My Israel Question by Antony Loewenstein

My Israel Question
ISBN 052285706X
  • Author:
    Antony Loewenstein
  • Title:
    My Israel Question
  • Category:
  • Subcategory:
    Politics & Government
  • ISBN13:
  • Publisher:
    Melbourne University Publishing; 3 edition (July 23, 2010)
  • Pages:
  • Size PDF version
    1220 kb
  • Size FB2 version
    1666 kb
  • Size EPUB version
    1104 kb
  • Rating:
  • Votes:
  • Other Formats:
    mbr lit doc mobi
Leading a forensic discussion of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, this survey examines the prospects of the Middle East peace process amidst the new geo-political context. Acknowledging how the election of Barack Obama brought hope to millions around the world and generated renewed diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, this reference also highlights how the Israel–Palestine conflict remains mired in brutality and occupation. Taking into account the election of a far-right Israeli government, the indiscriminate war on Gaza, and the illegal expansion of West Bank colonies, this examination depicts how this combination suggests a bleak future for both Israelis and Palestinians while demonstrating how the public debate about the issue in the U.S., United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia is suggesting alternative ways of tackling the crisis. Mapping the ways in which this conflict is ferociously discussed, this investigation also outlines where the hope lies for resolution to the brutal impasse.

Great depth on the mechanics of media (and more)
Antony Loewenstein's book is essentially about his staunch opposition to the actions of Zionist lobby groups who are determined to portray all criticism of Israel and its policies as Anti-Semitism, in other words conflating the terms Zionism and Judaism. This is the central, and most powerful, message in this book. Antony Loewenstein shows that because of the concerted lobbying of media and politicians by Zionist lobby groups in Australia, the US and UK, it is very hard to have honest discussion on the conflict between Palestine and Isreal.

I found this book very hard to read, and not just because my usual fare is more in the way of fantasy and science fiction. I felt drawn to this book, but I didn't like reading it and often put it down. This book is a polemic, the seed of which is a conflict so ingrained that a resolution seems impossible. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories is an extremely divisive topic, and I am continually dismayed by stories of the unmitigated hatred that come out of this conflict every week. It is not unique; there are many other conflicts around the world that deliver stories of equally depressing portent, but this is the one I feel closest to, due to my name, my lineage: my own Israel Question.

This book has helped me understand what Zionism is, and how the relationship between Zionism and Judaism involves the longing for a home land - which is what the Palestinian people want too.

There are four main sections to this book, each of which show a different aspect of the same general theme. The first part outlines Antony's family upbringing and how his questioning of faith and politics affected his life. It explores in detail a telling event in recent Australian political history - Hanan Ashrawi winning the Sydney Peace Prize - which was a formative period for the author's own career as a writer. The second part is an excruciating exploration of Zionism and antisemitism, and how criticism of the former is portrayed as an act of the latter in so many different ways. The third part continues this thread, closely examining the role of lobby groups as powerful political motivators that warp this debate all over the world. The fourth part focuses more closely on how this lobby driven bias directly affects the media, making it so much harder to find equilibrium between Israel and Palestine.

There are almost 60 pages of notes and references in this book. They are as fascinating as the text, and show the wide variety of influences that went into what was written. My version was accompanied by a small booklet containing essays of a few selected respondents to this book: Julian Burnside Q.C., Justice Alan Goldberg A.O., Robert Richter O.C., Peter Rodgers and David Marr. Justice Alan Goldberg A.O. called the book diatribe, the others were more positive. Each essay gave a revealing glimpse into the author's history and politics, showing how they have affected and been affected by their Israel Questions.

Read this book to gain insight into the Israeli occupation and the wide ranging political and religious issues that drive the conflict. Read this to understand how critical it is that parties on both sides be able to debate as equals, and how this is perhaps the most difficult goal to achieve.

For over a year now I have been reading just about every book relating to Israel and the Middle-East that I can get my hands on. From revisionist historians like Benny Morris to old Historians such as Bernard Lewis; from vehement left-wing critics of Israel such as Chomsky and Said to staunch Zionist supporters like Dershowitz, I've tried to read as widely as I possibly could.

As I am currently living in Australia, I found the book to be informative and interesting in revealing the activities of pro-Israel Jewish lobbyists in Australia. However, that is where the merits of this book end. I especially found his defense of Hanan Ashrawi to be extremely unconvincing, since he fails to investigate her history adequately and simply uses quotes from her speeches to support his position. I would expect that someone writing a political text would be aware of the fact that what politicians say and what they do are usually radically different - as was attested by Yasser Arafat himself. Lowenstein's book is not a piece of objective scholarship. For example, he adopts the official PLO stance on the Camp David negotiations - that is, that Israel offered the Palestinians a state divided into Gaza, the Northern West Bank, the Central West Bank, and the Southern West Bank, while earlier in his book he cites Dennis Ross' "The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace", which in fact debunks that very same accusation. Another example is Lowenstein's dishonest accusation that there are "Jewish-only roads" in the West Bank, when in fact these are Israeli only roads, available to Israelis regardless of ethnicity or religion.

These little pieces of intentional dishonesty and propaganda weaken the credibility of this book, and lead me to question its conclusions not only regarding the Israel-Palestine dispute, but also its content about the Zionist lobby in Australia.

I wouldn't recommend spending your money on this book, but those of you who are interested in reading it should be aware that it is not written as an objective piece of scholarship, and should remain ever vigilant about checking his sources.
The reason there is so much animosity towards this book from Jewish writers is Antony has let the cat out of the bag concerning the Zionist lobby.
Antony reveals their incessant lobbying technique and dirty political tricks.
Antony Lowenstein believes there would have been peace years ago if it had not been for this group.
Antony is Jewish yet they still call him antisemitic