The following letters appear in this week’s Australian Jewish News:
I was under no illusions that Antony Loewenstein’s book would turn out to be fair, or indeed accurate, after hosting him in Israel when he did his “research”.
I place the word in inverted commas, since it was all too apparent that Loewenstein was interested in hearing only what motivated his personal agenda.
A typical example was when he returned after a day out and announced that the people he spoke to had told him that Israelis made life very difficult. When I asked him who gave him this information, he told me that the people were “Arabs in East Jerusalem”.
On another occasion, when I asked him if he had seen a certain newspaper article, he told me that he “didn’t read the Jerusalem Post because it was too right-wing”!
I would have expected a “journalist” to at least look at differing opinions.
It was not just intellectual dishonesty that struck me, but an abysmal lack of knowledge about the history of the area. I was astounded that someone with so little knowledge about his subject would have the temerity to write a book, and even more so that a publisher would agree to lend its name to the finished work.
If the world needs another anti-Israel/anti-American diatribe replete with Jewish conspiracy theories, they have it in Loewenstein’s book. This particular book is even less accurate than the others.
It is not, of course, surprising that Robert Fisk endorsed Loewenstein’s book, but it does tell us what to expect of an author who hitches his star to the likes of Fisk and John Pilger. Perhaps that is the greatest service the book does: it thoroughly discredits the author from the word go.
Ramat Hasharon, Israel
TRY MEIN KAMPF
If Steve Brook considers Antony Loewenstein’s book his “kind of book”, because Jeremy Jones described it as having evil intent, being covertly antisemitic and so on (AJN 11/8), I suggest Steve have a look at some other gems such as Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
These letters represent the level of “debate” within the Jewish community about the issue of Israeli occupation and my book. Herzog’s rant is beyond parody. Green, on the other hand, is my cousin (which he doesn’t disclose in the letter). It’s an odd forum – in the Australian Jewish News of all places – to engage in a family slanging match, but perhaps it’s not surprising. I portray Green and his family in the book as anti-Palestinian, racist, anti-German and anti-Arab. It was painful to see one’s family, however distant, display such traits. Frankly, I suspect he hasn’t even read the book (and is a failed novelist himself.)
I quote Israeli writer Tom Segev, who wrote on the sixtieth anniversary of Auschwitz:
The hatred of Arabs has become legitimate. A state in which so many of its citizens survived the Holocaust is supposed to be strict in its observance of democracy and human rights…Ironically, the oppression in the territories is encouraging anti-Semitism, and in various places in the world it is even endangering the safety of Jews.
Ronnie Green is beset with this sickness. Within Israel, his attitude is sadly not uncommon. His recollections of my time with his family are woefully inaccurate, but then, he does accuse my book of containing “Jewish conspiracy theories.”
I’ll add this label to the long list.