Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Eight academic experts and a guy off the street

An advert for an informative event conducted jointly by Macquarie University and the University of Sydney:

People's Power?

A list of featured experts follows:

Check that list and you'll find an "expert" with no qualifications whatsoever. Antony Loewenstein was perhaps included as a controversial figure to add spice to what could be a rather dry event – rumour has it Loewenstein will elaborate at length on prominent Jew and closet Zionist New Zealand Prime Minister John Key:
Anthony Loewenstein in his blog has referred to New Zealand’s Prime Minister as “Jewish” in a clear ethnic slur in commenting about Key’s support of Hosni Mubarak and a ‘conservative’ policy by the Kiwis on Egypt. Given that that Keys, whose mother was Jewish, is an agnostic and an occasional church goer, Loewenstein is way out of line.

Unless one thinks that there is a biological cause and effect relation between Key’s ancestry and his foreign policy it it is an irrelevant, facetious and insulting remark, particularly since as far as I know, there is no relationship between Key’s mother’s religion and NZ’s foreign policy. It is true that Key is acknowleged by the NZ Jewish community and Israeli press as a friend of Israel, but Loewenstein has engaged in the same tactic as the extreme right when they talk about Key– that being a Jew is prima facie evidence of a particular ’loyalty’. Never mind that Malcolm Fraser’s mother also had a Jewish background.

One does not have to be critical of Israel to play with anti-Semitic tropes. Even some of my Palestinian contacts are not at all impressed by Lowenstein’s latest. I’ve defended Loewenstein’s right to be critical of Israel in the past, but I’m not falling for this game of his.

Loewenstein has made a habit of using inflammatory language to appeal to his international audience It’s his right to do so, but he should get his facts right and apologize to John Key.
Loewenstein is an authority on nothing; his inclusion as an expert on events in the Arab World discredits the whole event and reflects very badly on the judgment of the organisers.

Update Loewenstein, who claims to frequently receive death threats, posts an example of the "usually anonymous (the bravery is staggering) and often from Jews" threats he continually receives:
The fight is on & the enemy doesn’t distinguish between Israeli Jews or the wider Jewish community. The hate is deep set & rising. The western community is feeling duped about a decade long conflict & is looking for someone to blame. When europeans are dissatisfied with anything they will turn to the old punching bag- dem evil kid killin jude!! Their snarling like hungry rabid dogs & when the catalyst arrives, they will come hunting for us- regardless of political affiliation. You can bow & scrap at the mobs feet as much as you like but don’t ask for our help when they kick you in the teeth. Your on your own. I do not waste my words on blind hate groups & I will no longer waste my time on you- he who is simply known as ‘Antony’.
How does Loewenstein know that anonymous "threats" are from Jews?


Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

Mike Carlton made the same dishonest claim when he wrote that he'd received hundreds of letters from Angry Jewish readers of the SMH.

How did he know? Did they sign their name "Jew"? Did they have Jewish sounding surnames?

Moreover, there's no way he actually had that many readers, much less that many who would bother responding to whatever he wrote.

Mike Carlton is a liar. As is Loewenstein. If they would sack Carlton, he'd have another thing in common with Antony.

Apropos the bravery of anonymity, I note that Loewenstein had no problem including a large number of "anonymous" entries on his last anti-Israel petition. Leaving aside the complete contradiction in terms of an anonymous entry on a petition, it would seem that Antony is fine with anonymity when it's a fan and not someone calling him an idiot.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Chistery said...

Feel the faux paranoia and victimhood
faux paranoia?

Antony is perpetuating the idea that Jews are to blame for everything that is wrong in the middle east and that Israel has no right to exist. Yet try as he might to make them paranoid, he can only detect fake paranoid. That's an epic fail for all of Ant's hard work.

Zionism has deformed my people.
Well I just vomitted a little bit in my mouth. I wonder what his people think?

7:23 AM  
Anonymous ar said...

"How does Loewenstein know that anonymous "threats" are from Jews?"

I would imagine the threats are liberally sprinkled with words such as "schmuck", "putz", and the like...

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

You can't call yourself Jewish as a cynical PR exercise to sell a few books, but simultaneously claim to be an atheist who has nothing even remotely Jewish about his lifestyle or beliefs.

"My people" Antony?

Who are they? You've walked away from the Jewish Community, so it isn't them.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't call yourself Jewish as a cynical PR exercise to sell a few books, but simultaneously claim to be an atheist who has nothing even remotely Jewish about his lifestyle or beliefs

You dope, Lewis. There are loads of Jewish athiests, Jews who don't keep kosher, etc. You should stop making wild generalisations about a diverse group of people.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous RA said...

"There are loads of Jewish athiests.

How the hell does that work?

My grandmother was Catholic, but my parents were pretty much agnostic and I consider myself a rational humanist atheist. I have only been inside a church a half a dozen times in my life.

I am not a Catholic atheist.

I'm just an atheist.

We live in a free and democratic country where anyone who doesn't want to practice a religion is free to go their own way.

This is not Hitler's Germany. If Antony doesn't want to practice Judaism, he doesn't have to. But yes, that means he's not Jewish, any more than I am Catholic.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How the hell does that work?

Sheesh. Beck's blog really attracts the morons these days. Being Jewish has nothing to do with degree of religious belief. Sigmund Freud, to cite a famous example, was most definitely Jewish, and also staunchly atheist. It's not a contradiction, except in the minds of dribbling fanatics like Dan Lewis.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

To the two anonymous cowards. There is a big difference between a Jewish person of varying levels of observance and communal participation, versus one who actively removes himself from every facet of Jewish culture, lifestyle, tradition or heritage.

For Antony to refer to himself as Jewish, is nothing more than a cynical PR exercise.

I could convert to Islam in thirty seconds by reciting the Shahada. Just like that, I'd be a Muslim. If my very next move was to go on ABC television "as a Muslim", and write books "as a Muslim", how much credibility would I have?

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Antony to refer to himself as Jewish, is nothing more than a cynical PR exercise.

So you are saying that it's up to fanatics like you to determine who is or isn't an 'authentic' Jew? They all have to pass the Dan Lewis test or something? I don't think so.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

And who might you be, Anonymous Coward?

By any test, any assessment, any evaluation, Antony wouldn't pass muster.

However, regardless of others' opinions, he himself has expressed his disinterest, by referring to himself as an atheist.

So regardless of the views of an anonymous coward like you, Antony himself has acknowledged my point. He has renounced and denounced Judaism, so to use it as a PR tool, is (to use a word he probably wouldn't understand) - Chutzpah.

He's a hypocrite and a fraud.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And who might you be, Anonymous Coward?

As if I would share my details with you, stalker boy.

By any test, any assessment, any evaluation, Antony wouldn't pass muster.

Correction: by your assessment, Antony wouldn't pass. This is because you persist in the mistaken belief that a person cannot be Jewish and an athiest at the same time. Judaism qua religious belief is distinct from Jewish identity, the latter being conferred by cultural lineage, matrilineal transmission, etc.

As the self-appointed spokesman of all of Jewishkind, you ought to have known this, Dannyboy. So what are you - a liar, or just an idiot?

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

Can they be Jewish and Muslim at the same time?

How about black and white?

Gay and heterosexual maybe?

Tall and short?

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:08 PM  
Blogger J F Beck said...

Loewenstein has played the anti-Israel Jew angle for all it's worth. Yet I can't recall Loewenstein expressing any admiration for Jews or Jewish culture, ever.

But it is irrelevant what I or any other non-Jew have concluded about Loewenstein's "Jewishness". What counts is the views of mainstream Jews, who might not come out and say it, but almost certainly have reason to doubt Loewenstein Jewish credentials.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous RA said...

So I am a Catholic then, even though I despise everything the Catholic Church stands for (much as Ant despises everything Judaism stands for)?

Why am I allowed to renounce the religion of my grandparents, and Ant's not?

I thought religion, in a free and democratic society like Australia, was purely a voluntary thing.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I am a Catholic then, even though I despise everything the Catholic Church stands for (much as Ant despises everything Judaism stands for)?

Before embarrassing yourself further, RA, at least have a quick look at the Wiki link I posted:

Based on Jewish law's emphasis on matrilineal descent, Orthodox Jewish authorities would accept as fully Jewish an atheist born to a Jewish mother

Loewenstein has played the anti-Israel Jew angle for all it's worth.

But there are plenty of Jews who also criticise Israel on a regular basis. Click onto Ha'aretz on any given day and you'll find some.

What counts is the views of mainstream Jews

What the hell constitutes a 'mainstream' Jew? Is it a crank like Dan Lewis, who can't distinguish between Jewish identity and Judaic religion? And why does somebody need the approval of 'mainstream Jews' in order to criticise Israel? What a bizarre statement.

9:58 PM  
Blogger J F Beck said...

Anonymous, the only reason we're discussing this is because Loewenstein has a history of harping on his Jewishness, as if he's some sort of authority on Jews, Zionism and Israel. Clearly he isn't.

I seriously doubt that mainstream Jews, that is, those who self-identify as Jewish culturally or religiously, or both, would consider Loewenstein as Jewish even though he is born of Jewish parents.

You are entitled to your own views on the subject, of course.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

Beck has summed it up. RA, you can call yourself a Catholic, or not. It really makes no difference, as you aren't using it as the basis of your entire self-promotion.

The fact is, were Antony born Christian, he would have been written off a long time ago as an anti-Semite. However, by deciding to call himself (for the first time ever) "Jewish" he has not only inoculated himself (to some extent) from such accusations, he's established himself as a useful idiot for traditional anti-Semites.

His book was promoted by the notorious Adelaide Institute and this post also shows his views are odious and buy into ancient anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Frankly, I have no problem writing him off as an anti-Semite. The irony however, is that he's setting up his own destruction and aligning himself with people who wouldn't see him as a 'good Jew', the way say the ABC does. They would simply cut off his head. He's too bloody stupid and self-obsessed to see it.

I'm sure he'd do plenty of unspeakable things to sell a few books.

6:04 PM  

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