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.

Never missing up an opportunity to miss an opportunity

Hard line Zionists have long maintained that the land known as Palestine never belonged to the Arab population that were living there before 1947. One line of pedantic sophistry has been to argue that the ownership of the land bypassed the Arab population altogether and that none of those potential owners wanted the land returned to them.

  • As a strictly legal matter, the Jews didn’t take Palestine from the Arabs; they took it from the British, who exercised sovereign authority in Palestine under a League of Nations mandate for thirty years prior to Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948. And the British don’t want it back.
  • If you consider the British illegitimate usurpers, fine. In that case, this territory is not Arab land but Turkish land, a province of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years until the British wrested it from them during the Great War in 1917. And the Turks don’t want it back.
  • If you look back earlier in history than the Ottoman Turks, who took over Palestine over in 1517, you find it under the sovereignty of the yet another empire not indigenous to Palestine: the Mamluks, who were Turkish and Circassian slave-soldiers headquartered in Egypt. And the Mamluks don’t even exist any more, so they can’t want it back.

So, going back 800 years, there’s no particularly clear chain of title that makes Israel’s title to the land inferior to that of any of the previous owners.

There is no denying however, that the indigenous population continued to live there throughout this 800 year period, and longer:

For Palestinians, theirs is not the land of conquest, but the land of their roots going back to time immemorial. Such a lineage does not rely on a biblical promise like the Jewish claim that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants, and is therefore, the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel. It belongs to the people of Palestine by the simple fact of their continuous residence repeated through birth and possession going back to the earliest Canaanites and even those people living there before recorded history.

Regardless of which side of this debate you accept, there is no disputing what was laid out by the UN Partition Plan:

…the UN Partition Plan of 1947 recommended that 56% of the land be set aside for a Jewish State, 42% for an Arab state and 2% for an internationalised Jerusalem and its surrounds

That is obviously not where Israel is today.

…the territory assigned to the Jews suddenly became 77% resulting in more than 750,000 Palestinians being forcibly expelled and dispossessed of their homes, personal property and their homeland.

The matter of the 1948 ethnic cleansing is no longer in dispute. Historian Ilan Pappe argues that the ethnic cleansing was pre-planned and that the 1948 war provided a convenient pretext, while Benny Morris insists that it was a by-product of the 1948 war. Pursuing responsibility for this event no longer serves any purpose. What matters today is what is done about it. Israel’s refusal to accept right of return of the refugees that ensued from this conflict, is a blatant violation of international law.

Former Israeli foreign minister, Shlomo Ben Ami makes a shrewd observation when he recognises that the key moment in the Israel-Palestine conflict came not when the Palestinians were expelled, but when Israel refused to allow the Palestinians to return. If the ethnic cleansing, was as Morris suggests, an accident of war, then why has Ehud Olmert, along with his predecessors, maintained the policy of denying the right of return for the refugees?

More than four million UN-registered Palestinian refugees claim the right to return to homes and land taken over by Israel in 1948.

Israel fiercely opposes the refugees’ claim because it would spell the end of the Jewish majority in the Jewish state.

This week, Olmert was forced to acknowledge that the recent peace initiatives by Arab states had been remarkable, but his policy position means that this significant opportunity for peace may be squandered.

He told Yediot Ahronot there was “a real chance that within five years Israel will be able to reach a comprehensive peace deal with its enemies”.

It’s encouraging to hear this optimism, but it’s clear he cannot bring himself to mention a Palestinian state.

UPDATE: Olmert is full of surprises. Today, he proposed a conference between Israel and local Arab leaders:

“I am announcing to the heads of the Arab states on this occasion that if the Saudi king initiates a meeting of moderate Arab states and invites me and the head of the Palestinian Authority in order to present us the Saudi ideas, we will come to hear them and we will be glad to voice ours,” Mr Olmert said.

8 comments ↪
  • viva peace
  • suze

    I await with bated breath these significant concessions Olmert is promising.

  • Marilyn

    Well the concessions seem to be to plan a war against the Golan Heights for reasons unknown, another attack on Lebanon to make up for the one that failed and another invasion of Gaza.

    I love the Israel idea of peace.

    Pappe's book shocked me to the core of my soul and has changed me forever I think. Until that time I still had a small hope that Israel could learn to be civilised but that showed me once and for all how naive I was.

    I believe her struggle for the truth killed the wonderful Tanya Reinhart 20 years too early and Pappe himself has had to leave Israel as have thousands of the best minds.

    It is a tragedy for the innocent Israeli's too who once believed they had a high moral ground and still refuse to recognise that they are a military dictatorship with the head of the IDF of the day giving the orders and running the country with lies and paranoia.

    I also just read a Palestinian book called "Blood Brothers" by a priest who was moved out of his home in the Galilee in 1948 and brought back in 1951 so the Israeli's could bomb the village to the ground because the Israel court gave them permission to move back.

    IN that book he asserted that on 5 June 1967 Israel made a strike against all the arab nations and blew up all their airforces and tanks leaving them unarmed and defenseless for the invasion the next day.

    This has since been confirmed by people who were in the region at the time and now live here.

    This ladies and gentlemen is the truth of the cowardly 6 day war.

  • viva peace

    The poor, poor deluded Muslims are never going to learn it seems. First, there is no, and never has been, "right" of return for the 1948 refugees to move to israel. Secondly, Israel will never, and has never even been required to, pack up and retreat to the mythical pre-1967 borders.

    The poor "Palestinians" urged on by western international socialists over the past four decades are deluding themselves. Again.

  • suze

    I should have said that announcments of concessions by Olmert is probably cause for alarm since the last great "concession"- the pulling out of troops from Gaza was followed by months of bombing and a ghastly civilian death toll.

  • suze

    That is interesting Marilyn. Michael at Israel Fourum Watch has a little historical background to the six day war up at the moment. I highly recommend.

  • ej

    Given that VP is thoroughtly supportive of dispossession and all that that entails, I am surprised that he isn't consistent and acknowledges the moral right of the Palestinian population to resist their dehumanisation and their dispossession by any means.

    Have no generalised lessons been learnt from the Holocaust, or is that catastrophe merely a plaything for Zionists?

  • viva peace

    ej

    There is no such thing as a "moral" right. And yes they did learn from the Holocaust. That is why they have been so successful in resisting the Muslims.