Truth and fiction

Following my article in yesterday’s Australian, the paper has today published these letters:


Antony Loewenstein has had his third piece in The Australian – to go with his various media appearances – all about how views like his are never heard (Opinion, 7/8). Loewenstein’s real complaint seems to be not that views like his aren’t heard, but that they are criticised. This is not suppression of debate, it is debate.

He even wants Hezbollah and Hamas given equal time to Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organisations proscribed in Australia. It is a crime to belong to or support them. So Loewenstein wants criminals to be given equal time to those they attack.

Loewenstein probably won’t like this criticism either, but his ideal world seems to be one where he and those with whom he agrees are immune from criticism, not one of robust debate, as he claims.
George Greenberg
Malvern, Vic

Antony Loewenstein certainly doesn’t like being criticised. Strangely enough though, he’s happy to dish it out, often unfairly. For example he claims that the “Zionist lobby” was keen to ban notorious Holocaust denier David Irving because they were worried he may cast doubt about the Holocaust. Surely it was more that Holocaust deniers tend to incite hatred towards Jews among anti-Semites such as neo-Nazis by claiming the Holocaust was a con.

He excoriates Isi Leibler for his comments about Palestinian society without explaining Leibler was referring to the pernicious effect of constant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement from all levels of the Palestinian Authority, including schools, mosques and the media. He also attacks opponents of the awarding of a peace prize to Hanan Ashrawi. Maybe he could explain what she has actually done for peace, other than criticise Israel. Then he could explain why it’s taboo for anyone to criticise him, but fine for him to criticise anyone.
Bradley Tempelhof
St Kilda, Vic

Antony Loewenstein is being precious in his assertions that the “Zionist Lobby” is trying to silence him. Apparently this attempt at “censorship” takes the form of vigorous criticism of his work. If Loewenstein is truly a champion of free speech, he ought to be in favour of the efforts of others to expose his numerous errors of fact and logic.
Peter Wertheim
Sydney, NSW

The fact that Antony Loewenstein has once again been given space in The Australian provides further evidence his views are not being denied a hearing in Australia.

Loewenstein claims I compared him to “fraudulent writer and accused anti-Semite Helen Demidenko”, when in fact what I canvassed in my review was that The Hand that Signed the Paper was discussed as a symbol, rather than initially being judged on its merits, adding: “While Antony Loewenstein is not a pseudonym and did not intentionally write a work of fiction, it is already clear that his book is being treated as a symbol, rather than on grounds of quality or originality, let alone insight or integrity.”

The one sentence he quoted from my review, in which I said that his book has “already garnered a fan club among other anti-Semites, anti-Israel extremists and others who are treating the author as a Jewish ‘useful idiot’ who serves anti-Jewish agendas” might not make Loewenstein happy, but as followers of Australia’s anti-Semitic fringe groups can attest, is undeniably true.
Jeremy Jones, AM
Darlinghurst NSW

In his article, Antony Loewenstein makes mention of Deborah Lipstadt in his defence of author David Irving’s right to be heard. He writes of Lipstadt in a way that implies she took an action against Irving, as if to silence him, accusing him of Holocaust denial.

In fact Lipstadt was sued by Irving for merely naming him as a denier, and she was forced to defend herself in court. It was Irving who tried to silence Lipstadt, not the reverse. Irving lost in a remarkable case where Lipstadt’s team revealed for the first time just how badly, and effectively, Irving had misrepresented European history in the 20th century.

Lipstadt’s team did not bother to prove the Holocaust happened. Instead, they engaged in an intricate investigation of Irving’s historiography. Lipstadt’s chief witness, Richard Evans from Cambridge, began believing it was not possible to condemn Irving, who had written more than 20 books of history, as not a historian. By the time Evans had finished his report he had demonstrated that, in no way, could Irving be considered a historian. Once Irving was proved to have fabricated history, as he had, it was obvious his evidence for his Holocaust denial was untrue. And so his case collapsed.
Anne Henderson
North Sydney, NSW

Antony Loewenstein continues to insist he is a victim of a conspiracy to silence him. Most first-time authors could only dream of being so “silenced”. How many times will he need to be published before he realises he is disproving his own point? Loewenstein claims he has “received hundreds of messages from Jews and non-Jews . . . who are yearning for a more honest discussion about the Middle East and Israel’s role within it”. I assume he includes my name in that figure. I sent a message to his blog calling him on several inaccuracies, expecting an honest reply. Instead, he deleted the message.
Daniel Lewis
Rushcutters Bay, NSW

Suffice to say, it’s intriguing that the paper has published only critical letters in response to my article. My central thesis remains, as ever, unchallenged. The Zionist lobby, through aggressive and counter-productive tactics, is undermining the Jewish community and the wider community view towards Israel. They have been warned.

Some victory.

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