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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

And it continues

The saga over the publication of my forthcoming book on Israel/Palestine continues today. Federal Labor MP Michael Danby responds to Crikey. For background information on the controversy, read this, then this.

Danby misses the point entirely in his letter. He claims he has "made no attempt to censor Mr Antony Loewenstein, or anyone else." Er, how else to read this line from his original letter? "MUP should drop this whole disgusting project." Furthermore, it is revealing that he thinks he has the right to question the publishing decisions of my publisher MUP. His expertise now clearly extends way past the taxing duties of representing Melbourne Ports. It's encouraging to see the esteemed MP likes to presume the contents of my book before it has been published.

Watch this space for more developments in the coming weeks/months.

29. Australia's Israel debate -- Danby hits back

Last Friday Crikey ran a story about a letter Federal Labor MP Michael Danby wrote to the Australian Jewish News calling on the Jewish community to boycott a book by journalist Antony Loewenstein. Today Danby responds:

Your story is headed “Danby's silly attempt at censorship.” This is very misleading. I have made no attempt to censor Mr Antony Loewenstein, or anyone else. Mr Loewenstein is entitled to his opinions, and to publish them.

What I have done is to exercise my right to criticise his views, which I find abhorrent, and to urge people not to reward those views by buying his book. Readers are free to reject my advice.

I don't need to read Mr Loewenstein's book to know what he thinks. He has described himself as “a Jew who doesn't believe in the concept of a Jewish state,” which he calls “a fundamentally undemocratic and colonialist idea from a bygone era.” He has described the Australian Jewish community as “vitriolic, bigoted, racist and downright pathetic” and as “incapable of hearing the true reality of their beloved homeland and its barbaric actions.” (These quotes appear at Mr Loewenstein's own website.)

As a representative of mainstream, moderate Jewish opinion, who supports both Israel's right to exist and defend itself and the right of the Palestinian people to a viable state, I find such opinions disgusting, and I did no more in my letter to the Jewish News than express that disgust. The response from the Jewish community to my comments has been overwhelmingly positive.

Finally, I am curious to know why Melbourne University Press thinks it is appropriate to be publishing two anti-Israel books at a time when Israel is making such a painful withdrawal from Gaza, when we have a new and more moderate Palestinian leadership and when the prospects for peace are improving. I can only conclude that someone at MUP has an axe to grind on this subject.

UPDATE: Phil Gomes offers insights into the latest Danby letter:

"How does Danby know how many books about Israel MUP has in development? Why is it inappropriate for a publisher to have them in the pipeline? And what do Israel’s moves in Gaza have to do with when a book is or is not published?

"Danby still has not really given us any answers or insights on any of this or the supposedly offensive questions Loewenstein originally posed to him, and continues to attack the publishers with a veiled reference of “an axe to grind” at MUP, which, in this fight, is a seriously coded term that might be interpreted as an accusation of anti-Semitism."


Blogger TimT said...

Furthermore, it is revealing that he thinks he has the right to question the publishing decisions of my publisher MUP.

Damn right! He should accept everything MUP publishes unquestioningly! There are too many people in the world who think they can just, like, have an opinion on matters like this. Cretins!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 4:17:00 pm  
Blogger evan jones said...

Where is this tangible support by Danby and his 'mainstream, moderate Jewish opinion' for the 'right of the Palestinian people to a viable Palestinian state'? Danby immediately proceeds to the claim that 'the prospects for peace are improving'.
Pure hyperbole.
As for the above anonymous commenter's denigration of Finkelstein and Chomsky, two Jews or heroic stature in their fight for universal human rights - contemptible beyond measure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 7:06:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

You've got to be hitting the right chords to elicit such a response! Well done Antony.

The criticism reminds me of those op eds decrying Chomsky you see from time to time. The newspapers that run these critiques rarely, if ever, publish anything written by Chomsky, but are quite happy to publish rebuttals.

Always a tell tale sign when someone is critical of a book they haven't even read yet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 7:13:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Danby sees himself as the representative of the Jewish community in Melbourne and Oz. He doesn't like anybody questioning his predictable positions.
Sorry, Michael, no such luck.
And, thanks for the support, guys. Much appreciated.
My book will speak for itself and I dearly hope that people will judge it on its merits. And not try to censor a work BEFORE it's out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 7:47:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Er, I'm like Hitler, or Stalin or is it Saddam?
I'm confused. Back to the book.
I really wonder if people like Comical Ali read what they've written, take a step back and a deep breath.
If he wasn't so serious about his delusions, it would be hilarious.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:45:00 pm  
Blogger TimT said...

Quote 1 is revealing that he thinks he has the right to question the publishing decisions of my publisher MUP.

Quote 2

Danby sees himself as the representative of the Jewish community in Melbourne and Oz. He doesn't like anybody questioning his predictable positions.
Sorry, Michael, no such luck.

Hmmm ....

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:31:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Game. Set. Match.
Some people never seem to have a problem with censorship. Oh, I forgot, we're at war.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 11:04:00 am  
Blogger TimT said...

You contradicted yourself and you know it, Antony. This blows your hysterical claims of 'censorship' right out of the water.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:27:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I contradicted myself? Whatever.
Mate, if that's the best you can do - and you can't understand the underlying agenda - it's best you stay sucking on the Blair tit for a little longer...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:58:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Comical - the best way to describe your madness - the less said the better. Chomsky and Finkelstein are brave souls, standing up to bigoted little trolls like yourself.
Have they shared a stage with anti-Semites and Nazis? Probably. Have they been praised by them, too? Yes. If you can't do better than simply accuse somebody because Nazis love their work - hello? far right Christian nutters love Bush - then there ain't much more I can say...
Your lack of nuance is hilarious. As is your ignorance of....(insert word here.)
But, you're right, WE'RE AT WAR! don't question official dogma. It must get so tired defending the indefensible day in, day out....
Bye.... forever...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:49:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

On reflection, I don't know why I even bothered responding. I've learnt my lesson...
What can one say to a faceless man with brains the size of Bush's inverted claw?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:57:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Not upset. Just sad...
The Chomsky is a "Stalinist" line is about as old as the hills. And false. But it's convenient to smear one of the greatest minds in the world. Besides, who do you admire?
Let me guess...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 4:13:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks DBO.
I'm agree, I'm moving on and thanks for your support.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:17:00 pm  

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