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


Sunday, January 15, 2006

As an anti-Zionist

As an anti-Zionist Australian Jew, the opportunity to air my views to a wide public audience are few. My forthcoming book on Israel, Zionism and the Australian Jewish community, various articles and this blog are just the beginning of what I believe is an essential re-framing of the debate. Although vitriol follows anyone who dares challenge the right of Jews to live in a country that claims to be secular - but is in fact a land dictated by religiously-based doctrine and racial exceptionalism - the last years have seen an important shift in the worldwide perception of the Jewish state. Zionists know and fear it.

Blind supporters of Israel claim that "legitimate" criticism of Israel is acceptable, yet never define what they mean. This is a deliberate ploy to neuter ever-growing international pressure. The charge of "anti-Semitism" is wearing thin, and indeed is contributing to an environment where true anti-Semitism is both ignored and even excused. How can a country that claims to be a democracy maintain an ongoing and brutal occupation over another people? As leading Israeli journalist Gideon Levy told me last year:

"When you drive a road in the West Bank which is a road for only Jews, what is it if not apartheid? When you cross a checkpoint which is only open for Jews, what is it if not apartheid? If you are an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin who tries to find in this liberal neighbourhood an apartment to rent, and you have terrible difficulties doing so because you are Palestinian, what is it if not apartheid?"

It is within this context that I will be appearing on SBS television on January 16 at 9pm, debating Israel, Zionism and the future chances for peace. "Speaking in Tongues" aims to highlight issues related to religion and is hosted by shit-stirrer John Safran and Father Bob. In this noble tradition, I'll be debating Australian "comedian" Austen Tayshus. [It should be noted that he called me many times last year and harassed me over my anti-Zionist views.]

It was an interesting shoot last week in Melbourne. Other guests on the show included a satanist, Messianic Jew and Orthodox, Jewish doctor who specialises in diabetes and stem-cell research.

Austen Tayshus and I "debated" for around 25 minutes, though viewers will only see a roughly six minute edited version. Father Bob stayed relatively silent throughout while Safran attempted to inject a moderating voice. Tayshus, aka Sandy Gutman, is a confused figure. Serious one minute and playful the next, he is perhaps the worst advocate Zionism could ever have. Long may he prosper.

He thinks that by shouting and bullying his opponents, supporters of Israel will rally to his cause. He suggested that the occupation was coming to an end - despite overwhelming evidence proving the exact opposite - and that Israelis had no real desire to occupy another people. The fact that every majority political party since 1967 has both supported and encouraged the settler movement was easily forgotten. The recent Gaza withdrawal was simply a strategic decision to maintain large blocs across the West Bank, making a truly contiguous and functioning Palestinian state next to impossible.

Gutman, not unlike many Zionists, thinks that mentioning the "Holocaust" will convince doubters that a Jewish state is essential to worldwide Jewish survival. It may explain an emotional connection to Israel - and virtually all Jewish families, including my own, lost people in the Shoah - but cannot mask what Zionism has become. Avraham Burg, speaker of Israel's Knesset in 1999-2003 and a former chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, put it best in 2003:

"The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.

""It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun.

"Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated. We could kill a thousand ringleaders a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come up from below - from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice and moral corruption."

Burg's desperation was palpable. Zionists can continue defending the indefensible and justify the imprisonment of an entire people, but the world no longer believes them. And I think it is a Jewish responsibility, perhaps more than others, to speak out. I gather strength from brave Jews such as Amira Hass, Gideon Levy and Norman Finkelstein who, despite constant threats, continue revealing the true nature of 21st century Zionism.

Jews like Gutman prefer to use emotion over reason. That is their right. But they cannot be surprised when a growing number of Jews are speaking out against a nation that, despite its own tortured history, actively promotes the dispossession of another people.


Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Pray tell the difference. An Israeli-only road only for...Jews. I've seen them and been on them. What exactly is unclear? There comes a time, and that time is now, that Israeli actions simply cannot be justified as "security". Perhaps you aren't ready for those truths.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 2:05:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks Addamo. You will be able to watch the show, via streaming, in the coming days. Hold that thought and I'll post the link on my blog.
As for Austen, Safran wanted some 'controversy', so pretty predictable really. Tayshus is hilariously belligerant, and convinces no-one. Moreover, he wores dark sunglasses the whole interview. That's a why to inspire people.
As for the roads issue, even Austen admitted that Jewish-only roads was unacceptable. No doubt allowing women to die while giving birth at Israeli checkpoints is based on security concerns, too.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 2:46:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Where are you based now and what are you doing?

Sunday, January 15, 2006 3:16:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 3:18:00 pm  
Blogger Chief Bastard said...

Pity we didn't get to see a bit more Gutman/Dreamboat controversy.

When's the book tour start Ant? I'm coming just for shits and giggles.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 6:12:00 pm  
Blogger olivebranch said...

wow some people really get up tight the moment you post something a little controversial. You are correct here antony, its a commonly known fact that these roads exist.

I will watch you in action tommorow night on SBS I promise :) assuming it is on at 9:00 here in Perth aswell??

I will look in the tv guide anyways :)

keep on writing and don't let the commentors with their sometimes ridiculous comments or nitpicking get you down.


Sunday, January 15, 2006 6:52:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I'm confused too. First, I'm anti-Semitic. Then I'm a self-hating Jew. Then I'm no better than a neo-Nazi. Any other labels, people? I'd like to add some to my ever-growing list.
This is fun...

Sunday, January 15, 2006 7:33:00 pm  
Blogger Chief Bastard said...

'As an anti-Zionist Australian Jew, the opportunity to air my views to a wide public audience are few.'

Television appearances on national TV, your own web site, a book about to be released. You just won't shut up about the fact that no-one listens, do you?

Sunday, January 15, 2006 9:05:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Sorry AL, you really blew it on this one. Why are you losing your grip on reality? You have abandoned Judaism, yet insist on speaking as a Jew.

Your very arguments are ridiculous
"They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated."

Not because of hunger. Because of humiliation. Because these racist, fascist, bastards can't stand the idea that Jews own a piece of the Middle East. They can't live with the fact that we've kicked their asses in 5 wars.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:59:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

A fatwa? That's an interesting thought. Perhaps a rabbi can issue one? Sure, Jews don't really believe in such things, but why not start now?

Monday, January 16, 2006 9:25:00 am  
Blogger Jozef Imrich with Dragoness Malchkeon said...

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
-Elie Wiesel (US News & World Report 27 October 1986)

You do try to make a difference and that is all that counts. I look forward to watching the SBS program.

Take care and do not let unreasonable comments upset you.

We all know that the road to Auschwitz was built by hate but paved with indifference.

When society forgets its mistakes, those mistakes are bound to repeat. As difficult as it is, the horror of the walls be it Iron Curtain or Middle East Curtain, has to be taught and has to be told and only then can we guard it from ever happening again ...

Monday, January 16, 2006 9:50:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Where is the alive and kicking anti-Semitism in the West? How many Jewish people were assaulted mast year in the US or Australia?

How many in Russia? How many in France? Why is the US and Australia held up as the bastion of western civilization?

Monday, January 16, 2006 3:40:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Yes, you are. If you don't, then you have no business acting as if there isn't any.

1000 years of History teaches them something you prefer to remain ignorant about while you offer Hitler some land to grow on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 7:04:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

England is a democracy. In fact, it can be considered the father of constitutional democracy, yet it has no constitution.

And mnay tyrannies have beautiful constitutions. Even what passes for Palestinian government has a constitution.

So having a written constitution is not a requirement of a democracy. But you knew that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 3:27:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks, Progressive, for the comments. I have some other reflections on the SBS show and will publish these in the coming days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 3:37:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'I think the fact is that many fear someone will actually start listening to Antony.'

Which is why all you anonymouse blowflies buzz in to throw shit all over the walls of the place. Ant and some of the regulars apend most of their time cleaning up after you. How many of you are affiliated with AIPAC?

Good post Ant.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:34:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Sorry, but I never stated "How many Jewish people were assaulted mast year in the US or Australia?"

I merely copied and pasted _01's question as an illustration of the nonsense nature of the question.

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

Hey Antony,

Just caught you on Speaking In Tongues (being television-less, I had to wait for the podcast).

Thought you handled yourself well. It would have been even better if I could have heard you talk or respond to something for longer than ten seconds before you were unfortunately shouted down. Heh x

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 1:01:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Addamo - I doubt it. Gutman was selected 'cos he's such a whackjob. SBS has a quite shocking bias. They would have gone out of their way to make the anti-Zionist case seem calm and reasonable, and the Zionist case seem utterly bananas.

If so, they hit a home run in their Zionist selection. Pity about the other guy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:15:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Your question had nothing to do with whether or not attacks were on the increase in those two regions.

Here is your question, perhaps your memory is as faulty as your thinking. - "Where is the alive and kicking anti-Semitism in the West? How many Jewish people were assaulted mast year in the US or Australia?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:42:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home