The joke however, is on Crikey and the pathetic Loewenstein whose ignorance about Israel was put on exhibition a few years ago when he wrote a poorly researched book "My Israel Question" which was in fact nothing more than a lamentable encyclopaedia of ignorance about the Israel/Arab conflict. I could write a book on the errors contained in that dreary tome but just one example is the map of Israel which portrays the Galilee region of northern Israel as part of Lebanon (possibly wishful thinking on Loewenstein's and sloppy editing by Melbourne University Press and Louise Adler but a barrel of laughs, especially if you hail from that part of the world).
Still, we don't expect much from someone who once called Israeli political leader and Prime Ministerial hopeful Tzipi Livni as a "he" when any Jew worth their salt would know Tzipi was definitely a "she".
But back to Antony's Crikey piece. Unsurprisingly, his gripe is all about censorship but he doesn't appear particularly concerned about all forms of censorship - it's only when those who support Israel exercise their right to exclude detractors including those who are simply out and out charlatans like Halper.
But you won’t be reading about his Sydney events in the Australian Jewish News (AJN). The publisher has refused to run ads by Jews Against the Occupation (JAO) that simply inform people of Halper’s schedule. The group was given no reason for the decision except that the publisher had instructed the paper not to allow the ads to appear. Crikey has seen the ad and it only contains titles and locations of the lectures and contact phone numbers.
This latest example of censorship follows a long history of the mainstream Jewish establishment being fearful over honestly debating Israel/Palestine (something we’ve seen over the last days in the US over the forced resignation of Israel critic Charles W Freeman from the post of Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
Loewenstein was delighted that the Sydney Morning Herald agreed with him - With friends like these (see the second editorial which is replete with hypocrisy given this is a Fairfax newspaper - and on Chas Freeman see Melanie Phillips for the real reasons why the execrable Freeman doesn't occupy any high office at this time)
Loewenstein doesn't have a problem with the censorship applied by the publisher of the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald when it routinely omits to mention the excesses of Hamas and Hizbullah as it has done over the years or when it simply refuses to cover stories debunking earlier erroneous reports in its publications such as the false allegations of Israeli war crimes as part of the Gaza School scandal. That form of censorship is kosher with Loewenstein.
But if you wanted an insight into Loewenstein's sick pathology, take this disturbingly inane piece of drivel with which he concluded his rant -
... the AJN ran a piece last week by novelist Alan Gold, arguing against the UN’s upcoming anti-racism conference, Durban II: "And now that the storm clouds are gathering over Geneva, we can only look on in horror, and feel as our parents or grandparents must have felt in 1933."
Memo to the AJN: Hitler died in 1945.
The problem for Crikey is that when it selects someone to prattle on about the subject of censorship, then it isn't wise to settle on a Loewenstein who has a penchant for censorship himself. He is well known for often censoring comments made on his own blog with which he does not agree.
This morning, a colleague posted a comment on his blog on the subject Jews insulate themselves from reality. He drew attention to the fact that while he agreed that people should have the opportunity to hear what Halper had to say, they equally "deserved to know that he has been accused of pushing a deceptive and misleading agenda and distorting the truth." He then posted the following four references from Camera to support that very point:
JEFF HALPER DISTORTS INTERNATIONAL LAW
SABEEL’S RHETORIC QUESTIONED BY JEWISH PEACE ACTIVISTS
THE PROFESSOR'S TRUTH DEMOLITION
TRUTH DEMOLITION IN AN ANTI-ISRAEL ROAD SHOW
So Halper is not only a liar but he has often invoked the repugnant blood libel of Israelis-as-Nazis.
During the Sabeel conference at Old South Church in October, Halper said that while the Israeli public supports a two-state solution, successive Israeli governments have misled the Israeli public into thinking there is no political solution and no one to negotiate with on the Palestinian side of the conflict.
They don’t believe that peace is possible. The Israeli government has done the same thing that the Bush Administration is trying to do – mystify the conflict, to depoliticize it so that there’s no solution – the problem is them. [Applause.] And if the problem is them, then of course to put it in very harsh terms then of course the only solution is the Final Solution. [Emphasis added.]
The media of course has the right to print (or not to print) whatever it chooses. In this case, the publisher of the Australian Jewish News exercised his right not to accept an advertisement for a newspaper whose readership is made up largely of Holocaust survivors and their descendants who would find Halper's lies, misrepresentations and false connection of Israel with Nazism as totally repugnant.
Naturally, Loewenstein who has lately thrown in his lot with the Holocaust minimisers wouldn't understand this. His hypocrisy in censoring views presented as comment on his own website and then criticising others for it is breathtaking and demonstrates why he has become an object of disdain among the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community. Even some of his former friends who signed onto his IAJV statement think he's a lost cause.
As for Crikey, the joke's on you blokes. By selecting Loewenstein, you ensured that any opposing view on the matter would be ... well, er censored.