The lobby challenged

Following my article in this week’s Australian about the Israel lobby, and the response by AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein, the newspaper publishes only one letter today about the controversy:

Rubenstein misses targets

Colin Rubenstein’s reply (“Israel seen as an asset”, Opinion, 19/4) to Antony Loewenstein’s article on the Israel lobby debate misses most of its targets.

Rubenstein attacks Loewenstein as an anti-Zionist who desires the “disappearance of Israel as a Jewish state”, when all this means is that Loewenstein supports a non-sectarian, bi-national state where Jewish and Arab Israelis are truly equal citizens. I’m sure Rubenstein would be aghast if Australia were declared a Christian state.

And while Rubenstein may dismiss out of hand the notion that Israel and its lobby in the US had anything to do with the US’s Iraq adventure, the leading Jewish weekly in the US, The Forward, is not so dismissive, asking in its February 10 issue, “(H)ow and when can we disentangle America’s consensual policy toward Israel from its controversial policies regarding Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other nations in the explosive Middle East?”.

Finally, while asserting in The Australian that “polls” in Australia “consistently show most citizens…see (Israel) as a strategic asset”, in The Australian Jewish News (24/3) he expressed his “disappointment in the findings” of a recent Hawker Britton-UMR poll which found that only 24 per cent of Australians sympathise with Israel.
Rory McGuire
Bronte, NSW

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