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.

New image needed

Aluf Benn, Haaretz, February 16:

“In 2006 an ideological alliance has emerged between liberal circles in Europe and the conservative, fire-breathing Iranian president. Both describe Zionism as a European effort to get rid of the hated Jews of the old world at the expense of the Palestinians; both accuse Israel of exploiting the European Holocaust (which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies ever took place) to oppress the Arabs; and both would like to see it eliminated. The only difference is that the Iranian president proposes to the Europeans that they take back the Jews, and the European liberals prefer a Jewish minority in an Arab Palestine (as “a state for all its citizens”).

“Israel usually writes off such views as expressions of anti-Semitism. But even if that is true, the problem remains just as bad: Israel is losing its grip on important, influential parts of public opinion in the West, and is being shoved into the corner with rightist, Christian groups that preach in favour of a war of civilizations with Islam.

“David Ben-Gurion said that Israel’s fate is dependent on two things: its strength and justness. His heirs believed strength was enough. In the current election campaign as well as those in the past, the candidates are competing over who will annex more territory and hurt the Palestinians more. None are speaking of Israel’s legitimate problems and saying what must be done to fix them.”

I don’t entirely share Benn’s perspective, but it is a increasingly articulated position. For starters, it is intellectually lazy and patently untrue to suggest there is an “alliance” between “liberal” circles and Islamists.

Israel has a clear choice. If it wants international legitimacy, it must submit to universal norms, and maintaining an illegal occupation, while oppressing Palestinians, is a sure way to ongoing, and justified, demonisation. If, however, the Jewish state wants to be respected, it must cease playing the victim card, recognise its strengths and weaknesses and moderate its expansionist Zionism. The alternatives, as Benn articulates, are too worrying to contemplate.

5 comments ↪
  • rhross

    An important part of the required process of maturation for Israelis is being able to take full responsibility for what they are and what they do. The 'victim' mentality which is so entrenched in both religion and culture means that there always has to be someone to 'blame.'

    Beyond this Benn is at least able to make some important points. He can see something is wrong he is just unable, like many Israelis and Jews, to see it as solely Israel's responsibility. Hence the need for a 'plot' between Arabs and 'liberal' Europeans.

    But at least he can admit that things are going terribly wrong. That's a start. A small one, but a start. It is very difficult for human beings to change and even more so when they are fearful which Israelis are because of their beliefs in this day and age, more so than any reality.

    As W.H. Auden wrote: 'We would rather be ruined than changed; we would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.'

    This is not particular to Israelis and Jew, but it is a response which becomes even more calcified in cultures which believe not only that they are under threat but that they are innocent victims under threat. The raison d'etre of a 'victim' is always innocence, which means, no responsibility for what happens to them. The blame is always on the other, the enemy because only in this way can the mantle of innocence be retained. At least as a belief.

    When people are confronted with realities, however brief the glimpse, and you can't live in Israel or be in Israel without some glimpse of reality, then the 'illusion' is challenged and this intensifies the fear, which intensifies the need to deny, which intensifies the need to maintain the illusory belief in innocence. It is a vicious cycle.

    People like Benn need to be supported because, beyond the remnants of an inherent need to blame, they are still brave enough to speak a greater truth than most around them want to hear.

    Just as integrity and decency are usually killed slowly, in a death by a thousand cuts, so too are they reborn slowly, in 'thousand' small re-memberings, re-makings, re-workings and re-storings.

  • Addamo

    Very interesting post RhRoss,

    You mention the victim mentality where blame is placed on someone else for anything untoward that happens to in this case, Israel.

    Go to a prison and you wil find that just abtou everyone is innocent.

    In a way, it's quite an infatile mindset. Israeli and Zionist extremists take this to the level where they use the anti-Semitic charge for not being abl to have their cake and eat it too. Much liek a child who sulks when it is told no.

  • rhross

    addamo

    Victimhood has a voracious appetite. It must be fed, constantly because 'reason', ever lurking, niggles at the hem of belief and challenges one's innocence. So there must be constant reasons to fortify the defences, constant threats to justify one's sense of separateness and constant instances which can be interpreted as proof of victimhood.

    It is of course, a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you give out is what you get back. If you see the world as full of enemies then it will be. If you see yourself as constantly under threat then you will find threat everywhere, even where it does not exist.

    Victimhood is like any kind of mental illness, or unwellness in that it remains impervious to reason. that is why it is so difficult for people to reach a point where they can observe themselves and their actions with any sort of perspective. When you have a cult of victimhood entrenched in a culture and religion it is even more self sustaining.

  • Addamo

    Especially when it serves the purposes of an ideology and the interests of an elite few.

  • Leo Braun

    Wait a minute! How about having on board vocal Captain, within an attempt to diagnose the impasse: "Edward, you have called me a 'dill', accused me of lying? Said I was paranoid and dishonest. This is out and out abuse. Do you understand what ad hominem arguments are all about"?

    "The accusations just keep coming: Paranoia, denial, 'you have become what you hate'… etc"…"Edward, you call me paranoid? Hamas explicitly states that it wishes to kill Jews. It does kill Jews. I am a Jew. I am a target". Gewalt! "When have Jews done this"? "The fact is, there has never been anything remotely as fascist, racist and deadly as Hamas".

    Are you sure about that? Really? Where have you been indoctrinated, sleazy Captain? How about coming to terms with the occurred facts of life on the planet earth? Or you rather to perpetuate your Zionist chutzpah fabrications to the extreme!?