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.

A major step towards lifting the Israeli Taboo

It’s not without irony that Brandeis University, founded in 1948 as a nonsectarian university under the sponsorship of the American Jewish community, is fast becoming a beacon of enlightenment and open debate with regards to Israel and the Palestinian situation.

In January, Jimmy Carter was invited to give a speech about his latest book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” which urges Israel to turn away from a policy of creating “Bantustans” on the West Bank.

Carter, who took questions from the audience and promised to answer those unable to deliver their own, was given a standing ovation when he concluded his speech. Following the event, a number of pro Zionist donors declared that they would withhold donations (totaling 5 million dollar) to the university in protest over Carter’s appearance. It appeared as though this would stifle any further such discussions, but fortunately, this effort has proven fruitless because the university had since attracted new donors.

Last Thursday, Brandeis hosted a panel called “The Public Framing of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: How the Holocaust Underlines Realities of Fear, Intimidation, and Denial”.

Here are some quotes from the summary of the panel discussion . I highly recommend reading it. As you will see, the conclusions were not only highly insightful, but also inspiring. It is enormously refreshing to hear from people directly affected by the Holocaust, speak of the event and it’s consequences so frankly and without the emotionally charged atmosphere it typically attracts.

Roy, whose parents are Holocaust survivors, said her parents “stood as a moral challenge among us.” But, she said, “Zionism has denigrated” the memory of the Holocaust. Roy, arguing that the Holocaust should be used to promote morality and justice, relayed her mother’s story of liberation from the concentration camps. According to Roy, after her mother and sister were liberated by the Russians, the prisoners were given free range to exact revenge upon the prison guards. However, Roy’s mother resisted the temptation to “ravage the guards.” Instead, Roy’s mother said, “we cannot do this. We must seek justice, not revenge.”

Roy also addressed the issue of intimidation and accusations of anti-Semitism. “Why is it anti-Semitic to argue against the misuse of the Holocaust? Why is it anti-Semitic…to defend the dignity and rights of all human beings? Why is it anti-Semitic to envision a future…that allows both peoples to live with dignity, equality, and peace.”

Rothchild followed Roy’s speech. “We’re all searching for meaning in the tragedy of the Holocaust,” she said. “How do [victims of the Holocaust] get to a place where they can do this to another people?” Rothchild asked. Moreover, “the Holocaust undermines and distorts the realities in the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

Rothchild then discussed issues of determination. She explained that “evoking the Holocaust” is a tool often used by what she deemed “right-wing” groups. As examples she pointed to the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership. According to Rothchild, the David Project has equated the threat of a nuclear Iran with Hitler’s Final Solution and the current times with the 1930s.

Rothchild then referenced the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which she accused of employing similar rhetoric. Then, in particular reference to Brandeis, Rothchild cited the alleged loss of five million dollars in donations from Brandeis alumni as a result of Carter’s visit to campus. These acts of intimidation, Rothchild asserted, “muzzles the academic community” and the Jewish community in general.

Beit-Hallahmi gives a fascinating account of the notion of victim hood.

Last to speak was Beit-Hallahmi, who discussed at length the culture around victimization. “We all want to be victims,” he explained, “because it gives us the moral high ground.” In actuality he argued, “suffering does not ennoble anyone.” Moreover, he said, “being a victim is an objectionable reality. Victims should not be idealized or romanticized.” “We have to recognize that there are many victims,” Beit-Hallahmi argued that “victims should be given their rights without idealization or romanticization.”

Beit-Hallahmi commented that Jews have little reason to feel like victims in current times in light of the prominent positions to which Jews have risen. “There is a psychological gap between reality and a tradition of insecurity.” He then addressed the concept that Zionism came out of the Holocaust. This is the not case, he said, as “Zionism…was around long before the Holocaust.” He also discussed the need for changes in thinking. “Changes in consciousness come slowly…but they’re coming [in Israel]. Changes come about because of many, many small struggles.”

And from all Panelists.

The discussion was then opened to questions. The first came from a man who said “even paranoids have enemies.” He then asked how Israel ought to deal with “avowed enemies of the state.” All three panelists agreed that “the occupation” is responsible for violence. Beit-Hallahmi said “the rules of the game create oppression…it’s not surprising that you have resistance.” Roy commented, “we are occupying another people. We have engaged in a process of oppression that is quite severe…there is a humanitarian denial of a people. If you take away all possibility…what do you expect…giving unabated oppression?” She added, “allow people to live as we live…then the violence will stop.”

Another audience member asked, “how do we break through the Holocaust inflected barrier?” Rothchild explained, we must “constantly challenge stereotypes and reframe issues. We must get people to ask different questions.” Moreover, “we must humanize the other…we must try to reproduce the situation for students…give it a context that is denied. De-educate, re-educate.”

Beit-Hallahmi said, “you can see a lot of movement [in opinion in Israel] even if the government is not.” There is a recognition that the “present situation is too costly.”

Such openness would have been unthinkable a decade ago. This surely signals a new era in discussion over the subject of the Israeli/Palestinian problem.

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