Friday, July 23, 2010

Everyone needs a hobby

Blogging is my hobby; I do it for fun. Most fun of all is pointing out "best-selling" author Antony Loewenstein's inanities, distortions and lack of writing talent.

Loewenstein is in the U.S. at the moment working on expanding his already substantial – go figure – media presence. Here he is interviewed by, as he terms it "leading New York publication, The Indypendent", in reality a fringe left publication. Loewenstein can't make it past the first question without screwing up.

Alex Kane:  How did you get so involved in writing about Israel and Palestine?

Antony Loewenstein:  Well, many years ago when I was growing up—I grew up in Australia, in a very liberal, Jewish home—Israel was never a central part of my family but it was something, as most Jews will understand, that was important to support. My grandparents escaped Nazi Germany, my family were killed in the Holocaust, so the idea of Israel being a homeland for the Jews was sort of seen as a given. My grandparents have never been to Israel, my father’s only been once, my mother has never been, and I remember when I was a teenager, well before the Web, talking about something that happened that week, a suicide bombing or something in Israel, and I would sometimes express disdain or criticism of the official Israeli line, and it was met with unbelievable anger and ferocity by my family, by my parents, my other family, and there was a real, clear racism that was existing back then. Two things: one, that we can’t expect Arabs to behave any better because, after all, that’s what Arabs do, i.e., be violent against Jews, it’s sort of inherent in their system, and secondly, that whatever Israel was doing was always defensive.

Had Loewenstein's family been killed in the Holocaust, he, in his mid-30s, wouldn't exist. Also, his parents have, by his own admission, never been especially attached to Israel so it's hard to imagine his questioning provoked anger of "unbelievable ferocity". The guy makes this stuff up to make it seem he's a brave dissident speaking truth to power.

Also, Loewenstein often refers to time spent in the Middle East but never elaborates, this because he has hardly spent any time at all in the region – his brief visits undertaken so that he could refer to time on the ground there as if he's some sort of authority when in reality almost all of his writing originates from within Australia. It is therefore ludicrous for Loewenstein to observe:

When it comes to Israel/Palestine, what happened in the past, I suppose, five years particularly, and I’ve often used many of these sources, there’s been an explosion of two things: one, dissident Jewish bloggers in Israel proper, and I’m talking about people like the blog the Promised Land, Joseph Dana, amongst others, interesting people who are actually fed up with what they generally see as the pro-government line that they see in the Israeli corporate press. Ha’aretz, to some extent, is an exception to that, although it obviously has a left, Zionist line as an editorial position, but it certainly publishes a lot of wonderful journalism, there’s no doubt about that, alongside some pretty, not-so-good journalism as well.  So those bloggers are important, and I think they’re being funneled into a wider context because of blogs like Mondoweiss, which give it a more global platform.

And of course, there are also Palestinian bloggers, and we shouldn’t forget about those. It often takes more effort, sometimes, for those who don’t write in English to be read, and so a blog like Global Voices often does translation, other websites did translation during the course of the Gaza conflict a year and a half ago, some of the only voices, in fact, we were hearing were Palestinians or Gazans who could blog. That’s significant because it provides a more nuanced view of what occupation means, what invasion means, what the dropping of white phosphorus means on civilian areas, what does that mean. Photographing it, videoing it, detailing it, and of course making it far more difficult, then, for Israel and its supporters internationally to deny what the evidence shows very clearly. If you simply rely on corporate media to get your information on the Israel/Palestine conflict, as has been documented time and time again, the sad problem is that virtually every single one of those corporate journalists live in one city, or two cities: Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv.

Yet Loewenstein at his blog seldom links to anything other than mainstream news sources, ignoring the wonderful independent sources of information, the virtues of which he so often extols yet for some reason chooses to ignore.

Finally, Loewenstein use of the word "leading" in describing anyone or anything is meaningless.


Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

"the sad problem is that virtually every single one of those corporate journalists live in one city, or two cities: Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv."

Much better they should live in trendy Petersham, where the real action is.

10:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home