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My Israel Question


Posted on September 20, 2012 by Akashma Online News

by Antony Loewenstein

Antony Loewenstein during his presentation of 'My Israel Quesiton'

Antony Loewenstein during his presentation of ‘My Israel Quesiton’

Jamie Glassman is a British Jewish writer on The Ali G show, a comedy program known for intentionally offending deserving establishment figures. Glassman recently attended the Edinburgh Arts Festival and was disturbed. He wrote in the London Times:

“There have always been anti-Semitic jokes. But you know times are changing when you go along to a stand-up show at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe and you hear audience members shouting ‘Throw them in the oven’ when the comic suggests kids should stop playing Cowboys and Indians and replace it with Nazis and Jews.”

His conclusion was perhaps understandable but thoroughly inaccurate. There was, he noted:

“a growing trend among left-thinking people in this country and around the world to accept as dogma that those on the Left should hate Bush, Blair, American imperialism, Israel and, while we’re at it, the Jews. It is a cultural trend that I’ve found increasingly evident but never before has the Jew-hating element been so overt. This week has confirmed that my Jewish paranoia is not entirely unfounded. As the old saying goes: ‘Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.’” Counter Punch

I’m encouraged to hear Barghouti say that in the last 12-18 months, BDS is suddenly taking off across the world. He says he can’t keep up with the number of university campuses wanting to initiate programs against Israel firms and campaigns to convince Western musicians and artists not to play Israel. I’m told that Israeli music promoters are paying 2-3 times the normal rate to convince foreigners to come because the political price for doing so is growing.

Cultural isolation for Israelis is far from complete but it’s undeniably on the rise. For example, the fact that Madonna recently felt the need to try and bring peace activists from both sides during her show – Israeli liberal Zionists came while anti-occupation activists refused – shows the campaign is starting to bite. Mondoweiss  August 24, 2012 Palestine Occupied Territories

I am in Israel and Palestine for an independently organised tour of my new book, After Zionism (co-edited with Ahmed Moor). It’s a collection of new essays on today’s reality and examines the ways in which a one-state solution could be implemented. It features chapters by John Mearsheimer, Sara Roy, Jeff Halper, Omar Barghouti, Diana Buttu, Joseph Dana, Jonathan Cook, Phil Weiss and many others.

I don’t have any Israeli stamp in my passport because I requested at the airport for the officials to stamp a separate piece of paper to avoid troubles when travelling around the Muslim world. A customs official took that paper as I exited and I’m told by activists that this is an increasingly utilised tactic that only affects people who want to travel back and forth between Israel and the occupied territories.

Even when I arrive at the airport I am held and questioned for more than one and a half hours and asked why I have recently visited places such as Pakistan and Afghanistan and “how many Muslims did you speak to there?”

Of course, none of this harassment comes close to what Palestinians and minorities face on a daily basis in Israel proper and Palestine.

After Zionism, published in 2012 by Saqi Books with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution.

Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably.

This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Diana Buttu, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.

After Zoinism One State for Israel and Palestine book available in Amazon.com

The Shifting Sands of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: An Australian Perspective

Australian Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, speaking in March this year at a United Israel Appeal fund-raiser in Melbourne, said he was “a friend of Israel” and referred to its creation in 1948 as “Australian Labor government handiwork.”

In the same month, in an unprecedented move in the country’s history, Rudd praised Israel’s democratic achievements as federal parliament commemorated Israel’s 60th anniversary and highlighted the need for an independent and economically viable Palestinian state.

The majority of parliamentarians supported the motion, but one Labor backbencher dissented. Julia Irwin could not “congratulate a nation which commits human rights abuses each day and shows blatant disregard for the UN.” Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government/Centre for Middle Eastern Studies
ME Forum, 24 November 2008

Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based independent freelance journalist, author, documentarian, photographer and blogger.
Antony contributed a major chapter to 2004′s Australian best-seller, Not Happy, John! on the Middle East. His best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question, was released by Melbourne University Publishing in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition will be published soon in Indonesia and the Muslim world in Arabic.

He was a con­trib­u­tor to the 2008 Verso Books re­lease, A Time to Speak Out: On Is­rael, Zion­ism and Jew­ish Iden­tity.

Articles written by Antony Lowenstein

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