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.

Two peas in a pod

A recent report confirmed that a quarter of Israelis are poor and now another study, by the Center of the Study of Israeli Arab Society of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, finds even worse results for Arabs:

New book reveals more than half of Arab households in Israel live in poverty, Arabs discriminated against in terms of budgets, funding. Study recommends government take affirmative action to change situation.

According to the book, the situation of Israel’s Arab society, which includes 1.1 million citizens, has deteriorated in recent years, mostly due to lack of governmental funding.

The Arab community suffers from social and cultural problems, severe economic distress, and problems of violence, drugs and unemployment. Arabs are also discriminated against in terms of education, employment and infrastructure budgets, the study claims.

Researchers of the Van Leer institute who contributed to the book believe that without a drastic change in the Israeli government’s policy – mainly its economic policy – the situation of the Arab population stands to remain the same.

The researchers recommend that the government implement a more egalitarian policy – even at the price of imposing affirmative action – toward Israeli Arabs, and allocate more funds for infrastructure, education and employment.

Israel’s attempted suffocation of the Palestinian people will only lead to greater radicalisation and bitterness between the two peoples. Perhaps that is what Israel truly wants.

2 comments ↪
  • Leo Braun

    If you wish to know something about a given text, French philosopher Michel Foucault taught to check what is not in it: From that which is left out, or pushed to its margins, you can learn about the main thing. In anticipation of Nov 29 (03), the Israeli Education Ministry published a small booklet, consisting of 100 basic concepts divided into three categories: Heritage, Zionism and Democracy. A quick scrutiny of the contents will find that the booklet makes no mention of Arabs, Bedouin, Druze, Circassians, Christians or any other minority living in Israel.

    Indeed, next to the term 'minorities' in the index there is a promising reference – 'see minority rights'. But a look at the three places referred to … shows a brief discussion of checks and balances in the democratic system, intended to 'prevent the creation of a dictatorship and trampling the rights of the minority by the majority'; a discussion of democracy as a regime based on 'the minority's recognizing the rule of the majority' and a discussion of separation of powers that mentions again the importance of protecting human rights, especially 'of those in the minority'.

    Who is this hidden minority, that is not mentioned at all in the booklet? The reader can only assume that it refers to people whose position is in the minority, because this minority can, according to the booklet, 'turn into a majority at any time'. Surely the education minister did not mean to imply that this is the Arab minority in Israel. A fifth (20%) of the citizens of Israel are missing, therefore, from the booklet distributed by the Israeli Education Ministry to the citizens of Israel. They have no name, no voice, no mention or picture in the gamut of basic concepts of the state in which they live.

    As far as the Israeli Education Ministry is concerned, they are invisible, not there. None of them is important enough to turn into a basic concept. None of them is worthy of mention, even in a derogatory way; the booklet simply erased Israel's Arab citizens completely. Only in the context of the wars of Israel is the actual word 'Arab' used. Thus every child will know that an Arab is not a partner, a citizen, or part of democratic society, but an enemy. The Arabs are invisible not only as members of a national minority but also as a religious one. Islam and Christianity are not mentioned at all.

    The innocent reader might think Israel is sacred and central to Judaism only – the Mosque of Omar and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher have disappeared. The description of Jerusalem's history skips lightly from the days of the First and Second Temples to the War of Independence. In between nobody visited 'the empty city square'. This is an infuriating parallel to Yasser Arafat's foolish declaration that the Jews have no historical ties with Jerusalem. Only when they describe the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry did the writers in a moment of weakness mention Islam.

    Then, says the booklet, when the Jews of Spain lived under Muslim rule 'many Jews reached high positions in the regime's service … their economic situation was good and they were free to develop their culture in every way'. Such a golden age is not visiting the state of Israel right now, since its non-Jewish citizens do not appear even in a booklet released by its own Education Ministry. The Christians and Muslims may console themselves with the fact that the Progressive Judaism movement or secularity are not mentioned either.

    Judaism is all religion and commandments. Hevra Kadisha is in charge of burials, and the only ones persecuted are the ultra-Orthodox, whose picture decorates the concept 'human rights'. The picture shows a demonstration of ultra-Orthodox people, one of whom is carrying a poster saying 'no more incitement'. Israel is defined in the booklet as a Jewish and democratic state, by a peculiar, brief explanation. Israel, it says, 'accepts every Jew wherever he is and respects the values of Jewish culture and heritage'. One may assume the writers meant that every Jew may immigrate to Israel and become a citizen on the day of his arrival. Israel does not merely 'respect' the values of Jewish culture and heritage, but gives them an official status.

    The definition notes that tension exists between the state's two characteristices – the Jewish and the democratic – and what is the best example of that? 'Closing down businesses that sell hametz (leavened bread) on Passover'. Wiping out Israel's Arab and Christian citizens, the disappearance of the progressive streams of Judaism and the failure to mention women – not even one found her place among the 100 basic concepts and only the picture of Isabella, Queen of Spain, reminds us that women can have some sort of social status – left the only friction between Judaism and democracy in the realm of hametz. Ignorance is an acquired quality and is not difficult to cultivate. Meant only for the Jewish majority, by Yuli Tamir from an Israeli newspaper Ha'Aretz.

  • Leo Braun

    Antony: "A recent report confirmed that a quarter of Israelis are poor and now another study, by the Center of the Study of Israeli Arab Society of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, finds even worse results for Arabs"… Speaking of which compels on me to question what kind of Israeli Jews we were talking about? Since the Jew lesser brethren being commonly dealt-with, like the ostracised Goyim and Shiksas by the supremacist ashke-Nazim. In fact a review by Israeli Channel Ten TV station broke all conventions to expose one of the ugliest secrets of the Israel's founders – Zionist Labor; executed on mass via deliberate radiation of nearly all Sephardi Jew youth.