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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Friday, February 03, 2006

A Bolt from the blue

Andrew Bolt is a columnist for Murdoch's Melbourne Herald Sun tabloid. Following his recent sycophantic "reports" from Iraq and Afghanistan - here and here - I was curious to discover who paid for his travels with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. I emailed him the following questions today:

"Dear Andrew,

"After reading about your recent travels to the Middle East with Foreign Minister Downer, I'd be interested to know who paid for your travels, accommodation, access etc? Did your employer pay for this or the Howard government? What kind of agreement was reached between the two parties?"

"Best wishes,

"Antony Loewenstein"

Within a few hours, I received this:

"I've publicly answered this question, and in a way that should satisfy you, but I did so in answer to people whose views are less repugnant than yours. Go fish [his "answer" is here.]

"Incidentally, how does if feel to be chosen for a university body as a token Jew, apparently - it seems to me - on the grounds that you're sufficiently anti-Israeli to give protective cover without harming the cause? [More information on this here and here.]

"Even a man with your views should have more pride than to accept. What do they call an Uncle Tom in Hebrew? May you one day awake in shame in the realisation of how you have been used.

"Grow up, Antony. Your excuse is, I know, that you are but young, but the words you write in ignorance today will be held against you in your more reflective maturity, should that day arrive. Give yourself less to repent."

I was tempted to simply enjoy Bolt's delicious words, but couldn't resist responding:

"Mr Bolt,

"Thanks for your kind response. Indeed, I feel very comfortable with my position on the board, my forthcoming book on the Middle East and a host of other projects. Perhaps it would be good to actually source your information from reliable people before making accusations. A foreign concept, as your recent trip to Iraq proved."

"Please continue your brave reporting. The masses are gagging for more.

"Best wishes.

"God bless.

"Antony Loewenstein"

UPDATE: Perhaps Bolt needs to remember his own words about civility:

From: Karen Hart

Comment: "I love how you and other morons say Hamas will destroy Israel. Israel has over 200 nuclear weapons Mr Bolt. That's enough to destroy the entire Middle East many times over which of course would make you very happy. Spare us your garbage, we all know the true terrorists are those that pardon their soldiers from emptying their machine guns into 9 year old girl corpses."

Andrew replies: "If you can find the quote in which I claim Hamas will destroy Israel, I shall apologise. If you can't I'm sure you won't. Abuse is always a sign of a person who has forgotten the conventionalities of civilised debate, using evidence."

14 Comments:

Blogger psydoc said...

I find it incredibly interesting that you see yourself as having the right to subject Bolt to questioning and yet you haven't answered any of my questions about your Maquarie appointment. Both involve public monies.

Bolt on the one hand did answer you and did it very quickly. You on the other hand have left everyone hanging.

Friday, February 03, 2006 6:47:00 pm  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

Maybe you should debate Bolt on the media or whatever you consider to be your area of expertise?

Send him an email, Antony. I’m sure he’d be willing to- would you?

Friday, February 03, 2006 10:40:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

I think your postition on the board as a token Jew is apalling. You don't represent Jews. You have a lot of disdain for Australian Jews. I have not doubt that you would not have had your book and you position on the board if you didn't hold the vile views that you hold. As I've said before, the biggest prize of all for those that want to deny Israel's right to existence is a Jew like Antony. Yes, Bolt was right about the Uncle Tom bit for sure.

Friday, February 03, 2006 11:16:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I don't see why Bolt's answer to your question regarding funding is parenthesised in cynical rabbit ears.

He clearly stated in an answer to a query that his paper paid thousands of dollars for his trip, and the total cost to the Australian taxpayer was somewhere between $40-150. What more do you want? His expense account for the trip? Credit card statements? Jesus Christ.

Psydoc makes a sound point, too.

Friday, February 03, 2006 11:51:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Just to fix up Mel's post:

"You don't represent [Zionist] Jews. You have a lot of disdain for Australian [Zionist] Jews."

And as for the rest:

"I have not doubt that you would not have had your book and you position on the board if you didn't hold the vile views that you hold."

Actually, that's entirely possible - and interestingly, it runs counter to the "Uncle Tom" claim because you are saying A.L. didn't get the position because of his Jewish heritage, but rather because of his moral views. I suppose any bunch of slanderous labels will do - it doesn't matter whether they contradict each other or not, hey? All that matters is that some mud sticks. (BTW, I can't believe people have actually used the term "Uncle Tom". We're not talking about slavery here.)

Anyway, A.L.'s moral views - whether regarded as "vile" or "noble" - are matters of value-judgement, and are not in themselves a reflection on his knowledge or expertise as a commentator on Israeli and Australian politics. As such, it is entirely possible that A.L.'s moral views are neither necessary nor sufficient to account for his appointment.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 1:39:00 am  
Blogger psydoc said...

Edward, that is an interesting take on a very perplexing situation.

To restate: the director of the Macquarie section that appointed Ant (Dr Andrew Vincent) said that he did so because they were missing a Jew. This is the first part. If they were missing a Jew, why would they appoint someone in his capacity as a Jew who holds views at odds with almost all other Jews? Why didn't they choose someone representative of the majority? This is an uncomfortable position to place anyone in as it gives the impression that Ant's appointment was a facade of balance to their extreme views ie they can't be biased because they have accounted for the Jewish perspective.

The second part is that Vincent stated that Ant seemed to be qualified. This again begs the question as to Ant's qualifications. People can be qualified as a representative (which we have established that he is not), because they have first hand experience (Ant has admitted touring the area, but so have millions of others) and lastly because of some special expertise. At best Ant calls himself a journalist who has written on some idiosyncratic aspects of this matter. But I have been asking the genuine question of his qualifications that he refuses to answer. Has he done particular studies, published in peer-reviewed journals, done some unique sociological research? My understanding is that the only qualification he has is that he hates Israel. As such, being appointed to a publicly funded institution simply because you hate Israel compromises both Ant and the institution.

Ant expects others to answer his questions, but has consistently dodged this issue.

I do think the Uncle Tom comparison is valid. The whites hated Uncle Tom but he got acceptance of a kind by appeasing their bigotry. Jews who are embraced because of their Israel hatred lack the capacity to appreciate the fragility and implausibility of their acceptance. The goodness of fit lasts only as long as the hatred continues.

I don't really understand it. I truly hope that in return for getting an Israel hating Jew Ant is not merely getting a launch pad for his much delayed polemic on the Middle East.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 10:24:00 am  
Blogger boredinHK said...

psydoc,
Academic postings are always a vicious struggle for the top of the pole.
One academic at Sydney Uni described the process to me as like a pack of baboons scrambling up that pole , clawing over each other so that they could flash their arse at all the others beneath them.
But this isn't an academic post , rather a post on a controlling or supervisory board. So the long lists of articles in peer reviewed journals aren't necessarily required. Nor the original contribution to knowledge etc etc.
As such your questions should be directed at the person or people who made the decision to appoint AL.
The descriptions Andrew Vincent has made of who would be suitable do veer close to being inappropriate though or as reported may reflect he was speaking extemporaneously.
( Many years ago I was a student member of the Senate of Sydney Uni and was exposed to the gory spectacle of academics subjecting each other to what they call "rigorous examination of credentials " before appointments were made.)

Saturday, February 04, 2006 11:27:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

By the way, how does one become bored in HK? There's so much to do.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 7:32:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

"I do think the Uncle Tom comparison is valid. The whites hated Uncle Tom but he got acceptance of a kind by appeasing their bigotry. Jews who are embraced because of their Israel hatred lack the capacity to appreciate the fragility and implausibility of their acceptance. The goodness of fit lasts only as long as the hatred continues."

..what a load of crap!

What "whites" are accepting Looowinstein for his anti-zionist stance you f*kin moron?
Scurry away.....

Saturday, February 04, 2006 7:54:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

psydoc said...
"Edward, that is an interesting take on a very perplexing situation."

Perplexing perhaps ... if you have nothing better to do than worry about A.L.'s life. If you want to know the answers to all the ins and outs of the decision making process, the minutes of meetings, the personel files, the emails between colleagues, the faxes between departments, the records of phone conversations and everything else necessary to solve The Greatest Mystery On Earth, then just contact Macquarie University and demand that everything be handed over to you post haste. Easy. Go on, just do it.

"To restate: the director of the Macquarie section that appointed Ant (Dr Andrew Vincent) said ..."

Sounds to me like something that you should be taking up with the University Administration if you actually feel strongly about it.

"The second part is that Vincent stated that Ant seemed to be qualified. This again begs the question as to Ant's qualifications. ...

Yes, yes, Very Concerning. Inform the Minister immediately.

"Ant expects others to answer his questions, but has consistently dodged this issue."

Talk about a hide. I don't think he expects YOU to answer any questions. And if he did (can one even IMAGINE it?), I'm sure he'd respect your refusal to reply. If some obsessive anonymous stalker-poster from god-knows-where started asking me about the details of my job, I'd tell her/him to talk to my employer, otherwise bugger off.

"I do think the Uncle Tom comparison is valid."

I'm not referring to the analytics of analogy. I'm referring to the distastefulness of it and the illegitimate associations. A.L. is not functioning as a slave, either literally or metaphorically. Nor is he functioning as a Jewish boged, either literally or metaphorically. This is not the deep South of the US, nor is it the ghettos of Berlin. The associations are absurd and hyperbolic. The example you give to illustrate you point illustrates my point perfectly: "The whites hated Uncle Tom but he got acceptance of a kind by appeasing their bigotry." So you're seriously implying that Dr Andrew Vincent not only hates A.L., but in fact, hates him because he hates all Jews? Have you lost your mind?

Regards,
Ed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 2:54:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

I agree Orang,

Poor Psydoc seems to be stumbling around trying to play pin the tail on the donkey with his/her imaginative slanders and charges.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 9:21:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

Some "clever" ars$ole came up with the Uncle Tom analogy. Maybe someone at Timbokchristianzionist@blair.com, and then these yapping running dogs latch on to the message and, as GW Bush says, "disassemble" it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 6:51:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

I still don't get what Antony is on about in the first half of this post. He asks Bolt who funded his Iraq trip, and Bolt answers quite clearly. Where's the problem? And why, as James has asked, is "answer" in scare quotes?

To quote Antony himself: "Perhaps it would be good to actually source your information from reliable people before making accusations."

Sunday, February 05, 2006 11:33:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Like some (not particularly clever) arsehole came up with the whole "Chimpy McHitlerburton" meme, and yapping running dogs latch on to the meme and apply the same genius "disassembling" to the names of other people they don't agree with.

Like Timbokchristianzio - oh, you get the message.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 11:42:00 pm  

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