Yesh Gvul
Courage To Refuse
Free The Five
New Profile
Refuser Solidarity Network

Name: Antony Loewenstein
Home: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Comment Rules
About Me:
See my complete profile

Sweat-Shop Productions
Sweat-Shop Productions
Sweat-Shop Productions



Previous Posts

Powered by Blogger


Friday, October 07, 2005

Setting the record straight

Since I started writing regularly about the Israel/Palestine conflict - my first major article on the subject appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in July 2003 - I've received mountains of hate mail, abusive phone calls and threatening emails.

"The degree of abuse and outright threats now being directed at anyone - academic, analyst, reporter - who dares to criticise Israel (or dares to tell the truth about the Palestinian uprising) is fast reaching McCarthyite proportions", wrote Robert Fisk in December 2000. "The attempt to force the media to obey Israel's rules is now international". The situation has only worsened since September 11.

After I contributed a major chapter in last year's best-selling Not Happy, John! - on the Hanan Ashrawi affair - the usual suspects spewed forth with predictable venom. I didn't expect, though, to be appraised by the Adelaide Institute, the far-right Holocaust revisionists led by Frederick Tobin. I discovered this soon after publication and publicly distanced myself from their rantings. I do so again now, after a number of individuals have lazily connected my writings to raving anti-Semites. It's a familiar slur and utterly inappropriate. But then, such are the tactics of those who fail to understand that criticism of Israel and Zionism are healthy elements in a democracy. Indeed, no country should be a sacred cow.

During the recent controversy over my forthcoming book on Israel/Palestine - and constant criticisms of Jewish Federal Labor MP Michael Danby - I've learnt that a number of individuals have written abusive emails to Danby, some verging on anti-Semitism. Once again, I condemn this in the strongest possible terms.

Let me set the record straight. I am against extremism in all its forms. Neo-Nazis, the far right, the far left, the fundamentalists and the bigoted get no comfort here. I've discovered that writing about the Middle East brings its own challenges, not least the vitriol and threats by some Jews, Zionists, pro-American fanatics and Orientalists who see no fault with the colonial outpost in the region known as Israel.

A number of colleagues - including Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein - are occasionally quoted by extremists, yet I know they all disassociate themselves from fundamentalism. Chomsky, for example, is a true libertarian, and defends free speech for all with no exceptions, a brave act in the 21st century.

In his latest book, Beyond Chutzpah, Finkelstein explains the political reality of speaking out on the Israel/Palestine conflict:

"Whenever Israel comes under renewed international pressure to withdraw from occupied territories, its apologists mount yet another meticulously orchestrated media extravaganza alleging the world is awash in anti-Semitism. This shameless exploitation of anti-Semitism delegitimises criticism of Israel, makes Jews rather than Palestinians the victims and puts the onus on the Arab world to rid itself of anti-Semitism rather than on Israel to rid itself of the occupied territories."

The slurs and vilification will continue - and undoubtedly intensify as my book approaches release in May 2006 - but let nobody accuse me of sympathising with extremists. It's intellectually dishonest and patently untrue. Hopefully the truth still matters to some people.


Blogger Ibrahamav said...

You will find that if the far far right wing of politics, including holocaust deniers and white supremists, adopt your articles, it must be for a reason.

And that reason will certainly not be that your article was an unbiased account of reality.

Friday, October 07, 2005 12:36:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

"A number of colleagues - including Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein - are occasionally quoted by extremists"

Occasionally? Really? Neo-nazi, white supremist, and holocaust denial sites devote huge amounts of bandwidth for these demi-extremists. Are you numbering yourself among them?

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:15:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

and constant criticisms of Jewish Federal Labor MP Michael Danby

It's nice to see that Michael Danby's "censorship" has been downgraded to "constant criticisms".

Perhaps my own criticism has had some effect.

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:32:00 am  
Blogger Human said...

Peace to all. Today’s bottom line is - There is not 1 single moral hill that either belligerent in the Bloody Land can stand on. The atrocities committed by both side are appalling.

If the sides can ever get their crap in one bucket they could make billions off of tourists.

As to any criticism of Israel, it always garners hate even in America. Until both sides choose leaders that want Peace there will be none. The last man Israel had for Peace, fellow Jews killed him. There are many who live off of the daily carnage. They will resist any attempt at Peace.

My country is the biggest supplier of weapons and carnage. to the world. There was the biggest anti America-Iraq War
On Sept. 24th. For my personal report of that day go to

I also want to add that there was a Bio hazard detected that day and many participants have become infected. The Government is denying any infection. As I already firmly believe that the Bush Regime aidded and abetted the 911 attacks, this attack also was most likely from the Government. The Bush Regime is the biggest threat to the world.
They are quickly losing any clout with the public. All need to pay attention. The village you save could be yours.

Thank you for your time. I come in Peace, I leave in Peace.

Friday, October 07, 2005 9:04:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I love collecting clueless bile....
Speaks volumes.
Live at home with my parents? Yeah, in 1995!

Friday, October 07, 2005 10:11:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks for that. Sometimes it's important to put things on the record, even for most sensible people my positions are clear as day.

Friday, October 07, 2005 11:50:00 am  
Blogger Brian said...

Folks, you shoot the messenger.

Enemies of the Jews rejoice when the "Jewish State" commits bad acts.

Silence them, not by hounding those who report the bad acts, but by stopping those bad acts altogether.

Friday, October 07, 2005 11:56:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Common sense in this debate? It's rare commodity, to be sure. But why look at Israel's actions too closely? We know what we find...

Friday, October 07, 2005 12:02:00 pm  
Blogger Human said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:24:00 pm  
Blogger Human said...

No facts, just personal attacks from ones who by the rhetoric reveal their extremism.

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:25:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

"Folks, you shoot the messenger.

Enemies of the Jews rejoice when the "Jewish State" commits bad acts."

We are shooting the fools who change the name of the normal actions of normal States into 'bad acts' when committed by Jews.

The messenger is the enemy.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 1:53:00 am  
Blogger Darp said...

who still lives with mummy and daddy and somehow managed to con his way into a book contract...

You're getting Ant confused with me Shabba.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 12:37:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Once again, thanks for all the support. All much appreciated and advice taken.
We soldier on...

Saturday, October 08, 2005 12:55:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Oh my god. Congratulations, DBO, you're plumbing new depths of sanctimonious twaddle. Anyway, a quick fisking should cover that -

"and fall way short of informed."
"single semi-literate commenter can muster."

It's never wise to underestimate your enemy. Especially when your enemy's camp controls the agenda.

"(not unlike the right's favoured "scare quotes")"

Which the left never does - nor this site's benighted blogger and his sympathetic contributors? Go buy yourself some perspective, DBO.

and straight up denial of reality.

Nope, we definitely lost there. You guys have cornered the market in that.

This clearly demonstrates the political confusion of the reactionary, vocal, internet-connected right.What does it stand for besides its own continuity and a fear of change?

Hardly. You think we don't have an intellectual cause - we're ignorant, huh? The irony is that such a comment is borne out of your own ignorance. You don't know what we stand for, and/or you don't know how to counter us, and therefore you tag us ignorant. Nice dodge, DBO. Look, if it helps you sleep at night, just go on believing that. However, it consigns you to the "irrelevant" dustbin.

I trust you know who I am referring to here.

Not really. Who are you referring to?

And please don't respond when the shock troops attempt to bait you.

Oh puhlease, you delicate snowflake. As if he ever did in the first place? Antony's the biggest cut-and-runner I've come across in the blogosphere. Antony knows full well that most of the things he gets pulled up for on this blog he can't defend. So he makes the perfectly logical decision not to engage. There have been plenty of times when Loewenstein has legitimately been challenged as to statements he's made on here - and there has clearly been a case to answer. If you reckon that's just baiting, then you aren't too bright because you're unable to comprehend an intellectual challenge. Or perhaps you're in denial. Or you're being deliberately misleading to create a notion of victimhood. Which is it, DBO?

(Is this the RWF method, James?)

The what?

And last but not least, Antony -

We soldier on...

Into which oblivion - ineffectuality, irrelevance, leftist reactionary muddleheadedness, all of the above...?

Saturday, October 08, 2005 5:14:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

That could be the title of your own blog.

Ouch. In fact, there's not a great deal you'll find on my blog that could be tagged "sanctimonious". That's if you're using the conventional definition.

Anyway, I’m happy for you to call yourself my enemy.

You're not my enemy. I used what's called a figure of speech. Do you take everything so literally? If you must know, I think you are most likely an intelligent, well-meaning person. I also think you're misguided.

The world is against you, James. Only a small circle of virtuous intellectuals can save you from the monolithic "left" [snip!]

Thank you for proving my point on the misguidedness issue.

Tell us, James. Who really attracts the support of neo-Nazis?

Oh my god. You really are beaten if you are trying to tar me with that brush. Pathetic, DBO. I once thought you might be an interesting adversary. I now know you to be another hysterical idiot.

And I'll note that you were happy to sidestep the issue of who the extreme right truly supports.

Sorry, what issue? I don't really understand which "issue" I've "sidestepped" here. You're not conducting a Glenn Condell strawman parry, are you? In the words of someone I'm apparently supposed to worship and admire, please explain.

If the patriarchs of the rightist blogosphere - or even you - can dedicate entire posts on their blogs to typos

Who and what are you talking about? The sad fact is that the so-called "patriarchs" of the rightist blogosphere have consistently made strong cases against the knee-jerk, reactionary squawking on blogs like Loewenstein's. Cases that the owners of these blogs find it very difficult to answer. That's why you and others like to claim that all these aforementioned "patriarchs" do is quibble over spelling and grammar. You don't want to deal with the dangerous stuff these "patriarchs" bring to light, so you trivialise their efforts to try to neutralise the threat. Fine. However, don't think for one second that someone like myself won't realise precisely what you're doing.

And you cannot tell me that commenters here do not bait Antony by throwing obtuse or ridiculous statements his way.

Some do, sure. Antony should be smart enough to realise who he should ignore and who he should engage. I have, on plenty of occasions, offered a counterpoint to something Antony's said, or challenged the hypothesis he's presented. And so have a great deal of other commenters - ignoring those who just come to insult. Fact is, Antony isn't willing to engage. When there's a case for him to answer, and yet he won't justify his position - sure, that marks him out as a lightweight.

I'll let your predictable "dodging" and "irrelevant" tags slip by.

Well, considering those "tags" were in a sentence that was concerned with something you totally failed to tackle, well...perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

and sometimes you show that you know how to use a spell checker

And some things come naturally to some people. I'm flattered that you think I use a spell-checker to vet everything I write. Thanks!

The sad fact, DBO, is that you've failed to address the core concerns in the post you responded to. You've just scribbled a bunch of cheap rhetorical devices.


Sunday, October 09, 2005 7:36:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'Antony's the biggest cut-and-runner I've come across in the blogosphere'

Really? You don't get out much. There's a bloke who runs Australia's most patronised blog (it patronises back, big time) who never dips so much as a toe into the fetid waters of his comments box and even has a hatchet faced harridan to patrol the gates, keeping out anyone who asks a pointed question. Blair is like his mentor Glen Reynolds in this; they don't even bother pretending to engage. Antony's rather endearing need to respond to all comers is anathema to elitists like them. And wannabe elitists like you.

Like many tadpoles in the empire's tributaries, 'engagement' or rather relentlessness, is your schtick. You 'fisk' extensively but without illumination on the particular issues and utterly without a general organising set of values, other than buttressing the rightwing-approved agenda.

'Indeed, your use of clichés (irrelevance, sanctimonious twaddle, strawman, snip!, etc) makes you seem more of a parrot than I am sure you would like to.'

Spot on DBO.

' I once thought you might be an interesting adversary. I now know you to be another hysterical idiot.'

This is you to a tee. I thought I'd encountered your particular whiny tone before and I was right. In your previous incarnation as dariuskan, under which dispensation you prissily defended Douglas Wood's honour against my calling him an arsehole, you displayed this same self-aggrandising tendency, allied to the high-school prefect abuse - 'I now know you to be another hysterical idiot'.

You're the hysterical one James. It strikes me you've not had much sex lately. Get yourself a good seeing to, and try to relax. Not too much mind, you might turn into a lefty or something.

The other tactic might be to wait around a few years for some maturity to arrive. It might bypass you altogether of course, there are lots of precedents, but there are measures you can take to expedite the process. I'm happy to assist for a small fee.

Just trying to help.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 12:11:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

As for Glenn Condell's post, he has once again proven that his grasp on reality is weak at best, and seems to be continuously slackening as he is exhibiting a steadily decreasing level of comprehension.

Antony's rather endearing need to respond to all comers

Is there another Antony you're talking about? Because the Antony on this blog rarely responds, and when he does he attempts ridicule (poorly) rather than rebuttal. All up, the performance is usually over in three lines or less.

You 'fisk' extensively but without illumination on the particular issues and utterly without a general organising set of values, other than buttressing the rightwing-approved agenda.

Hrm. You declare that you have never read my blog, which would be the easiest and best place to discover the breadth of my discourse. You couldn't possibly know about my level of 'illumination'. So you wouldn't have the first clue about the range of opinions I possess, and this ignorance makes the above quote an ad hominem remark - a common tactic of a debater who is struggling. Make out that the opponent is of diminished stature, without knowledge or stupid. It's rarely effective and usually is a sign that the game's up, however it may let the unfortunate debater escape with some pride intact if s/he's the self-delusional type. That's one possibility. Another is that you are arrogant enough to believe that anyone who doesn't agree with your point of view lacks illumination and merely toes the party line. It's one or the other, Glenn. Neither alternative marks you out as much of a thinker.

Come to think of it, I've never seen you present a compelling argument on anything of substance. Yet, look at the ridiculously and laughably overambitious description on your blog - "wolfbane for wingnuts". And you have the cheek to call me self-aggrandising!! You idiot.

who never dips so much as a toe into the fetid waters of his comments box

Many (I'd even say most) bloggers - left and right - don't spend much time in comments when they get to Blairite levels of traffic and beyond. And Glenn, the difference between Tim Blair and Antony Loewenstein is that if TB starts something, he finishes it - usually in the body of his blog, rather than in comments. Antony's method is to say something which is rebutted and then to come back with "ooook then" and then something like "good luck with your delusions." (end debate).

and even has a hatchet faced harridan to patrol the gates, keeping out anyone who asks a pointed question.

The ranty ones are booted, and so are the trolls. Tim Blair doesn't maintain his comments forum in the way I would, but then, it's his blog and his choice. Incidentally, the "pointed question[s]" you mention are usually of such a ridiculous or cliched nature (though they'd probably resonate with you), that the poser of the question is usually drummed out followed by a howl of laughter. This might be offensive to an individual with a thin skin, but Blair's is a rough and tumble blog. Deal with it or don't go there, but for god's sake man, stop whining about it.

It strikes me you've not had much sex lately.

Oh, I see someone's been to the "Nabakov School of Comebacks". Soon you'll be advising me to have a few beers, go to the pub etc. Although Glenn, someone who serves in your position of employment should realise that plagiarism is an academic crime. Regardless, it's a cheap shot that merely serves to highlight that you're foundering, and I'll ignore it.

you prissily defended Douglas Wood's honour against my calling him an arsehole

Yep, you made a dick of yourself then (or, more accurately, Doug Wood made a dick out of you) and you're doing it again.

It's nice to see you agree with DBO when he says

Indeed, your use of clichés [snip! - no, erm, snap, um...stop? I'd hate to sound cliched]

Glenn, hypocrite is not a strong enough word for you. How does "prissily", "self-aggrandising", "get some maturity", "go get laid", "right wing-approved agenda" etc. feature in your book of cliches? Well, if I was using them I'm sure they'd be top of the pile. Self-perception isn't your strong point, huh?

You're the hysterical one James.

And just because you say that, it must be true.

Glenn, I've got two words for you - go home.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 4:52:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

DBO - yes, there are plenty of things I could and should be doing. This was going to be short but I got carried away. Oh well.

Truth is, DBO, I don't see myself as a right-winger. I'm mainly classical liberal in outlook. I'm certainly not left - the liberal school of political thought and left wing philosophy are 100% mutually exclusive in practice, albeit not entirely in theory - though mostly. And there is a place for me in the breadth of right wing philosophy. However, I observe many of those on the right displaying a depressing number of similar characteristics to those on the left - systemisers, collectivists, statists - those who employ organised coercion against others to force social change. Therefore I'm hesitant to clothe myself in the right-wing garb, lest I'm associated with such people.

I have suggested that those who imply ties between the far right and Loewenstein's ideas are incorrect etc.

Now I never said that Antony numbered anti-semites or holocaust-deniers as his allies, which you noted. Although I will, as a general observation, remark that the left in its current schizophrenic, reflexive and highly contrarian incarnation, has many strange bedfellows - desired or otherwise. Let me pose a scenario to you, but first let me point out that Tim Blair has never supported, and has frequently contradicted, the philosophy of organisations like the Australian National Front (or whatever it's called). But if they came out and supported something Tim had said, can you honestly say that the left wing coterie of bloggers wouldn't raise a chuckle? That's pretty much exactly what happened to Antony. Sure, it was amusing when the fascists came out in support of him. And well worth a gloating blog post or two, if you're of a mind. Some people went too far and tried to suggest that the two parties were in cahoots. Idiocy is not confined to right or less, it's true. My point is, DBO, if the shoe was on the other foot the left would be shrieking with laughter, and there would be a number of left-wing idiots speculating about, or openly declaring, a relationship between blogger and extremist organisation.

Ignoring the issues of this post?

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I didn't mean Antony's post, I meant my own post in the thread that you countered. But that is by the by.

As for the intellectual cause which the right defends, I am anything but ignorant.

I look forward to confirming this at some point in the future. I can honestly say I understand the left's position because I once was a convinced leftist (and guess what, Glenn, I get a lot more sex these days!) who hoovered up a lot of the relevant literature and philosophy from a position of acceptance, as opposed to extreme cynicism. If the flipside is your experience too, then I will happily concede the fact that you're indeed coming from a sound position of knowledge of thy enemy - don't take that literally! I am saying this because I have encountered a great many leftists who claim that they have read the works of Friedman, Hayek, von Mises, Popper et al. and then declared them absolute rubbish. Fact is that it wouldn't matter how lucidly and convincingly these great theorists and philosophers argued their cases, said leftists are 99 times out of 100 approaching them with a hyper-critical, closed-minded point of view. They've decided that the texts are wrong and fundamentally flawed before they've even opened the cover. But they've got to read them so they can claim they've comprehended the other guys' arguments fully. I'm not trying to say this is definitely you, however the vast majority of leftists who claim to be well-read or well-versed in "right wing" philosophy are like that, in my experience. Thus I've become cynical. Apologies if I'm being unfair to you, and if you prove me wrong I'll happily stand corrected.

your tone (as you are likely aware) is quite patronising.

I should point out that your tone throughout that whole paragraph was (as you are apparently not aware) quite patronising - or perhaps condescending is a more accurate description; perhaps there's more chance you were deploying that deliberately. Irrespective of that, it's not something that bothers me particularly.

Since you no longer find me a worthy adversary

This was perhaps borne out of a misunderstanding on my part - I thought you were implying that I was one of those who the "neo-nazis really support". If, in fact, that's precisely what you were doing then you wouldn't be a worthy adversary. I am prepared to accept that I misunderstood you.

Anyway, rapproachment is fine by me. I look forward to future engagements.

Monday, October 10, 2005 2:47:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Cat got your tongue, Glenn?

Monday, October 10, 2005 5:00:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

DBO! What are you doing here? Get back to work!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 1:40:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

Feel the love on this thread! Hands across the water... uh oh, another cliche. Worthy adversaries find common ground... I dips me lid. (Jesus, another one! Is there a cream you can get for cliche?)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 5:41:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Glenn, nice to see you're keeping up. How's the wolfbane coming along, mate?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 9:29:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...


it's gotta be better than this drivel. You are surely getting the idea by now that 'engaging' with this lot is a mirage. Once you've exhausted your fund of patience and goodwill, you too might enjoy having a crack at them; they certainly aren't shy in that dept.

I don't mind a spell in the gutter with them occasionally... you do get dirty but you get a better view of the stars than you do from the drawing room.


still pecking away like a bull ant. I guess molehills look like mountains from your perspective.

Tick tock, as a great man once said.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 12:46:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Glenn - You're such a card. Get off your high horse. We both know you only stop "engaging" when you've been routed (see above). Face it, Gleen. You won't learn any lessons swimming in that ocean of self-delusion. Let me be clear on this point - you getting all preachy about how there's no point engaging with the numbskulls is fooling no one - least of all me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 7:34:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

If there is a pill that reduces the symptoms of excessive self-regard James, you should take them. I've just had a scan thru Ant's comment threads and your petulance is one of the more prominent features. You really do think you've slam dunked everyone, or rather, every adversary, 'worthy' or not, that you've encountered here, don't you?

You are an annoying child. Maybe I came it a bit high with the no sex gibe before, but I'm wondering now whether perhaps a lack of goalkicking skills in sport at school might explain the pathological need you seem to have to declare your victory over each hapless interlocutor unlucky enough to encounter you online. And I say 'declare' advisedly, because despite your triumphal rhetoric, you have so far been unable to demonstrate your obvious superiority to anyone but yourself. Although one of the anonymouse Likudniks said it would be a shame for you to go as he enjoyed your retorts.

That must make you feel good. I don't necessarily judge a man, or a boy, by the company he keeps, but still.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:27:00 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home