews.

89 Comments:

Blogger neoleftychick said...

AL

I am stunned that you would describe yourself as a "Jew." By your own admission you are a white Australian-born athiest. How the hell can you call yourself a JEW? A leach and a carpetbagger yes, but a Jew?

Or is your Jewishness like my neighbour, the blode-haired blue-eyed girl whose last name is O'Reilly who attends university on Abstudy because she is "indigenous." ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:28:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

hey, thats great neo, you really have done a job on yourself this time,
al,
let me hazard a guess that either your mother or father or both are jewish

what a fucking sad intemperate person you must be neo

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:44:00 pm  
Blogger saddam supporters said...

Oh Antony, you are top gun

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:48:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Seriously, though, there's a real question here: in what sense is Anty actually Jewish? I'm not trying to be inflammatory, but perhaps he could help us out: as far as I can tell, he doesn't observe any of the tenets of the religion except those that conflate with general secular humanism, doesn't wear a yarmulke/kippa, doesn't keep kosher, doesn't seem to believe in any sort of personal G-d, is a member of a temple, etc...I think it's only fair that since he brought it up, he shed some light on this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:50:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

smith

Excuse me? I have asked a very plain-talking and perfectly rational question. If you wish to live in a world of thought-control why don't you move to Saudi Arabia?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:56:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

The original and current Jewish definition of a born Jew is someone whose mother is Jewish. Even though the Torah forbids a Jewish woman to marry a Gentile man, if she does, her children will still be Jewish.

The Torah also forbids a Jewish man to marry a Gentile woman, and if he does, his children by that woman will not be Jewish.

a lot of people though in the modern era consider themselves to be part jewish if their dad is jewish

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:59:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I see myself as culturally Jewish, as many Jews do. I don't celebrate any Jewish holidays. Like most religions, people make it up as they go along.
My interest in Israel is certainly due to my Jewishness. What, now we have to prove our Jewishness to a certain body?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:00:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

AL

Given that you base your mission of making money and fame from what would be described as anti-semitic obssession in a non-Jew, I think your qualifications do not entitle you to be considered a Jew.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:07:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

a very plain-talking and perfectly rational question

How the hell can you call yourself a JEW? A leach and a carpetbagger yes, but a Jew?

Or is your Jewishness like my neighbour, the blode-haired blue-eyed girl whose last name is O'Reilly who attends university on Abstudy because she is "indigenous.


plain talking?, i'd call it baiting and aggressive, and rational?, well thats a good laugh

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:10:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Well, religion is religion, and culture is culture, but the two are close cousins - not the same thing. I know what makes someone religiously Jewish, but what makes someone "culturally" Jewish?

I thought Judaism was a religion first and foremost, and based on a very clear and ancient view of God and man their relations with one another. Take that out of the equation and it all seems very unmoored.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:12:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

smiths

If you can't handle the truth go to Saudi Arabia.

AL

Interesting take you have on being Jewish "culturally." Given that the 2 defining elements of all cultures are religion and language, it is sounding like you are just another snotty-nosed suburban white bourgeois Aussie. Nothing Jewish about you whatsoever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:13:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

I mean I observe Christian holidays and even go to Church sometimes, but I would NEVER describe myself as a Christian.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:14:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

Antony

You do not observe Jewish holidays

I have heard you are an aetheist, and so assume this is true

You have never attended a Jewish school

Now the real question is: was it your mother or father who was the Jew -- or both?

I think for the sake of your own integrity you ought to answer this question. I would never call you a Jew

From where I sit, you have denounced all that Jews hold dear. I think it's time you declared your hand and told the world what makes you a Jew .

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:28:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

myself, i am a pastafarian by choice,
but by birth i am one part zulu, one part french and two parts horse,
and anyone who deies my legitimate claim to this ancestry is just plain boring

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:28:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

AL

I am afraid that you have been exposed as little more than an Aussie hillbilly and Klansman. Now, we understand your anti-semitic fetish.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:34:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

Antony, if you convert, you get to be breastfed -- go for it -- then you get to be an adult-breast-fed-Islamic-Jew-hater.

The Hala Show on Egyptian TV by the unveiled and attractive Hala Sarhan discussed a Fatwa by Sheikh Abdel Muhdi Abdel Kader of Al Azhar University in Cairo. The Fatwa confirmed a Hadith by the prophet as true, which stated that the wives of Muslim men should be obliged to breast feed adopted adult males, men in their service such as drivers, cooks or house-help with whom the wife might interact within the home. The reasoning behind this Fatwa is because when a Muslim woman breast feeds another person, child or adult, that person takes the status of her child and thus sex between them is prohibited. The discussion got very heated when another sheikh claimed that this particular Hadith was false. Claiming that a Hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad as false is something many Muslims totally avoid discussing. During the interview, the distinguished Al Azhar Sheikh and expert in Hadith, offered a large bet to Ms. Sarhan who answered ‘is that all you can offer for a bet’. Another Islamic expert Shiekh also dared Sheikh Kader if he would allow his wife or daughter to breast feed an adult male. That Hadith is being taught to Sharia students in Al Azhar University. The above is not a joke, but was actually the subject of a heated television program and was published by the Egyptian newspaper Sout Elomma on the November 7, 2005 issue.

Nonie Darwish Arabs for Israel

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:46:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Both parents are Jewish, as is my entire family, going back generations.
Hard to imagine a Jew might actually question Zionism?
Get used to it, there are many like us...and growing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:46:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

The dictionary describes a Jew as:

"a person belonging to the worldwide group claiming descent from Jacob (or converted to it) and connected by cultural or religious ties"

My understanding of the reasoning behind a Jewish woman's children with a Gentile man being Jewish and not the converse is that the father of a child can be queried, where the mother of a child cannot.

So according to the currently accepted definition, Ant is indeed Jewish. Should anyone wish to take issue with this, I suggest they take issue with Princeton University who has provided this particular definition through Wordnet. I have no doubt you will find other english dictionaries provide the same definition.

Judaism is unique from other religions in that it is a culture and heritage as well as a belief structure. One's beliefs do not proclude one from being Jewish, no matter how much some people here may like to believe it.

Oh, and Violet, I would have to caution strongly against assuming something to be true simply because you 'heard' it. That's a very dangerous path.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:55:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

violet, so there are self hating arabs too? Imagine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:58:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

neoleftychick said...
"How the hell can you call yourself a JEW?"
Shabadoo
"far as I can tell, he doesn't observe any of the tenets of the religion except those that conflate with general secular humanism, doesn't wear a yarmulke/kippa, doesn't keep kosher, doesn't seem to believe in any sort of personal G-d, is a member of a temple, etc"

Ahh, the new Viennese.

As the mayor of Vienna Karl Lueger chilling announced in 1895, "Wer ein Jud' ist, bestimme Ich" ("I decide who is a Jew").

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:26:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Thanks, al-Eddy, always enlightening.

I don't know about self-hating Arabs, but much of Muslim culture is quite self-loathing, as its holy books tell Islamics that they're the top dogs - well, not dogs, that's haraam, doncha know - but you know what I mean, yet from stem to stern their culture has been a failure in the modern world.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:34:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

My dictionary gives two definitions of "Jew":

1. a person of Hebrew descent or religion; an Israelite.
2. A userer; a miser.

It also defines Semite as "a member of any of the peoples said to be descended from Shem, or speaking a Semitic language". Thus a Palestinian Arab would be a Semite. So who, then, is being "anti-Semitic"?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:35:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Shabadoo said...
"I don't know about self-hating Arabs..."

No matter what the topic, The Occupation, US foreign policy in South America, the moon landing, Loewenstein's pedigrees, it always, by some inexorable force, comes back to the Arabs, no, the Muslims, no, the Arabs, no, the Muslims, no, the Arabs, no, the Muslims ... ar, bugger it, they'll all the same, yeah?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:17:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

Cheer up Eddy, if we weren't fighting them over there, we'd be fighting them over here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:34:00 pm  
Blogger John Faber said...

I watched the show with interest the other night.

Being what I see some people identifing as a 'cultural Jew', I must admit I am far too ignorant of the Israel/Palestine situation. I'm keen to learn a lot more about the topic, but it's so divisive that asking questions seems more akin to starting arguments sometimes. Obviously like many, I get information from a variety of news outlets, but am sceptical of both far-right and left extremes. Generally I imagine the reality is somewhere in the middle.

But it seems asking 'difficult' questions will make one or the other side bloom into rage.

Personally I thought you had some interesting points to make, and seemed calm and well reasoned. Austen seemed passionate but ultimately didn't leave me having undrestood his arguments. I notice a lot of nutjobs commenting here as well, and putting up with that kind of abuse must be wearing thin. I respect the way you conducted yourself on the show Antony, but wonder why when I read some of your earlier postings you come across with an agressive tone.

Obviously the vitriol aimed at you must influence your language in your posts, but for a reader like me a moderate tone [not necessarily message] does a lot to help me respect the opinion.


John

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 9:18:00 pm  
Blogger Jozef Imrich, Esq. said...

Most of us don't like risk and uncertainty. That's too bad, because there's no shortage of either. Thanks for taking the risks. It is not easy to debate complex issues, but air them we must ...

Keep your cool head, but share your warm heart far and wide, Ant...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:41:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

There are alot of Jews who identify purely culturally. Why not? The Jewish traditions have been past on for generations and while not all Jews are religious they still strongly identify with the Jewish culture.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:04:00 pm  
Blogger John Faber said...

I probably wouldn't say that I identify 'strongly' with the Jewish culture. But neither would I say Jewish history has not affected me at some point. However, in my upbringing and experience it has been more incidental than formative. Certainly I would consider the religious aspects a relatively minor part of my 'experience'.

The impression I get (here particularly) is that strong opinions on Israel's activities directly relate to how you identify as a Jew.

So is it impossible to view politics in the middle east from a secular (for want of a better word) point of view, whether Jew, atheist, Arab etc..?

John

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:55:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Antony Loewenstein said...
Both parents are Jewish, as is my entire family, going back generations.
Hard to imagine a Jew might actually question Zionism?
Get used to it, there are many like us...and growing.

By your own definition, you are not a Jew who questions zionism. You are merely someone who has renounced and denounced your heritage. You don't then get to use it as a source of identity.

You're just Jewish enough for Hitler. But we don't use Hitler as a yard stick.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:18:00 am  
Blogger Melanie said...

Jewish culture I understand as Jewish tradition always had a strong zionist element. In the Tanach it says..after the destruction of the temple in Babylon...By the rivers of Babylon, we wept when we remembered zion. The religion is very zion centric. Barley a pray doesn't mention Israel. Jews have always faced Jersalem when praying. Even a Jew just by culture would feel a strong connection to the land. What is Jewish culture to Antony?

Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:31:00 am  
Blogger Melanie said...

And about the strong connection to the land, even the lost tribes like the Ethopian Jews that were just discovered this century had that connection. The Jews in Nigeria, the Igbo, have that connection, in fact it truly is a uniting factor because all the dispersed Jews of the world after a couple of millenium still have that strong connection to Israel. Many still practice the religion similar to as it was when they went into exile.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:45:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

What do yo propose Violet? That AL submist to a DNA test to determine his Jewishness? Is there a blood test to determine Jewsih acnestry or does that onyl apply to Lutherans?

Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:47:00 am  
Blogger Rob said...

Zionist adversaries will talk about everything other than Israel's illegal behaviour and human rights record

For example, at the moment they're talking about whether AL is really Jewish.

And what a fascinating, if irrelevant, chat that could be.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:19:00 am  
Blogger Melanie said...

rob: And there are Zionists like me that don't have a problem with AL's Jewish credentials. Jews have diverse views, very diverse views so what do you know about 'zionist adversaries'. You sound like a dickhead anyway - just one zionist's opinion.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:25:00 am  
Blogger Mannie said...

----and the abuse continues unabated. Why are those who are so anxious to decry Antony's Jewishness and anti-zionism not yet living in Israel?
The reason is, it is more comfortable and safer to live somewhere very far away from what is happening on the ground in those countries.
Gutman is an arrogant pig, and thinks that bullying is the way to argue, much as many in these blogs also believe. They manage to forget about arguing logically and to the point and only know that being abusive is their answer to the very complex problems besetting Israel and Palestine.
When Antony's Jewish critics live in Israel, maybe one will be able to respect their arguments, otherwise they are a waste of time and effort.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:11:00 am  
Blogger Melanie said...

mannie, But why do you respect Antony then who doesn't live in Israel.
Oh yeah. You can be anywhere in the world and criticise Israel, but only an Israeli has the right to answer back.
As an Israeli myself, I say you are just plain wrong.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:27:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Melanie,

Anotny is not a Zionist, and has stated repeatedly that he opposes Israel's religious exceptionalism for Jews. Why would he want to live there? that woudl be like you wanting to live in Tehran.

You have stated yourself that you see Israel as a refuge for Jews. Do you live there and if not, why not? Are you waiting for what you anticipate to be the end days of societies tollerance towards Jews before you make your escape?

Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:36:00 am  
Blogger Melanie said...

addamo, I was responding to the hypocricy of the idiot on the previous post who thinks no-one can state an opinion unless they live in Israel, yet Antony can.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:52:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Because at the moment, she doesn't need to live there.

But shmucks like you have allowed moments to arrive when she will need to live there.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:56:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Melanie said...
"Jewish culture I understand as Jewish tradition always had a strong zionist element."

Then you don't know much about Jewish 'tradition'.

*Zionism is a very, very late political development. It is not even conceivable as the modern 'dream' until the rise of the European nation-state. That's right: Zionism is purely a late European construct.
*The Palestinian Jews never wanted a Zionist state - most of them were anti-Zionists.
*The Diaspora was also quite anti-Zionist too. Indeed, before the 1960s Jewish members of the Melbourne establishment campaigned heavily against the Zionist ideology.
*On theological grounds, many orthodox Jews are also implacably opposed to Zionism.

So much for 'tradition'.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:24:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

And in case you don't believe me, have a read of the transcript of Rabbi Ahron Cohen's speech in Trafalgar Square London in support of the Palestinian cause on the 30th October last year.

These guys are so orthodox they make Rabbi Raymond Apple, a well-known Zionist, look like a radical tradition-BREAKER.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:48:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

You've given many incorrect statements. Normally those statements are only spewed by antisemites.

The vast majority orthodox Jews,on theological grounds, are implacably Zionists.

It is a canard, often used by neo-nazis, islamofascists, and others of eddie's ilk, to use such statements to further their agenda.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:52:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Ibrahamav said...
"The vast majority orthodox Jews,on theological grounds, are implacably Zionists."

I'm talking about the alleged "tradition". I just demonstrated that no such "tradition" exists. I demonstrated there are many competing views. You demonstrated absolutely nothing (as usual). If I'm wrong, it is your DUTY to show the world that I wrong.

*SHOW that Zionism WAS conceived before the rise of the European nation-state.
*SHOW that the Palestinian Jews HAD been campaigning for a Zionist state for over, say, a thousand years, and SHOW that at the turn of the 20thC most of them were NOT anti-Zionists.
*SHOW that the first Australian-born governor-general, Sir Isaac Isaacs, was NOT an anti-Zionist.
*SHOW that these groups: Bene Yoel, Breslov, Brisk, Hazon Ish, Kaschau, Krasna, Kretcheniff, Malochim, Munkacs, Neturei Karta, Nitra, Pupa, Satmar, Skullene, Slonim, Toldoth Aharon, Toldoth Avrohom Yitzchok & Tosh - are NOT implacably opposed to Zionism.

If you can't show any of this, then you will have demonstrated either your usual dogmatic ignorance or a total lack of interest in something you supposedly care about.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:18:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

You demonstrated nothing but a showing of your antisemitic agenda, to those who might have questioned your point.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:42:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Tayshus is clearly not the most credible or persuasive Zionist spokesperson out there. In fact, he strikes me as a total loon. Anyone who is dim-witted enough to sum up the Zionist case by the embodiment of Austen Tayshus is in a serious case of denial.

Of course, Tayshus aggressively shouted down both Loewenstein and Safran. Point is, Loewenstein was heard to a degree, and what he said wasn't particularly new or interesting.

Whoever put this debate together at SBS could have chosen two significantly more interesting and edifying characters to argue this highly relevant topic. The whole debate was a complete fizzer, thanks to a poor choice of combatants. Nice work, SBS.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 5:40:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

James Waterton said...
"Whoever put this debate together at SBS could have chosen two significantly more interesting and edifying characters to argue this highly relevant topic."

Given A.L. and Gutman's recent "history", I suspect the producers were banking on something a lot more animated. I can't think of any other reason for inviting Gutman on.

I mean, let's face it, "Speaking In Tongues" is not "Compass"; it's about entertainment.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:07:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

I suspect Gutman was banking on it being as publicity stunt to bolster his washed up career.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:31:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

James Waterton said...
.......
"Whoever put this debate together at SBS could have chosen two significantly more interesting and edifying characters to argue this highly relevant topic. The whole debate was a complete fizzer, thanks to a poor choice of combatants. Nice work, SBS. "

Good point. I see a winner with say myself, handsome, debonnair, Che beret,.. Against, Ib, all hunch-backed and grizzled, croaking away about the war hero while the harriden neo with wild hair and missing teeth hisses away about rape and incest in the background while I stoutly parry their spite filled venom with glorious arguments....while eddy and _01 are prompting from stage left...

Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:37:00 am  
Blogger Easycure said...

You're a fucking idiot.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:48:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

But he's an ape. So you can't really hope for him to be anything but.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:04:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

Easycure said...

"You're a fucking idiot. "

Oooh so butch

Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:48:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Orang,

Another wonderful moment of entertainment.

Easycure appears to be a fudgemonckey who found his way up to some kind of online insults dictionnary.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:07:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

No. He just seems like a newby who saw the addamo on the wall and responded accordingly.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:18:00 am  
Blogger John Faber said...

Once again rage is overtaking reason in the discussion. As I stated earlier, from a relatively neutral standpoint, it is Antony who is making his arguments in the most reasoned manner [whether you agree with his arguments or not]. Most of the respondents here who disagree seem to undermine their points and credibility by being abusive.

However generally, people seem to agree that Austen Tayshus was not a 'grounded' opponent. But then neither are a lot of people commenting here.

So my suggestion is: find somebody who can debate the zionist point of view without losing their rag.

In the end, this will be the person the casual reader can relate to and believe.

John

Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:29:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

That he makes it by lying and using addamo in a reasoned manner seems to be all that is important to you.

That the facts are undermined by abusive writing is not a reality based way of thinking.

I wish you joy as you march to your grave, led by an arab who speaks to you reasonably as he sharpens the knife with which he cuts your throat.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:12:00 am  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

John

The word "Zionist" would have to be the most abused word outside "racism." I wonder if you have any idea what you mean when you use it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:27:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

What's you poitn Neo? Do you have some secret definitioh of Zionism that hasn't been repeatedly defined and easily accessibel by a Google search by those unfamiliar with the term.

Theodor Herzl is hardly a biblical figure.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:57:00 am  
Blogger John Faber said...

Ibrahamav,

I take it your tone there was intended to be patronising. I've come to this forum without making any inflammatory remark. As stated, I do not support or object to Antony's point of view, I merely intend to learn about the topic by reading a variety of views.

Please point me in the direction of somebody who can debate the issue from your perspective in a non-aggressive manner.

I mean this sincerely, I am open to all perspectives.

John

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:07:00 am  
Blogger John Faber said...

Neoleftychick,

Many comments by yourself in earlier threads have struck me as un-constructive at best. I state once again: I am a neutral here, hoping to learn something.

My posts are not directed at you.

John

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:10:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

John,

Don't take this personaly mate. As you have noticed, the topic get's people's blood pressur up and those uncinditionally defending Israel's record are quick to indentify other's an an enemy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:18:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

John. I have already tried that. I find it best to read Loewensteins views, follow the links, and largely ignore the comments threads. Good luck.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:21:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Good advice Left.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:22:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

John,
Please stick around.
This subject certainly gets people all worked up but alternative readings of the conflict are essential, in my view, to move forward.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:27:00 am  
Blogger John Faber said...

Thanks guys,

I'm not taking it personally. It's just remarkable that presumably educated adults cannot conduct a reasonable discussion. So I throw out a challenge to you: recommend to me some sources to read who defend the Zionist, pro-Israel perspective. Even if you don't agree with them.

As you say, Antony, alternative readings are essential. That's why I've arrived here, but would also like to see what the 'other side' are up to.

John

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:40:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Sure thing.
Check out Alan Dershowitz's 'Case for Israel' and 'Case for Peace'. I strongly disagree with both, but they are admired and liked by many Zionists.
Once finished, check out Norman Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah, a demolition job on Derhshowitz.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:41:00 am  
Blogger Jono said...

Zionist adversaries will talk about everything other than Israel's illegal behaviour and human rights record: Aborigines, Native Americans, Rwanda, life on Mars even. It is a telling tactic. Israel's behaviour is so indefensible that even in a debate about the Middle East, Zionists prefer to talk about other matters.

Actually this point does show a lot about where you come from. The left is still insanely obsessed with one tiny democratic nation, whilst in other places, there are real atrocities, racism and aggression that go unmentioned by ultra-leftists such as yourself.

Rather than put forward moderate debate where the actions of Israel are placed in perspective, you continue to harp on as if it were the most destructive force on the planet.

Oh yeah, and the phenomenon of palestinian terrorist groups and suicide bombings is not worth discussing either.

Even us Zionists who support Israel's right to exist will all have varied criticisms of Israeli policy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:13:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Jono,

Do you seriosuy believe that only Zionists "who support Israel's right to exist"? Does criticisin g China over Tibet imply that China's right to exist is in any doubt?

Is criticism of Israel inextricably linked to the need to see Israel destroyed, or even bring Israel's legitimacy into question? That is what we mean by framing the debate.

It is not the let that is insanely obsessed with Israel. It's most of the Western world. The US is obsessed with Israel. US oliticians trip over each other fawning over Israel. 100 Congressmen last year visitied Israel. Name another country that had anywhere near the same number fo visits from US officials.

The conflict has a high profile also becasue of the fact that it has spanned many decades. There is undoubtedly a romanticism involved also, becasue of the plight of Israeli Jews.

The mere fact that discussions abtou Israel and Palestine polarise peopel so strongly disproves your assertion that only the left are obsessed with Israel.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:57:00 pm  
Blogger Smeggix said...

Having just watched last Monday's Speaking in Tongues I'd say Antony advanced the anti-Zionist cause by a couple of points while Austen advanced it by about 50 points.
I suspect John Safran's sympathy towards the Palestinians caused him to invite Austen and show Zionists in the worst possible light, boy was he successful.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:58:00 pm  
Blogger John Faber said...

Surely as this is Antony's blog, it's his choice what he wishes to post about. If he doesn't cover the whole spectrum of news, perhaps there are other blogs out there to fulfill your needs.

Surely if you feel Antony's reporting is too narrow, it is incumbent upon you to start a more balanced blog yourself?

The whole point of blogging is that it's opinion, and not law. You don't need to read it if you don't like it.

John

Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:20:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Jon, check out Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah, and don't forget that its publication was delayed while the Publisher forced Fink to remove some lies.

Dershowitz's "Case for Israel" and "Case for Peace" are well reasoned and fairly outline the failings of both sides.

Antisemites and self-hating Jews can't stand it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:20:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

John Faber said...
"......I'm not taking it personally. It's just remarkable that presumably educated adults cannot conduct a reasonable discussion. ......"

John welcome to the House of Loon ( = lunatics, Looowinstein...)

You're either with us or against us here. There is no "reason".

There is no such thing as being "anti-zionist".

You are either pro-zion or anti-semitic.

Good luck.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:27:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

You certainly can be a zionist and still find fault in the Israeli government. You can be neutral towards zionism and find fault with the Israeli government.

But most antizionists are also antisemitic. And seeing that Zionism is an integral part of Judaism, it is not hard to see the connection.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:00:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

jon,
i myself am saddened and disgusted by much of what is written here by various regular posters and have even asked antony to ban some of them which he fairly rejects as a strategy, but
theres also lots of gems in amongst the posts and some great regular posters who discuss calmy and eloquently and actually use factual information to back up their claims

in fact if you want to stop a degenerating thread historical facts and history are a great way,
just yesterday, in response to bullshit about palestinians i posted the month and year that arafat accepted the right of israel to exist and i got two responses, one that said there was no source, (it was historical fact so i figured easily checkable) and a second that said it was false but failed to explain how or offer any alternative history

on sources of pro zionism dershowitz is widely admired and quoted although noam chomsky has regularly made him look like a amateurish moron and michael neumanns book the 'the case against israel' totally demolishes dershowitz's book, impeccably researched, 26 pages of references including a list of 28 important works, 188 endnotes. Neumann focuses on reality-based analysis -- historical facts, formal logic, ethics, behavioral rationality, philosophy, morality, and politics (Neumann is a professor of moral and political philosophy at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada).

Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks smiths,
The banning strategy is a tough one. I've reccently introduced a 'comments' policy - you can read that under my profile on the home page - but outright banning seems problematic for me, despite the ongoing abuse. In probably proves my points on this subject, no?
The only way many of these people are able to argue is through aggression. And they wonder why more and more people question Zionism?

Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:37:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

actually meant to finish by saying, hang around jon,
we need the reasonable posters

Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:51:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

i dont have a copy of the torah so i cannot authenticate this

Our Torah, in Tractate Ksubos, folio 111, specifies that the Creator, blessed be He, swore the Jews not to occupy the Holy Land by force, even if it appears that they have the force to do so; and not rebel against the Nations.

can someone tell me if this is incorrect, if it is not can someone explain zionism to me

Thursday, January 19, 2006 5:31:00 pm  
Blogger lewisinnyc said...

smiths - tractate ksubos/ketubot is not part of the Torah, but the Mishna. The Torah clearly contains positive commandment regarding the conquest and settlement of Israel. For example: "You shall possess the Land and settle in it, for to you I gave the Land to possess it" (Numbers 33:53); "Go up and possess as G-d spoke to you" (Deuteronomy 1:21). The Ramban considered the obligation to conquer and inhabit the Land of Israel to be a positive commandment for all time (mitzvat aseh). Numerous rabbis over the years (esp. Rashbash) have considered the apparent contradiction between these commandments and ketubot 111a. The usual conclusion is that the prohibition on conquest (but NOT settlement) only applies during the time of exile, which is no longer the case.

Friday, January 20, 2006 12:11:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ibrahamav said...

"and don't forget that its publication was delayed while the Publisher forced Fink to remove some lies."

Is that true? I thought the changes were made under threats of a lawsuit for defamation. Anyway, some lies is not so bad in a book dedictaed entirely to pointing ourt lies and discrepancies in Dershowitz's book.

"Antisemites and self-hating Jews can't stand it."

As with most works based on fraud.

Friday, January 20, 2006 12:30:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

lewisinnyc said...
"The usual conclusion is that the prohibition on conquest (but NOT settlement) only applies during the time of exile, which is no longer the case."

That's quite interesting lewisinnyc. So that's to say there is no longer a prohibiton on conquest (and settlement has been allowed all along)?

Can you tell me what the dominant position is regarding the conditions (if any) for the end of the excilic period?

Friday, January 20, 2006 1:44:00 am  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

...I throw out a challenge to you: recommend to me some sources to read who defend the Zionist, pro-Israel perspective. Even if you don't agree with them.

John, I'd recommend Honest Reporting- its a pro-Zionist site which usually proves most of Antony's links false, or at least points out the media's double standards. I'm guessing to him and his fans its an extremist what-not, but hell, so is Playschool for not showing gay parents.

I'd also recommend The Other War for some more analysis on Israel in the media.

Friday, January 20, 2006 3:06:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

,
i myself am saddened and disgusted by much of what is written here by various regular posters and have even asked antony to ban some of them which he fairly rejects as a strategy, but
theres also lots of gems in amongst the posts and some great regular posters who discuss calmy and eloquently and actually use factual information to back up their claims

in fact if you want to stop a degenerating thread historical facts and history are a great way,
just yesterday, in response to bullshit about palestinians i posted the month and year that arafat accepted the right of israel to exist and i got two responses, one that said there was no source, (it was historical fact so i figured easily checkable) and a second that said it was false but failed to explain how or offer any alternative history

Here is the truth regarding Arafat's recognition of Israel.

More than 11 years ago now, on September 13, 1993, Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, shook the hand of a reluctant Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as the Declaration of Principles was signed on the White House lawn. A culmination of the negotiations in Oslo, the Declaration called for putting an end to “decades of confrontation and conflict” and stated that the parties would “strive to live in peaceful coexistence.”

Within 24 hours Arafat had gone on Jordan TV and explained his position (in Arabic) with remarkable candor:
http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2005/sepoct/dept/letters.html
“Since we cannot defeat Israel in war; we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel,” he said.

Which is why most of us are sick of antisemites posting addamo about Arafat accepting Israel.

Friday, January 20, 2006 3:35:00 am  
Blogger lewisinnyc said...

Edward - A useful discussion on this question can be found at the following link: http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005/05/religious-zionism-debate-iv.html

In short, the exilic period will have ended once Jews are able to immigrate again to Israel en masse.

As for settlement of Israel, this has been a religious individual (but oddly not communal) obligation for Jews since the laws were laid down. That is, they were not merely permitted to settle in Israel, but obligated to do so (as individuals), if practicable. For most of the past two millennia, it was not practicable to do so.

Anyone who thinks that Zionism is a new fad has probably never heard "l'shana haba'ah biyerushalayim" (next year in Jerusalem), which Jews all round the world have sung at Passover for many centuries.

Slightly OT - Why do antisemites have such an obsession with Neturei Karta???

Friday, January 20, 2006 5:24:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Antisemites love them because they can parade them around as the only 'real' Jews. That's why so many Arab Muslims love them too.

As long as they are useful.

Friday, January 20, 2006 5:36:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

lewisinnyc,

Thanks for that link.

"Zionism is a new fad has probably never heard "l'shana haba'ah biyerushalayim" (next year in Jerusalem)"

Have people taken that literally for centuries? The English poem (and hymn), Jerusalem, has the evocative line, "Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land!" The hymn has been sung by millions over the last couple of hundred years, but I don't think a single person seriously considered taking it literally.

"Why do antisemites have such an obsession with Neturei Karta"

Presumably because "my enemy's enemy is my friend" [at last temporarily].

Not being an anti-Semite, I can' be certain of this, but that seems to be a pretty obvious reason. I find these guys to be mildly interesting (as I find all religious groups interesting) because they seem to be pretty darn quirky - a curiosum, if you will. My personal favourite curiosum however, is the Batak religion of North Sumatra in Indonesia.

Friday, January 20, 2006 11:36:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Clearly what you think, and what is, are two separate items. And the fact that you are uncertain does not change the fact that you are an antisemite.

Saturday, January 21, 2006 12:25:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Ibrahamav, you are possibly Israel's worst enemy. That's why you are OBVIOUSLY an anti-Semite hell-bent on making Zionists look like religiously bigoted, racist, fascistic sociopaths.

Saturday, January 21, 2006 7:44:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Since you've been made into a laughingstock here, your opinion in that regard is hardly worth caring about.

At the moment, you're an antisemite who happens to be a an object of ridicule.

Saturday, January 21, 2006 9:14:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Why don't you just crawl back into your cave with Usama, Hitler, Stalin and Satan, Ibrahamav? Your rabies-infested brain contributes nothing whatsoever to this blogsite - apart from your veciferous attempts to paint Zionism as utterly Demonic. Neo-Nazis love you, and you know it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006 2:23:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Are you talking to yourself again?

Sunday, January 22, 2006 5:25:00 am  

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