Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Herald Finally Discovers 'Balcony Over Jerusalem'

John Lyons' Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir (1917) is the most important book ever written on the existence and modus operandi of Australia's under-the-radar Israel lobby since Antony Loewenstein's 2006 My Israel Question.

Curiously, although it's been in the bookshops since July, the Sydney Morning Herald has so far ignored it - that is, until yesterday. Instead of the merited full review, however (and for reasons best known to those responsible for the book reviews in the Herald's weekend Spectrum), it was relegated to the following mere mention:

"On the balcony of their house in Jerusalem, foreign correspondent John Lyons and his wife, Sylvie Le Clezio, watched history unfold. 'Our balcony became our private time machine. We could fast-forward from the biblical past to the troubled present. We could see tear-gas being fired at Palestinians and rocks being thrown at Israeli soldiers.' From this box seat, Lyons ventured out into the Middle East covering the war in Syria, the downfall of Colonel Gaddafi and the Arab Spring. But it his reporting on the slow-motion tragedy within Israel and the occupied territories, and the public relations war waged by the Israeli government and media to keep its citizens and the rest of the world in the dark that gives this engrossing book its spine and force. 'If the whole world could see the occupation up close, it would demand that it end tomorrow'." (Fiona Capp, In Short Non-Fiction)

It has to be said here: it isn't only "the Israeli government" that keeps us "in the dark" on this issue - it's also the gutless, self-censoring Fairfax press.


Anonymous said...

It's no wonder the news trade ain't doin too well these days. Nobody likes to pay for fairy tales.

Grappler said...

I take issue with the view that Israeli citizens are being kept in the dark. There is certainly some self-censorship in the Israeli press, especially with regards to its violence towards its neighbours, as has been documented in several places. But some of the most egregious examples of Israeli government behaviour towards its own citizens and Palestinians are well-reported in Haaretz, for instance. It is the Western media that fails to relay this in an attempt to maintain support for Israel. Where in Western corporate media do we see that it is almost always the IDF that provokes violent interactions with Gaza? Jon Snow managed to force Mark Regev to admit it once between his whinging lies. Where in Western media do we read about Israelis sitting in deckchairs in Sderot watching and cheering on the bombing of children in Gaza. And yes I am using emotive language but with good reason! Instead we read that these poor Israelis are terrified of missiles from Gaza. How are the deckchairs going to protect them? Is this a new cunning Israeli anti-missile system?