ANTONY LOEWENSTEIN: A PRIMER
During his first ever short visit to Israel conducting "research" for the "best-selling" My Israel Question, Antony Loewenstein stayed briefly with distant relatives, the Greens. According to Ronald Green, Loewenstein regards Australia as a cultural backwater, hoping to escape by achieving international recognition as an author and journalist. Having recently moved to New York Loewenstein is living his dream, this despite his writing generating little public interest -- his most recent book, The Blogging Revolution, is currently sales ranked #837,812 at Amazon.
Loewenstein's success, such as it is, is built not on his writing skills, which are ordinary at best, or on unique or even special insights deriving from expertise, of which he has none. No, his notoriety arises almost entirely from his status as an oddity, that is, as an outspokenly anti-Israel Jew. Loewenstein has tenaciously parlayed this, slowly but surely achieving minor celebrity status. (Go here is you want to read some of his articles; here for interviews.)
As his prominence increased Loewenstein was noticed by Macquarie University's Dr Andrew Vincent, who appointed him the "fairly well qualified", appropriately left-wing and anti-Israel "token Jew" on the board of the university’s Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Loewenstein is also an Honorary Associate at Macquarie University’s Department of Politics and International Relations. These affiliations -- in particular his position as a board member at the Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Studies -- suggest that Loewenstein is a highly educated and knowledgeable Middle East commentator. He isn't
If Macquarie University's Middle East group blog, Khaldoun, is any guide, Loewenstein should feel right at home hobnobbing with academics. Khaldoun links to Loewenstein's blog as a "site we like". And like Loewenstein, Khaldoun's bloggers are preoccupied with Israel, with the Jewish state the subject of 36 of its 37 posts so far in 2009. But hey, it's not like anything of any importance has happened anywhere else in the Middle East over the last seven months.
Always seeking to be more visible Loewenstein teamed up with philosophy lecturer Peter Slezak as co-founders of Independent Australian Jewish Voices. The IAJV mission:
In keeping with the goals enunciated in our originally published IAJV statement, we as organizers are concerned to widen the debate about Israel/Palestine and thereby to permit a more honest, productive debate that might foster a better understanding of the issues.The group a response to stifling pressure allegedly brought to bear by the broader Jewish community:
In common with other such groups, IAJV is concerned about the narrow range of opinion and fact that is available in the mainstream media on Israel/Palestine and also with the uncritical stance of the leadership of the organized Jewish community. The statement criticized the vilification of dissenting Jews as self-hating or disloyal.This dovetails perfectly with Loewenstein's oft bleated protest that the mainstream Jewish community effectively silences him -- not listening is not the same as silencing, however. But it is now Loewenstein who attempts to silence pro-Israel Jews, often referring to them as ignorant and bigoted supporters of a rogue state. Here's a recent example:
Raimond Gaita is a leading Jewish, Australian intellectual.
Like so many of them, he expresses profound ignorance, bigotry and intolerance towards the Palestinian narrative and the recent Gaza war.
Truth is forgotten when it comes to backing the Jewish state. The moral blind-spot is revealed yet again.
Brull describes Gaita as "an anti-Muslim racist". This unwarranted attack drawing two responses (here and here) from non-Jew Gaita, with Geoffrey Brahm Levey adding:
I was one of the original signatories to the initial petition announcing IAJV’s existence. Though I disagreed with some of the wording of this year’s IAJV petition against Operation Cast Lead, I signed it because I believed stopping the violence in Gaza and on Gazans was more important than my qualms about some wording. I presented a lecture in the recent ACU lecture series on Gaza. I know Rai Gaita. I read his lecture. And Antony’s and Michael Brull’s characterisation of Raimond Gaita, his lecture on Gaza, and his views on Palestinians and Muslims are totally unwarranted and out of line. Even if they were correct on the substantive issues — which, in this case, they’re not — why they think impugning somebody’s motives and character is germane to putting and winning an argument is beyond me. Ratbaggery only impresses ratbags. If this is what IAJV has become, you may count me out of any further IAJV activities.
Loewestein's only response is to correct the Gaita is Jewish error -- that Gaita is considered not only a Jew but a "leading Jew" speaks volumes about Loewenstein's ignorance. By the way, Geoffrey Brahm Levey won't be the last signatory to sever links with IAJV.
Anyway, Loewenstein recently visited Israel (where does the money come from?) and has heaps of new posts on the evil Jews. Here's a still of the fearless Jew conducting man in the street interviews.
He's not the heartthrob he once was.