Sensible Jew on Loewenstein and anti-Zionism

For all I know, Alex Fein may be a nice person personally. But I don’t share her politics, which she avoids, other than the most remarkable one liner ad hominems and so on. So, her considered view on Loewenstein: “someone who cannot master the most basic research skills, someone who writes very poorly, and someone who jets off on his first (extremely brief) trip to Israel in order to find twee anecdotes to back up his already constructed thesis – that Jews are genocidal racists.”

This is pretty astonishingly scurrilous. The funny thing is Ms Fein created her blog because she thought other Jewish lobbyists were ineffective, used over the top language etc. Her claim that Antony thinks Jews are genocidal racists is pretty extraordinary. She hasn’t (yet) called me anti-Semitic. Perhaps in time her list of anti-Semites will grow as long as Mendes/ECAJ/AIJAC. She’s also called Pilger anti-Semitic. But then, the Israeli government (I’ll call them Tel Aviv lobby from now on, which will outrage ECAJ and AIJAC because they recognise Jerusalem as the eternal undivided capital of the Holy State of Israel) lobby claims everyone to the left of Colin Rubenstein is anti-Semitic.

Loewenstein doesn’t accuse Israel of genocide. I disagree with those on the left who too often say everything they disapprove of is genocide. One silly fringe group explained in an email I somehow got as a media release that Israel’s “war crimes that are so extreme they are basically genocide.” In the scale of Israel’s crimes, the slaughter in Gaza wasn’t as criminal as the siege. Israeli babies are growing up with contaminated water, and getting respiratory and intestinal diseases, because of conscious Israeli policies. I don’t think that should be considered genocide either, but it’s certainly closer, and in my opinion more barbaric than killing 1400 Palestinians from December to January. The destruction of the means of living for an entire society is barbaric: we don’t need to call it genocide.

Oh, and Fein’s other considered opinion: “Anti-Zionist rhetoric is not only intellectually indefensible”

Why is anti-Zionism “intellectually indefensible”? I mean really, this is so over the top. Zionist fanatics become so insulated that they can’t even understand the possibility of arguing about their opinions. Can you imagine someone saying “anti-liberal rhetoric is intellectually indefensible”? Or “anti-socialist/capitalist rhetoric is indefensible”? Such fanaticism is standard in some circles, who consider disagreement as anti-Semitic.

Fein explained: “this blog is not aimed at convincing anybody of Israel’s right to exist.

I start from the belief that all reasonable people accept this right, and that those who don’t, have hundreds of thousands of other places to vent their spleen.”

I mean, this is a bit over the top. On its broadest, you either have to be a nationalist or religious to belief Israel has a right to exist (Israel as the Jewish state). For the religious, it’s because god gave it to us. For the nationalist, you have to believe a) the Jews are a nation b) Nations have rights to their own states c) Jews have a right to a state in Palestine.

The religious one hardly persuades any serious person. The nationalist one is supposed to be serious, but is little better. There’s little reason to believe the Jews are a nation. Many nations don’t have their own states, and the search for nationalist answers to problems is at least controversial. Did Slobodan Milosevic have a right to a Serbian nation state? What should Aboriginal Australians do? Set up their own state within Australia? Kick out the people of New Zealand and try there?

c) is even more problematic. Even if Jews have a right to a nation state, why do they have a right to Palestine? Sentimental reasons and historical attachment are hardly serious grounds for European Jews to create a movement to create a nation state. Moreover, even if they were supposed to have a right to a state in Palestine – why does this supersede Palestinian rights in Palestine. Benny Morris has said (though he now waffles in front of Zionist audiences) that Israel couldn’t have been created without expelling the Palestinians. Well, if you think Israel has a right to exist, then you think it was right to expel the Palestinians (and of course, it would stop existing as a Jewish state if it allowed the Palestinians back in).

This is a very brief guide to Zionism and anti-Zionism. To any reasonable person, anti-Zionism is hardly an intellectual disgrace. It’s almost banal (there’s a lot more to be said, but this is some very very brief comments).

Now, I mean, Australia exists (as British colonial settler state, and the country it’s evolved into today), but Australia wouldn’t exist without dispossession (and ethnic cleansing, mass slaughter, genocide in Tasmania in my opinion [recognising scholars are very cautious on applying the term genocide, but I think James Boyce has presented compelling evidence for this conclusion]) of the Indigenous population. Regardless of what one thinks about how Australia has changed, surely only Andrew Bolt and Keith Windschuttle would be bold enough to declare those who oppose the creation of Australia as “intellectually indefensible”. That this isn’t even regarded as a moral question is a little incredible.

That’s not to say I advocate the destruction of Australia (or Israel). It’s to say how the most simple moral values are completely absent in discussions of Zionism in even a comparatively liberal Tel Aviv lobby blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: