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.

The commentator that will surprise and challenge

Israel commentator Yair Lapid has an answer to the growing global campaign against the Jewish state. Call yourself a victim, of course:

We sat in the small and well-kept backyard at the home of Israel’s ambassador in London, Ron Prosor. Light rain was falling intermittently, leaving behind it fresh English air, yet the expressions around the table remained grim. The conversation focused on the British media’s takeover by anti-Israel elements.

Prosor is a large and smiling man, with a soft base voice, but his smile was gone when he spoke of the way he is being welcomed by pro-Palestinian protestors every time he arrives for a lecture at a British university. You need to read some of the things they write about us here, he sighed. I don’t even know how to start responding to them.

Don’t respond, I said. Sue them.

One of those present, an influential London attorney, raised his head: What do you mean sue them? He said. What’s so complicated? I replied. Just like they threaten to sue IDF officers, we need to sue them. Every journalist who refers to us as “war criminals” or “child killers” needs to know that the next day his newspaper will be slapped with a million pound lawsuit on behalf of the State of Israel.

Smell the desperation. No honest reflection of Israel’s actions but a self-righteousness that borders on pathology.

What kind of mature state is so resistant to scrutiny and criticism?

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The J Street aftermath

Perhaps J Street’s real position is revealed in a statement they released today, seemingly incapable of understanding the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza:

J Street supports passage of a resolution by the U.S. Congress calling for the United States to oppose and work actively to defeat one-sided and biased action in the United Nations when it comes to Israel and the Goldstone Report.

We are not urging members of Congress to oppose H. Res. 867.  We are urging thoughtful amendment of the Resolution before passage to bring it in line with the principles we articulate in our statement on the legislation.

J Street would support and urges passage of a balanced, thoughtful Congressional resolution urging strong US opposition against biased, one-sided actions regarding the Goldstone Report and the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

J Street also echoes the call of many Israelis – including Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, MKs Nachman Shai and Michael Eitan, and others – for an independent Israeli investigation into the allegations in the Goldstone Report.  Only by undertaking an independent and credible investigation can Israel ensure that these matters are not left in the hands of international bodies that have traditionally demonstrated their bias against Israel.

Sad, really. To rely on the Israeli government to investigate itself is utterly pointless. They won’t and they haven’t.

JJ Golberg, writing in the Forward, worries about the group (though he’s writing from a Zionist position):

J Street’s conference was an impressive feat, but it’s not quite the game-changer it’s been made out to be — at least, not yet. On examination, this shiny new vehicle turns out to have a few kinks built into its design. They’ll have to be addressed if the organization hopes to succeed.

The core problem is that J Street has two main stated goals, and they don’t really fit together. The first goal is to “broaden” the definition of what it means to be pro-Israel, to open up Jewish community discourse to a wider range of acceptable opinions. The second goal is to lobby for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that leads to a two-state solution. It became evident during the convention that you can’t do both.

By advertising itself as a forum for free and open discussion of Israel, warts and all, the conference predictably attracted a contingent of Jews who are ambivalent or hostile toward Israel. They weren’t on the program, but they spoke up in breakout sessions and gathered in clusters in the hallways. Some came to paint Israel as the guilty party and argue for sweeping Israeli concessions without regard for Israel’s security. Some opposed the very idea of Jewish statehood. Most came to Washington expecting to help shape J Street’s goals and gain political influence for their views.

Finally, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who likes to establish boundaries of acceptable Jewish debate, is posting many letters from concerned Jews, those who just can’t understand why J Street doesn’t support Israel unconditionally. Like this.

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Criticise Israeli policy, expect to be slammed

Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, smears one of the world’s leading progressive voices:

Naomi Klein is a very radical Marxist, anti-American, anti-Western individual who in no way represents any mainstream.

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The great pains of Aceh

For some reason, there’s an avalanche of stories in the Western media about Aceh in Indonesia (all after my recent visit there.)

Here’s the latest, in the Los Angeles Times, about the significance of the two large ships that have become massive memorials to the horrific 2004 tsunami (one of my pictures is here):

They are the ships that fell from the sky; two immovable objects, their very presence defying reason.

Residents call them acts of God. Most cannot fathom that the two ocean vessels were transported miles inland by floodwaters of the 2004 tsunami that ravaged this small city on Sumatra’s northern tip.

Miles apart, both have been left intact as memorials to the 170,000 residents of Aceh province who either died or disappeared in the disaster.

Five years after the waters rose to biblical heights, the city continues to rebuild, constructing schools, clinics, roads and villages in coastal areas that had been wiped clean by the invading ocean.

“Acehnese people have moved on with their lives. Most of them have returned to their homes,” said Yusriadi, a tourism office spokesman who goes by one name. “Aceh is back to normal.”

Not for everyone. Some say Banda Aceh is forever changed, harboring a newfound respect for the natural forces that surround it. Dotting the city are boats of all shapes and sizes that rode the rush of water far from their ocean habitat.

None elicit more amazement than the two behemoths.

One is revered as “Noah’s Ark,” a 100-foot wooden boat that crashed on top of a house, providing a refuge for 59 terrified people who say they would have died without its shelter.

The other is stranger still — a colossal vessel weighing 2,600 tons that plopped down two miles inland, like Dorothy’s Kansas farmhouse crash-landing in Oz.

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War with Iran is not inevitable, no matter what Zionists say

Israeli hardliner Yossi Klein Halevi says that his people have accepted war:

In tabloid cartoons and dinner conversations, Israelis brace themselves for war with Iran.

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If the Jews have no connection to the Middle East

The Wall Street Journal provides important mainstream coverage to a provocative book about the history of the Jewish people:

This much is known: In the mid-eighth century, the ruling elite of the Khazars, a Turkic tribe in Eurasia, converted to Judaism. Their impetus was political, not spiritual. By embracing Judaism, the Khazars were able to maintain their independence from rival monotheistic states, the Muslim caliphate and the Christian Byzantine empire. Governed by a version of rabbinical law, the Khazar Jewish kingdom flourished along the Volga basin until the beginning of the second millennium, at which point it dissolved, leaving behind a mystery: Did the Khazar converts to Judaism remain Jews, and, if so, what became of them?

Enter Shlomo Sand. In a new book, “The Invention of the Jewish People,” the Tel Aviv University professor of history argues that large numbers of Khazar Jews migrated westward into Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, where they played a decisive role in the establishment of Eastern European Jewry. The implications are far-reaching: If the bulk of Eastern European Jews are the descendents of Khazars—not the ancient Israelites—then most Jews have no ancestral links to Palestine. Put differently: If most Jews are not Semites, then what justification is there for a Jewish state in the Middle East? By attempting to demonstrate the Khazar origins of Eastern European Jewry, Mr. Sand—a self-described post-Zionist who believes that Israel needs to shed its Jewish identity to become a democracy—aims to undermine the idea of a Jewish state.

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Dispatch from J Street

My following article is published in the Huffington Post:

The Obama administration’s National Security Adviser General James Jones told the “pro-Israel and pro-peace” Israel lobby J Street this week that America believes “Israeli security and peace are inseparable.” The comment received a wild cheer, although similar comments were made during the Bush years.

The over 1500 delegates to the first J Street national conference in Washington DC — a broad collection of Zionists, peace activists, students, anti-Zionists, pensioners and the curious — came from around the world to engage on issues related to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Although the organization’s establishment spreads a conservative agenda — the two state solution and pressure on Iran’s suspected nuclear program — the hard-line Zionist community attacked the group for not being sufficiently close to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

J Street was smeared for being disloyal, anti-Israel, pro-terrorist and pro-Palestinian. The Israeli Ambassador to America Michael Oren expressed “concerns” about unspecified “policies” of the 18-month old institution. J Street was framed as an upstart daring to challenge Israeli policies, including opposition to the December/January Gaza onslaught.

The conference had a schizophrenic, identity crisis. On the one hand, Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami clearly outlined before the event the lines his group would not cross — a one-state solution was out of the question and withdrawing US military aid. Yet any number of sessions I attended featured concerned and dedicated Jews (with a handful of Palestinians and Arabs) challenging the tenets and morality of a Jewish state itself, the occupation of Palestinian land and the likelihood of Obama being able or willing to bring the warring parties together.

Post-Zionism was in the air, desperate to find a place in the acceptable boundaries of mainstream American Jewry. J Street may not be the space for this multi-cultural and multi-racial future to emerge. The concept of a “Jewish, democratic” state, with little discussion about the roughly 20 percent of Arabs citizens in Israel proper, permeated the official sessions across the three day event, but I heard nobody question how that outcome could satisfy non-Jews. Are they not welcome in this J Street vision and why would they want to live in a Zionist state when they are already profoundly discriminated against?

I sensed that many participants were keen to feel included in the debate, used to years of isolation in a Jewish establishment that only tolerates Zionist obedience. Stories of Gaza emerged (albeit on the sidelines), the occupation of Palestinian lands was acknowledged and the trauma of the ongoing settlement project in the West Bank was dissected. Details emerged here and there about placing faith in the Democratic Party but there seemed to be an almost unreal expectation that the Obama administration would be able to end the never-ending colonies growing like cancer across the Palestinian territories.

Virtually nothing has changed since Obama’s inauguration and Palestinian lives remain tortured by checkpoints and humiliation. I saw it with my own eyes in July. Many J Street Jews were able to acknowledge the presence of an occupation — an important step in the evolutionary process — but with little understanding of the practical ramifications of this oppression being committed in their name and with billions of tax dollars in annual aid.

I was told by a number of sources that J Street was keen to avoid substantive discussion about Gaza and the effect of America’s shunning of the democratically elected Hamas government. Democracy, claimed J Street officials, would emerge only when both Israelis and Palestinians felt comfortable trusting the other side. Such motherhood statements emerged in the 1990s during the Oslo peace process when both parties were placed on an equal playing field when, in fact, the Palestinians were under occupation.

The situation has only worsened since then. The occupation — and its effect on young American Jewry — is clear. Subjugating another people comes with a price but ending it requires more than tough speeches by Obama.

J Street is attempting to play the Washington game, a dangerous position to take when facts on the ground in Palestine don’t gel with the concept of a “Jewish, democratic state.” An unofficial bloggers’ event at this week’s conference, featuring writer Max Blumenthal and Mondoweiss founder Philip Weiss, allowed freer talk over the hot, Jewish issues. The small, crowded room buzzed with the opportunity to dissect the UN Goldstone report — the only time I heard the Jewish, South African judge praised for daring to investigate gross human rights abuses in Gaza — settlement activity on the West Bank and challenging conservative critics who only accept blind support of the Jewish state; insecurity masquerading as strength.

The J Street event was undoubtedly a watershed in the American, Jewish community. Political influence is the aim and Obama is the leader. If he fails, founder Ben-Ami couldn’t tell me what would happen. “Israelis will have to decide”, he said, implying that apartheid is the only alternative, a reality that exists today for millions in the West Bank and Gaza.

I arrived a cynic and left a skeptic. Social progress occurred this week and countless Jews met to respectfully engage the major issues of their lives. Even the growing boycott, divestment and boycott campaign against Israel was mentioned and analyzed. J Street must decide what it wants to be — a wide tent that allows virtually every Jewish opinion on Israel or an orthodoxy that pushes only conventional platitudes — but the Palestinians don’t have time to wait.

Jewish angst is ultimately not enough to bring peace with justice to both Israelis and Palestinians.

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Doctors may infiltrate the minds of anti-Semites?

There may come a point in the near future when Zionist organisations don’t try and stop events that feature alternative views. Until that happens, we have here yet another ugly spectacle of Zionist censorship (via Muzzlewatch):

Two lectures by Israeli-based charity Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) were cancelled after a Zionist organisation told hospitals holding the talks that they were “anti-Israel”.

Miri Weingarten from PHR-I was due to give a lecture, entitled The Right to Health in a Conflict Zone, to three hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool and Bury last week.

But just hours before the lecture, the Manchester Royal Infirmary and Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool cancelled the event.

Karen Solomon, director of the Zionist Central Council in Manchester, sent more than 200 emails to members urging them to contact the hospitals.

Ms Solomon said that the original plan was to send members to the meeting to dispute some of the topics.

She said: “We felt the talk was political and hospitals should not be seen to be political or hold political events. The group is blatantly anti-Israel and so we asked people to write in to say what we felt.”

A spokeswoman from the Manchester Royal Infirmary said that they had received complaints from the Jewish community and that the event was cancelled for security reasons.

Ms Weingarten, PHR-I’s director of advocacy, said she was “shocked” at the decision and surprised to be called anti-Israel. She vehemently denied that PHR-I was anti-Zionist.

She said: “My organisation finds it shocking that communities that are so outspoken against the growing calls for a boycott of Israeli bodies could use the same tactics themselves in order to stifle debate.

“If the people behind this had come to the debate and challenged the content of my talk that would have been an important contribution. The decision to silence us — and the debate — completely is incomprehensible to us, and unacceptable.”

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Lebanon and Gaza changed Zionism’s image

The Nation profiles the shifts in young, Jewish identity. Israel right or wrong is so yesterday’s news:

Rachel Jones spent the past week in Washington, DC, at the first annual conference for the new progressive Jewish organization J Street. She was passing out literature for Meretz USA, an American nonprofit that supports the platform of one of Israel’s most left-wing political parties.

Politically and socially, Meretz USA is a far cry from Jones’s upbringing as a devout Jew in small-town Iowa. The only story Jones, now 24, heard while growing up in her tiny community–a story she now calls “right wing”–was that Israel’s borders included Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, and that Jewish identity was staked on the country’s defense.

Her transformation from a conservative Zionist to a J Street volunteer is a product of the two years she spent in Israel. “I came to it from such a place of love and admiration and desire, and I wanted to just be completely embraced by my homeland, and all these romantic and idealistic pictures of what Israel was supposed to be for me,” she said. But instead of finding her “homeland,” Jones found the 2006 Lebanon war. The violence she witnessed deeply challenged her religious faith and her confidence in Israel’s actions.

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Jon Stewart tackles Palestine in prime time

Last night’s Daily Show here in the US was a watershed: interviews with Palestinian politician Mustafa Boughouti and Jewish writer Anna Baltzer. On mainstream television the key issues of the Middle East were discussed: occupation, boycotts, Zionism, Israeli expansionism, human rights, Judaism, peace and the role of America.

No wonder some Zionists were shocked. They fear that when the truth about Israeli behaviour seeps into the US mind, it’s over:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

J Street pushing a policy that leads to disappointment

My following article appears in today’s Crikey:

Antony Loewenstein writes from Washington DC:

During this week’s first J Street conference in Washington DC  — a US-based, “pro-Israel and pro-peace” lobby group that aims to widen the debate over the Middle East   — an older woman stood up in a session titled “What does it mean to be pro-Israel?” and said: “I have the right to speak out when my tax dollars are backing Israel.” She argued that Jews have a responsibility to shape American policy toward the region, especially when the Jewish state occupies the Palestinians with Washington’s approval.

In many ways J Street’s conference was a watershed moment. The group’s aims are conventional  — a two-state solution and establishment of a “Jewish, democratic state” alongside a viable Palestinian nation  — but the wide variety of (mostly Jewish) attendees were not content to simply accept strict boundaries of debate. Zionists, students, pensioners, 1948 Jewish fighters, anti-Zionists and Nazi hunters congregated  — more than 1500 people showed up  — desperate to engage the key issues of the age.

I arrived a cynic but left a sceptic. The usual suspects abused J Street before the event, during the event and after the event. For these Zionist groups, blind devotion to Israel is the only acceptable way forward. It’s clear, however, that many young Jews with whom I conversed didn’t accept an unquestioning Judaism. They knew about the Gaza war and felt uncomfortable about it. They had spent some time in the West Bank and seen IDF soldiers abusing Palestinian children. They’d watched rampaging Jewish settlers attack Arabs. Real dissent was whispered every day, a post-Zionism was discussed, a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel was analysed and a one-state solution was put on the table. J Street endorsed none of these ideas, however, although cheers were constantly heard from the crowd when the dignity of Palestinians was stated and accepted.

During an unofficial blogger’s panel, attended by writer Max Blumenthal and blogger Philip Weiss, we discussed the ideas J Street didn’t want in its official program. Jewish identity, a constantly evolving beast that often remains mired in Zionist myths, is in need of re-tuning. J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami told me that he was all too aware that a growing number of young Jews were turning away from their religion and Israel, inter-marriage and disgust with Israeli policies leading to a 21st-century multiculturalism that leaves the Middle East in the hands of extremists and the most dedicated.

Historically, that has largely been hardline Zionists, settlers and Palestinian rejectionists. Although I fundamentally disagree with Ben-Ami’s proscriptions  — his recent interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was a sad reflection of what mainstream Jews supposedly need to say to please gate-keeper Zionists  — J Street’s conference was a relatively wide-tent socially, if not politically. It’s unimaginable that AIPAC’s annual conference would tolerate (or even attract) participants who wanted to debate a post-Zionist Israel.  Former AIPAC head Neal Sher told me that the real test for J Street was translating the undeniable passion and energy this week into real political power, something AIPAC has perfected to a fine art.

The question remains: what are the boundaries of America debate over Israel and Palestine and who sets the limits? For many at J Street, nothing should be off the table. Ever.

Even during the keynote speech delivered by Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Jim Jones — a largely sterile effort designed to show Washington’s dedication to the Jewish state while mentioning Palestinians almost in passing  — the word Gaza was uttered, albeit briefly. Occupation was condemned. Illegal settlements were hammered. Whether Obama has the will or interest to achieve any kind of negotiated settlement in the Middle East is highly doubtful but Jones at least acknowledged the importance of alternative Jewish views.

J Street officials expressed fear that Obama was the last, great hope to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict and provided a platform for those who argued about the “demographic threat” (more Arabs than Jews in the land of Israel and Palestine, something happening as we speak). There is something fundamentally racist about calmly analysing the higher Arab birth-rate threatening to swamp Jewish lives. Imagine if white Australian parents worried about Aboriginal children “threatening” the purity of their children.

The ability of some Zionists to want a majority Jewish state is an inherent contradiction in the modern world; enjoy multiculturalism and its benefits in the West but desire racial purity in the state of Israel.

Australian Jewish leaders fear the importation of free debate. J Street’s coming out conference fills them with dread. Perhaps a newer generation of Jews will not tolerate this orthodox approach. The alternative is simply idealising the state of Israel without daring to look beyond its white and sunny tourist image. Occupation isn’t something to be ignored or defended. It has placed modern Judaism morally on its knees.

This week left me invigorated, enraged and disillusioned. J Street itself is pushing, in my view, a policy that will only lead to disappointment and continued occupation of Palestinian land. But the range of voices, arguments, disagreements and passions at the conference proves a vibrant Judaism is essential if Jews and Palestinians are to live peacefully together.

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The futility of Iran’s desperation

Why Iran’s rulers imprison people they know are innocent.

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