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.

Denounced, but Jewish dissent grows

My following article appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

In a recent essay published by the American Jewish Committee, reflecting widely shared attitudes, Jews who criticised Israel and its policies were accused of stirring anti-Semitism. The executive director of the committee said “those who oppose Israel’s basic right to exist, whether Jew or gentile, must be confronted”.

It is clear, however, that a growing number of concerned Jews in the United States and Britain are no longer staying silent in the face of Israeli policies in Palestine and Lebanon.

A new organisation has just been launched in Britain giving voice to such Jews, for example. Independent Jewish Voices includes prominent British figures such as the historian Eric Hobsbawm and the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. Hobsbawn told the Independent: “It is important for non-Jews to know that there are Jews who do not agree with the apparent consensus within the Jewish community that the only good Jew is one who supports Israel.”

For too long, Jews in many Western nations have shunned and intimidated fellow Jews who speak out against the illegal settlements or the cruelty of the 40-year occupation. However, uncritical allegiance to Israel by its “supporters” is arguably a greater cause of anti-Semitism than the dissent they seek to suppress.

The recent release of a book by the former US president Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, has ignited similar debates in the US. He says occupied Palestine is comparable to apartheid South Africa. Carter told Newsweek “the plight of the Palestinians – the confiscation of their land, that they’re being suppressed against voicing their disapproval of what’s happening, the building of the wall that intrudes deep within their territory, and the complete separation of Israelis from the Palestinians” – is a guarantee of further bloodshed between Israel and the Palestinians.

His book, a bestseller, generated fierce discussion in the US. Carter wrote in the Los Angeles Times that for the past 30 years “I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints of any free and balanced discussion of the facts”. He blamed the Zionist lobby for its success in bullying politicians and the media into obedience.

Since the book’s release, David Horowitz has called Carter a “Jew-hater, genocide-enabler and liar”. Alan Dershowitz calls the book “biased” and “indecent”. Deborah Lipstadt says Carter is giving comfort to anti-Semites. Some Jewish members of the Carter Centre’s advisory board have resigned and rabbis of America’s largest synagogue cancelled a scheduled appearance at the centre.

More measured responses have appeared from Israelis, such as the Knesset member Yossi Beilin who wrote in the newspaper Forward that Carter’s words “are simply not as jarring to Israeli ears, which have grown used to such language, especially in respect to the occupation”. Although he rejects Carter’s claims of racism against the occupation – it is “rather a nationalist drive for the acquisition of land” – Beilin says Israel’s path almost guarantees turning the Jewish state into an international “pariah”. Indeed, soon after the conclusion of the recent Lebanon war, Ha’aretz admitted the existence of an “apartheid regime” in the territories.

Despite Israel’s denials of expansionist policy, the Israeli peace group Peace Now says about 40 per cent of settlements have been built on private Palestinian land. Such moves are illegal and do not provide more security as claimed. Furthermore, in towns such as Hebron, hundreds of fundamentalist Jews are allowed to live freely while tens of thousands of Palestinians suffer daily indignities.

The controversy surrounding Carter’s book is designed to avoid discussion of such matters. The smears against Carter are similar to the reception of two US academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who released a paper, The Israel Lobby, which was critical of that lobby in the US. It sparked a furore. The Zionist lobby has not realised playing the man no longer works.

While the settlements continue to expand, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert – who recently praised the Iraq war as bringing “stability” to the Middle East – has appointed a far-right extremist as deputy prime minister. Avigdor Lieberman has called for the bombing of Iran and Egypt and the murder of Arab Knesset members who talk to Hamas.

How can a democracy in the heart of the Middle East support a man who campaigns for the forced separation of Jews and Arab in Israel proper and the occupied territories?

Now that a growing number of concerned Jews are raising their voices publicly despite their community’s pressure, there is a hopeful sign for more dialogue and thereby wider public understanding.

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

  • Is this the fish that Rupert rejected?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    yes and no. piece was reworked, rewritten and altered greatly, so…

  • Ajay

    Well this is a real positive development, the reality is that Israeli's their supporters around the world are the people who must take both action and resonsibility for what they allow the government of Israel to do in their name – both the good & the bad.

    What we need now is for Australians and Americans to become more effective critics of their governing elites and their corruption & distorted ideology. Saving others is not the issue, getting our own house in order is the real problem.

    The reality is that in the 1930's, had the people and leaders of Germany & Italy held their politicians more accountable, then we may not have suffered the great tragedies of war and crimes against humanity.

    Domestic appeasement or indifference of crazy policies and actions is the real issue – not foreign intervention. We all need to take responsibility for the consequences of our actions & inactions.

  • I sent a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald which they don't seem interested in publishing. Since noone else will see it, here it is:

    Letter to the Editor

    Antony Loewenstein should be congratulated for bravely pointing out what any objective analysis of the Arab/Israeli situation would confirm – Israel's occupation of Palestine is a crime, comparable to apartheid in South Africa. Anyone who doubts this should check out Israel's unequalled record of non – compliance with the UN Security council. Such ideas are of course sacrilege in Australia and the US, though not in Israel where the debate is much more open. Now, watch the backlash, obfuscation and personal attacks on Loewesnstein begin.

  • Pingback: Jewish dissent: the response at Antony Loewenstein()