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.

Anti-Semitism, the reality

We are told that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Australia (even the Israeli press links to the same article.) The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) claim that attacks on Jews and “anti-Semitic incidents” were at a near-record high in the past year. The report’s author, Jeremy Jones, explains:

“The most important thing is that when people think they can get away with it [antisemitic incidents], that’s when they commit them. The atmosphere [during the war in Lebanon] was right for attacking Jews and getting away with it. It’s not what happens in the Middle East, it’s how the media covers it [that incites antisemitism].”

Is that clear? It’s the media’s fault, and not Israeli actions, that anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise. And who especially?

This is particularly the case when antisemitic views are broadcast on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission), as in the minds of racists this signifies that bigotry has received government imprimatur.

The report provides no evidence for such an allegation yet the tone clearly implies that even interviewing, say, Hamas spokesmen or dissenting Jewish voices, is tantamount to inciting anti-Jewish hatred.

The full report can be read here. It’s a long-winded and dishonest report. This is unsurprising considering the authors, but a few points need clarification. The report claims that the “Left” is infused with anti-Semitism. Some commentators are accused of daring to suggest that Israeli policies in the occupied territories are akin to apartheid. Others have argued, myself included, that being anti-Zionist is a legitimate political position. Of course, in the report’s eyes, this is contributing to anti-Semitism. In such circumstances, critical voices are, almost by definition, inciting Jew-hatred.

It is worth remembering the words of US historian Norman Finkelstein. He told Democracy Now in February:

In the United States among those people who call themselves supporters of Israel, we enter the area of unreason. We enter a twilight zone. American Jewish organizations, they’re not only not up to speed yet with Steven Spielberg, they’re still in the Leon Uris exodus version of history: the “this land is mine, God gave this land to me,” and anybody who dissents from this, you can call it, lunatic version of history is then immediately branded an anti-Semite, and whenever Israel comes under international pressure to settle the conflict diplomatically, or when it is subjected to a public relations debacle, such as it was with the Second Intifada, a campaign is launched claiming there is a new anti-Semitism afoot in the world.

There is no evidence of a new anti-Semitism. If you go through all the literature, as I have, the evidence is actually in Europe, which is Dr. Ben-Ami’s half-home ground, Spain, but throughout Europe, the evidence is, if you look at like the Pew Charitable Trust surveys, anti-Semitism has actually declined since the last time they did the surveys. They did it in 1991 and 2002. They said the evidence is that it’s declined. And the same thing in the United States. What’s called the “new anti-Semitism” is anyone who criticizes any official Israeli policies. In fact, my guess is had people not known who wrote Scars of War, Wounds of Peace, that book would immediately be put on the A.D.L.’s list of verboten books, an example of anti-Semitism, because he says things like the Zionists wanted to transfer the Arabs out. That’s anti-Semitism. It has nothing to do with the real world. It’s a public relations extravaganza production to deflect attention from the facts, from the realities…

His words could apply equally to Australia. Violent attacks on Jews do occur, and real anti-Semitism does exist. Such outrages should be condemned and prosecuted, but the ECAJ report is so politicised as to make its contribution negligible at best. Any criticism of Israel is deemed unacceptable. Damning Israeli actions in Lebanon is inappropriate. It is unsurprising, therefore, how few individuals speak out against such dishonest practices.

Half-way through the report appears these paragraphs:

The shallowness and intellectual dishonesty in some of the debate on the Middle East in Australia was evident in the reception accorded a book written on Israel and Australia’s Jewish Community by an individual with no particular expertise, experience or skills but who identified himself as a Jewish critic of Australian Jewry and of Zionism. While the book was riddled with factual inaccuracies and sloppiness, it was speedily given iconic value by a range of critics of Israel, including overt antisemites.

It was promoted and sold by extreme right wing political organisations, available at a bookstand which otherwise exclusively sold fundamentalist Islamic texts at a Muslim fair and the author was promoted by a variety of far-left groups existentially opposed to Israel.

The author’s personal moderated internet discussion forum published a series of items making offensive comments about individuals opposed to Holocaust denial and others accusing critics of the author of using “every weapon in the Jewish armoury of self-victimisation” , while the author himself used offensive anti-Jewish language, but the utility to anti-Israel groups and individuals of having a self-identified Jewish person who was eager to criticise Israel and Australian Jewry seemingly over-rode any concern with factual accuracy or concern with racism.

The report’s authors are too gutless to actually mention my book by name, My Israel Question, or my name itself (they’ll be happy to know that there will be many more surprises on these matters in 2007.)

Despite the best efforts of Zionist agitators everywhere (including this report’s author, Jeremy Jones, who penned a review for the Australian Jewish News that reached new heights of hilarity), my book has become a best-seller and is now well into its 3rd reprint. Of course, Zionists may comfort themselves with the thought that my book appeals to a very narrow section of society, but in fact the amount of mail I’ve received from across the country and overseas – young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, left and right – proves that My Israel Question has in fact spoken to many, sick of the tired, old militant Zionism that has failed time and time again.

Zionist “logic” works like this. Police the political and media arena for any comments that may be “suspect.” Attack mercilessly, accusing the individual of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, racism and a lack of patriotism. Watch the media take up the story. Sit back and enjoy the feeding frenzy. Of course, such tactics may have worked for many decades, but not anymore. Even leading Zionist Isi Leibler – who wants a Jewish TV channel to rival al-Jazeera – understands the current situation:

There is no disputing that at every level we are losing the global war of ideas. Despite clear evidence that fanatical Islamic fundamentalism threatens the basic fabric of Western civilization, Israel, and by extension the Jewish people, are now generally perceived as pariahs.

In contrast to the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel was universally acclaimed for having valiantly defended itself as a David vs Goliath against the combined might of Arab armies bent on her annihilation, today the image of the Jewish state has been reversed. Now it is the Palestinians who are the noble underdogs. Despite every conceivable effort to reach an accommodation, including disastrous unilateral withdrawals and spurned offers to retreat to the virtually indefensible 1967 borders, much of the world perceives us as conquerors who routinely kill innocent civilians and deny human rights to oppressed neighbours.

Israel and Jews are “losing the global war of ideas” because the Jewish state’s actions can no longer be spun to hide its brutality. World public opinion has noticed. It will take more than better PR (and a Jewish TV channel, could there be anything more parochial?) to reverse the tide. Better behaviour is rewarded. Just look at the US. Its international reputation has never been lower. We all know why (hint: Iraq and torture aren’t a good mix.)

If the Jewish community establishment wants to be taken seriously, it will have to do better than accusing me of inciting anti-Semitism or the “Left” of contributing to Jew-hatred. These mothers-of-all-distractions are about as effective as US foreign policy. The convenient conflation of Israeli criticism with anti-Semitism is a ploy that is both dishonest and counter-productive. I fear that these ghetto-minded Jews will only understand the failures of their tactics when international isolation forces them to either change (like the white minority in apartheid South Africa) or simply be forgotten as a racist relic.

Indeed, the tactics of the peace movement are working. Israel’s support is ever-more marginalised. The occupation is rightly seen as a blight on the Jewish state. Militant Zionism is now openly challenged in the public arena. There is much work to be done, of course, but the current ECAJ report on anti-Semitism simply contributes to the public’s perception that Jews are incapable of tolerating dissent.

2 comments ↪
  • Ian

    In contrast to the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel was universally acclaimed for having valiantly defended itself as a David vs Goliath against the combined might of Arab armies bent on her annihilation, today the image of the Jewish state has been reversed.

    Perhaps its been reversed because people have woken up to the fact that the 1967 war was actually started by Israel at least in part to steal good farming land [1] and that the mighty "Arab armies bent on her [Israel's] annihilation" were mostly Israeli smoke and mirrors! [2]

    [1]

    "….[M]any of the firefights with the Syrians were deliberately provoked by Israel, and the kibbutz residents who pressed the Government to take the Golan Heights did so less for security than for the farmland…[Dayan stated] 'They didn't even try to hide their greed for the land…We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was…The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us.'" The New York Times, May 11, 1997.

    — The New York Times, May 11, 1997.

    [2]

    ""I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to The Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it."

    — Yitzhak Rabin, IDF Chief of Staff 1967, quoted in Le Monde, 2/28/68

    "In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."

    — Menahem Begin, quoted in Noam Chomsky's "The Fateful Triangle."

    The fact is the only war not started by Israel was in 1973. The wars of 1948, 1956 and the Lebanon invasions of 1978, 1982, 2006 were all wars of choice mainly started to expand Israel's borders and expel the Palestinians in line with Zionist philosophy.

    ""[Israel] must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may, no – it must – invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation-and-revenge…And above all – let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space."

    — Moshe Dayan, quoted in Livia Rokach, "Israel's Sacred Terrorism."

  • orang

    Good work Ian. It just continually needs to be done I guess. Good liars continue to maintain the lie.

    The point is, the bullshit we're trying now is not believed – unlike the bullshit in 1967 which worked.