Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part LXX: Antony Loewenstein
Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based independent freelance journalist, author and blogger. He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Guardian, Juan Cole, Washington Post, Dawn, Haaretz, The Nation and many others. His best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question, was released by Melbourne University Publishing in 2006. He was a contributor to the 2008 Verso Books release, A Time to Speak Out: On Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity. His second book, The Blogging Revolution, on the internet in repressive regimes, was released in 2008 by Melbourne University Publishing
What made you decide to start blogging?
To have my own forum to write about Israel/Palestine and especially to counter the largely ignored crimes committed by the Jewish state in Palestine. Much of the mainstream media sings the Zionist tune, for a variety of reasons, and dissenting Jewish positions, thanks largely to the web, are becoming increasingly heard. I'm honoured to be part of it.
What is your best blogging experience?
Receiving countless tips, suggestions and links from readers across the world, keen to engage in a respectful discussion over the Middle East. A great number of sources in both my books were based on assistance from readers.
And your worst?
It's often amusing, though frustrating at times, to receive brainless online, ad hominem attacks by critics and partisan hacks. The rules are simple: criticise Israel and expect abuse, such as hate mail, death threats etc. Sadly, this has never had any impact on my work, other than to make me more determined. When it stops, I know I'm doing something wrong.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
Where to begin? One favourite comes to mind that highlights my battles with the local Zionist cabal:
Salon's Green Greenwald, Mondoweiss, Andrew Sullivan, Global Voices.
Sir Winston Churchill once described Russia as a "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in an enigma!" Could the same description apply to the Israel/Palestine situation?
Sadly, yes. In many ways, the Israel/Palestine conflict is very simple. The Jewish state has never been willing to define its borders therefore making any kind of settlement next to impossible. Zionism is about constantly expanding and establishing facts on the ground. The two-state "solution" is now dead, due largely to hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers on Palestinian land. A one-state solution is the only long-term answer, with all citizens of Palestine and Israel receiving equal rights.
How would you define the Australian blogosphere?
You recently blogged about the criticisms that exist concerning the relationships Australian MP's have with journalists. What sort of relationship do you think they should have?
A far less incestuous one. Many journalists boast of their intimacy with politicians, drinking and dining with them. The vast majority of "leaks" in the press are in fact sanctioned drops to favoured reporters. Skepticism towards power is vital in a healthy democracy, but alas many journalists and their editors prefer friendship to opposition with their "sources".
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Do you have a favourite political figure in history?
Orwell, a brilliant writer, perceptive, intelligent, skeptical.
Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?
In my personal life, any number of friends and family. In my work, I've had a few mentors over the years, including John Pilger and Robert Fisk. Today I admire people like Nir Rosen and Dahr Jamail, two young writers who challenge established "truths" in the "war on terror" and have no desire for mainstream acceptance.
Favourite Bond movie?
From Russia with Love
Favourite Doctor Who?
Forgive me, but I've never really been a fan!
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Vanilla (with a touch of coconut.)
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Adelaide, Melbourne, or Canberra?
Favourite national newspaper?
What would you say your hobbies were?
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
- Books: 1984, A Secret Country and Pity the Nation
- Songs: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Exit music (for a film) and Gimme Shelter