Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Careful, they might hear you

The following article appears in today’s Weekend Australian:

Elisabeth Wynhausen asks whether opposition to the security policies of the government of the day in Israel is in danger of being attributed to anti-Semitism

It can be hard to track the origins of information posted on the internet, but for those with the patience to follow the ebb and flow, the series of entries about the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council on the SourceWatch website made fascinating reading.

The original SourceWatch entry said AIJAC is “a right-wing think tank based in Melbourne and Sydney … which represents no one but its own small (right-wing) membership”.

Confronted with this blunt description, AIJAC policy analyst Jamie Hyams decided to edit it online. “The entry didn’t accurately reflect what AIJAC is,” Hyams tells Inquirer.

What he wrote instead was: “AIJAC does represent the views and interests of the mainstream Jewish community. AIJAC’s pro-Israel stance reflects the views of the vast majority of Australia’s Jewish community … Those who regard AIJAC as right-wing and only representing itself are from the Left fringe of the Australian Jewish community.”

This version lasted only about a day, says Hyams. SourceWatch is funded by the Centre for Media and Democracy, an American organisation bent on exposing what it regards as spin and propaganda. The SourceWatch editor had done some editing of his own, making it clear he believed AIJAC was a small, privately funded neo-conservative think-tank.

Since late March the Australian Jewish community – like Jewish communities across the world – has been caught up in the controversy over a paper titled The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard University.

Published in the London Review of Books after being accepted for publication, then rejected, by The Atlantic Monthly in the US, the paper argues that the Israel lobby has dominated US foreign policy in the Middle East, sometimes to the exclusion of US interests (even Israel’s interests in the longer term). Critics of the paper insist this is tantamount to saying a Jewish cabal is exerting a sinister influence on US foreign policy. An extract from the paper was published in Inquirer on April 22.

In an opinion piece published in The Australian that month, AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein wrote that Mearsheimer and Walt “concoct a conspiracy theory about the vast supposed power of [the] Israeli lobby”.

Rubenstein said the academics had ignored “the obvious explanation” for Israel’s influence: consistent public support for Israel.

But even allowing for the possibility that Mearsheimer and Walt overstate their case, Rubenstein could have mentioned the effectiveness of the outfit that lobbies US senators, congressmen and other opinion-makers about Israel: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a body from which AIJAC takes some of its cues. Both organisations have greatly intensified activities since 9/11.

Rubenstein is right on one count, however. Polls suggest that more than three-quarters of Australians support Israel’s right to exist. Most will be aware there is bristling antagonism between Israel and some of its neighbours – some of whom, notably Iran, want to bring down the Israeli state – leaving Israelis feeling vulnerable even today.

If it comes to that, Prime Minister John Howard could hardly be more supportive of Israel. But just to be on the safe side, Jewish organisations inside and outside this country have heaped him with honours, from the “award for distinguished public service” presented by the American Jewish Committee and AIJAC, its Australian partner, to the “inaugural award for friendship and commitment” presented to Howard by the Jewish Communal Appeal.

There are between 100,000 and 120,000 Jews in Australia. They represent only about 0.5 per cent of the population but are themselves represented by a legion of community organisations. Peak bodies in each state send delegates to two federal bodies, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Zionist Federation of Australia.

ECAJ officially speaks on behalf of Australian Jewry. But a member of the Zionist Federation is present any time ECAJ or its constituent organisations make formal representations to the Australian government: one sign of the community’s urgent and abiding preoccupation with Israel.

At the Israeli Independence Day celebration at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney last month, NSW Premier Morris Iemma, the guest speaker, stayed on message, no sooner acknowledging the traditional owners of the land than he asserted that Aborigines and Jews had much in common.

“At the heart of their common struggle is land,” said Iemma, pointing to “their shared experience of suffering and oppression”.

As the function was held on the same day as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that a hospital in the Gaza Strip had only two weeks of medicine left (because the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry had cut the hospital budget after the suspension of international aid to Hamas), it is tempting to wonder if Aborigines confronted with the comparison would conclude they have more in common with Palestinians. But in the Shangri-La Hotel, the Premier had handed the microphone to the Israeli ambassador, Naftali Tamir, who was also intent on emphasising Israel’s vulnerability rather than its strength, making more than one reference to those of Israel’s neighbours who wish “to strike us off the map”.

This is the view held by most members of the Jewish community. In fact, community leaders regularly seem to suggest that those who diverge from it are ratbags or racists.

NSW Greens MP Ian Cohen says: “Any criticism of the strongly pro-Zionist establishment view makes people label you anti-Semitic, which is pretty offensive. There’s a lot of antagonism, a paranoia that shows itself if you don’t toe the party line.”

Even asking if some Jewish leaders are trying to stifle debate can get you rapped on the knuckles. Rug manufacturer Yosi Tal, a member of the executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the peak body in NSW, says: “Saying the Jewish lobby is trying to shut down debate is anti-Semitic.”

Of course, there are profound historical reasons for the reflexive accusations of anti-Semitism: as journalist Richard Cohen noted in The Washington Post in April (in response to those levelling accusations of anti-Semitism at Mearsheimer and Walt): “It comes freighted with more than 1000 years of tragic history, culminating in the Holocaust.”

But in modern Australia, where Jews are not only free to do as they choose but have become prominent as lawyers, doctors, businessmen and scientists out of all proportion to their numbers, there is potential manipulation in invoking the spectre of anti-Semitism to combat opposition.

Critics who are Jews find themselves sidelined or bullied. “One person who’d been identified in the media as a member of a [Jewish] peace group made some comment and was telephoned and abused,” says Margot Salom, who is writing a university thesis about the silencing of dissent within the Jewish community.

Confronted with some Israeli acts, such as the incident earlier this year when an Australian filming a protest on the West Bank was shot in the head with a rubber bullet by an Israeli soldier, mainstream community members say almost nothing in public.

“The overwhelming image is one of a monolithic community that feels, thinks and speaks as one,” says Geoffrey Brahm Levey, co-editor with Philip Mendes of Jews and Australian Politics.

Launching that book in Sydney last year, Levey said: “Such an image, I dare say, has been encouraged by some Jewish organisations themselves, for whom the appearance of unity is considered essential to securing their political objectives.”

The effect has been to mute all but the most tepid criticism of Israel.

“I think many people are cautious about saying anything critical of Israel,” says a federal Labor MP who declined to be named. “When people do say things, they’ve got to be careful what they say. On one level there’s the hardline AIJAC element. If you say anything critical of Israel they’ll use the anti-Semitism tag. There’s also a much more sophisticated element … prepared to engage in a more serious way.”

The sophistication was not in evidence when his parliamentary colleague Michael Danby, the Labor member for Melbourne Ports, learned that Sydney left-wing journalist and author Antony Loewenstein was writing a book about Israel and the Australian Jewish community for Melbourne University Publishing.

Last September, 11 months before the scheduled publication of Loewenstein’s book, My Israel Question, Danby wrote an outraged letter about it to The Australian Jewish News, saying: “MUP should drop this whole disgusting project. If they proceed, I urge the Australian Jewish community, and particularly The Australian Jewish News, to treat it with dignified silence. That is our best response. If, God forbid, it is published, don’t give them a dollar. Don’t buy the book.”

More often it is AIJAC’s Rubenstein who acts as the enforcer of acceptable opinions about Israel, picking up the phone to convey his views if a politician or media person criticises Israel without neutralising the comments by savaging its enemies.

Rubenstein, who has an intensely combative streak, strongly denies his tactics could be construed as bullying.

“I do often criticise editors for decisions with which I disagree and urge them to make different decisions that I deem more appropriate. Surely that is a fundamental right of any Australian citizen or community group, including myself and AIJAC?” he tells Inquirer. “I never threaten or do anything else which can fairly be called ‘bullying’, so anyone who made such a claim is being either thin-skinned or deceptive.”

Though it is a privately run organisation, AIJAC has been remarkably successful in suggesting that its views and its voice are the legitimate views and voice of the Australian Jewish community. It is usually AIJAC that responds most rapidly to issues relating to Israel or the security of Australian Jews.

From time to time this has been counterproductive. In 2003, Rubenstein ran so strenuous a campaign against the then NSW premier, Bob Carr – after Carr agreed to present the Sydney Peace Prize to Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi – that even Jewish community leaders who agreed with Rubenstein’s position distanced themselves from his tactics.

“We … are very careful never to claim to represent the Jewish community as a whole,” Rubenstein says. Yet he sometimes seems to be speaking on behalf of Australian Jewry. When Pope John Paul II died last year, Rubenstein and AIJAC chairman Mark Leibler expressed their condolences in a letter published in The Australian. “We would like to express our sorrow … and convey our sincere sympathy to the Catholic world. He will be remembered for his inspiring spiritual leadership … He achieved far more in terms of transforming relations with both the Jewish people and the state of Israel than any other figure in Catholic history.” Though their names were followed by the name of their council, the lofty tone could have suggested they were speaking for Jews the world over.

Half the Jews in Australia are Holocaust survivors or their descendants, a statistic often related to the fact that many strongly identify with Israel. There is a tendency to marginalise those who happen to disagree.

“AIJAC, for better or worse, represents the majority view,” says Sam Lipski, chief executive of the Pratt Foundation, which helps bankroll AIJAC. “The Left’s position on Israel wouldn’t have 4.9 per cent [support] in the Jewish community.”

But that doesn’t give AIJAC the right to speak on behalf of Australian Jews, says Levey, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of NSW. “AIJAC is a private think tank which is not elected by anyone,” says Levey, who believes that the bodies elected to represent the community have abdicated their role.

Not so, says Grahame Leonard, president of ECAJ. “I know AIJAC often does the talking, but they never claim to speak on behalf of the Australian Jewish community.” Why then is AIJAC doing the talking, as he puts it? “They’re very well resourced, they’re professional and they’re accessible,” Leonard says.

But Rubenstein can appear to exert pressure over what he deems to be “anti-Israel bias” even as he decries the lack of free speech in other quarters. When Victoria University cancelled a lecture in 2001 by visiting Israeli academic Yossi Olmert, a former adviser to right-wing Likud governments, on the dubious grounds of pressure from the local branch of the National Tertiary Education Union because pro-Palestinian academics had been affronted by the prospect, AIJAC thundered about a “gross violation of freedom of speech and academic freedom”.

The press release quoted Rubenstein as asking: “Are they saying these people cannot even bear to hear an alternative point of view?”

Later, after hearing that the ABC had scheduled a BBC documentary highly critical of then prime minister Ariel Sharon of Likud, Rubenstein launched a campaign to have the ABC moderate it. When he subsequently complained about what he regarded as the anti-Israel bias of certain programs on ABC television and radio, the cause was taken up by Liberal Party heavyweight Michael Kroger, then an ABC board member, who wrote to then ABC executives Jonathan Shier and Max Uechtritz: “Gentlemen, could you tell me what you are going to do about the clear anti-Israel bias exposed in Dr Rubenstein’s letter?”

Media Watch, which had also been the target of Rubenstein’s wrath after implying criticism of some of his tactics, reported on its website that Shier and Uechtritz reacted by ordering “an inquiry into the ABC’s reporting of the Middle East on radio news, TV news, Lateline, Late Night Live, Radio National breakfast, Background Briefing, Foreign Correspondent, AM, The World Today and The Religion Report.”

Levey, for one, questions such tactics. “Instead of just complaining about critics being anti-Semitic or one-sided, Jews should be demonstrating what reasonable criticism looks like. By holding our tongues on Israel, Australian Jews do Israel, ourselves, and public debate in Australia a great disservice,” he says.

25 comments ↪
  • captain

    She has form. She is afraid of the evil joooish lobby.

  • orang

    Good link captain. Whoda thought it in The Australian? – The liberal press?

  • viva peace

    One of the insidious consequences of this article, and many others like it, for Antony Loewenstein's Crusade is that his bete noir, Rupert Murdoch has published it: you know, the same Rupert Murdoch who who was the only media to publish the M&W article in Australia. You know the same Rupert murdoch who gave AL first salvo in the Australian about it?

    Ant's constant ramnting and raving about the evil Zionist Murdoch doesn't really stand up, does it?

  • Ian

    NSW Premier Morris Iemma, the guest speaker, stayed on message, no sooner acknowledging the traditional owners of the land than he asserted that Aborigines and Jews had much in common.

    “At the heart of their common struggle is land,” said Iemma, pointing to “their shared experience of suffering and oppression”.

    Now theres a dangerous linkage to be making. If Aussies started thinking about the consequences of Aboriginals having the same rights to dispossessed land as the Israelis then that 75% support for "Israel’s right to exist" would very quickly evaporate!

  • viva peace

    Ian

    On the other hand, if Aussies started thinking about the impossibility of the world's most primitive society EVER having a chance of survival once it has contact with the world's most advanced society, then perhaps "well-meaning" white Bourgeois Leftists would stop torturing the quadroons and octoroons whom we commonly refer to as "Indigenous Australians."

    The aborigines made their choice the day they accepted the White-Man's flour, sugar, blankets, stockman's job, Centrelink benefits, etc.

    Don't you think it is time that White moral vanity stopped causing pain to these people?

  • viva peace

    Quite frankly the declaration of war by Hamas is probably the best thing that has ever happened in this whole conflict.

    Now that Hamas is the legitimate representative government of the so-called "Palestinian people" this declaration of war legitimizes Israel going to war with the PA.

    The Israelis need to totally pummel and squash the Palestinians so that they do not bore the shit out of the rest of us a day longer.

    It sure will help.

  • Anon

    Viva Peace – just shut up. Yuo sound like a Nazi.

  • Addamo

    Ant’s constant ramnting and raving about the evil Zionist Murdoch doesn’t really stand up, does it?

    And yet he was recently honored by the Jewish Lobby in the US for services rendered to Israel. How strange?

    The aborigines made their choice the day they accepted the White-Man’s flour, sugar, blankets, stockman’s job, Centrelink benefits, etc.

    Now there is a pack of bullshit if I ever heard it. Indigenous people's around he world as to be blamed to daring to accept gifts from the White man, and not being "sophisticated" enough to understand the strings attached.

    All indigenous people's have been lured in this way. In south America, blankets laced with small pox were give to Indian tribes. What ever would they want with blankets right?

    Quite frankly the declaration of war by Hamas is probably the best thing that has ever happened in this whole conflict.

    Ah the real side of Viva floats to the surface. Funny how so little ins mentioned of the incidents that led up to this discussion such as Palestinians being killed on Gaza beach by Israeli gunboats. No doubt Israel were just sending out a stem warning to watch those UV rays.
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/a

    Israel have been at war with the PA "unofficially" since Hamas came to power – if not earlier. This will be milked for all it's worth to step it up a gear is all.

    The Israelis need to totally pummel and squash the Palestinians so that they do not bore the shit out of the rest of us a day longer.

    Which is what you have been advocating all along is it now. Why stop there Vivia and not kill the lot of them.

    Needless to say, the land grab will also move into overdrive under the auspices of security. And of course, where you need security, you need settlements right? You could even organize a little genocidal soirée at your place. Maybe once the World Cup is over, they could start televising the event on cable?

  • ed squire

    And then the veil was lifted:

    viva peace Jun 10th, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    …if Aussies started thinking about the impossibility of the world’s most primitive society EVER having a chance of survival once it has contact with the world’s most advanced society…

    As usual, racism, pure and simple.

  • viva peace

    Ed

    Unfortunately people such as yourself, puffed up with moral narcissism, yet bereft of argument, have made the word "racism" meaningless.

    Now do you actually have a rebuttal of my argument or are we to conclude that you have merely defaulted to the agitprop you employ when you are outwitted?

  • john ryan

    Jeeze Viva Peace thats as gooda load of crap as I have ever read talk, about the pot calling the kettel black

  • ed squire

    viva peace Jun 11th, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Unfortunately people such as yourself, puffed up with moral narcissism, yet bereft of argument, have made the word “racism” meaningless.

    The fact that you would only see "racism" as a "meaningful" word if it were devoid of any moral content only further reveals the veiled evil of your worldview.

  • ed squire

    viva peace Jun 11th, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Now do you actually have a rebuttal of my argument or are we to conclude that you have merely defaulted to the agitprop you employ when you are outwitted?

    Hate to have to let you know in this way, but you didn't make an argument. You merely spewed racist bile all over your shoes (again). Addamo has given you far more than the response you deserve.

    Your posts look increasingly like neo-Nazi troll-posts. I can't say I'm really surprised, unfortunately.

  • Addamo

    Your posts look increasingly like neo-Nazi troll-posts. I can’t say I’m really surprised, unfortunately.

    Viva's apparently gettign in touch with his inner Eichman. Isn't it interesting Edward, how in the closet of so many Zionists, there's a hungry little fascist just bursting to come out?

  • viva peace

    Addamo

    What is with you and your delight in trivializing the Holocaust? And I am afraid that, in your case, your so-called anti-Zionism IS antisemitic. And now I am a "Zionist?"

  • viva peace

    Ed

    Sorry still no cigar. What is "racist bile." Do you disagree with my pithy assessment? If so, say so and point out its errors. Debating by Argumentum ad weasel is very juvenile.

  • Addamo

    Viva

    For someone who is so quick to label others as Holocaust deniers, (in spite of all evidence to the contrary), you are equally hasty to accuse them of triviliasing the Holocuast. By the way Viva, there is a quick 20 thousand waiting for you, if you are able to produce a statement by a posterd denying the holocaust on this blog.

    And now I am a “Zionist?”

    You sound like one.
    Talk like one.
    Write like one.
    Think like one.

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  • Ian

    The aborigines made their choice the day they accepted the White-Man’s flour, sugar, blankets, stockman’s job, Centrelink benefits, etc.

    Just as the, comparative, primitive Israelites made their choice when they took on Rome, the "most advanced society" of its day, and having lost the war got booted out?

    Thanks for confirming my analogy was correct.

  • edward squire

    viva peace Jun 12th, 2006 at 11:18 am

    What is “racist bile.”

    The fact that you don't know makes you even more delusional than the KKK. At least they know that when they say the same things you do, they are being racist – they just happen to think it is good to be racist.

  • viva peace

    The KKK? Zionists! Neocons! Racists!

    You really are quite pathetic. Why don't you grow up, go and see the world, get an education. These pitiful "racist" shrieks that you produce as argument and analysis say an awful lot about your mean-spiiritedness and general low level of education.

  • ed squire

    viva peace Jun 13th, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    say an awful lot about your mean-spiiritedness

    VivaLasVegas, here's an example of distilled mean-spiritedness:

    viva peace Jun 10th, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    The aborigines made their choice the day they accepted the White-Man’s flour, sugar, blankets, stockman’s job, Centrelink benefits, etc.

  • Addamo

    Good point Ed,

    Viva's obscure rante is akin to saying that the Jews in Germany made their choice and created their own demise by partaking in German society prior to WWII. Or that Isralie Jews gettign what they deserve because they accepted the state of Israel from the Balfour Declaration.

  • Comical_Ali

    “I think many people are cautious about saying anything critical of Israel,” says a federal Labor MP who declined to be named.

    “When people do say things, they’ve got to be careful what they say. On one level there’s the hardline AIJAC element. If you say anything critical of Israel they’ll use the anti-Semitism tag. "

    Golly gosh, what would this hardcore, hardline Jewish organisation think of next? Fatwas & head lopping?

    Incidentally,any criticism of the Muslims and the Islamic world are virtually met with shrill cries of "racism," "nazism," and "facism." I can guarentee that people on that side of the fence use moral black mail more than those who support Israel. Antony in particular is notorious for using moral black mail to censor criticism and stifle debate. So its Pot calling the kettle black.

    Even asking if some Jewish leaders are trying to stifle debate can get you rapped on the knuckles.

    The constant references to "Powerful and influential Jewish leaders/organisations are trying to stifle debate" in the article was followed by this ironic (if not helarious) paragraph – When Victoria University cancelled a lecture in 2001 by visiting Israeli academic Yossi Olmert, a former adviser to right-wing Likud governments, on the dubious grounds of pressure from the local branch of the National Tertiary Education Union because pro-Palestinian academics had been affronted by the prospect, AIJAC thundered about a “gross violation of freedom of speech and academic freedom”.

    So who is exactly successfully managing to stifle debate here? Who is able to exert greater influence, through lobbying, etc?

    The Olmert cancellation was in addition to Netnyahu having to cancel his lecture at a US university, all because the police could not guarantee his saftey. I would like someone to name at least one pro-Palestinian speaker who was successfully denied a platform by Jewish groups – with threats to that person's life no less.

    If that person could not be named, then the answer over who exerts greater influence and power through lobbying, bullying and intimidation is answered.

    I guess its another classic case, of pot calling the kettle black.

    "Critics who are Jews find themselves sidelined or bullied. “One person who’d been identified in the media as a member of a [Jewish] peace group made some comment and was telephoned and abused,” says Margot Salom, who is writing a university thesis about the silencing of dissent within the Jewish community."

    Good golly, has that person gone into police protection like hundreds of Muslims and non-Muslims – politicians, writers, cartoonists – who found themselves side lined from the Muslim communities of Britain, Holland and Denmark, etc?

    Pot calling the kettle black again?

  • ed squire

    Comical_Ali Jun 14th, 2006 at 1:33 am

    Golly gosh, what would this hardcore, hardline Jewish organisation think of next? Fatwas & head lopping?

    Who knows? Colin Rubenstein, on the Geoffrey Robertson show recently, has already displayed a lack of aversion to torture. It's a slippery slope from thereon.

    Transcript:

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Well the reason they want to do that is we’re not getting anything out of him here and they want to do to him what they’ve done to about two hundred other high value prisoners, take them to a friendly country like Egypt where they will be water boarded rather like the cadet initiation ceremony, they’ve got a new technique called going to the dentist, the Egyptian dentist finds the nerve in the tooth and just keeps drilling until they confess. It’s very effective.

    ALAN DUPONT: Well it may be effective but it would be illegal and inappropriate for us to do that.

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: The Prime Minister’s Office who will make this decision.

    ALAN DUPONT: It’s still John Howard is it?

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Oh yes of course. . Mr John Howard is still there, King Charles the III described him in a diary as an appalling old waxwork. Peter Costello is chairman of BHP. Tony Abbott has become a monk. Sir Alexander Downer is Chairman of the ABC. Malcolm Turnbull even has given up on his ambitions. He now asks to be made Governor General. Ah it is still John Howard. You will send to his office a recommendation, a memorandum saying that the CIA want to make him the subject of extraordinary rendition to Egypt we rather think this shouldn’t be the course of action.

    ALAN DUPONT: Absolutely.

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Julia Ross, does it seem to be a bad thing altogether?

    JULIA ROSS: Um yes it would be a bad thing.

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: But he’s a terrorist suspect. He’s likely to be very close to Bin Laden. It’s desperately important to find Bin Laden’s hiding place.

    JULIA ROSS: Well I’d probably have a lot more confidence in the Australian authorities of getting the information…

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Well no they haven’t go anything out of him.

    JULIA ROSS: He looks perfectly capable to me of getting most things out of most people.

    [Laughter]

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: I mean if the end doesn’t justify the means Felicity Hampel what does?

    JUDGE FELICITY HAMPEL: One of the hallmarks of a civilised society is the rule of law. This man is here on a Visa, if the visa is going to be cancelled, it has to be cancelled for identifiable grounds…

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: …the grounds are identified, the guy is a terrorist.

    JUDGE FELICITY HAMPEL: There’s got to be due process and at the moment there’s not been due process and a finding that he’s a terrorist in the decision to cancel his visa and certainly not in the decision to spirit him out on a CIA flight. He, he has as much right as anybody else to access to the courts in this country.

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Colin Rubenstein, doesn’t here the end justify the means? They’re not going to kill him.

    DR COLIN RUBENSTEIN: Well we, we have due process but we also have a situation of war.

    JUDGE FELICITY HAMPEL: No but we don’t sanction torture.

    DR COLIN RUBENSTEIN: No we certainly don’t.

    JUDGE FELICITY HAMPEL: We don’t sanction other country’s torturing.

    DR COLIN RUBENSTEIN: Imam Yusuf seemed to me to be talking his head off over a long period of time. We actually understand exactly what he stands for. He certainly is party to and ah collaborator and supporter of those elements Bin Laden and company.

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Cancelling his visa, back to Egypt he goes on the first available flight, it happens to be a CIA flight.

    DR COLIN RUBENSTEIN: Well at the end of the day you have to balance on the one hand the saving lives ….if under other circumstances somebody’s visa is revoked and they’re sent back to their home country under appropriate circumstances with due process, there may not be something wrong with it.

    ALAN DUPONT: If you are sanctioning acts like that including CIA rendition flights I think ultimately that’s counterproductive to the sorts of things you are trying to win in this war against terror which are all the things we’ve been discussing, that is what differentiates us from the terrorists. The fact is we don’t torture, we shouldn’t torture,

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: And if as a result of his trip to the dentist in Egypt he confesses and we find Bin Laden, has that not justified the rendition?

    ARCHBISHOP PETER JENSEN: No torture is morally odious and it’s, If the human race has discovered anything, it’s discovered that torture is self defeating and for us to even wink the eye and say well it may happen or it may not happen would be ah to make us complicit.

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Many countries, Poland, Romania, Britain have allowed extraordinary rendition flights.

    BILL SHORTEN: If Imam Yusuf if by him being tortured in Egypt could deliver Bin Laden and stop some of the events of that group it is getting close to a pretty hard call .

    GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Well ladies and gentlemen under pressure, great pressure from America Australia sends Imam Yusuf back to Egypt where he’s taken to the dentist. He confesses that he knows the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and of the missing Beaumont Children. He confesses that he’s in love with Wendy Harmer…

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