A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


Zionist fascism is both normalised and encouraged


Posted: 04 Jun 2012


Israel 2012:

Israel may jail illegal immigrants for up to three years under a law put into effect on Sunday, an Interior Ministry official said, a measure aimed at stemming the flow of Africans entering Israel across the porous desert border with Egypt.

“The law takes effect from today,” said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad. The controversial law was passed by parliament in January and denounced at the time by liberal politicians and human rights activists.

Haddad noted that Israeli leaders had said they would try to reduce an influx they view as a threat to Israel’s Jewish character, and quoted Interior Minister Eli Yishai as saying last month he wanted to jail or deport illegal immigrants.

Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have arrived in Israel in the past three years, and the pace has picked up to about 2,000 a month since December, for a total of 60,000 since the influx began.

Many migrants say they are fleeing persecution or war, but few have been granted formal asylum or refugee status, leaving many with temporary visas, subsisting on wages from menial jobs, swelling the ranks of the poor.

“The problem of the infiltrators must be solved and we will solve it,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month, in remarks aimed at calming protests against migrants in Tel Aviv.

Yishai, of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, told the newspaper Maariv on Friday he saw the African arrivals, many of whom are Muslims or Christians, as a demographic threat.

“The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream,” Yishai said, adding that Israel had its own health and welfare issues. “We don’t need to import more problems from Africa.”

“Most of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man,” Yishai said in the interview with Maariv.

Aryeh Eldad, a right-wing lawmaker, urged Israel to order its troops to open fire on any infiltrators who penetrated its borders, rather than only at those suspected of being armed.

Scahill calls out liberals for remaining largely silent over Obama’s drone murders


Posted: 04 Jun 2012


After last week’s New York Times feature on Obama’s “Kill List” for supposed terrorists, independent journalist Jeremy Scahill tells MSNBC that the US President has created a Minority Reportstyle of justice:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

#LeftTurn reviews start coming in


Posted: 04 Jun 2012


The book has only been out for a few days but already responses are appearing.

Leading independent bookstore Readings has made the title Book of the Month and Week (after already featuring interviews and other coverage):

‘Perhaps the best kept political secret of our time is that politics, as a democratic undertaking, can be not only “fun”, in the entertaining sense, but profoundly uplifting, even ecstatic.’ So writes American activist and critic Barbara Ehrenreich, who in turn is quoted by Jeff Sparrow in the new collection, Left Turn, which he’s co-edited with journalist and blogger Antony Loewenstein.

This fragment of thought perhaps best sums up what Left Turn is all about – not so much a manifesto or a declaration, but an attempt to recapture political imagination, or as Sparrow wrote in our recent Q&A, ‘an ecstatic sense of the possibility of real change’.

The collection indeed packs a punch when it comes to tackling disillusionment, gathering together a series of provocative pieces from our best and more progressive thinkers. Christos Tsiolkas holds the magnifying glass to the affluent Left and and exclusion of migrant voices from radical politics; Senator Lee Rhiannon contemplates the future of the Greens in the face of Labor’s declining popularity and their hand in the next era of government; Guy Rundle writes on the current wave of branded consumption and ever-expanding nature of our giant malls and shopping precincts; Chris Graham argues controversially about the use of violence in Indigenous politics and Jeff Sparrow examines the Occupy movement and its repercussions.

As Mark Rubbo wrote in his review, ‘It is to the editors’ great credit that they have managed to pull together such a range of provocative commentary that will stimulate and lead to further debate and discussion. For many people the markets do not provide the answer to achieving just, humane and equitable societies: what political and economic structures might?’

Right-wing blog site SkepticLawyer has a much less charitable view:

“Left Turn”, with the secondary title “Political essays for the New Left”, edited (I’d say “assembled”) by Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow, is a series of essays from a range of lefties with different perspectives and concerns, each essentially a single issue, with some “doubling up”.  The introduction and back-cover blurb acknowledge the despair of many on the left, and offer the promise of suggestions for a way for the left to make a difference again.

It’s a book of bits: disparate opinions, varying styles and varying quality.  That makes it tricky to review – like a food critic trying to give a concise impression of a “bring-a-plate” dinner, nothing consistent, apart from in this case, needing to say “Hang on … there was no dessert … where is my dessert?”

If there is something striking about the book for me, it was what is missing.

Reading the book feels like being in a slightly too-small room full of ardent lefties, all wired on lattes, tongues loosened with chardonnay, everybody talking at once.  Aaaah … memories of times before I met my grandson’s grandmother, when Big Mal Fraser was the Big Bad … the nods or wry smiles at good points, the rolled eyes at stating-the-bleeding-obvious and the lowered slowly-shaking head at clangers.

If you are much younger than I am, you might instead feel you are reading a “Best of Larvatus Prodeo” – for better and worse.

The “bring-a-plate” dinner has some tasty bits.  Some morsels come with a nice dipping-sauce of self-criticism.  There are few, not quite enough, meaty bits of common-sense suggestions.

Norman Finkelstein discusses his new book that outlines American Jewish distancing from Israel


Posted: 04 Jun 2012

Israel lobby friend and Murdoch man defames Arabs in a good day’s work


Posted: 04 Jun 2012


It can’t be easy for a Murdoch editor to find new ways to damn Palestinians but the Herald Sun’s Alan Howe constantly comes through with the goods.

Here’s his latest that proves once again that the Zionist lobby, who sends people like Howe to Israel, creates individuals who loathe Arabs even more than before they left:

So Bob Carr has slipped his hand into my pocket — and yours — and pulled out $90 million of Australian taxpayers’ money and given it to the Palestinians, among whom are some of the most virulent racists on the planet.

Among the Palestinian Authority leadership are some smooth talkers keen to milk a sometimes gullible world for aid money they insist they need because Israel is next door.

It’s an odd excuse. Most nations would be more than happy to have an educated, industrious, inventive and robustly democratic country such as Israel as a neighbour.

Once they were almost ours. The plan for the Holy Land to be in the Kimberley flourished through the 1930s, but was killed off by one of the first recorded episodes of political correctness.

Instead, Israel was established in the Middle East, near Jerusalem. Well, it had been their home for some millennia.

One day over lunch, Bob Carr told me one of his regrets as NSW premier had been not to fully engage with the Islamic community that is centred on the Sydney suburb of Lakemba.

By then it was too late and the largely Lebanese Muslim population there was “led” by the sexist Sheik Hilaly, who’s happy to proclaim the innocence of men convicted of planning to kill many of us.

He said of terrorist kidnappers who were holding Melbourne’s Douglas Wood in Iraq that, “I value your jihad”. Wood called his captors “a——–”. I’m with Doug.

Perhaps there is a connection between Carr’s failure as premier and his extraordinary gesture of goodwill to some people others might see as undeserving.

The Palestinian Authority represents the people of the region, many of whom have escaped to other countries, but then many live happily in Israel, voting and sharing in the wealth of the region’s lone democracy. And the Authority knows well who is really to blame for the not-so-blighted lives of modern-day Palestinians.

Until Palestinians rise up and demand a leadership that will point them towards modernity and away from the ancient hatreds of uneducated Islamism, I’d be reluctant to give them one cent from Australian taxpayers. Too many Palestinians are eluding peace by choice.

Statistics suggest that about $9 of that money earmarked for Palestinians is mine, and I want it back. Not to put in my pocket, but to give to a people much more deserving and who are keener to take their proper place in the world.

Islamist terror breeds in Gaza and on the West Bank with its bombs, rockets and kidnappings.

Its adherents do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.

An even cursory look at the online files of the Palestinian Media Watch shows the extent of the problem. The region’s broadcasters and newspapers make celebrities of suicide bombers, the mostly young “martyrs” sent to crowded streets to claim as many innocents as they can.

Depending on how “successful” their mission, the terrorists’ names may adorn a Palestinian street, a sports event, or even a school.

The Palestinian Authority shows little concern that these killers are turned into role models that may inspire others. It is like Tasmanians changing the name of Port Arthur to Martin Bryant Fields.

Alarmingly, it has already been claimed that one of these groups has benefited from Australian aid to the region, and Carr has promised to thoroughly investigate the issue.

But why would we spend money on “aid” to Palestinians, many of whom resent the West, when deserving people, to whom we are greatly indebted, live on our doorstep?

East Timorese are poorer than the Palestinians, spend fewer years at school, are more likely to be illiterate and are much less likely to have access to electricity and sanitation.

#LeftTurn co-editor Jeff Sparrow talks Left stuff


Posted: 03 Jun 2012

This morning my co-editor on #LeftTurn, Jeff Sparrow, spoke on Melbourne 3RRR Breakfast radioabout our recently released book and why it’s vital to hear alternative perspectives on war, peace, the economy and climate change


This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Why Zionist repression must be met with true resistance


This story, told in Mondoweiss, is precisely the reason Israel is increasingly isolated globally. Outrageous behaviour but sadly typical:

I am an American citizen. I went to American schools my entire life, graduated from an American university and work as an architect in New York City. Why was this happening to me? It all started with a simple question. “What is your father’s name?”


“Okay, please wait a few moments in the waiting room over there.”

Little did I know that my father’s Arab name would make me guilty until proven innocent. A “few moments” would turn into a 14-hour nightmare at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

I was hoping they wouldn’t separate me from my friend Sasha, whom I was traveling with. We had been warned about possible interrogations and security checks but were reassured that since we were both young, female professionals from New York City with American passports, it wouldn’t be a problem to enter Israel. It was going be my third visit and Sasha’s first.

Sasha was called in to be interrogated by a bleach-blonde pregnant woman and was led into a small office to the left of our waiting room. Twenty minutes passed until Sasha came out, walking quickly back to her seat.

She attempted to reassure me. “It’s going to be fine. They just want to see if we’re lying about anything.” But she was obviously flustered.

Now it was my turn.

“Najwa, come.”

– – –

“Do you feel more Arab or more American?” she asked. I had answered the ten previous questions very calmly, but with this question I looked back at the security official confused and irritated. She couldn’t have been much older than me—her business attire and stern facial expressions did not mask her youth.

“I don’t know, I feel both. Why? Does this affect my ability to get in?”

She ignored my question. “Surely you must feel a little more Arab, you’ve lived in many Middle Eastern countries.”

I did not see the correlation. I have never felt the need to choose. “Yes I have but I also lived in the US for the past seven years, and was born there, so I feel both.” My response did nothing to convince her.

“Hm. Will you go to Al-Aqsa?”

“Yeah, maybe.”

“Will you go to Jewish sites as well?”

“Yes, why not? We want to see everything.”

“But you have been here two times already. Why are you coming now for the third time? You can go to Venezuela, to Mexico, to Canada. It is much closer to New York, and much less expensive!”

I realized the conversation was going nowhere. “Right, but I wanted to come back here again. Don’t you have tourists who come back more than once?”

“I’m asking the questions here,” she replied disgruntled.

“Okay, we are going to do something very interesting now!” Her face transformed from a harsh stare to a slight smirk. She proceeded to type “www.gmail.com” on her computer and then turned the keyboard toward me. “Log in,” she demanded.

“What? Really?” I was shocked.

“Log in.”

I typed in my username and password in complete disbelief. She began her invasive search: “Israel,” “Palestine,” “West Bank,” “International Solidarity Movement.”

Looking back, I realize I shouldn’t have logged in. I should have known that nothing I did at this point would change my circumstances, and that this was an invasion of my privacy. Yet all the questions, the feeling that I had to defend myself for simply wanting to enter the country, and the unwavering eye contact of the security officers left me feeling like I had no choice. I was worried I would let Sasha down if I refused and that it would be the reason for both of our denials into the country.

She sifted through my inbox, reading every single email with those keywords. She read sentences out loud to her colleague, sarcastically reenacting and mocking old Google Chat conversations between Sasha and me about our future trip to Jerusalem. I squirmed in my seat.

Read the whole thing.

Such experiences are why deep pressure on Israel, as this article in yesterday’s Independent with the headline, “Israel is new South Africa as boycott calls increase” attests, will only increase:

Some of the world’s biggest stars – from Madonna to the Red Hot Chili Peppers – are being accused of putting profit before principle in a growing backlash against artists performing in Israel.

Campaigners angry at human rights abuses against the Palestinian people – symbolised by Israel’s policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinians and allowing Israeli settlers to take over their land – are demanding a boycott of Israeli venues in a campaign that echoes the 1980s protests against South Africa and the infamous venue Sun City.

Last week Madonna came under fire for her decision to perform in Israel to kick off her world tour last Thursday. “By performing in Israel, Madonna has consciously and shamefully lent her name to fig-leafing Israel’s occupation and apartheid and showed her obliviousness to human rights,” said Omar Barghouti of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Attempts by Madonna to deflect criticism by offering free tickets to local campaigners backfired, with a number rejecting the offer. Boycott from Within, an Israeli campaign group, accused the singer of “a blatant attempt at whitewashing Israeli crimes”. Mr Barghouti added: “As we’ve learned from the South African struggle for freedom, entertaining Israeli apartheid should never be mislabelled as singing for peace.” The star’s publicist did not respond to requests for comment.

Acts such as alleged war crimes during Israel’s 2008 invasion of Gaza and the 2010 killing of peace activists by Israeli commandos on an aid ship are fuelling the return of an anti-apartheid campaign on a scale not seen in a generation. Saeed Amireh, 21, a peace activist from Nilin in the West Bank, said: “We don’t have freedom of movement. They don’t want peace; they just want us to disappear. They are suppressing our very existence.”

Calls for a boycott are supported by hundreds of artists around the world, from the film director Ken Loach to former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and the author Alice Walker. Artists such as Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello have cancelled shows after pressure from campaigners in recent years; Coldplay, U2 and Bruce Springsteen have declined invitations to play in Israel without supporting the boycott publicly. Paul McCartney, Elton John, Rihanna and Leonard Cohen are among those to have ignored calls not to appear there.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and Guns N’ Roses plan to play in Israel this year, prompting the campaign group Artists Against Apartheid to appeal: “As was done in the case of South African apartheid, please join us now in the cultural boycott of Israel, and help stop entertaining apartheid.” The campaign has rattled the music industry, prompting a group of US-Israel entertainment executives to set up the Creative Community for Peace last year in an effort to counter the cultural boycott.

It is also troubling senior Israeli politicians: a law passed by the Knesset last year means that people who call for a boycott could be sued in court. The Israeli government has also set up a committee to look at how to compensate Israeli promoters in the cases of “politically motivated cancellations”.

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