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.

So many Jewish voices

The following letter appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

The letter from Grahame Leonard and other leaders of Australian Jewry (Letters, 7/3) misses the point as to why hundreds of Australian Jews have signed an open letter calling for more open and reasoned debate on the Middle East within and beyond the Jewish community.

We are not disputing the fact that these leaders are, as their letter states, opposed to vilification and intimidation on racial or religious grounds. But what we do dispute is the McCarthy-like vilification of those who do not toe the “Israel right or wrong” position of powerful individuals and organisations in the community. Saying that we should stand for election to Jewish community bodies if we are not happy is not a solution to the much broader problem of the manipulation of historical insecurities in the Jewish community in Australia and in many other countries. Nor does this solution help with the boots-and-all approach of some leaders to the publication of reasoned criticism of the Israeli government from outside the Jewish community.

Critical views of Israel held by many Australian Jews do not threaten Israeli security. Our views are, by and large, based on the criticism of Israeli policies and actions which appear in the free Israeli press itself. We are told that those who are critical of Israel are supporters of Palestinian terror or duplicitous anti-Semites and that, as the British journalist and author Melanie Phillips, a recent guest of the neo-con (and unelected) Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council has put it, we set in place the foundations for a second Holocaust.

This is the sort of intimidation that offends so many people today and why people are speaking out.
Larry Stillman
Elwood, Vic

The following letter appears in today’s Age newspaper:

If Age readers are still in any doubt about how the Jewish establishment treats dissenting voices, they might like to read the following.

Last week, before the letter to which I was a signatory had been published, the Australian Jewish News ran a news story whose first paragraph ran as follows: “A new coalition of Australian Jews critical of Israeli security policies is set to launch a nationwide campaign voicing its dissent against the Jewish State and its supporters.”

Later in the news item, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein was quoted as saying: “Despite the wording of the declaration, it is clearly being used as a publicity stunt by a minuscule number of Jewish-born individuals who have adopted the ugly but increasingly common belief that alone among the world’s nations, Israel has no right to exist.”

Both the news lead and Dr Rubenstein’s comments were classic examples of why the letter was written and the group was formed. Note that signatories are not Jews: they are “Jewish-born individuals”. They are not unhappy with specific Israeli government policies and their uncritical promulgation by local Jewish leaders: they are dissenters “against the Jewish State” and they believe that “Israel has no right to exist”.

I would not have signed the letter or joined its sponsoring group, Independent Australian Jewish Voices, if I thought it was arguing for this position.

What is most galling, however, is that the moderate sentiments in the letter have been treated with such appalling heavy-handedness.

Both the AJN and Dr Rubenstein demonstrated, by these pre-emptive smears and vicious distortions, the truth of a central statement in the letter: “Our concern for justice and peace in the Middle East is a legitimate opinion and should be met by reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation.”
Henry Rosenbloom, Carlton North

The following letter appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

The Australian Jewish community is one of robust debate and open democracy. Consequently, one reads the announcement of the launch of Independent Australian Jewish Voices with a sense of intrigue and apprehension.

Antony Loewenstein and his group call for “a just peace that recognises the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all”. That is, of course, entirely consistent with the reasoned and sensible policy positions articulated by the elected leadership of the Australian Jewish community.

Next, they call for “reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation”. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has been at the forefront of fighting vilification and intimidation, not only of Jews but of all who face unlawful vilification.

The leadership of the Australian Jewish community is a credible voice in public forums precisely because we use reasoned argument to pursue sensible policies and we base our positions on sound research. We are more than prepared to expose the factually flawed, poorly reasoned material that Loewenstein applauds, such as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s attempt to smear the organised American Jewish community.

The group then says that it seeks “debate to further the prospects of peace, security and human rights in the Middle East”. Anyone who has witnessed debate at established open forums such as the monthly public meetings of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies will tell you that debate and airing of diverse views is the norm within the Jewish community.

Members of Independent Australian Jewish Voices could take advantage of the democratic processes which elect the leadership of our Jewish community and nominate for election to these bodies. That they choose not to, but instead imply the Jewish community leadership acts in ways it does not, speaks volumes as to their concern for democratic ideals.

David D. Knoll NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and Grahame Leonard, Executive Council of Australian Jewry

8 comments ↪
  • Suze

    Once again one has to wonder why, if the community is so welcoming of diverse opinions, David Knoll and Grahame Leonard felt the need to write this letter? Surely, if we are to take them at their word, they should be welcoming yet another outlet for jewish voices with open arms.

  • ej

    I like Knoll and Leonard's preposterous claim of their attachment to reasoned argument and sound research.

    Let them stand in a queue at a checkpoint, let them stand in the rubble of a demolished house, let them survey the fields of uprooted orange and olive groves, let them visit the devastated infrastructure of what exists of the Palestinian administrative apparatus, let them survey the inmates of the Israeli political prisoner network and the terms on which such prisoners are held, let them survey the Palestiniana refugee camps in which generations have come and gone, let them survey the heartbreak of families separated becuase of their race, let them stand face to face with the parents of Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, etc., etc.

    The obliteration of all this self-evident facts on the ground constitutes the reasoned argument and sound research of the Hasbara. Goebbels had nothing on this crowd.

    Meanwhile, AL missed reproducing the letter from Diane Armstrong, also in this morning's SMH. Armstrong finished her letter with the declamation that: 'ultimately peace in the area can only be made by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders themselves'. Just like asking the Nazis and the Jewish communities under their control to get together to resolve their differences amicably.

  • Adrian

    I urge you to challenge the Australian Jewish News to do both a favourable and a critical review of Ilan Pappe's new book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." This book is extremely confronting for most Jews with its tales of Jewish brutality towards long entrenched Palestinian settlements in late '47 and well into 1948. It demolishes the myth that Arabs left their homes voluntarily in anticipation of a looming conflict between Arab League Forces and Zionist forces. The book shows comprehensively that Zionists such as Ben-Gurion always planned to forceably expel the Palestinians and to take over their homes for the greater good of a Jewish homeland. Its a great book which challenges many assumptions held dear by people such as Rubenstein about the legitimacy of a solution to the ongoing conflict which does not acknowledge the great crimes committed by Jews, against innocent Palestinians, whose only crime were to live in an area coveted by Zionist expansionists. I urge you to read the book.

  • The letters in today's (Thursday 8 March 2007)Age newspaper from two Jewish organisations' so-called elected democratic representatives made my blood pressure rise enormously to the extent that I had to send off the letter below to The Age as soon as possible. Like yesterday's letter, this one will probably also not be published in that newspaper which used to be at the forefront of progressive thinking in Australia but now ends up on a level with the Murdoch gutter press.

    Mannie De Saxe

    2/12 Murphy Grove

    Preston

    Vic 3072

    Phone: (03) 9471 4878

    Email: josken@zipworld.com.au

    UNREPRESENTATIVE SWILL

    The claim by two Jewish groups that “The Australian Jewish Community’s elected representative bodies are open and democratic, which is why the claims of the so-called “Independent Australian Jewish Voices” should not be treated at face value” is a blatant lie!

    Who elected them, who do they represent, and how were the votes recorded?

    The Australian Electoral Commission does not have a recording of all Jewish voters in Australia and does not conduct elections to these so-called elected representative bodies. As Paul Keating so infamously said, these bodies are “unrepresentative swill” and are certainly not democratic!

    When a Jewish gay group requested affiliation to the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, they were infamously refused – just as John Howard refuses recognition of the human rights of sexual minority groups in Australia.

    Jewish minority voices are not heard in this country, and we now have the opportunity of changing all this. We are making progress and our voices will be heard more and more. As of yesterday there were already approximately 400 signatories and the numbers are growing. How many signatories are there in the abovementioned “representative bodies”?

    Mannie De Saxe, Jews Against Oppression and Occupation

  • Harmlessbuff

    It is odd that Dr Rubenstein et al have reacted so swiftly to your initiative to try and have a less one-eyed debate about Israel.
    The Israel right or wrong push have a stranglehold on Australian politics and media.
    I have never seen anything in the Australian press that is even the slightest bit critical of Israeli govt policies.
    Are there any examples of such a beast?
    Our politicans are similarily mute.
    John didn't get the B'nai B'rith international Presidential Gold Medal last year for nothing.
    He got it for "outstanding" support of Israel.
    What are thay worried about?
    I don't think Israeli Jews are going to have their "divine service" interrupted by anthing emanating from Australia.
    Dr Rubenstein can count on nothing but continued support from the Australian polity.
    Good luck Anthony, but it's a pity you don't recognise perfect when you see it.

  • Where were the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry when Israeli fighter jets were raining cluster bombs down on Lebanese civilians?

  • ej

    Brownie points to Mannie dw Saxe for uplisting a would-be letter that, on the balance of probability, would not be published. The revenge of the refusees.

    The censorship of cowardly letters editors, of opinion page editors, in the face of the omnipresent pro-Israel lobby is legend. All media insiders know the situation. Better still, the capturing of the opinion pages by one's own team where possible, as in the Oz and the AFR.

    The Oz, ironically, has opened a window with the comments box on the letters, electronic version. Censor the letters and ruthlessly control the opinion page, but then open the comments to (generally) uncensored opinion. Fairfax, by contrast, is still hanging on to old rules. YOu can't publish an honest letter about Israel without having a countervailing load of bollocks from the usual suspects. You still can't get an anti-Zionist article on the opinion page. At least Gawenda is gone from the Age, writing shit from the US, but basically, both Murdoch and Fairfax remain unreconstructed.

    The quintessential, comical, moment of the local Zionist hasbara was Lapkin's rewriting of history on the destruction of the USS Liberty in the letters pages of the Fairfax press. This in Australia, when few readers would have known or cared about an incident lost in the mists of time, but Lapkin provided the spur for your previously dispassionate Ozzie reader to open a window into an iconic moment of Israeli perfify. Lapkin's line-toeing on the USS Liberty story highlights that no lie is too base, too outrageous for the local Zionist mafia.

  • Addamo

    I send that Adrian,

    Illan Pappe's book is essential reading for all people, not juts Jews. Of course, there are hardline Zionists, who are quick to dismiss Pappe as a fraud because they don't like what he has to say,