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.

Some reviews

The following review of My Israel Question appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 5:

Missed chance to deal fairly with an intractable issue

Reviewed by Philip Mendes

Antony Loewenstein is a highly controversial figure in Australia’s Jewish community due to his aggressive public criticisms of the state of Israel. His reputation as a militant anti-Zionist dissenter will only be reinforced by this overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian text.

Loewenstein’s basic argument is that Israel is primarily, if not solely, responsible for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Israel is described as a rapacious, intransigent and aggressive apartheid state pursuing colonial and murderous policies, while Israelis are stereotyped as intolerant, racist and callous.

In contrast, he depicts the Palestinians are largely defenceless and innocent victims and provides only limited discussion of the long history of Palestinian hatred for and violence towards Israel. He also fails to mention the significant wholesale expulsion of Jews from Arab countries following the establishment of Israel and the history of virulent anti-Zionist campaigns in Australia.

His discussion of key historical events such as the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the failing of the July 2000 Camp David Summit leans heavily towards the Palestinian narrative.

Loewenstein attributes Western support for Israeli policies to the pressures of the “Zionist lobby”, which he constructs as a unified and omnipotent cabal. He refers particularly to the key role played respectively by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. According to Loewenstein, these groups attack any critics of Israel with threats, abuse, intimidation and harassment. He also implies donations by powerful Jewish businessmen disproportionately shape political views towards Israel. Some of the language used in this discussion seems reminiscent of historical stereotypes of Jews as wielding secret financial power and influence.

To be sure, Loewenstein accumulates an impressive amount of academic and popular research data in support of his arguments. And in parts he also seems to be searching for balance, particularly where he recognises the increasing use of anti-Semitic stereotypes by left critics of Israel. Some of his criticisms of the ultra-aggressive strategies of AIJAC are also shared by many mainstream Australian Jews. But the majority of his discourse is a simplistic and superficial analysis of interest group politics.

The major omission here is a detailed comparative discussion of the role played by Arab lobby groups. Loewenstein dismisses them as poorly organised and less influential, yet the Arab vote is much larger than the Jewish vote, and the pro-Palestinian lobby has succeeded into capturing key academic centres at ANU and Macquarie. Loewenstein himself was even appointed to the board of the Macquarie Centre for Middle East Studies.

There are also numerous serious political and historical clangers in the book. The former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin was the leader of the Irgun not the Stern Gang; the Australian Jewish News actively promotes diversity and does not suppress Jewish views critical of Israel; former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam lost popularity in the Jewish community because of the open hostility he expressed towards Jews as well as Israel; the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission is an inclusive and moderate rather than hardline lobby group; and Noam Chomsky did provide a political character reference for French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson.

This book is a missed opportunity. It will no doubt appeal to those who simplistically view the Israelis as evil oppressors, and the Palestinians as oppressed victims. But those hoping for a serious and nuanced examination of the complexity of the Middle East conflict will be disappointed.

Philip Mendes is senior lecturer in social policy at Monash University and co-editor of Jews and Australian Politics (Sussex Academic Press)

A review also appeared in the Melbourne Age on August 5 and the August edition of the Socialist Alternative.

15 comments ↪
  • Captain

    How many times have you been to Israel, Ant?

  • The major omission here is a detailed comparative discussion of the role played by Arab lobby groups. Loewenstein dismisses them as poorly organised and less influential, yet the Arab vote is much larger than the Jewish vote.

    Yes, the Arab vote ..if you can call it that IS much larger in Australia than the Jewish vote. Still doesn't make their "lobby groups" more organised or less shambolic. There are a few pockets of very well organised Muslim Arab aparatchiks in some NSW ALP branches (on the right of course) and a couple of very clued up Maronite Christian branchstackers holding the fort in ONE Liberal Party local branch, but that's the extent of it.

    Captain – what are you a Captain of? The Lower North Shore Hungry Hungry Hippo deathmatch tournament team?

  • Roonaldo

    Well, if this is the best that Mendes that throw, then the lobbyists are failing. And what's all this about "capturing key academic centres at ANU and Macquarie"? What rubbish and what a slur on the academic reputation of those who work at these institutions. Does this mean the other side has set out "capture" academic centres elsewhere, such as Sydney University? Perhaps they succeeded at Monash.

  • orang

    bad Antony for kicking the underdog.

  • Addamo_01

    How many children have you killed Captain?

    How many books have you written?

  • Addamo_01

    The former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin was the leader of the Irgun not the Stern Gang

    Good one. If you're going to point out that Israel was founded on terrorism, you've got to get the name of the terrorist organisations right.

  • Captain

    How many children have I killed : check this out.

    How many trashy books have I written: none.

  • Mac and ANU could be called "key academic centres" in terms of Middle East politics. But yeah, this really isn't that much of a hammering from Mendes. I think his accusation that Ant paints ALL Israelis as intolerant and callous is another bit of poetic licence. Ant has always pushed the line that the strongest criticism of the the state of Israel come from within Israel itself.

    But hey, the new conversation is out there and his review is a part of that. It's great to see the discussion happening.

  • Addamo_01

    How many children have I killed : check this out.

    Wow, that's less than half the number fo children the IDF killed in Lebanon these last three weeks and less that 15% the numeber of children killed by the IDF suring that same period.

    How many trashy books have I written: none.

    So I take it, you have written none? How many have you read, apart from the one you have molded your ideologoy on, Mein Kampf?

  • Addamo_01

    The book is selling v strongly.

    Congratulations Ant.

    Hope it becomes a best seller.

  • Roonaldo

    Sssshhh! Don't let Captain in on the secret. The more he and his propagandists attempt to smear the book, the more copies it will sell as people find out for themselves what the controversy is all about. Hopefully this book will be appearing on the reading lists of students at universities and colleges in many countries (or at least those academic sites not "captured" by the Captain's mates).

  • "—-the Australian Jewish News actively promotes diversity and does not suppress Jewish views critical of Israel" says Philip Mendes.

    but of course he is wrong! The Israel Zionist Times aka The Australian Jewish News does NOT promote diversity and DOES suppress views critical of Israel – as well as suppressing other views on many topics the AJN disapproves of – just ask its owner, never mind the editor.

    And ALL books contain errors – no doubt even those written by Philip Mendes.

    All Mendes is doing is reinforcing the attitude that anti-zionists are not entitled to express their views – they are just Jewish anti-semites.

    Review the book by all means, but don't disguise this by a personal attack on the author. I also agree that Mendes insulted academic institutions by his slur on Antony's appointment at Macquarie University.

    Oi vey!!

  • Ian

    The major omission here is a detailed comparative discussion of the role played by Arab lobby groups. Loewenstein dismisses them as poorly organised and less influential, yet the Arab vote is much larger than the Jewish vote,

    There may be more Arabs living here than Jews, but the proof that they are indeed "poorly organised and less influential" is that Howard doesn't loose a second of sleep worrying about the electoral costs of openly supporting, even encouraging, Israel's war crimes in Lebanon.

    Loewenstein himself was even appointed to the board of the Macquarie Centre for Middle East Studies.

    Huh? Have I missed something, has Antony recently discovered he was adopted and thus hastily converted to Islam to reflect an Arabic heritage?

  • It would appear that the clumsy Zionist hatchet jobs on My Israel Question have worked a treat, it is now impossible to book a spot at Ant's book launch at Gleebooks tomorrow night…

  • Addamo_01

    Come on Ant,

    Fess up. These Zionazi's are just a rentacrowd PR mob in diguise right? From appearances it seem they are worth every penny.