Saturday, January 10, 2009


Self-proclaimed Middle East expert Antony Loewenstein:
My following interview, published in the Tehran Times, is now available online. Aside from an excessively flowery introduction, my comments are exactly as I sent them...
Let's just ignore that his intro doesn't quite make sense, concentrating instead on the interview. Presumably the Tehran Times emailed him the questions and he took his time answering before emailing back. Regardless, Loewenstein's only quibble is that the interview's introduction is "excessively flowery" – flowery in this case meaning non-native-English-speaker psychobabble:
Amidst the harrowing blitz of Zionist arsenals on the defenseless civilians of Gaza and under the heart-rending silence of international community, UN officials, Western powers and Arab leaders who sketch the doleful and grievous fate of humanity and ethics in our tumultuous and chaotic era by their disappointing stance against the belligerence of Israel in the region, one can still find the awakening consciences of praiseworthy peoples who cling to their innate, human values yet and revolt against inequality, injustice, atrocity and violation of definite human rights boldly.
That's right, everyone who's anyone is supporting Israel. Now for the interviewee (my bold):
Antony Loewenstein is a world-renowned anti-Zionist advocate, the co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices and the regular columnist of Guardian, Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald.

In his 2006 book “My Israel Question”, he questioned the existence of Israeli regime in the Middle East fundamentally and won several international awards for his courageous and innovative way of criticizing Israel afterwards.
Loewenstein doesn't question the above so he must consider it correct. He is getting lots of play in the print and electronic media so the "world-renowned" claim is close enough to the truth. The "regular columnist" nonsense – he is a columnist for no paper and his work has never appeared in the print edition of the Washington Post – can be overlooked because it's likely whoever wrote this doesn't understand the meaning of "columnist". He has received no awards, international or otherwise. His courage and innovativeness are debatable; his stupidity is legendary. On to the interview:
Tehran Times: Israel is holding an unrelenting and multilateral incursion on the people of Palestine from the air, earth and sea. The casualty rates are surging dramatically and most of the victims are innocent infants, children, women and civilians. What’s your opinion on such atrocities?

Antony Loewenstein: As a human being first and Australian Jew second, I unconditionally condemn Israel’s attack on the Gazan people. Hundreds of innocent Palestinians have been killed by the Jewish state’s disproportionate response. After a nearly two-year blockade on the Gaza Strip in a futile attempt to weaken the democratically elected Hamas government, both Palestinians and Israelis have the right to leave in peace. This current action will only embolden extremists on all sides.
Doesn't everyone want to "leave" in peace? Imagine editing this crap.
Tehran Times: U.S. vetoed the anti-Israeli resolution of Security Council two times, as it had done several times before. It didn’t allow the UN to impose embargo on Israel for its belligerent massacre of Palestinians. What’s the reason?

Antony Loewenstein: The United Nations, with notable exceptions, has been ineffective in managing the major issues of the Middle East. Israel has defied countless Security Council resolutions and is protected by Washington due to the Israel lobby, Jewish money and Holocaust guilt, among many other issues. The vast majority of the civilized world condemns Israel’s over 40-year occupation of Palestinian land and yet peace has never seemed further away. There is a desperate need for other world powers, such as India, to become more actively involved in the UN and re-balance the current status-quo, where the leading powers bully the developing world.

Israel is almost a religion within American politics that is seemingly beyond criticism, despite recent polls finding that a majority of Democrat voters opposed Israel’s current attack on Gaza. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Israel was the only country that all major candidates pledged loyalty to. It’s pitiful to watch. It is unlikely that President-elect Obama will change this narrative, exert pressure on Israel to give up its colonial addiction to land, which is why other methods are required, such as boycotting elements of Israel that actively profit from the occupation of Palestinian land.
Stupid, religion-crazed Americans, all being Zionists, won't care – Hell, they've been so thoroughly brainwashed by the all-powerful Jewish lobby they won't even notice – that Obama will be the first President to sweat to "preserve, protect and defend" Israel rather than the Constitution. And wouldn't Loewenstein prefer that Obama change reality rather than pointlessly changing the "narrative"?
Tehran Times: Notwithstanding their continuous pretension of independence, American media seem to be reluctant or somehow restricted to publish any kind of report and news with anti-Israeli essence, even some slight criticisms. Is it correct?

Antony Loewenstein: With a few exceptions, most of the American mainstream media refuse to criticize the Jewish state. This may be starting to change, however. During last year’s 60th anniversary of Israel’s birth, leading papers, such as the New York Times, ran stories about the Nakba, the Palestinian term for the 1948 “catastrophe”. Such articles would have been unimaginable even a few years ago.

Much of the American media is far from independent, run by a handful of corporations with many interests. Challenging the Zionist narrative is regarded as bad for business.

Many journalists in the West are afraid of the Zionist lobby. This is something I’ve personally experienced many times over the years, but it’s mostly comical and should be ignored. Any criticism of Israel can elicit censure from the usual suspects. Alternatives are starting to emerge, however, as the internet is far harder to control than the opinion page of a national newspaper. Israeli publications such as Haaretz provide accurate information from within Israel itself and the occupation that leaves most of the American media for dead.
Please reread the bolded orange sentences above so you're absolutely certain of what Loewenstein wrote.

Okay, welcome back. An internal search for "nakba" at the New York Times yields 368 results, with many of the articles dated prior to 2008 and going back at least to the 1970s. A search for "palestinians 1948" yields 10,000+ results. Yet according to Loewenstein, the many pre-2008 articles do not exist; Jewish money, and the influence it buys, preventing the articles being written. It's impossible to know if he actually believes this or if he's simply ignorant. Either way, he's wrong. Back to the interview:
Tehran Times: Israel claimed that it just seeks retaliation against Hamas by raiding on Gaza, while we see that it has closed the Rafah crossing, prevents the admittance of food, cash and pharmacy into Gaza. What’s this obvious contradiction for?

Antony Loewenstein: The Jewish state, rather than stop the crimes of rockets from Gaza, has been attempting to pressure the Palestinians in the most densely populated area on earth, and force them to grow tired of their Hamas rulers and overthrow them. Alas, this hasn’t happened and the group is likely to emerge from the current conflict emboldened morally and politically. Hamas, like Hizbollah in Lebanon, is a fact of life in the Middle East, supported by millions of Arabs and Persians.
Gaza is not nearly "the most densely populated area on earth". This keeps coming up for a couple of reasons. It's meant to emphasize that residents' quality of life is not good at the best of times, you know, being tightly packed together. It also drives home the point that any military operation there is bound to result in masses of civilian casualties.
Tehran Times: And then, what’s your anticipation about the prospect of Israeli regime with its aggressive and inhumane approach? Is it going to be capable of soldiering on its current genocides without any stoppage?

Antony Loewenstein: Israel is at cross-roads. It can either continue on its current path that is expanding its occupation and refusing the Palestinian’s self-determination, or it can realize that Palestinians will never accept, and nor should they, a truncated state. Within 5-10 years, there will be more Palestinians than Jews in the lands of Israel and Palestine. Israel is currently an apartheid state, oppressing Arabs in ways that every older black South Africans are shocked to witness. The Jewish state is like a child that won’t grow up, screaming and fighting its way out of every fight. Thankfully, a growing number of citizens in Western countries and much of the Arab world no longer fear its muscle or threats.
So, it's always better to surrender than to fight. School must have been great fun for a young Loewenstein.

The guy is certainly entitled to his opinions. The problem is, Loewenstein has nothing to offer other than opinions, but unfortunately these usually aren't grounded in reality. This won't be obvious to those unfamiliar with him, who might assume from his seemingly spectacular bio that he's a font of wisdom on matters middle eastern when he's anything but.

It is long overdue for the powers that be at Macquarie University to remove Loewenstein from the board of the Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, where he's the token almost Jew. In fact, given Loewenstein's extreme views, appointing him to the board was a serious error in judgement. Independent Australian Jewish Voices' members – no matter what they think about Israel's rights and wrongs – might also want to consider resigning from the group in order to distance themselves from Loewenstein's relentless self-promoting. That's the bottom line here folks, Antony Loewenstein's primary goal is making Antony Loewenstein a media star.


Anonymous Minicapt said...

Perhaps 'Dreamboat' is angling for a spot on "The View" where his worldly knowledge and experiences would be an excellent fit.


7:44 PM  

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