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.

Room for all views

My following article appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

The Israel lobby’s attempt to silence contrarian voices is counterproductive and undermines freedom of speech

Truly free societies are defined by the limitations placed on free speech. What is permissible or illegal often determines the way we view subversive, extreme or outrageous opinions. The US is the most open nation on earth. Other countries are not so tolerant.

Disgraced historian David Irving languishes in an Austrian prison for denying the severity of the Jewish Holocaust. It is illegal in Austria to minimise the crimes of the Third Reich and Irving once claimed the gas chambers never existed in the Nazi death camps. (He now claims to have recanted this egregious position.)

Leading Jewish American historian Deborah Lipstadt – who won a court case against Irving in 2000 after she accused him of Holocaust denial – argues that Irving should not be in jail. “I am uncomfortable with imprisoning people for speech,” she says. “Let him go and let him fade from everyone’s radar screens.”

Australian philosopher Peter Singer agrees. “How is the case of truth served by prohibiting Holocaust denial?” he writes. It is vital, he argues, that evidence and argument be marshalled to at least try to persuade doubters of the Holocaust (or any other historical anomaly).

In Australia, Irving has been banned from entering the country since 1993, when the Keating government blocked his entry (since confirmed many times during the Howard years). The Zionist lobby was keen to ban Irving – “a neo-Nazi hipster”, according to the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council in 1996 – principally because, in its view, Irving’s ideas might create doubt in the minds of Australians about the calamity of the Holocaust. He was therefore too dangerous to speak here. Irving’s views may be repugnant, but a ban only gives him the status of a martyr. He is not restricted in the US and is barely known there.

There is an unfortunate tendency by the Zionist lobby in many countries to try to restrict robust debate on matters related to Israel, Judaism and the Holocaust. The strong implication is that our secular society isn’t mature enough to withstand opinions some may find offensive or false. Alternative viewpoints and narratives should exist in a democracy, though when it comes to the Middle East, Arab or Palestinian perspectives are rarely offered the same column space or air time given to Israeli or Western sources. The present conflict should ensure we hear equally from Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel.

Isi Leibler, a former leader of Australia’s Jewish community who lives in Israel, wrote in a letter to The Weekend Australian Review last Saturday that “a large element of the Palestinian population has been transformed into a truly evil society. They have undergone a process not dissimilar to the draconian transformation of the Germans under the Nazis”.

In the post-September 11 era, such views tend to pass without criticism. But imagine the justified outcry if an Arab commentator dared suggest in the Western media that Israelis or Jews are an evil people undeserving of sympathy. Neither perspective is in any way acceptable, but only one would generate outrage from the established Jewish leadership. Yet these views should never be silenced but robustly debated. After all, Leibler’s comments are no less offensive than Irving’s rants.

Back in 2003, moderate Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize. The Zionist lobby was outraged and demanded that then NSW premier Bob Carr refuse to present the award. Pressure was placed on the corporate sponsors of the prize to withdraw their support. AIJAC issued press releases that accused Ashrawi of being a Holocaust denier, an extremist, terrorist sympathiser and crony of Yasser Arafat. They were all false allegations. However, she defended the rights of Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation, terrorism in Western parlance.

She is undoubtedly a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause – and this was enough to incur the wrath of the Zionist lobby – but she believes in dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Elements within the Jewish community criticised AIJAC for its aggressive tactics and attempts to silence her. Carr later told me the lobby was “producing too much hostility among journalists, who are sick of being called to account. I think they should be more relaxed about the fact that, in a pluralist media, there will be criticisms of Israel appearing.”

The release of my book, My Israel Question (only a week on the shelves and already slated for a second edition) has caused the Zionist establishment to again display a dangerous tendency to vilify critics. Last year, federal Labor MP Michael Danby insisted my publisher, Melbourne University Publishing, “should drop this whole disgusting project” and urged the Jewish community to “treat it with dignified silence”. Danby hadn’t read the book – I hadn’t even finished writing it – but he recently claimed he “didn’t need to read Mr Loewenstein’s book to know what it would contain”. MUP’s decision to commission me was “like commissioning Pauline Hanson to write a book about multicultural Australia”.

AIJAC’s Jeremy Jones has conscribed to similar tactics. A review in the Australian Jewish News – after comparing me with fraudulent writer and accused anti-Semite Helen Demidenko/Darville – claimed that my book has “already garnered a fan club among overt anti-Semites, anti-Israel extremists and others who are treating the author as a Jewish ‘useful idiot’ who serves anti-Jewish agendas”. The opposite is in fact true.

I have received hundreds of messages from Jews and non-Jews in Australia and overseas who are yearning for a more honest discussion about the Middle East and Israel’s role within it.

They tell me the silence around such debates has resulted in the ability of self-appointed Zionist leaders to claim they represent the voice of Judaism and Israel. They do not.

The attempt to smear dissenting perspectives – and the distaste felt by many younger Jews towards this tactic – is providing a moment of truth for the advocates of censorship.

Australian society is capable of handling uncomfortable truths. We deserve to engage with viewpoints that we find repugnant as well as celebrate. Censorship only achieves one thing: failure.

Antony Loewenstein is author of My Israel Question (Melbourne University Publishing). David Marr will launch the book tomorrow night at Sydney’s Gleebooks.

7 comments ↪
  • Addamo_01

    Two articles in one week!! My you have been busy Ant.

    Excellent article BTW. You cover a geat many points very well, and indeed, draw attentino to the paradox of suppressing discussion in case it should lead to people being misinformed.

    I imagine you are attracting a great deal of respect.

    Nwo abtou this second edition. What will it actually entail? Wil it be a re-write or an unpdate? When will it be out?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Yes, I've been busy, and there is much more to come. The usual suspects have responded as expected. Poor little dears.
    Now, the 2nd printing. Can't say too much about this, but it's not a re-write or update. Merely a 2nd printing (with minor changes.) Dare I say it, perhaps worth getting both editions (and let's hope we move to a 3nd printing.)

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  • Glenn Condell

    'Isi Leibler, a former leader of Australia’s Jewish community who lives in Israel, wrote in a letter to The Weekend Australian Review last Saturday that “a large element of the Palestinian population has been transformed into a truly evil society. They have undergone a process not dissimilar to the draconian transformation of the Germans under the Nazis”.'

    It's the Israelis who are turning into Nazis. Liebler knows this meme is multiplying at an exponential rate across the non-Zionist world since Lebanon so this is his pitiful pre-emptive strike.

    Is he the Liebler the Chaser people fooled one night as he entered the Opera? They were collecting for a scheme to send mainly Iraqi asylum-seekers back; he happily coughed up 20 bucks. What a charmer eh? He probably berated us antiwar types for wanting to leave that evil Saddam in power, but he'd send his victims back par avion if he could. How does such hypocrisy sit in a democratic Western mind? Easy, so long as millenial race hatreds are also in occupation.

    At least he had the honesty to eventually bugger off to live in Israel; I wish people like Michael Danby or Jeremy Jones, for whom Israel's safety seems more important than our own, would do the same. They talk a good democracy those blokes.

  • orang

    ". They have undergone a process not dissimilar to the draconian transformation of the Germans under the Nazis”.’"

    Gosh they can talk some shit these bastards. I can just see the Hamas boys, standing on tables and chairs in the beer halls, 2 ltre steins of beer in hand, fraulein under arm singing bawdy songs,..wait a minute Gaza is destroyed, no power, no food, no schools, where did the beer come from? Aha, those tunnels again.

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