As one of Australia’s richest and most influential men, Frank Lowy deserves far more scrutiny than the political or media elites give him.
The Power Index profiles him and features some quotes from yours truly:
It’s no surprise Lowy is a passionate supporter of Israel, telling the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the Orange Grove affair in 2004 that, “the state of Israel, to which I am fully committed, is more important for me than to do a job.”
The shopping centre magnate was explaining to parliament why he had spent one of his two meetings with Bob Carr talking to the NSW premier about Middle East politics, and drawing his attention to a paper dealing with Israel, rather than talking about his business rivals.
Despite his passion for the Promised Land, few would accuse Lowy of being a rabid Zionist. He does not barrack for illegal Jewish West Bank settlers, as Joe Gutnick regularly does. And his Lowy Institute, which is run by a 12-person board that includes him and his three sons, is generally regarded as moderate. It also studies plenty of things apart from Middle East politics.
Nevertheless, Frank founded and still chairs Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, which, according to journalist Antony Loewenstein, author of My Israel Question, “produces research that pushes a hardline, Zionist line on the Israel/Palestine conflict”.
According to Loewenstein, the INSS advocates “refusing to give up illegally-occupied territories in Palestine due to ‘security’ concerns,” and “warms to the idea of an Israeli military strike against Iran”.
The INSS, Lowy Institute and (Lowy-linked) Brookings Institution in Washington also support an American role in the Middle East and advocate close ties with Washington, Loewenstein tells The Power Index.
So has Lowy used his money and power to shape the political debate? Almost certainly, yes.