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 same, tired story is back again

Just when I thought I could leave Australia and the Australian Jewish News (AJN) would find something else vitally important to write about, here’s this week’s page one “story”:

Inter-Faith activists and Jewish community leaders have critisised comments by Independent Australian Jewish Voices co-founder Antony Loewenstein that Australian Jews are anti-Muslim.

Loewenstein, author of My Israel Question, which claims Jews who criticise Israel in any form are ostracised by the mainstream Australian Jewish community, made the claim of Jewish anti-Muslim prejudice on ABC TV’s Difference Of Opinion on April 2.

His inclusion as the Jewish representative on a show that screened on first-night seder raised the hackles of Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby.

The Labor MP wrote to the ABC, describing the selection of Loewenstein on the panel as “culturally insensitive insolence”.

The sole Jew on a four-member multi-faith panel, Loewenstein said that “within, say, Judaism and within Christianity, I’m talking about in Australia, say, there’s a great deal of anti-Muslim feeling”.

Peta Jones Pellach, the director of adult education at Sydney’s Shalom Institute, is involved in the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews and the Women’s Debate Network.

She told the AJN Loewenstein’s comment was “absolute nonsense”.

She said the Jewish community in Australia maintains dialogue “not with all, but with many sections of the Muslim community”.

Moreover, Judaism traditionally respects Islam as a like-minded monotheistic faith, she said, “to which we are closest ideologically”.

“Of course, some Jews are prejudiced, but certainly not the organised Jewish community … he’s just wrong,” Jones Pellach said.

Inter-faith pioneer Rabbi John Levi, who has been meeting with Australian Muslim leaders for the past 45 years and co-founded the Council of Christians and Jews more than 20 years ago, said Loewenstein’s comments came from someone who has not developed any kind of profile in helping to develop Jewish-Muslim relations in Australia.

And the paper’s editorial:

Notwithstanding the fact that a majority of Jewish community representatives would have been unavailable, Anthony Loewenstein’s appearance on ABC TV’s April 2 edition of Difference of Opinion on “Australia and Islam” should be unacceptable to the vast majority of Australian Jews.

The ABC, to its discredit, displayed either its ignorance or its mischievousness in including someone whose arguments on Israel are consistently flawed and whose views are shared by only a handful of Australian Jews.

But it isn’t hard to understand why Loewenstein, the Jewish community’s leading dissident, has become a regular feature on our TV screens and in our daily newspapers. For starters, he is presentable, erudite and, as Pesach night proved, always available. TV producers would regard him as reasonably good “talent”.

Loewenstein’s rising media stocks pose a challenge for our leading communal organisations. If the media is going to continue putting him up as a “representative of the Jewish community”, then the various roof bodies need to respond on two fronts.

First, they need to better educate the media as to which body represents us on which issue. Given that Israel-bashing has been Loewenstein’s main game until now, why did he appear on a show about Islam? Given that inter-faith relations fall under the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s umbrella, whom could it have offered in his place, if approached by the ABC?

Second, and more important, is the need for generational change when it comes to Jewish community spokespersons. The same people have served us with distinction for the past 30 years, but the time for fresh blood has arrived.

The media like their talent to be young and, dare we say it, sexy. Groups such as Young United Israel Appeal, the State Zionist Councils and Australasian Union of Jewish Students should be expanding their briefs to cultivate the next generation of communal spokespeople.

They don’t need to be the elected leaders of these organisations, but they do need to understand the media as well as Loewenstein and to state our case more accurately than he does.

The former will take a bit of work the latter should not.

I commented last week about the ways in which Federal Labor MP Michael Danby displayed yet more sophistication in his analysis of my ABC TV performance, and this week’s AJN merely continues this noble tradition. Only a few words in response this week.

Once again, I never claimed to be speaking on behalf of all Jews. I never claimed that all Australian Jews are anti-Muslim, but a sizeable proportion are (just read the AJN’s letter’s pages to get a sense of the regular anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian hatred all-too-apparent in the mainstream Jewish community.) Finally, perhaps the paper and its few readers might like to reflect on the fact that Israel, if it wants to survive in the international public arena, will need more than simply slicker PR flaks. The country’s regularly brutal behaviour is slowly turning the world against the Jewish state.

Listen up people, the future is most certainly in your hands (and thus far, you’re blowing it on a daily basis.)

15 comments ↪
  • ej

    What does this 'inter-faith' dialogue crowd have to do with anything of substance?

    Peta Pellach, major player in the IFD crowd, is as pro-Israel as the rest of them.

    At a public dialogue in Sydney in late June 2006 Pellach claimed a "mutual intensity of feeling that Jews have with the Australian Aboriginal community in the attachment to ‘land’".

    How Pellach's support of Israeli Jews' attachment to other people's land is commensurate with meaningful inter-faith dialogue with Muslims is beyond me.

    In other words, it's all bollocks.

    Touch-feely, but on our terms. And nothing, nothing changes.

  • E.Mariyani

    Peta Jones Pellach, the director of adult education at Sydney’s Shalom Institute, is involved in the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews and the Women’s Debate Network.

    Pardon? At present, the Shalom Institute is hardly a paragon of virtue when it comes to building inter-faith or inter-racial bridges. It is, after all, the entity that introduced Australia to, and trumpeted the wonders of, that <a href="http://planetirf.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2007-02-01T00:00:00+11:00&updated-max=2007-03-01T00:00:00+11:00&max-results=9&quot; rel="nofollow">racist, Islamophobic nut-case, <a href="http://www.jewishtimes.com.au/content/view/913/35/&quot; rel="nofollow">Professor Raphi Israeli.

  • Marilyn

    She cheered like a hyena when Israel was blowing Lebanon to bits and when the scale of destruction was revealed she never once apologised.

    When it was revealed the attack had been planned for years, silence.

    She made me cringe when I saw her on the Insight program.

  • Andre

    My word Ant,

    Who woudl have thought you would have been described by your critics as presentable, erudite and sexy?

    Nonetheless it does raise an interesting point. The pro Israel image has become synonymous with the aging and out of touch.

  • BenZ

    The AJN missed the obvious point, that virtually every single Jewish person in Australia, was having a Passover "Seder" with their families that night, as has been the tradition for thousands of years.

    Except proudly Jewish Antony Loewenstein of course.

  • Andre

    What about those without families or those away from their families like Ant? Does that make him and them lesser Jews also?

  • frank luff

    I read Lowenstein for his alternate view, I'm not jewish.
    His criticism of Israel is valid, I have never considered him anti jewish, rather anti Israeli politics and its defiance of the UN charter its expansionary attitudes to the land rightfully someone else's.
    I read he's not alone in the land of Israel

  • Pingback: Boredom by 1000 cuts continues at Antony Loewenstein()

  • BenZ

    What about those without families or those away from
    their families like Ant?

    No Andre, not at all.

    Jews who are away from home are almost always invited into the homes of complete strangers, who are happy to take them in. There is a also a huge 'communal Seder' where travellers can go, for example a major one in Bondi.

    The same communal spirit generally applies on a Friday night, the
    Sabbath where any Jewish person at a Synagogue will have no trouble getting an invite to someone's place for dinner.

    It is quite obvious that Antony simply had no interest at all. He has walked away from Judaism altogether. It is really as simple as that. His only interest in Judaism, at all, is using it as a novel hook with which to describe himself, where otherwise he would simply be any other member of the far-left with radical views.

    Frank Luff:

    I read he’s not alone in the land of Israel

    You are correct. There are a variety of political views in Israel, including far-left views. There are even far-left newspapers and a depth of political spectrum even Australia can't approach. That is what happens in a modern liberal democracy. Antony loves to quote from Ha'aretz, a left-wing Israeli newspaper. In contrast, there is no Palestinian Left-wing movement of any significance. There are no dissident newspapers calling on Hamas to end terrorism. Why? Because unlike Israel, expressing such views in Arab dictatorships is a good way to find yourself getting shot. Literally.

    Antony however takes such freedom completely for granted. Israelis are of course entitled to their views as ultimately it is they who will prosper or die as a result of them. Antony bears no risk at all and simply bignotes himself "as a Jew" even though there is effectively nothing else Jewish (or Israeli) whatsoever about him.

  • Andre

    BenZ,

    You are barking up the wrong tree mate. Ant is is New York at the moment and from what I hear, making friends with people who share his views. For all we know, he was probably invited to a ‘communal Seder’ over there.

    The ABC show was pre-recorded, if you hadn't worked that out already.

    So your assumption is completely absurd. You evidently know nothing about Antony and his personal life. Ant has made it abundantly clear he is proud of his heritage and has not turned his back on Judaism, but on Zionism. You of all people should know there is a vast difference between the two.

    Do yourself a favour and drop the cheap personal attacks. You're obviously intelligent enough to debate these topics without resorting to such tactics.

  • Pingback: New York lift-off at Antony Loewenstein()

  • viva peace

    Marilyn

    "Lebanon blown to bits?" But Andre claims Hizbollah thrashed Israel.

  • Andre

    “Lebanon blown to bits?” But Andre claims Hizbollah thrashed Israel.

    How are these two mutually exclusive?

    As Israeli ambassador to the UN made clear, even though it has never worked before, Israel were inflicting destruction on Southern Lebanon in an effort to isolate Hezbollah.

  • Dear Anthony

    Nothing ever seems to amaze me more than these peoples' inventiveness and their ability to distort facts. If they can't get away with calling you anti-Semitic, questioning your Jewish identity, saying that you are not contributing enough effort to multi-faith dialogue. This new one is designed to strip away your real 'power base' – they pathetically call you anti-Islamic.

    These people are walking into their own trap. You said they were silencing dissent in the Australian Jewish community and then they prove that what you said was correct. If it weren't for their attempts to bully and silence the ABC we might even dismiss them as merely deranged. They are merely deranged and bloody dangerous to free speech in this country for everyone.

    I wish they would start on me – it could help to sell a lot of books.

    Regards

    Willy Bach
    http://willybachpoeticthoughts.blogspot.com/

  • Andre

    Willy,

    That's an interesting looking blog you have there.

    You raise some interesting arguments. Indeed, these usual suspects have given up addressing the argument long ago, and thus resort to distraction and peripheral arguments to distract from the main issues. We see the same tactics used against Jimmy Carter's book and the Walk and Mearshimer thesis and well as Ant's.

    I have yet to hear a pro Zionist formulate a convincing argument in any debate against a critic of Israel, at least no without resorting to hyperbole and distortions, which is remarkable, given the pool of academics and intellectuals they have at their disposal.