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.

The clueless Senator

When it comes to discussing Israel/Palestine, politicians the world over are notoriously reticent to speak the truth about facts on the ground. In Australia, the only Jewish Federal MP, Michael Danby, seems incapable of mounting an argument that is more sophisticated than repeating press releases from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Both major sides in politics are desperate to maintain the rehearsed lines to keep the Americans happy and what better way to do that than to uncritically praise the superpower’s leading client state, Israel?

Enter Michael Forshaw, a NSW Labor MP. After an undistinguished career and only occasional uninformed comments about Israel, he rose in the Senate yesterday and launched a tirade on anti-Semitism (page 38 onwards). His speech read like comments prepared for him by the Zionist lobby, such was its wilful ignorance. For example:

…What is very disturbing is the growing trend today towards anti-Semitism and demonising Israel and Jews under the guise of academic research and/or political analysis and debate.

He cited statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Mearsheimer/Walt Israel lobby paper and yours truly. My public statements on the pernicious effects of the lobby, its tendency to bully opponents and attempts to silence criticism of Israeli crimes was all condemned:

Mr Loewenstein’s allegations are absolutely ridiculous. They are also hypocritical. Firstly, the very fact that Mr Loewenstein’s article appeared in the Australian newspaper, and that his book, published subsequently, has gained such prominence in the public debate and in the media, including the Jewish media in this country, demonstrates the fallacy of his argument. Following publication of his book by Melbourne University Publishing, Mr Loewenstein received nationwide coverage in both the printed and electronic media. The coverage of this debate went on for weeks, so it is ludicrous to argue that he has somehow been prevented from debating these issues and from having his views heard.

The debate about Israel’s policies, the US’s policies and the Middle Eastern conflicts is very much alive in this country, just as it is in the United States and throughout the Western world. It is very much alive, particularly in the state of Israel itself, which is a strong democracy, albeit one that has been under constant threat for all of its existence. The evidence of that debate stands in stark contrast to most Islamic and Arab nations. I note that my colleague Senator Stephens earlier this year raised in the Senate the plight of Mr Salah Choudhury. Mr Choudhury is a journalist in Bangladesh who had the temerity to write an article criticising Islamic extremism and supporting interfaith dialogue, particularly between Christians, Muslims and Jews. He is now on trial for sedition in Bangladesh.

The second point I want to make is that whilst I have read many articles in the Australian media by commentators such as Mr Loewenstein, Professor Amin Saikal and others criticising Israel, I am still waiting to read an article by them criticising Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic attacks and calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. I very much doubt that those articles, if they have been written, have been censored or prevented from being published.

Thirdly, when it comes to pressure being applied to prevent public debate, the worst instance that I can recall was the call a couple of years ago by academics in the United Kingdom, supported by academics in this country and in other Western countries, for a boycott of Israel, Israeli academics and institutions. Indeed, in the United Kingdom, Jewish academics were sacked for the very fact that they were Jewish. When academics in a democratic country call for a boycott of academics in another democratic country simply because they are Jewish then we have a serious problem. I do not recall Mr Loewenstein ever condemning that action.

A tactic that is also used in criticising Israel is to use the language that is particularly pertinent to the Jewish experience. Israel has been accused of ethnic cleansing, of genocide, of war crimes, of apartheid and even of perpetrating a holocaust on the Palestinian people. That is absolute nonsense and it is anti-Semitic. When your country has been threatened with annihilation, when your people have experienced the Holocaust—the murder of six million Jews—is it any wonder that persons from that community will stand up and defend their country’s right to exist and their people’s right to peace and democracy in the face of anti-Semitism?

Senator Forshaw is clearly still high from his last all-expenses paid trip to Israel and its military machine. During last year’s Iranian Holocaust Denial conference, I regularly condemned the proceedings, as did many Iranians. I have not said I’m being silenced, but the ability of citizens to freely criticise Israel and its policies results in slander and abuse, usually from fellow Jews.

The Senator may think that it is “anti-Semitic” to say the Israeli occupation of Palestine is reminiscent of apartheid, but many distinguished figures would disagree (and I wonder how often Forshaw has actually seen inside the occupied territories further than his Israeli minders would allow him to travel.)

Israel is under constant international pressure because its behaviour is consistently illegal, immoral and counter-productive. The Senator, like so many talking-heads before him, may regard themselves as friends of Israel but they are in fact contributing to the country’s destruction.

11 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Wasn't it Israeli's who accused Israel of ethnic cleansing?

  • Marilyn, there's a recent book by Ilan Pappe who is an Israeli documenting the pertinent ethnic cleansing crimes.

  • viva peace

    Fringe

    Be careful with Pappe; he is not regarded as a competent historian. In fact, his area is more Cultural Studies. He even admits that he is not concerned with historical truth and objectivity. He also totally misrepresents aspects of the Hagganah's military plans. And he tellingly ignores all the documentation on the ghastly plans of the Muslims.

    You would be better off with Benny Morris.

  • Andre

    Viva,

    Perhaps you should be more specific. What you mean to say is that you and those of you agree with do not regard Pappe as a competent historian. You after all, consider David Kramer to be a credible academic – the same person who said that Saddam invaded Kuwait as an act of aggression against the US, even thought he US essentially gave hm the green light to do so,

    John Pilger describes Pappe him as the most important of our time.

    Benny Morris now supports much of what he says.

    And next time you make statements like:

    He even admits that he is not concerned with historical truth and objectivity. He also totally misrepresents aspects of the Hagganah’s military plans.

    Do yourself a favour and provide a link. Any historian making that claim would be committing professional suicide.

  • E.Mariyani

    viva peace Mar 30th, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Be careful with Pappe; he is not regarded as a competent historian.

    Viva,

    Can you provide a list of all the competent historians and their articles establishing that Pappe is not a competent historian? Thanks.

  • viva peace

    Andre

    One of the major problems of you and your ilk is that you do not read the books that these people write. You only get quotes from propaganda websites. You, like Ant, do not have the necessary education to be familiar with the history of this conflict. For you to state "Any historian making that claim would be committing professional suicide" clearly without irony really says it all.

    Let us hear from the good Doctor ourselves, shall we

    My bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I stick to facts and the `truth' when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous.

    Introduction to "A History of Modern Palestine: One Land Two People"

    Or perhaps this one

    Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts, Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers

    As to this howler "Benny Morris now supports much of what he says." Might I suggest you read the Benny Morris' review of Pappe's "A History of Modern Palestine:One Land Two Peoples" in the New Republic (22/3/04) where he says quite emphatically

    Ilan Pappes New Book Is Appalling….Unfortunately much of what Pappe tries to sell his readers is a complete fabrication.

    And John Pilger??? WTF? Since when has John Pilger been any sort of scholar, let alone an historian.

  • Andre

    Viva,

    We are all to familiar with the grandiose "scholarly" sophistry that you and your ilk like to hide behind when confronted with inconvenient realities. What you are really trying to say is the Ant and I don't read the books you consider necessary and visa versa.

    Ultimately, your attempts at conflation is always going to be basic common sense.

    What you clearly miss from Pappe’s first quote is his honesty and his acknowledgment of his humanity. Some vain historians convince themselves that they are slaves to fact and realities, but in all cases, this can be shown to be otherwise. For example, Benny Morris has also been accused of fabricating historical evidence.

    As for he second quote, that too addresses the same issue. Benny Morris has in the past, also admitted to being an avid Zionist and that this position has skewed his objectivity. After all, did he not say this:

    I’m trying to be realistic. Preserving my people is more important than any universal moral concepts.

    –Israeli writer Benny Morris

    In this article for example, Pappe accuses Morris of lying about his book:

    Benny Morris tells his readers in the New Republic that he and I walked a stretch of road together as 'revisionist historians.

    And

    I was privy to the views he only aired later on, already in our first meeting back in the late 1980s. I was fully aware — as he seemed to trust me — of his abominable racist views about the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular.

    And here

    Unlike others, I did not feel that his good qualities as a chronologist which came out in his most famous book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Cambridge 1987) — he was never a proper historian — and especially his invaluable contribution in aggregating data for us on the 1948 ethnic cleansing — made up for his bigotry and narrow—mindedness.

    So you see Viva, it comes down to the word of one historian against another. It is obvious why you woudl recommend Benny Morris as a more credible historian; you are merely advocating the work that confirms your own position.

    As for Pilger, as one of the very few genuine investigative reporters, he is in an ideal position to observe the accuracies of what historians like Pappe have recorded.

    Seems pretty logical, though I would be surprise dif you don’t reject it.

  • al loomis

    i don't know how jews convince themselves they own palestine. there is only one reason universally admitted- they took it at gunpoint from the moslem population, and hold it only by constant military action.

    this is the basis of israel's "right to exist". a compelling argument and one which will be universally accepted when the victims, their children and grandchildren, are all dead.

    until that distant day, zionists are despised by many. you would think that a people that has suffered much from antisemitism would be more careful of the rights of others.

    but it turns out the jewish people are just as capable of thuggery as anyone else, given the opportunity. this should surprise no one.

    therefore? discount all talk of 'rights', of 'justice': irgun and the stern gang set the rules of engagement in palestine, and those rules were nature's own. hamas and hezbullah continue the resistance with the same rules. my real source of contempt for the israelis is their demand for peace and submission from the people whose homes and land they stole, whose families they murdered in the process.

  • Viva

    I'm not surprised you find Pappe's analysis challenging to the extent that you attack him and not his argument in relation to the topic at hand.

    For some more historical fact in regard to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and subsequent Zionist denial, you might find this article, again by an Israeli academic, Eitan Bronstein, enlightening.

    Further in depth information can be found in Bronstein's 2005 paper,
    Studying the Nakba and Reconstructing Space in the Palestinian Village of Lifta.

  • Leo Braun

    "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself"… Nietzsche. A new voice for Australian Jews versus Zionist politics …
    http://www.newmatilda.com/home/articledetailmagaz

  • viva peace

    Andre

    Your lack of integrity shines through again. You ask me to justify my comment on Pappe.

    Do yourself a favour and provide a link. Any historian making that claim would be committing professional suicide.

    I do. And what do you do? Apologize? Realize that Pappe is a crank? No. Tragic.