Monday, August 28, 2006


Journalist and author Antony Loewenstein has milked two attention seeking ploys for all they're worth: he's a dissenting Jew; and his fellow Jews have tried to silence him. The latter has been demolished by Loewenstein himself in his prepared remarks at the Melbourne Writer's Festival:
Over two years of writing, researching and spending time in the Middle East and the US [how much time was spent in Israel is never revealed - ed.]... I soon realised that I wasn’t being silenced but the issues of Israeli occupation and the Zionist lobby were routinely avoided by the mainstream media. I wanted my book to readdress [sic] that imbalance.
Exactly when this epiphany occurred isn't revealed but it must have been recent because just the other day Loewenstein had an article in the Australian opening with this leader:
The Israel lobby’s attempt to silence contrarian voices is counterproductive and undermines freedom of speech
What happened is that Loewenstein finally realized his claims of a conspiracy to silence are ludicrous considering the media exposure he's getting. As Daniel Mandel advises on this SBS radio response (audio) to Loewenstein's accusations of attempted silencing (also audio), criticism of Loewenstein's controversial views does not amount to censorship.

That leaves Loewenstein's status as Jewish dissenter to make him stand out from the inherently anti-Israel leftist crowd. As pointed out in an email from a Jewish reader, how Jewish is this guy when he fails to realize that Tzipi is short for Tzipora, an obviously feminine name? Even if it's expecting a bit much for him to recognise the name as feminine, it's reasonable to expect someone writing a book on Israel to know the sex of a prominent Israeli minister. (The erroneous reference to Livni as "he" was, by the way, surreptitiously corrected.)

It also seems odd that a Jew would mistake written English for Hebrew. Hell, I'm about as far removed from the Jewish community as it's possible to be and I could tell straight away it wasn't Hebrew. (Loewenstein's mistake was, yet again, surreptitiously corrected.)

In My Israel Question Loewenstein presents as a secular Jew. He reveals that Jewish schools, which seem to produce reasonably successful graduates, were regarded by his parents as providing an education that was too "narrow," so he was sent to a private Anglican school. He had his bar mitzvah and attended synagogue "on major Jewish holidays." His political views have estranged both family and Jewish friends. All things considered, Loewenstein is not close to his faith.

According to Rabbi Shafran secular Jews are a threat to Judaism:
A secular Jew is basically a dead end in terms of the continuity of the Jewish people.

We need to act in a firm and decisive way to reconnect as many Jews as possible with what has made the Jewish people a people to begin with 3,000 years ago, and what will preserve us as a people into the future.
It seems to me – and I could be totally off base here – that being a Jew is more than a matter of genetics, it's what goes on in your head that's important. If that's the case I'm probably more Jewish than Loewenstein.

If you have $33.00 to spare and want to read a lefty's take on Israel, My Israel Question is for you. Other than that, save your money.

One more thing, make sure you check out Loewenstein's obviously unedited Melbourne Writer's Festival remarks and decide for yourself who deserves more credit for the book, Loewenstein or his editor.


Anonymous Ros said...

Thanks JF. Read the Writer's Festival remarks with interest also. Loved this

"It’s time to retire the drooling old males that populate opinion pages across the country. "

Can't wait for his next book on the Australian media. The drooling old males might decide to take a real look at what he says.

8:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home