Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

The long journey

The ongoing controversy surrounding my forthcoming book on Israel/Palestine, my publisher, Melbourne University Publishing and expressing dissent in Australia continues in this week’s Jewish News.

First up, a column by academic Mark Baker:

How to answer to The Question of Zion
Mark Baker

THERE is only one answer to the publication by Melbourne University Publishing (MUP) of The Question of Zion: write a book called The Answer of Zion.

Any other strategy is wrong – the knee-jerk call for boycotts, the cliched slogans of our hasbara departments, the hatchet jobs by our lobby groups, the threat to withhold charity. None of these strategies work because they avoid the real issue: the need for intellectual engagement with the issues raised.

Now one might argue that questions about Zionism do not require answers. They are no different, one might say, from questions about Jews – the so-called Judenfrage (Jewish question) – which has always singled Jews out for exceptional treatment.

To some extent this is true of Jacqueline Rose’s treatment of Israel. In a world of human-rights abuses, she is an active campaigner for a cultural boycott against Israel, and the thrust of her book psychoanalyses the violent subconscious of Zionism as though other nationalisms do not have this shared history.

As for Antony Loewenstein, while MUP publisher Louise Adler is right to say we cannot review his book eight months before its publication, she is being disingenuous in asking us not to recognise the nature of the work. Loewenstein does not hide his tracks. On the contrary, he trickles his thoughts on his daily web log, which is avowedly anti-Zionist, while stereotyping the Jewish community in the most self-righteous manner.

And then, three letters:

WHAT ABOUT AUSTRALIA?

I FEEL disturbed at the publicity being given to the views of people such as Professor Jacqueline Rose and Antony Loewenstein. Criticism of Israel is one thing, but calling for the dismantling of the State of Israel is quite another.

We Jews have a long and deep connection with the Land of Israel. And yet, here we have people who suggest that we have no right to sovereignty in the land. On what basis? Because of the unfortunate suffering of the Palestinian people? Let me ask them, to which other country in the world do they apply such standards?

Consider Australia for one. Our indigenous people are deprived and suffering to an even greater degree than the Palestinians. And yet, despite the fact that Europeans have no prior connection to this land, and our settlement is of relatively recent origin, I don’t hear them calling for the dismantling of the Australian nation. The same argument could be applied to New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and almost all of South America. Here we have countries colonised by Europeans where the indigenous nations are deprived. Not a word from Professor Rose or Loewenstein, or any of their ilk.

One has to wonder why Israel is singled out in this fashion. It is about time that we all stood up to the oh-so-subtle antisemitism that is behind these unreasonable demands for the creation of a bi-national state in place of Israel. Only a naive fool would imagine that the Jews are going to be welcome in such a state!

John Klein
Caulfield, Vic

DON DANBY

AT the moment, I am greatly enjoying the novel Don Quixote, in which the hero lives in a fantasy world and tips at windmills. Michael Danby MP is behaving badly, like the Don Quixote of Melbourne Ports. I am one of his windmills, and therefore a target for his practiced McCarthyism.

However, the truth of the matter is that I am not, nor have I ever been a “member” of the socialist left (I assume he means a lunatic faction of the ALP or perhaps something worse). The only sin I can think of has been siding with progressive politics and civil-rights organisations when I lived in both Israel and the US. Nowadays, I admit to being a moderate, balding, 50-ish, bicycle-riding and chardonnay-drinking non-aligned member of the ALP.

However Danby, other than using personalised vilification of poor sods like me, still hasn’t explained how he justifies his call for political censorship of the opinions shared by many Israelis and their supporters abroad.

Larry Stillman
Elwood, Vic

[ed: Stillman is responding to these fanciful claims by Michael Danby.]

CUCKOO-LAND

MICHAEL Danby is being criticised for suggesting that members of the Jewish community not buy two anti-Israel books, Antony Loewenstein’s forthcoming book on the Australian Jewish community’s response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jacqueline Rose’s The Question of Zion, published by Australia’s otherwise premier academic publisher, Melbourne University Publishing (MUP). Prior to the publication of their books (including Loewenstein’s in May next year) their ideas were so preconceived as to make the animus of their books absolutely predictable.

It is especially ironic that both authors support the boycott of Israel. Loewenstein has participated in an Islamic website, Western Journalists in Support of Palestine, which advocates a general boycott of Israel [ed: I have never “participated” in this website, though I think some of my articles may have been published there without my knowledge or permission.] Rose’s attitude is displayed as recently as August 18 in an interview with Open Democracy: “I think there should be economic and military sanctions against Israel, and an academic and cultural boycott as well. This is a time for deciding which side you are on, and what you can do to prevent the deterioration of the situation.”

This is within the context of where the worst leader of a national movement, Arafat, has made his most positive contribution by departing the scene, and where Israel has painfully disengaged from Gaza. This progress towards accommodation brings no acknowledgement by two anti-Zionist Jews who are being given a megaphone by MUP.

To most of the Jewish community, this cloud cuckoo-land must seem absolutely crazy.

Douglas Kirsner
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission

8 comments ↪
  • anthony

    I'm a noob at your blog, but is that true? You are actually calling for the "dismantling of the State of Israel" ??What? You want to get 6m Jews to live under the ever-so liberal democratic and human rights-loving Arab nations?… AAAAAH HA HA HA…. heh… heh…Classic. Your really just calling for 'reform' of Israel, right?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I've never called for the "dismantling of the Jewish state."I don't believe in the concept of a Jewish state, and nor do I believe in Islamic or Christian states. I'm not just focused on Israel. Religious states are from another age and have no true place in the 21th century…A bi-national state is ideal eventually, but right now, a two-state solution is probably the best short-term solution. We've still got a long way to go…

  • leftvegdrunk

    I particularly enjoyed Douglas Kirsner's comparison between calling for a boycott against a couple of books and calling for a boycott against a nation state which is occupying and repressing an entire people with brutal and often indiscriminate force. Cuckoo land indeed.I also note it is not MUP providing the megaphone for your views, but the line-up of critics that are generating the most discussion.

  • Shabadoo

    Sorry, you know, maybe I'm a little slow, but perhps you could parse the difference between "dismantling the Jewish state" and saying that you "don't believe in the concept of a Jewish state"? I mean, I see you couch everything in terms of two-state solutions and everything, but really now, it's fairly transparent that you're talking about tearing down Israel as currently conceived…what happens to the Jews who remain there? (And the Christians….as well…as they say over there, "first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people").

  • Ian Westmore

    The quoted letter from John Klein is interesting because of the way it twists the situation of Australian Aboriginals to support the Zionist cause when in fact their plight is actually an argument against the validity of Israel's existance.As I understand it, the first Diaspora occurred in about 670 BC, the second, final one, in 70 AD.If you believe the descendants of the Israelites retain a right to the land after nearly 2,700 and 1,935 years then how much greater are the rights of Aboriginals to this land. In some cases they've lost land rights within the last decade!And where do you stop? Do we hand England back to the Romans, Russia to the Swedes, most of Spain to the Moors, eastern Europe to the Mongolians…..? Of couse the other great argument is that God gave the land to the Israelites. I understand that may not be as clear cut as claimed, but no matter, the fact is Aboriginals, and most of the native peoples of the other countries Mr. Klein cites have equally strong spiritual connections to their land.

  • evan jones

    Interesting juxtaposition of two condemnations of Loewenstein and Rose:Baker: 'while stereotyping the Jewish community in the most self-righteous manner.'Kirsner: 'To most of the Jewish community, this cloud cuckoo-land must seem absolutely crazy.'The Australian Jewish community's attitude to Israel is both divergent and unified at the same time. One of the two above named must be telling fibs.

  • Mannie

    Mannie De Saxe: What is the Australian Jewish community, and who presumes to speak for it?As with all communities, the Jews in Australia are international, and come to this country from everywhere, including – shock! horror! – Israel! Their political beliefs, as well as their religious beliefs, are as varied as they are.Those who live in this country and attack those who criticise Israel should themselves look at criticisms they make of countries around the world, including the countries they have left to come and live here.If they are so upset by what Loewenstein and Rose say or write about Israel, one assumes they have the freedom to join Sharon in Israel and fight the fight.Criticism of Israel is as valid as criticism of any other country.To quote: "There are none so blind as those who will not see."It is obvious that Danby and the AJN and some of the spokespeople from other Jewish organsations in Australia will give Loewenstein and MUP much oxygen towards the sales of Loewenstein's and Rose's books.

  • evan jones

    AL is to be congratulated for disseminating the AJN handwringing.All our scribes, Kirsner most ingenuously, have neatly sidestepped the furious pace at which the ethnic cleansing continues. Does the media, in this era of instant information, not reach North Caulfield?Baker is right about existing strategies – 'cliched slogans of our hasbara departments, the hatchet jobs by our lobby groups', etc., yet he perpetuates a curious morality:'In a world of human rights abuses', we have a right to continue to support our own human rights abuser.Israel is a failed god, an apartheid state, built on racial exlusivity but inevitably nurtured on racial superiority. Tyrannies come and go, but Israel has institutionalised inhumanity.Get over Israel. Australia is Zion. The Promised Land is under our feet. It's time for the Israeli lobby to get out of the ghetto.