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 peace in the Middle East

My following article appears in today’s Crikey newsletter:

Soon after Israel’s August 2005 evacuation of its Gaza settlements, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced the withdrawal “essential for Israel.” The Palestinians were suffering, he said: “We cannot hold onto Gaza forever, more than a million Palestinians live there…crowded in refugee camps, poverty and hotbeds of hatred with no hope on the horizon.”

More than one year later, the reality of Israel’s manoeuvre is clear. The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn wrote in September that, “Gaza is dying. The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation… There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets.”

Israeli linguist and Middle East expert Tanya Reinhart is currently touring Australia. Over a long career, she has comprehensively debunked the various myths about Israel and its alleged strivings for peace. During an interview on ABC Radio’s PM last Friday, host Mark Colvin seemed incapable of accepting Reinhart’s assertion that the Israeli establishment was the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East conflict.

During a packed lecture at Macquarie University yesterday – organised by the Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, on whose board I am a member – Reinhart explained the forgotten war against Gaza and explained how the removal of Jewish settlements did not end the Israeli occupation of the tiny strip. Israel retained control of the air, sea and land borders and all crossings out of the territory, she said.

She reminded the audience that even during the Oslo “peace years”, the numbers of Israeli settlements doubled. Although the US pressured Israel to withdraw from Gaza – not for moral or legal grounds, but rather political and strategic reasons – Washington has given free rein for Israel to undermine the Hamas government and impose an economic and military siege on Gaza and the West Bank.

Reinhart said that the majority of Israelis wanted to end the occupation, but the political and military elite had too much to lose by doing so. “Israel is ruled by the military”, she stated.

She even believed that the construction of the wall could be justified, so long as it was built on Israeli land and not across Palestinian territory.

When I spent time with Reinhart in Israel last year during research for my book, My Israel Question, I asked her whether she would ever leave the country due to the extreme political situation. At the time, she said she was grimly hanging on in the hope that things would improve. Yesterday, however, she acknowledged that it was time to leave her homeland “because I no longer believe that change will come from within.”

She will spend six months teaching in Holland and six months at NYU.

POSTSCRIPT: The Melbourne-based Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) is a limp Zionist lobby with no real political power. It was once at the forefront of fighting racism and far-right thugs in Australia, but in the last years has become yet another Israel right-or-wrong organisation, comfortable in its belief that Islam is the problem, Israel is blameless for the Middle East conflict and Jews are victims. In this noble tradition, it released the following statement today regarding Tanya Reinhart (try not to laugh while reading it):

The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) utterly condemns Professor Tanya Reinhart’s outrageous and extreme comments regarding Israel. Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Media Studies from Tel Aviv University, Professor Reinhart is currently on a lecture tour in Australia.

Professor Reinhart claims that Israel is:

– practising ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians;
– engaging in the genocide of the Palestinian people by the “systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy” which drives the Palestinians out of their lands;
– an “open air prison” and a “hissing serpent”;
– motivated by greed and control of water resources rather than security vis-à-vis the Security Barrier;
– justifiably targeted for terrorist attacks by Palestinians because they are a legitimate response to the fear Palestinians have of Israel.

On the recent Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Professor Reinhart claims that:

– Israel’s real aim in Lebanon was to extend its territory to the Litani River and to annex Lebanon into Israeli territory;
– Israel was sacrificing the lives of Israeli residents in the north of Israel for the wider goal of territorial expansion;
– Hezbollah’s only intention was to protect Lebanon from Israel;
– the “Israeli army is hungry for war”. She believes that Israel had planned the war in Lebanon and used the kidnappings merely as an excuse to do so.

ADC executive officer Mr Manny Waks commented: “Professor Reinhart’s claims are preposterous and extreme. Her comments should be condemned by every reasonable person as being counterproductive to achieving a realistic resolution to the conflict. Like her mentor Noam Chomsky, it would be better if Tanya Reinhart stuck to her field of linguistics and left the Middle East to others”.

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