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.

This is how it works…

Independent Australian Jewish Voices is announced merely a few weeks ago and the Australian Jewish News (AJN) writes a story last week that contains little more than conjecture and pre-emptive attacks. We launch this week, generate huge media coverage and gather over 400 signatories. We attract individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, but a few things remain in common; dissatisfaction with the Zionist leadership, silence in the face of Israeli atrocities in Lebanon and Palestine, and constant attempts to vilify and intimidate critics of Israel in the Diaspora.

The AJN and Zionist leadership clearly expected IAJV to contain few members, led by yours truly. Imagine their surprise, therefore, to find this week that many prominent Jews in the community have joined our call for robust debate and no longer take direction from a group of ossified men – why is it always men in dark suits? – on the Middle East conflict. Independent thought has never been more needed.

Despite these developments, the Jews with much to fear launch a pathetic campaign against IAJV, issue a counter-petition – who is writing the material for these people, Borat? – and argue that the many Jews who signed the petition have clearly been tricked by me. The AJN editorial writers have a novel way of expressing their confusion:

We assume that [Monash University Dean of Law] Professor [Arie] Freiberg and other surprising signatories to the petition – such as the Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair – were lured by the ostensibly “parev” appearance of the group’s declaration of principles, which, for the most part, reads like a motherhood statement.

Nonetheless, even this watered-down version of the true intentions of such dedicated Israel-bashers as Antony Loewenstein cannot stand unchallenged.

Their preposterous claim, for example, that critics of Israel are being “silenced” can be easily dismissed by a cursory glance at the letters pages of this newspaper, which – as our critics often point out – are sometimes over-monopolised by the dissidents of the political left.

Unsurprisingly, their “silenced” debate has generated extensive headlines across the country, in part because the Jew-versus-Jew story makes good news copy.

What’s disappointing, however, in the Australian initiative, is its lack of initiative. It is a virtual carbon copy of the British group of a similar name, with little or nothing original whatsoever. Like their British role models, they single out Israeli policies, without any parallel mention of the Palestinians.

“Uncritical allegiance to Israeli Government policy does not necessarily serve Israel’s best interests,” they claim, but fail to adequately explain whose interests are served by an ongoing acquiescence, implied in their omission, to decades-long Palestinian violence and terror.

This one-eyed view is telling, and reveals to all those who have decoded the ostensibly “parev” declaration the true agenda of this new group: to blame Israel for the current conflict to besmirch the “Jewish establishment” for either silencing their “alternative voices” or allegedly labelling them as “self-haters” and – for at least some of the initiators of this petition – to delegitimise the very existence of Israel.

Indeed, it is our view that many of the signatories are pampered, self-styled radicals who want their views to be placed on an equal footing with that of the Jewish mainstream – even though they are but a miniscule minority – and are seeking immunity from counter-criticism, no matter how hurtful their opinions are to the vast majority of Jews.

Contrary to their claims, the age-old axiom of “two Jews, three opinions” thankfully holds true in Australia. But the right of free speech does not apply only to these self-righteous “independent” voices it also applies to their detractors, and to their right to regard these dissidents with the contempt that they deserve.

Remember readers, you can never trust that conniving Loewenstein. The AJN and its fellow travellers cannot believe that a growing number of Jews are coming forward and willing to offer critical voices to the debate in the public arena. The days of keeping the “dirty laundry” within the community is long gone. Public embarrassment and indeed humiliation may be the only way to convince the community’s dinosaurs that their time is long past and their positions on Israel and Palestine are in fact contributing to the Jewish state’s destruction.

My personal position on the Middle East isn’t relevant here, however. I have my views and many of the other signatories to the petition have theirs, and we don’t have to agree. I suspect we often won’t. IAJV aims to provide an open space for a variety of views to be expressed, not just the Israel “right or wrong” brigade, attitudes that have contributed to Israel’s precarious situation today.

We’re only just warming up.

4 comments ↪
  • Addamo

    Oh my, you have certainly gotten these guys rattled Ant. Way to go.

    This has to be one of the most disjointed and self contradictory letters I have read in a long time.

    First, they criticize Independent Australian Jewish Voices as being unoriginal and following the British model, as though being original was some pre-requisite to legitimacy. Talk about an irrelevant distraction!!

    Then is goes on to brand many of the signatories are "pampered, self-styled radicals" without possibly knowing who all these people are. This is truly revealing of their agenda and goes to show that they have already made up their minds that these people are their enemy.

    At the same time, they insist they speak for the majority of Jews by claiming that the opinions expressed by Independent Australian Jewish Voices are hurtful to the vast majority of Jews.

    Finally, it finishes by declaring that the views expressed by Independent Australian Jewish Voices deserves contempt. All the while, insisting that free speech has always existed among the Australian Jewish community.

    Could these despots be any more obvious?

  • Marilyn

    It's not just that they silence dissent among Jewish voices they silence dissent among ordinary folks like me.

    For example I just read Ilan Pappe's book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" and pointed out that even if people don't like the words the archival photos and maps tell their own horror story.

    800,000 innocent men, women and children, 531 villages and towns, 3 million acres of land and crops. All gone in 2 years, most of it before the "declaration".

    It is not even reviewed by the cowards who mock and deride those of us who read many voices all over the world and don't navel gaze.

    They are the same bullies who build walls, steal the land, shoot the children at play and then cry "victim". Haaretz revealed today that the demolition of Lebanon last year was indeed finalised in March.

    Not a word in the Australian media.

    The problem is Antony what you pointed out on Australia talks – the deafening silence on the atrocities being committed by Israel every day of the week.

    A book I recommend is the updated Blood Brothers by Elias Checour, a Palestinian priest who was dispossed and tortured by the Irgun gang in 1948 when he was 7 years old.

    It would or should break the stoniest heart.

    Keep it up Antony but stick to the issues.

  • Antony, the only parallel in my secular existence that matches the over-the-top, belief-based, nationalist resistance IAJV is provoking was my being critical of GW Bush in US discussion forums back in 2002, when every possible media outlet (save a very brave few) was beating the Iraq war drum. To paraphrase Voltaire, it's dangerous to be right when the establishment is wrong.

    To be labelled anti-Semitic, a self-hating Jew etc. in the course of advocating anti-nationalism in Israel is no different than the empty epithet 'anti-American' in the course of criticising GW Bush.

    Keep at it.

  • Don Wigan

    Bravo, Antony. It's a very difficult battle you're in, but it is important to keep it going and win. A very good piece by Dennis Altman in today's Age.

    The one encouraging thing is that the established voices and anti-dissenters often shoot themselves in the foot, as we saw with the Sydney Peace Prize.

    Weez makes a good analogy. There is an attempt to stifle dissent, not by reasoned argument, but by trying to raise doubts about the motives of the dissenters. Years ago we saw the same thing in the Cold War. Any criticism of US foreign interventions was written off as 'furthering the interests of the USSR.