Ted Lapkin is Director of Policy Analysis for AIJAC, Australia’s more virulent Zionist lobby. Lapkin’s worldview is best described as militarist and he’s a strong believer in Israel as a victim in the heart of a dangerous Middle East. He’s as useful to the Zionist cause as Daniel Pipes.
Dr Andrew Vincent is the director of Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, of which I am a board member. Lapkin sent the following email to Vincent last week (and similar emails to Deakin University’s Scott Burchill and Sydney University’s Evan Jones):
I am writing the chapter on Australia for a book dealing with anti-Zionism in academia, and I have mentioned you as a particularly harsh critic of Israel.
As you might expect, I adopt a rather critical stance towards your worldview. But out of fairness I thought I would offer you a right of response before I submitted my chapter to the editor.
I describe your views as inherently immoderate. In support of my contention that your outlook is extremist I present the following statements made by you:
In the April 2005 Macquarie University News you expressed support for the “pessimistic view” of Middle East politics, arguing that “Israel quite possibly murdered Yasser Arafat. You also characterised American foreign policy as under the thrall of a malign neo-conservative cabal that is labouring on behalf of the Jewish state.
During the crisis over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, you wrote Saddam Hussein had a “case” for his expansionist territorial ambitions. You also maligned as an assault on Libya’s sovereignty, American efforts to extradite Libyan intelligence agents for trial in the Lockerbie bombing case. These are also views that I think can fairly be characterised as extreme.
I also criticise your decision to place a dilettante like Antony Loewenstein on the board of your Middle East studies centre. Loewenstein’s knowledge of the region is so superficial that he can’t even correctly cite the gender of Israel’s foreign minister. Would you take seriously a commentator on Australian politics who referred to Kim Beazley as “she?” Thus I argue that your appointment of Loewenstein is part tokenism (your quote from the Australian Jewish News) and combined with a desire to bring on to the board someone you found ideologically congenial. And, of course, both you and Loewenstein undeniably share a mutual distaste for Zionism.
I would appreciate an expeditious response given that the deadline for the submission of my chapter is looming large.
Lapkin believes that AIJAC has the right to monitor “extremist” academics, not unlike Campus Watch in the US. The failure of an individual such as Lapkin to openly engage with different viewpoints shows an intellectual weakness and ignorance best described as unfortunate. Lapkin should defend his beloved Jewish state by living and fighting there.
The Australian media’s reliance on a figure like Lapkin is a healthy development in the failure of contemporary Zionism. If Lapkin is the best they can do, long may he continue. He’s turning more people against the current Israeli state than he even imagines.
Lapkin’s recent Age article contained the usual platitudes against Hamas, a perfect facsimile from Israeli Foreign Affairs. It also contained predictable problems, as pointed out by a letter writer to the Age:
Ted Lapkin misleads your readers when he states that “an independent poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research in mid-March revealed a more than 60 per cent rejection rate of the Jewish state’s right to exist.” While 60 per cent of respondents stated that Hamas should not recognise the state of Israel immediately (question 10) or in response to demands from international donors (question 12), 66 per cent stated that there should be mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the home of the Palestinian people once an independent Palestinian state is established and the refugee and Jerusalem dispute are resolved (question 41.)
The results show that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians surveyed are willing to recognise Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. We should all be asking ourselves why Mr Lapkin and the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council want us to think otherwise.
The answer is clear. For individuals like Lapkin, the Palestinians are an inconvenience, best ignored, exterminated and occupied. The Jews are the chosen people and Israel has the right to do as it pleases. Lapkin should be aware that his wet dream might soon be coming to an end.