Antony Loewenstein has been writing for newmatilda.com about the Middle East since the beginning. He lobs 20 Questions back our way
Antony Loewenstein started writing for newmatilda.com pretty much at the beginning and has been a regular contributor on the Middle East since. His articles, particularly on Israel-Palestine, have provoked heated debate on the site. We’re proud to have been able to give coverage to perspectives on the Middle East which have been largely neglected in other Australian media outlets. Antony writes, “various editors over the years have provided a supportive and nourishing relationship. I’ve deeply admired the publication’s interest in asking important questions over Israeli crimes in Palestine and stood firm in the face of predictable Zionist attacks. If only more media outlets believed in truth, not appeasing Jewish lobby groups.”
1. Who is your favourite newmatilda.com writer?
Mustafa Qadri, because he’s in the field, he knows Pakistan and the Middle East very well and he refuses to simply reprint government spin. A good journalist, in other words.
2. What’s your favourite newmatilda.com article?
Too many to count, but this recent interview with William Dalrymple, by Shakira Hussein, really stimulated. He’s a fascinating man, Western but curious, questioning and pro-Palestinian.
3. When did you first start reading newmatilda.com?
From day one: in the days before Twitter, Facebook and the birthpangs of YouTube.
4. Were you surprised when you heard the news?
Saddened, yes, but not shocked. I’ve long believed that news should always be free, to give as greater access as possible, but as a journalist and author I also want to get paid to sustain my caviar addiction.
5. Fill in the blank in this sentence: “I’m sad that newmatilda.com has hit the skids because their articles occasionally stuck it to the ___ and those people give me the creeps.”
Pompous and conflicted commentators who think they own the media space.
6. What was the newmatilda.com headline you always wanted to read but never happened?
One Man’s Freedom Fighter Is Never A Terrorist.
7. Do you subscribe to any on-line content? What? Why, or why not?
Crikey, Democracy Now! and many others. Good content takes time and resources and somebody has to pay. Rupert shouldn’t be the only benefactor.
8. If you could pick one public figure to deliver live commentary on Election Night, who would it be?
David Marr, who’d bring wit and insight.
9. Name your favourite lovable loon and rate their threat to public safety.
American politician Ron Paul, who for all that he holds some less than savoury views on race, actually wants to disentangle America from permanent occupation of the Middle East. Threat to public safety? His son is a Tea Party politician with a bright future. Beware.
10. Do you have any secret political crushes you’d like to share with our readers?
Apart from the obvious Kate Ellis (oh so predictable, I know), I respectfully decline to discuss my feelings towards Bronwyn Bishop.
11. Favourite retired Australian politician.
I wish Paul Keating would remain out of the public spotlight until he asks for forgiveness over his incestuous relationship with Suharto. It’ll never happen.
12. What do you see as the most important issue in the upcoming federal election campaign?
Australian foreign policy and our need to follow Washington’s lead on pretty much everything. Let’s discuss the US alliance, the why, how and why not.
13. What subject should be compulsory in primary schools?
The history of the Middle East.
14.What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to know about Australian politics but were afraid to ask?
Why most politicians are so willing to follow party lines on key policy issues.
15. When was the first time you changed your mind on something important?
Started to understand the need to eat less meat and appreciate the pain suffered by animals for my enjoyment.
16. What annoys you about journalists?
That most corporate journalists seem themselves as players, not reporters. Want to be close to power not seriously challenge it. Like to receive sanctioned “leaks” and not spend the time actually digging deeply. Afraid to offend powerful interests.
17. What politician and journalist combination would you like to see stuck in a lift recording a long interview?
Tony Abbott with a Palestinian journalist asking why he believes the Jewish state should be allowed to bomb refugee camps and occupy another people for decades.
18. What’s the one question you’d like both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to answer?
Wouldn’t you use a people smuggler if your life was in danger in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq?
19. Is the Australian media getting better, worse, or staying the same?
More diverse in a way but overall less questioning of establishment power. And why aren’t there far more reporters of ethnic background? Fewer white Anglos, please.
20. What question would you like to ask us?
Will you miss being abused in Parliament by the Federal Member for Israel, Michael Danby?