Lobby looking for love in all the wrong places

With My Israel Question moving into its 2nd printing after less than one week on the shelves – and the Zionist lobby failing spectacularly to smear the book, my publisher and me personally – the CEO of Melbourne University Publishing responds in Crikey to the self-appointed gate-keepers of militant Judaism:

Louise Adler, CEO & Publisher of Melbourne University Publishing, writes: Re. Ted Lapkin’s attack on Antony Loewenstein and MUP (yesterday, item 16). The lobbyist’s manual begins with the proposition: shape the facts to the cause. Happily reality, at least in this case, doesn’t tally with the Lapkin world view. Amateurs frequently misunderstand the economics of publishing. Bookscan is a weighted averaged system of tracking sales. Publishers and retailers agree that Bookscan figures account for 80% of the trade in any given period. Melbourne University Publishing (MUP) is delighted that Antony Loewenstein’s My Israel Question has sold out its first print run and that a reprint has been required. The book went on sale on Wednesday 2 August and the sales recorded by Bookscan and reported to Mr Lapkin were for a three day period. Unfortunately before the subtleties of Bookscan could be explained Mr. Lapkin hung up on our publicist. Bookscan’s Michael Webster’s view accords with MUP’s, “Given the subject matter, given the price, if I were MUP I would be delighted to have moved nearly 400 copies in the first three days: certainly not disappointed as Mr Lapkin seems to be suggesting”. Retailer feedback has been extremely enthusiastic.

David Gaunt of Gleebooks hosted the book’s launch this week and noted, “The launch was the largest attendance (350) in the history of Gleebooks events. Book sales were a record. Interest in the book has been very strong both in the lead up to and in the first week of publication. It has been our best selling book since it was published”. Antony Loewenstein has been described as a self-hating Jew, a cheerleader for Hezbollah, and according to one reviewer suffers from the Demindenko-Darville disorder. Name calling, vilification and accusations of systemic errors are predictable but poor replacements for civilised debate. My Israel Question is an important book because of the questions it raises about the relationship between diaspora Jewry and Israel, the Zionist lobby and its insistent repression of alternative views, and the media’s response to both. Attempts to discredit the author and MUP merely highlight the need for this book at this moment in history.

AIJAC have tried to bully and intimidate my publisher in the last days. The result, of course, is that the Zionist lobby looks insecure, aggressive and a little like a rat trapped in a cage. Lapkin deliberately misrepresents the facts about the book because he knows his organisation is on the back-foot and is now no longer the sole voice of Australian Jewry. Maybe one day they’ll learn that you can’t bomb your opponent into submission (and maybe even acquire some media management skills.) On second thought, they’ll probably remain as effective as the bumbling IDF.

It is significant that the Australian Jewish community has allowed AIJAC to become the de-facto face of local Jewry to the wider community. It’s a group run by lawyers, failed politicians and former Israeli soldiers. Do Jews really feel comfortable with a group speaking for them that advocates perpetual war in the Middle East and hatred towards Arabs?

The Zionist lobby regularly lie about history. One reader to Crikey today points out just one convenient omission in Lapkin’s latest rant:

Chris C writes: Ted Lapkin’s rather warm lettuce “flogging” of Antony Loewenstein’s new book drew attention to some rather ho-hum inaccuracies that do not detract one iota from the sledgehammer points made in My Israel Question. Except on one point – whether or not Israel has complied with UN Security Council Resolution 242, regarding the territories seized in the 1967 war (ie. the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan). Describing Loewenstein’s work as “sloppy thinking, shoddy writing”, Lapkin goes on to engage in far worse shoddiness himself, deliberately truncating the full quote of the British ambassador to the UN (Lord Caradon) to suggest that he deliberately worded his resolution to only require “Israel to withdraw from some, and not all, of territories captured in 1967.” However, the full quote reveals exactly what Lord Caradon meant in the wording of his resolution: “Knowing as I did the unsatisfactory nature of the 1967 line, I wasn’t prepared to use wording in the Resolution that would have made that line permanent. Nonetheless, it is necessary to say again that the overwhelming principle was the ”˜inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’ and that meant that there could be no justification for the annexation of territory on the Arab side of the 1967 line merely because it had been conquered in the 1967 war. The sensible way to decide permanent ”˜secure and recognized’ boundaries would be to set up a Boundary Commission and hear both sides and then to make impartial recommendations for a new frontier line, bearing in mind, of course, the ‘inadmissibility’ principle.” So, Israel DOES remain in breach of Resolution 242, and has done for nearly 40 years – amusing when juxtaposed with Israel’s hectoring of Lebanon over lack of compliance with Resolution 1559 which was passed much more recently. I guess it is not on their urgent list of things to do. I expect Ted Lapkin to urgently raise this issue with the Israeli Government through AIJAC to ensure that his organization is unbiased and upholds the importance of ALL UN resolutions.

For some information on the hugely successful Sydney launch on August 8, see here. The two launch speeches are below:

Sydney launch speech – David Marr (here)

Sydney launch speech – Loewenstein (here)

UPDATE: Lapkin continues to assist sales of My Israel Question (in a shoddy reworking of his own article for the monthly AIJAC rag.) I wonder if the op-ed editor of the Courier Mail is aware that AIJAC is now forced to regurgitate its own propaganda.