Australian Jews, a New Format, and Later Today

This blog began as a forum for for discussion of Australian Jewish issues. Because it began in Melbourne, its has tended to focus on Victorian governance and media shenanigans.

We hope, however, to commission posts soon from writers outside this city. Each community shares a number of challenges and some of these are national in scope.

There are also community specific concerns, some of which have been addressed in interesting and innovative ways. We therefore hope to publish writing that can shed light on issues such as direct democracy (Canberra), efficient funding models (Sydney), the challenges of maintaining geographically isolated communities (Perth), as well as insights into the diversity of Jewish cultural, religious, and communal life around the country.

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In other news, we are looking at changing the format of this blog to a magazine-style internet presence. An easier to read and navigate blog/online magazine is going to become increasingly important as our readership expands, and our content increases.

The blog in its current incarnation was begun by two people whose areas of expertise  do not extend into the high tech world of online communication. Wordpress enabled us to begin our dialogue with you, and to establish this forum for discussion. As we grow, however, a new design is clearly necessary.

Of course, the emphasis on reader participation via comments will remain a crucial element of the new format. We will never be a traditional “magazine” with one-way communication. Your comments will always be integral to what SJ is doing. We will keep you updated as we progress.

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I’ll be writing two more posts today.

Of course, your favourite independent voice and mine, Mr Antony Loewenstein, will feature.

While most of us can have a giggle at a silly post he has written on a very evil ethnic cleansing operation that occurred when Zionists occupied park space in New York to simulate a Tel Aviv beach, there’s a more serious aspect to the Loewenstein phenomenon.

How did he get to where he is today? What is the point in unravelling his pungent concoctions of misinformation and polemic? Does our writing about him give him publicity and legitimacy? Wouldn’t it be better to ignore him? Whom do we choose to ignore and whom do we choose to take on? What can he teach us about the way we conduct ourselves in the media?

Harder questions than these, however, relate to what’s going on at ECAJ. There’s a new executive director (Peter Wertheim). Who is he? What’s he going to do? Who’s paying him? How was he selected? Why do we care? The article in today’s AJN provides us with little concrete information, and there are some profoundly worrying aspects to the way such an important position has been created and filled. I’ll be emailing Robert Goot with the posted questions, and I’ll see if I can dig up an email address for Mr Wertheim.

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  2. Reader Response 5: Israel, Kangaroo Courts, Unity, Speaking Out, and Subheadings
  3. Loewenstein: Why Bother?
  4. An urgent request to Our Leadership for the Jewish reponse to anti-Indian violence
  5. SJ Signs off – temporarily

7 Responses to “Australian Jews, a New Format, and Later Today”

  1. The Goy Husband says:

    Dear Ladies,

    The news about the magazine format is interesting but also possibly troubling.

    Is the blog (with its in-house community focus and anonymity) about to go commercial?

    Is the blog going to expand its focus beyond the topics so far foreshadowed?

    Is it community orientated reform or savvy lets make a buck style commercialism?

    I am somewhat confused – what is the legal/intellectual property rights aspects of this. Do I or any of the commentators own their contributions or have a say in what is or not posted? Is there a governance process that ensures both transparency and accountability?

    Will the new format allow for non-Jewish, non-Zionist or non-Australian leqading writers?

    Who has editorial control at the moment?

    Call me conservative small c cautious – but the new venture may offer promise at a cost that is maybe too high?

    Otherwise – still worth engaging with.

    ps If you need the token goy, my meagre writing skills are available
    (back to the toil)

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  2. Hadashite says:

    Antony Loewenstein is a fearless, crusading journalist in what was once a great Jewish tradition of courageous dissent. Sadly, at least in Australia, this tradition is all but dead, almost killed off by Zionism and the imposition of tribal solidarity on the Jewish community that it made necessary. After all, let’s not forget Michael Gawenda’s support for the Iraq War in 2003.

    Antony is not afraid to step on some toes or shout loudly to get his point across. Because he says uncomfortable things, he is roundly condemned by those who would prefer not to hear his message. What’s extraordinary about Antony is that although he lacks the financial backing that the mainstream Likudnik hasbaraniks like AIJAC have in abundance, he has managed to establish an international reputation in the blogosphere. He is regularly cited by prominent American anti-Occupation bloggers like Philip Weiss and Richard Silverstein and his great dissection of the Israeli government’s shameless exercise in hasbara in New York – they created an artificial beach in Central Park populated by bikini-clad Israeli girls but naturally enough omitted any reference to Arab-Israelis – was disseminated widely.

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  3. Malki says:

    Antony Loewenstein is the only “fearless, crusading journalist” I’ve ever come across who cant seem to manage a single piece of writing without glaring factual inaccuracies.

    Perhaps his fans are so swayed by his emotive “fearless crusading” that they dont consider checking these facts for themselves.

    You are correct on one count Hadashite, there is a Jewish tradition which is all but dead. The most prized and valued tradition of Jewish academia and intellect, the age old ability to question everything.

    Yes, even Antony Loewenstein.

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  4. paroggan says:

    Antony Loewenstein has about as much legitimacy as a ‘crusading journalist’ as does John Pilger.

    Which, I suppose, has certain implications, whether or not you go in for Pilger’s brand of ‘investigative reporting’.

    Anyway, time to get out of inverted commas and into the real world.

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  5. frochel says:

    Hi Goy Husband,

    The idea behind moving to the new format is to provide easier navigation, minimise clutter, and in particular, provide a format that allows for the potential for a little bit of multimedia content.

    As far as commercialisation is concerned, there are no plans to move to a for-profit model. However, in order for the website to develop in coverage and quality, there will likely be costs involved. Therefore, we may at some point include some non-invasive, non-political advertising.

    As for our use of a token goy, we haven’t discussed it with the editorial board, but you know that you are Frochel’s favourite Goy Husband, and we would never describe your writing skills as “meagre.”

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  6. Eli says:

    Sj,
    You may want to look at Ning as a “free” platform, some small costs if want to use your own URL and remove Google adverts. I use it for my own site. “disclaimer..i have no shares in in Ning..lol”

    just a thought as i am sure you have already had a million suggestions

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  7. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Goy Husband. Thank you for your concern. There are a number of very compentent people working towards the new format.

    Please note: intellectual property is a grey area online. If you wish to copyright something, it’s probably better not to publish it in the comments section of a blog first.

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