Define power

The Zionist lobby likes to believe that anti-Semitism is just below the surface of anybody who dares criticise Israel. It’s a powerful argument, though palpably false. Few journalists or politicians wants to be tarred with the anti-Semitic brush, but then, how else to rationally debate Israel and its brutal occupation of nearly 40 years?

AIJAC, Australia’s leading Zionist propagandists, are long on rhetoric and quick to label any journalist, advocate or politician with seemingly anti-Israel comments. They are masters of the “boy who cried wolf” school of politics.

In this week’s Jewish News, AIJAC’s Tzvi Fleischer has a few requests for the coming year:

A media wishlist for 5766

“As we wish each other a sweet, happy and prosperous year 5766, what should wish our colleagues in the Australian media?

“Of course, we wish these largely hardworking and dedicated people a personally happy and successful year.

“Yet this is also an appropriate time to ruminate on what would be the most important developments we would like to see to improve the Australian media, vital as it is for maintaining the multicultural, tolerant democracy we all value.

“Like any other profession, there are many general principles of journalism that it would be good to see implemented better.

“However, for current purposes, I have compiled an idiosyncratic wishlist of the top four developments I think the Jewish community would want to see in the Australian media in the next 12 months.”

The rest of the article rambles through a desire for more “balance” at the public broadcasters – essentially whitewashing Israel’s crimes in the West Bank and Gaza – and “a principled rejection of anti-Semitic themes.” We agree on this point, but his definition is curious:

“Old fashioned anti-Semitism has fortunately been fairly rare in mainstream Australian media commentary, at least since the ‘Ashrawi affair‘ in 2003.

“At that time, however, we saw that large segments of the media contributed to or had objection to claims that ‘a powerful Jewish lobby uses it money’ to shut down debate on the Middle East in Australia, and ensure that the Palestinian case remains unheard.

“Sorry, this is both untrue and a classic anti-Semitic line. Unfortunately, I am expecting a reignition of such themes this year, because Jewish anti-Zionist Antony Loewenstein is publishing a book, and according to his weblog, this exact claim is going to be a major argument in it.

“Wouldn’t be nice if the media was strongly sceptical and unwelcoming of such claims, as they would be if similar attempts were made to demonise and delegitimise the public participation of any other minority ethnic group?”

I wonder if Fleischer kept a straight face while writing such nonsense. Powerful Jewish groups, such as AIJAC, use their political and financial muscle to influence media and political decisions. This is not a conspiracy. Other ethnic groups do likewise and have every right to do so. However, the often underhanded and intimidatory behaviour – some of which I’ll be examining in my book – is unacceptable in a democracy. Besides, AIJAC’s definition of “balance” is little more than paying lip-service to whatever government currently resides in Israel. That is their right, but it is likewise my right and responsibility to provide an alternative perspective.

AIJAC dislike dissent and regularly attempt to pressure journalists and editors to portray only one side in the argument. I know because I’ve interviewed many of them for my book and experienced it myself. They should expect to be challenged on this.

Sometimes I wonder if the AIJAC’s of this world would be better suited to a country in which every media outlet simply reports what the government tells them.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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