A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


Israel doesn’t mind sleeping with Europe’s virulent Right

Posted: 06 Nov 2011

The growing connection between the Far Right and Zionism is highlighted in my essay in the recently released e-book On Utoya.

This story in Haaretz is therefore fascinating, and makes me wonder if the “acceptable” face of the racist Right is viewed as a prospective ally of Israel because of the mutual loathing of Muslims:

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, said over the weekend that his attendance at a luncheon for Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s extreme right-wing party National Front and presidential candidate, at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday was a “mistake”.

“It was an event that I wasn’t supposed to be at to begin with, and I got there by accident. When I realized my mistake, I immediately left the event,” Prosor said after the event.

Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front party.

French media outlets reported widely on Prosor’s attendance at the UN event organized in Le Pen’s honor. French media noted that the Israeli ambassador shook Le Pen’s hand and remained at the event for 20 minutes. French newspapers also published a photograph of Prosor and Le Pen standing together.

Ambassador Prosor denied the contents of the French reports in a conversation with Haaretz. “After I saw Marine Le Pen there, I immediately realized that I had no place being there, and I left the room,” said Prosor.

The ambassador also said that no conversation took place between himself and Le Pen. “I didn’t remain there and I didn’t hear her briefing,” he said.

Prosor’s version of the events contradicts comments he made to reporters outside the event. Before he entered the hall, Prosor was asked by a French journalist if he is the “number one” Israeli diplomat at the United Nations. According to Prosor’s own recollection, he responded, “I replied to him that I am not a number, but a free man.”

When Prosor left the event, he was filmed by television cameras saying, “We spoke about Europe and other topics and I very much enjoyed the conversation.”

Le Pen herself was quoted by French news agencies on Saturday, saying that the Israeli ambassador’s presence at the event “was not an error.” According to Le Pen, “Please, no one actually imagines that the ambassador burst through the wrong door.”

The National Front leader added, “It is impossible to converse with Marine Le Pen for 20 minutes without knowing who she is.” According to Le Pen, “There was nothing unclear or ambiguous about our meeting.”

Why WikiLeaks forces accountability on the insular journalistic and political club

Posted: 05 Nov 2011

Last week I was invited down to Canberra to give the keynote speech at the Independent Scholars Association of Australia 2011 Conference. It was held at the National Library to an appreciative audience. The following are my notes:

–       Quote from Julian Assange, The UnAuthorised Autobiography, p. 119/120 + 168

–        What is modern journalism if not mostly collection of sanctioned leaks from the powerful to lazy media? Take the MSM media on any day, ABC, Fairfax or News Ltd, and see how much so-called news are rehashed press releases.

–       Personal favourite lead ABC news radio story early in 2011: “Abbott says Gillard lying over carbon tax.”

–       If this is the crisis in MSM, then hard to shed any tears.

–       Wikileaks offers an alternative, a prospect for a different, more collaborative kind of media.

–       Wikileaks; more leaks in 5 years than all corporate press combined over last 30 years.

–       Brief history of Wikileaks from 2006.

–       Response of Western governments to Wikileaks; criticism, defensive, hurt, aggressive, leading US politicians calling for Assange execution.

–       PM Julia Gillard, late 2010 after Cablegate release, said Assange/Wikileaks had broken Australian laws but subsequent investigation found no laws had been broken.

–       Real threat is embarrassment and insight into how our governments are a) craven towards Washington and b) increasingly finding new ways to restrict freedoms in the name of providing “security”.

–       Wikileaks challenges insider culture/journalism and asks; why didn’t you get these stories?

–       MSM narrative, pushed by Lowy Institute’s Michael Fullilove, was that Wikileaks released nothing new, this is how power works and it needs to be secret and important. International affairs framed as complicated. In reality, as Noam Chomsky says, it rarely rises above child’s play.

–       Some Wikileaks revelations:- US spying on the UN;

  • Israel/Egypt relationship over Gaza;

  • US/Australia scuttling cluster bomb treaty;

  • US firms colluding with repressive states to benefit US businesses such as Shell in Nigeria;

  • Ongoing US efforts to undermine democratically elected Chavez in Venezuela; and

  • Extreme closeness between the ALP and America

–       Wikileaks provides opportunity for power to be more democratic. Lessening/removing unnecessary secrets in the public domain. We the public have responsibility to demand transparency. Can’t rely on mainstream media.

–       Wikileaks-style spin-offs, such as Greenleaks.

–       MSM either adapts or faces irrelevance. Secure drop-boxes of information essential but not the WSJ/Murdoch version (full of holes).

–       MSM fearful of losing power and influence, enjoys being gate-keeper.

–       Robert Fisk concern of Wikileaks (journalists will simply wait for stories to fall in their lap via the computer).

–       What about politicians and bureaucracy? Wikileaks shows over-classification is rife.

–       Rise of national security state, close to one million Americans have top-secret clearance. Wikileaks can and must challenge this.

#Occupy hits Harvard

Posted: 05 Nov 2011

Well, this is very interesting:

In recent years, Greg Mankiw noticed that the students who took his economics class at Harvard seemed overly concerned about preparing for their careers. That appeared to change this week.

On Wednesday, about 70 of his students walked out of Economics 10, the introductory class he teaches, to protest what they said was a bias towards a destructive brand of free-market economics.

“We found a course that espouses a specific – and limited – view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today … There is no justification for presenting Adam Smith’s economic theories as more fundamental or basic than, for example, Keynesian theory,” organisers said in an open letter to the professor, Mr Mankiw.

Mr Mankiw, who served as chairman of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and is an adviser to Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential contender, acknowledged that his résumé probably contributed to the decision to target his class, which at 700 students has the highest enrolment of any undergraduate course.

The course, commonly knows as Ec 10, is a requirement for several undergraduate majors and carries a pedigree that is influential even by Harvard standards. Mr Mankiw’s predecessor was Martin Feldstein, who served as chief economic adviser to Ronald Reagan. Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary and economics adviser to President Barack Obama, acted as a teaching fellow for the course in the 1970s.

The student protesters themselves emphasised the course’s influence, writing that “Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy around the world”.

Mr Mankiw told the Financial Times that while he disagreed with the protesters, he had “significant respect” for their activism. “Over recent years, I’ve seen Harvard students becoming increasingly pre-professional. That they are sitting back and thinking broadly about social issues … those are good questions for students to be asking, and to the extent that Occupy Wall Street sparks debate, that’s good.”

Afghanistan – touch down in flight

Posted: 05 Nov 2011

Extraordinarily beautiful:

Afghanistan – touch down in flight from Augustin Pictures on Vimeo.

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