Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Media Week - Low Blows; Acres of coverage; and Small steps and megabytes

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Low Blows

Anti-Zionist writer Antony Loewenstein advanced his dream of a one-state solution on the Conversation (30/7).

Loewenstein wrote that for Israel the "occupation is a God-given right to populate land", and claimed that the recent Levy Commission had "found that its decades-long occupation of Palestinian land wasn't an occupation at all. The report granted quasi-legal justification for illegally moving Jews into the West Bank."

The report did not endorse unlimited settlement building. It confirmed that legally the West Bank is disputed territory since no sovereign state was established there when the British left in May 1948, and various decisions by international bodies grant Israel legal rights in the West Bank.  And, as the report noted, since 1967 Israel has adopted a "pragmatic approach" in the hope of encouraging peace negotiations about the future of the "the territories".

On ABC TV's "Unleashed" (1/8) Loewenstein used an ostensible discussion on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's trip to Israel to make - unchallenged by others on the panel - another pitch for Israel's destruction.

Describing Israel as a "ghettoised, militarised apartheid country," he said "a two-state solution is over. Practically, on the ground, it is not going to happen anymore. So a one-state solution, which essentially means in a modern age a democratic, secular country where everyone lives together and of course that would mean undoubtedly, and I say this as a Jew, Israel and Jews would be a minority in that state."

Despite Jews having formally accepted the idea of sharing the land since the 1930s, Israeli Arabs having equal rights, and Israeli settlements taking up less than two per cent of the West Bank, perhaps Loewenstein can tell everyone when Hamas plans to introduce democracy and secularism into its proto-Islamist state in Gaza and when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to finally hold an election for his position, given his term expired in 2009?

Acres of coverage

The mix of ancient and modern in the northern port city of Acre received generous coverage from Brian Crisp in a continuing series on Israel in the travel section of the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Herald Sun (5/8).

"In the distance, about 10km away, there is the border between Israel and Lebanon. ‘People think Israel is not safe... And it is. There's no army here. No guns. Just people going about their daily lives. It is probably safer than being on the road in your country.'

Crisp called Acre "a mainly Muslim town", but it is actually 72 per cent Jewish.

Small steps and megabytes

Isabel Kershner in the Sydney Morning Herald (31/7) wrote of the "burgeoning Palestinian tech sector" in Ramallah which could bring much-needed prosperity to Palestinians: "Like Israel, the Palestinians want a resilient tech sector that can be a politics-free zone. ‘The occupation is frustrating,' Tareq Maayah, the chief executive of Exalt Technologies, said, ‘but Israelis and Palestinians have been working with each other in the worst of times. Now we are producers and we sell to Israel, as opposed to just being consumers. It's the start of a better balance in the economic relationship.'"

- Allon Lee

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