July 20, 2006

MUST READ: Australia's Pro-Zionist Lobby

Transcripts from two very important ABC Lateline stories.

First read this: Pro-Israel lobby heavily influencing US policy, academics say.

Then this: Pro-Israel lobby: helping or hindering policy making?

The first URL discusses US reaction to the Mearsheimer and Walt article, The Israel Lobby. It then turns to a new book on the right-wing pro-Israel lobby in Australia, My Israel Question, by Sydney author and blogger Antony Loewentsein. The book has been published by Melbourne University despite strong criticism and calls for it to be banned.

The lobby here is represented by the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council, or AIJAC. The second URL features a debate between Loewenstein and AIJAC director Ted Lapkin. ABC Reporter Tony Jones gets things off to a poor start:
Let me start with Antony Loewenstein and can I put this to you: the Lebanon crisis began when Israel was attacked by Hezbollah. Israeli soldiers were killed and others were kidnapped. At the same time Hezbollah began a barrage of missiles on northern Israeli towns. Do you accept that Israel has the right to defend itself and use military force to destroy or disarm Hezbollah militias when no one else is prepared to do it?
Loewenstein reflects on the Lateline debate today:
It was an interesting experience. There are few opportunities on national television to openly challenge the accepted Zionist narrative as well as revealing the nature of Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine (no matter how desperate Lapkin was to defend the indefensible.)

In the last ten hours, I have received many dozens of messages from around the country, offering support, advice and personal anecdotes. This confirms that there are many concerned citizens who feel distinctly uncomfortable with Israeli actions in Gaza, West Bank and Lebanon.
I first experienced the "anti-Semite" backlash after posting innocent comments in support of Cindy Sheehan, which were picked up at Jeff Goldstein's bizzarro world blog, Protein Wisdom (see the "anti-Semite" backlash here).

I went to high school in Sydney and had many close Jewish friends. I find the whole AIJAC agenda quite disturbing.


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