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John Pilger’s bizarre attack on Frank Lowy

September 27, 2011 – 11:53 am30 Comments

A previous cover of the New Statesman, also featuring Pilger, and described by many as anti-Semitic

Australian journalist, John Pilger, 2009 winner of the Sydney Peace Prize, has launched a bizarre attack on Australian Jewish businessman and philanthropist, Frank Lowy. New York writer, Adam Holland, does his best to make sense of it all.

John Pilger is not one to miss an opportunity to point an accusing finger at Israel, regardless of the wrong he’s addressing. Pilger has a column in the New Statesman (Sept 22) which focuses on a newly opened shopping mall in London’s East End to decry consumerism, ill-treatment of workers, and bad shopping mall design. He’s also upset that he couldn’t find a bookstore that he was looking for.  Pilger chose to headline this column:

“War and shopping – the extremism that never speaks its name: The Westfield Stratford centre, backed by a former Israeli commando and touted as the future face of London by the likes of Boris Johnson, makes a mockery of the East End’s history of productive work.”

Apropos of nothing else in the column (other than that headline), he includes the following paragraph, focusing for some reason on one of several co-founders, whom Pilger oddly calls “the” co-founder.

The co-founder of Westfield is Frank Lowy, an Australian-Israeli billionaire who is to shopping what Rupert Murdoch is to media. Westfield owns or has an interest in more than 120 malls worldwide. Lowy, a former Israeli commando, gives millions to Israel, and in 2003 set up the “independent” Lowy Institute for International Affairs which promotes Israel and US foreign policy.

Pilger may feel strongly about protecting the rights of workers and raising the standards for the design of shopping malls, or he may merely be using those good causes as an excuse to bash Israel on the most tenuous of bases. You be the judge.

(Read here: New Statesman – War and shopping – the extremism that never speaks its name)

From Wikipedia (grain of salt alert) I reprint the following thumbnail sketch of Frank Lowy’s early life:

Lowy was born in Czechoslovakia, and lived in Budapest, Hungary during World War II. He made his way to France in 1946, where he left on the ship Yagur, but was caught en route to British Mandate of Palestine by the British and deported to the detention camp in Cyprus. After a few months, Lowy was allowed into Palestine and was brought to the Atlit detainee camp. Lowy then moved to Sde Yaakov a small yeshiva school [sic] near Qiryat Tivon [and] eventually joined the Haganah and then the Golani Brigade, fighting during the Arab–Israeli War in the Galilee and in Gaza.

Those who oppose Israel’s existence, as does Pilger, view the role played by the Golani Brigade in repelling the Arab invasion of the newly formed state to be an evil one. That a brave young man who barely escaped the death camps of Europe and survived British “Displaced Persons” detention camps in Cyprus and Palestine would choose to defend his new homeland from aggression should, in Pilger’s view, forever ban him from the development of shopping malls in London. Pilger, forever the would-be freedom fighter, would have it that a small part of London’s East End is now Zionist occupied territory and the workers there are Britain’s Palestinians. If Pilger was standing on a soapbox at the Westfield shopping mall spouting this rubbish he would be regarded by most passersby to be a madman. Because he instead publishes it in the New Statesman, he’s considered a pundit.


This article was originally published on Adam Holland’s blog and he has kindly given us permission to republish for our readers


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