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.

Letters, lies and Israel

The following letters appear in today’s Australian newspaper:

Louise Adler (“Driven to mute voice of dissent”, Opinion, 9/3) writes: “ . . . the important issue is that critics of Israel’s policies are reflexively characterised as anti-Semitic” and that “Criticism of Israel is not the same as disputing Israel’s right to exist.”

But the fact is that criticism of Israeli policies is an everyday occurrence in the Israeli media and nobody is accusing those critics of anti-Semitism.

Adler writes that she was proud to have published Jacqueline Rose’s book The Question of Zion. She complains that the book was met with hostility. But Rose wrote that “Jewish nationalism will come into being only if it abolishes itself.” Which means that Rose denies the right of the Jewish people to political self-determination and statehood. Rose also urged understanding for suicide bombers “without condescension”. She also compares Israel and Zionism to Nazi Germany. Rose is a typical example of a critic of Israel who advocates its dismantlement and considers its establishment a mistake. Such a critic, Jewish or not, by opposing the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while not opposing any other nation-state, exhibits a clear racist attitude and can be rightfully called an anti-Semite. One wonders how Adler would have reacted to somebody who denies, say, the legitimacy of Canada?

The overwhelming majority of Jews in the world support Israel, just like the majority of people of Irish descent support Ireland. It does not mean that they do not criticise Israeli policies. But there is an enormous difference between criticising policies and advocating Israel’s dismantlement.
Jacob Amir
Jerusalem, Israel

Louise Adler wonders why Jewish community members have used “pejoratively” the term “Jewish-born individuals” to describe signatories to this week’s declaration by Independent Australian Jewish Voices. Perhaps because Antony Loewenstein, as IAJV’s founder, wrote that he “didn’t want a bar” of the Jewish community.

Individuals are free to distance themselves from the Jewish community. But it seems hypocritical that the only time some of them advertise their Jewishness is to use it as insurance against criticism when they vilify Israel or the Jewish community.
Daniel Tang
Coopers Plains, Qld

Louise Adler implies that only she and her fledgling Independent Jewish Voices group have been presenting a moderate and balanced Jewish voice on Israel/Palestine. In fact, many of us have been supporting a two-state solution for more than two decades. This has meant opposing Jewish right-wingers who advocate a Greater Israel at the expense of any Palestinian national rights, and similarly confronting anti-Zionist fundamentalists on the Left who favour creating a Palestinian state via the destruction of Israel. It has also meant copping abuse and threats from both the Right and Left. Adler has never previously been a participant in any of these debates. If she had been, she might have realised that the debate within the Jewish community is far more complex and nuanced than the absurd caricature she presents.
Philip Mendes
Kew, Vic

First he said he’d been gagged, but when he got more publicity than anyone, he changed the charge to the Jewish community is blind to his truths. It seems to me that Antony Loewenstein and Independent Jewish Voices have a paternalistic attitude that they are the only ones capable of independent rational thought in the Jewish community. When their ideas are rejected, they get angry and create some conspiratorial scenario. Actually, most informed Jews simply don’t agree with IAJV on the basis of the evidence.
Paul Rozental
Melbourne, Vic

Geoffrey Zygier (Letters, 9/3) says Australian Jewry and the majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, yet Israel’s settlement policy is doing everything possible to prevent it by destroying the territorial contiguity of Palestinian areas in the West Bank, thereby rendering impossible the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

The claim that Israel offered the Palestinians 95 per cent of the West Bank in 2000 is false. Check the website of Israeli peace group Gush Shalom for maps of what Israel really offered.

In contrast, the entire Arab world has repeatedly offered Israel peace based on the two-state solution. After Israel’s rejection of the Arab League peace offers in 2002 and 2005, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, decided to speak directly to the Israeli people. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post last year, he made a clear and unequivocal peace offer based on Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and Golan Heights, border adjustments and land swaps to include the major Jewish settlements within Israel, and acceptance that any return of Palestinian refugees must take into account Israel’s desire to maintain a substantial Jewish majority. So, an Arab peace offer based on a two-state solution is on the table, yet I see no sign of Israel or the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council accepting it.
Paul Dixon
Fraser, ACT

The following editorial (extract) appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

We have said from the beginning that ideologically the war on terror is no different to past ideological struggles such as that against communism. Those who criticise America’s response underestimated the ideological foundations of the enemy. The terrorists know their best friend in an ideological war against the West can always be found in elements of the Western media who will always side with the “other”. The nature of fundamentalism is to not negotiate. This misunderstanding lies at the root of the breakaway Jewish group, Independent Australian Jewish Voices, which launched its campaign this week in support of a just peace. As Geoffrey Zygier, executive director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry Inc, has indicated it is intractable Islamists whom need to sign up to a two-state solution as shown by Yasser Arafat’s rejection of Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of 2000 for the creation of a Palestinian state.

The following letter appears in today’s Age newspaper:

Colin Rubenstein claims I oppose the existence of the state of Israel and that I have called it an apartheid state (Opinion, 9/3). This is not true and highlights the argument about abuse and vilification as a substitute for reasoned debate, as put by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society to the communal plenum this week.

I am a strong supporter of the two-state solution. It is not unreasonable to assume that Dr Rubenstein , or someone from his organisation, monitors the Australian Jewish News, where he would have read my view that “Israel is my homeland and I very much support its continuing existence inside the Green Line”. Otherwise a quick Google will come up with even more information. He may also find out who translated from Hebrew the writings of Dr Ron Pundak, the head of the Peres Peace Centre and one of the best-known advocates of a genuine solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike Dr Rubenstein, I believe that such a solution requires Israel to withdraw to the internationally recognised, pre-1967 borders.

As for the “apartheid” remark, I have publicly taken a stand opposed to any such simplistic comparison. Deliberately misrepresenting my views provides a good example of the need to ensure that alternative Jewish views do not get silenced — the very point of the recent statement.

Sol Salbe, Maidstone

  • Marilyn

    Wow, vitriol and lies heaped on vitriol and lies. I wonder if the OZ people are a trifle embarrassed by the sickening film taken by BBC of the IDF using Palestinians as human shields again last week in Nablus, including bravely hiding behind an 11 year old girl.

    Or the 12 year old Bedouin girl shot in the head in Negev by the IDF last week, how about the two Palestinians shot because they were close to the apartheid wall yesterday.

    I have to wonder if the zionist media even live in the real world or are caught up in the deranged fantasy of Israel.

    But then of course Imre is Jewish and unashamedly zionist isn't he?

    It's funny how they never question precisely what the Palestinians are supposed to do as they are locked up in smaller and smaller cages like battery hens with no army, navy or airforce and the Israeli's taking their tax money, stopping food supplies and blowing up the electricity and water.

    Where does that rate on the extremist stakes for Zygler I wonder?

  • ej

    The Oz really is struggling. When it has to resort to the old 'Arafat rejected the bonzer Barak offer at Camp Clinton' canard it's clear that the gas in the propaganda tank is on empty.

  • viva peace

    The sooner the so-called "Palestinians" are sent back to Jordan, Syria, and Egypt the better. Perhaps ej and Marilyn would do humanity a favour and go with them?

  • ej


  • Addamo

    Hey Viva,

    Our resint hotory revisionist is at it again.

    Perhaps you might want to return the North American Indians and Australian Aboriginees back to where they came from too, which is what? Oh wait, they were already there weren't they? That's what the definition of indigenous means – the natoive people of that land. After all, it's not like 90% of Israelis were from Israel now is it?

    No one plays "let's pretend" that the Palestinians weren't in Palestine first, better than you. There was no such thing as Israel in 1948, but there was a Palestine.

    Perhasp you need to be reminded of Moshe Dayan's infamous remark!:

    Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu'a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.

    The sooner Israel returns back to the 1967 Green line the better, oh and Viva, if you're such cheer leader for Israel, why not stop being such a blatant hypocrite not to live there yourself?

  • I agree, Addamo. I keep wondering why the likes of Viva Peace – a misnomer if ever there was one!!! – don't pack up and go and do to the Pals what they talk about doing to them. They really are such hupocrites. And this goes for many of the 6 to 7 million diaspora Jews who keep on telling us that Israel is the place to be, so long as it is not the place to be for THEM!