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 truth about the pro-Israel lobby’s influence

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

It is hard to imagine a less appropriate context in which to read Gerard Henderson’s latest opinion piece. At a time when we’re being inundated by grim reports of escalating carnage in Lebanon and Israel, Henderson has launched an extraordinary attack on the notion that a pro-Israel lobby influences US or Australian foreign policy towards the Middle East. Washington and Canberra support Israel, he argues, because it is in their strategic interests to do so. To suggest anything else is a “conspiracy theory”.

Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel, recently begged to differ. On ABC TV’s Lateline last week he noted that the US Zionist lobby wields significant influence, threatening congressmen should they dare to cast an “anti-Israel vote.” Similar tactics are directed at journalists, editors and their boards in many Western nations, including Australia, in an attempt to stifle dissenting views on Israel and the US.

Henderson conveniently ignores the primary source of much anti-Israel disquiet: the continued occupation of Palestinian territory. In what ways are Australia’s strategic interests served by supporting a state that occupies land internationally recognised as Palestinian? John Howard incorrectly claimed this week that, “Israel doesn’t want more territory.” How are Australia’s interests served by the uncritical support for a state that builds roads only Israelis are allowed to use and which isolates Palestinians inside walls, military cordons and their own towns. Any visitor to the West Bank will confirm this experience. As a Jew, it is shocking to see fellow Jews treat Palestinians with the contempt historically reserved for Jews.

Precisely because both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace, it is vital to discuss the complex relationship between Israel and the US in an open and frank manner. How the pro-Israel lobby influences the political process and the consequences of that influence are important questions in any democracy.

Last year Labor MP Michael Danby, the only Jewish member of Federal parliament, proclaimed that my publisher, Melbourne University Publishing (MUP), should drop my book on Israel and urged the Australian Jewish community to “treat it with dignified silence. That is our best response. If, God forbid, it is published, don’t give them a dollar. Don’t buy the book.” Danby hadn’t read the book. Indeed, I hadn’t finished writing it.

His defence? In an email he has since circulated widely and addressed to host Tony Jones the day after my recent appearance on Lateline, Danby claimed he “didn’t need to read Mr Loewenstein’s book to know what it would contain” and suggested MUP’s decision to commission my book was “like commissioning Pauline Hanson to write a book about multicultural Australia.” So much for an elected parliamentarian’s respect for the concept of democratic dialogue. Never mind the profound philistinism of condemning a book one hasn’t read.

I am proud to be Jewish and particularly proud of our ancient tradition of debate, dissent and inquiry. Jews have always questioned and challenged the status quo. Israel’s conduct should be an issue on which we are all entitled to be heard, whether as partisan advocates or sceptical critics. It is heartening that vibrant debate exists within Israel itself. Surely the Jewish community in Australia can handle robust discussion about Israel’s policies. A sustainable Israel and Palestine requires nothing less.

Antony Loewenstein is author of My Israel Question, published by Melbourne University Publishing

23 comments ↪
  • Progressive Atheist

    I am proud to be Jewish and particularly proud of our ancient tradition of debate, dissent and inquiry.

    I am proud to be an atheist and particularly proud of our relatively modern tradition of debate, dissent and inquiry.

  • thanks Crikey for giving Antony some added exposure today Monday 31st July. It prompted me to go to the Dymocks hunter st sydney store to buy My Question Israel. I was disturbed to hear that the downtown Dymocks store has ordered…….one copy.

    I tripped up to the main store in George st ..and thankfully got me a copy.

    what was pleasing was the extensive list of people to whom Antony acknowledges assistance. amongst them some prominent names ….( the late)Richard Carleton, John Pilger, Robert Manne, Margo Kingston, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Holmes, ..and 30 others.

    that the Australian Jewish lobby has reacted knee-jerk to the agitations of a dissenter is a given ..as far as I am concerned…at this early juncture.

    the book runs to 340 pages ..incorporating copious historical and most helpful notes plus 20 web sites including Rober Fisk's rabbis for human rights

    I'll read the book..and come back with my own assessment soon enough.

  • Oldman

    Ant,

    Congrats on a very articulate and confident conversation with Richard Fidler on the ABC's 702 this morning. The interview should be up on his page tomorrow if others want to hear it.
    http://abc.net.au/sydney/conversations/

    Oldman

  • Adam

    Hi

    A quick question to whom ever can answer it: Is the book My Question Israel available in the UK. Any information will be helpful as I have been looking forward in the release of this book for a long time. I have dozens of friends at University and local who also ask the same question as I “When is it coming out in the UK?” So, any information regarding the release of the book in the UK will be very much appreciated.

    Also, a few of my friends have asked if Antony Loewenstein has some kind of “Internet Banner” which my friends would like to put on their websites (including me) to show support to Antony Loewenstein and his book, but also to provide a source of exposure to his work (and generate more interest). So anything relating to the book release or internet banner to display on website will be appreciated.

  • SupporterOfAntony

    If Antony does not, I would be happy to create a banner as a graphic designer.
    Antony please get in touch with me if you would like one done.

  • Adam

    That’s good news SupporterOfAntony, as I think it’s a good method of maximum online exposure to Antony's work.

  • I'll be in for a banner, too, folks.

    Nice article, Ant.

  • Suze

    There's a poll at Haaretz asking what should Israel do after Quana- when I looked 60% of respondents had said "declare an immediate ceasefire".

  • Adam

    Suze

    There’s a poll at Haaretz

    Can you provide a link to this poll, it would good to observe it to see what the results are?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    People,
    Tne book is now available across Australia. It will available online (to the UK and anywhere else) within a few days. I will announce this on the site (but will be here:
    http://www.mup.unimelb.edu.au/catalogue/0-522-852

    Re a banner ad. Take a look at the ad here:
    http://roadtosurfdom.com/

    I'm happy to pass this along to anybody who would like it.

    Email me: antony@antonyloewenstein.com

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  • Trollwatch

    It's great to hear Ant's book is getting widely noticed. We can all do with some cheering up in these desperate times…

    Returning to the topic of the pro-Israel lobby a bit, readers with PCs might be interested to go to http://www.giyus.org/ and download the software for Give Israel Your Support (this was mentioned yeserday, but without the link as far as I know). You can quickly put it on your desktop and receive daily updates to important internet polls, problematic articles that require feedback, etc. Then if you are feeling mischievious enough, you can go to all of the sites and so on that they list and provide some sensible contributions (hopefully they won't start invading this site, but who knows?). Make no mistake, this is also a battle for the hearts and minds, which the Zionists presently do very well. This is one of the foundations of the pro-Israel lobby in my view. Use their own tools against them! And have fun doing it!!!

    Yep, Gerard Henderson is a schmuck.

  • Addamo

    I just came acorss this:
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/VIDEO__Ad_For_Z

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry over this one. 37 children blown to pieces, but let's save our sympathy for the Israli's who are forced to flee to their bunkers.

  • Addamo

    Now this is more like it:

    A news reporter (an Ozzy of course) taken an Israeli spokeswoman to task. Gawd these arseholes look pathetic when challenged!!
    http://wakeupfromyourslumber.blogspot.com/2006/07

  • Suze

    Adam the poll is in Rosner's Domain

    If anyone has not seen it already there is a video on the American Media and Israel/Palestine "Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land"(linked by Lawrence of Cyberia) at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-78281237

    Cheers

  • Addamo_01

    The Zionist swat team out there is probably follwing htese talking points closely:

    12 Official Guidelines for the Israeli Spokesman in Time of War
    Gilad Atzmon

    This war is all about our survival unlike all the other wars that were all about our survival. We must to stand up firmly and tell the world that:

    *Our army is the most humanist army in the world.

    *Our army always informs the helpless victims before we drop tonnes of bombs on their heads.

    *Is there any other army in the world that spreads leaflets before it commits genocide?

    *As if this isn’t enough, we always ‘deeply regret’ after we’ve committed atrocities.

    *Didn’t we ‘sincerely apologise’ after smoking four UN peacekeepers?

    *Unlike, the Hamas and the Hezbollah, we never kill indiscriminately. We always kill very discriminately. We kill Arabs whether they are Arab women, Arab elders, Arab children, Arab refugees, Arab disabled hiding in a Red Cross shelter in Kafar Quana. We are after Arabs and to speak about us as if we are bombing and killing indiscriminately is an utter anti-Semitic lie.

    *Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora must be very happy with our brutal assault against his people. Let’s face it, we are doing his job, we are killing the baddies. We are cleaning his streets. Indeed we start with the Hezbollah, but we will then take the war to Syria and Iran. We have it all planned with our friends in the Pentagon. We can’t really understand why PM Siniora is making such a fuss insisting on ceasefire. Indeed, a third of the Lebanese civilians are now displaced, but as you all know, in war shit happens (especially in the Israeli wars).

    *We the Israelis are at the forefront of the fight for democracy and humanism. You European and Westerners should support us. We are engaged in a dirty war you fail to fight. Is it a coincidence that Tony, George and Condy gave us a green light to bring Lebanon back to the Stone Age? Is it a coincidence that the Andrea’le Merkel sent us 3 Submarines as soon as she settled in office? Let’s face it, you all love us, and you better admit it, you love us strong and murderous. You all give us the green light to paint the region in red. And let me tell you, we love painting in red, moreover, we are really good at it.

    *And don’t you ever forget, we are the only democracy in the Middle East, when we engage in one war crime or another, when we breach the Geneva Convention, when we violate any possible humanist call, we always express our people’s democratic choice. We always do it in the name of our people. Don’t you forget, this war was launched by an Israeli national unity centrist coalition. This war is the call of the moderate peace-seeking Jewish voice. Unlike the Hezbollah, a tiny group of a paramilitary militias, our terror is nothing but state terrorism in its making. Our state terrorism is our democratic choice and it is supported by the world’s leading democrats: Bush and Blair.

    *Unlike the cowards Hamas and Hezbollah who hide behind women and children, we are brave, heroic and technologically superior; we successfully target the women, the elders and the children who may or may not serve the Islamic terrorists as human shields. We smoke them and them alone. We obviously believe in focussed assassination.

    *Although we clearly punish the Arabs for the crimes committed against us by the Nazis, we are humanists, we never behave like the Nazis, we never schlep innocent Arabs in trains, we never ship them to death camps, we never gas them, instead, with the support of our American Brother, we bring the death directly to them, we kill them in their homes, in their beds sometime just before dawn when they are still in pyjamas.

    *In short, not only we are humanists, we are the notion of humanism. To doubt it is nothing but pure and crude anti-Semitism.

    This message must be repeated time after time even if it doesn’t make much sense. It is a message that must be circulated regardless of its truth value. This war is not about truth, it is about the right of the Jewish people to exist in peace.
    http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voic

  • orang

    Addamo, pls review and resubmit.

    -you forgot Noble. The Epitome of Nobleness, Magnificently Noble ….

    -you forgot making the desert bloom, or is that passe?

    "…we never shiep innocent Arabs in trains,..?"

    Only because they don't have 'em. And where are they gonna send them? Jordan stopped taking them when they used to toss them over the border ages ago. Just wait, there'll soon be places they can get shipped to-Lebanon. Now that has good memories. Mind you those killers won't go peacefully, they'll make trouble. Well just have to kill them in situ. The Gaza Strip. There's two solutions to this. We push all the rubble down to the Egyptian border and start afresh, or we keep what we have and make the whole thing a theme park. It will catch on believe me.

    I heard Leon Uris is coming out of retirement to begin a new defining era for the Middle East with another book. The title is something like Israel, Oi Big Mistake.

  • Addamo_01

    Actually I forgot another one too:

    * We never drop a bomb on Lebanese children civilians without writing a message of love and peace on it first.

  • Addamo_01

    Some more evidnce that Israel is using Chemical Weapons.
    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=48

    The site is a conspiracy web site, but the article relates to a FOX news report and what can be seen in teh background.

    It's pretty clear that the a carpet laucnher is attached to the back of a tank – used to launch chemical wepoans shells. It is considered a WMD.
    http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/mines/carp

  • orang

    "..Israel is using Chemical Weapons". Well you see, they consider themselves so superior in their little Noble souls what they are doing is not "war", but pest control.

    Would you hesitate to use chemicals on say cockroaches for instance?

    "The Palestinians" would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls." " Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988 "

    or

    "The British told us that there are some hundred thousand negroes ['kushim'] and for those there is no value."

    (Chaim Weizmann, around 1917)

    or

    "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

  • orang

    Re; the "Carpet" on the Israeli we got beaut weapons site, who designs this stuff? Each one of those rockets weighs 46kg. Are they serious? Our boys are going to get a hernia loading this thing in the field, heaven forbid.

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  • Revelations

    no way does Judaism have a tradition of open inquiry and debate

    the rabbis, particularly the Orthodox demand that you follow only what they say, and that they are "Chazal" and authoritative such as Maimonides and Schneerson, whom both advocate genocide against non-Jews and consider them to be non-human

    they have the most neurotic regulations regarding everything from menstruation and erections, to toilet and sexual matters

    and for the menstruation laws if all 40 or so regulations aren't met they will be doomed with: miscarriage, giving birth to females, deformed and weak babies, death during child birth, death of the parents

    it was only in Enlightenment Europe where gentile civil laws allowed for individual Jews to be free of rabbinic prosecutions

    As Israel Shahak called it, "one of the most totalitarian societies known to man"