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 hacks line-up

The Australian Jewish News continues its tradition of hard-hitting journalism, touching stories that no other “serious” paper would consider:

Outspoken Israel critic Antony Loewenstein has been short-listed for a NSW Government literary prize in a move that has raised eyebrows among Jewish groups and social commentators.

Loewenstein’s controversial book, My Israel Question, has been nominated for the $10,000 Gleebooks Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

In their citation for the book, described as “a researched guide to the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict”, the judges said Loewenstein had taken aim at Australian Jews and noted, “a Jew’s questioning of Israel is not without emotional cost”.

“At a time when Australia Jewry is publicly fragmenting in its views on Middle Eastern affairs, My Israel Question is a cogent expression of Jewish dissidence,” the citation says.

But the nomination has puzzled the book’s detractors, who claim it is more the result of successful marketing than scholarly analysis.

Conservative columnist Tim Blair said My Israel Question lacked merit in content and style.

“Haven’t these people read the book? If you read the book, any idea of literature flies right out the window,” Blair said. “The guy can’t write. If it was well written, you would read it.”

The executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein said the decision to short-list Loewenstein appeared political.

“The fact that Loewenstein was short-listed for this prize seems likely to represent more a statement by some of the judges of support for his political opinions rather than about the quality of My Israel Question, a tendentious, often pompous, polemic replete with factual errors and flawed analysis,” Dr Rubenstein said.

“It certainly testifies, yet again, to the self-promotional skills of both Loewenstein and [his publisher] Melbourne University Press [MUP] and the absurdity of Loewenstein’s repeated theme that he and other vehement critics of Israel are somehow silenced or the victims of a campaign of intimidation.”

MUP did not return calls from the AJN and would not be drawn on how many copies had sold, but it is understood a revised second edition is due for release in October.

Loewenstein, who is overseas, said on his website that he welcomed the recognition “far away from the rampant parochialism of the Jewish world”.

“I look forward to the accusations of antisemitism by the usual suspects towards the judging panel,” he wrote.

Dr Philip Mendes, co-editor of Jews and Australian Politics, said MUP’s appointment of a full-time publicist to promote My Israel Question had paid dividends.

“It’s a lightweight book, whatever your views are on the Middle East … the sort of thing that might scrape through as an undergraduate honours thesis,” Dr Mendes said.

The award winners will be announced on May 29 at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Jewish rag must be getting desperate. If they’re needing to quote blogger Tim Blair – whose journalistic achievements include writing about fast cars, visiting the Republican National Conference and barely leaving his News Ltd office – things aren’t looking too healthy.

Colin Rubenstein simply spends his days waiting by the fax machine for the latest talking points from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. And then there’s Philip Mendes, about whom I’ve written before, a man strangely keen for mainstream Jewish community approval.

So, here are a few inconvenient truths about my book. It is indeed re-released later in the year in a new, updated edition (clearly the sign of a dismal failure.) The book was a best-seller in Australia last year, and has just been released in the US. It has generated mountains of interest and support from any number of Jews and non-Jews across the world. It has shown the mainstream Jewish community – and the dwindling number of wannabe militant Zionists like Blair – that their hysteria surrounding the book and its message simply reinforces the (mostly truthful) stereotypes about how Jews deal with criticism of the Jewish state.

Nobody said that Zionists were very savvy, and my personal experiences over the last years have certainly proven that many Jews will go to outrageous lengths to justify Israeli oppression against the Palestinians. Thankfully, Israel is becoming increasingly internationally isolated, and this will only continue in the coming years.

My Israel Question is simply the first round in a long battle.

17 comments ↪
  • Andre

    You gotta hand it to Tim Blair. Next to Glenn Reynolds, no one has mastered the art of ignoring the elephant in the room (by pointing to the wallpaper) quite like him.

    Haven’t these people read the book? If you read the book, any idea of literature flies right out the window,” Blair said. “The guy can’t write. If it was well written, you would read it.

    No comment whatsoever regarding the content. Tim doesn't like the way it is written, and that's the best he can come up with.

  • Dylan

    No comment whatsoever regarding the content. Tim doesn’t like the way it is written, and that’s the best he can come up with.

    I have not read the book so I can't comment as to it's accuracy or literary merit.

    It would seem to me, though, that commenting on the quality of the writing is not out of line when discussing a book nominated for a literary award.

  • Dylan, Antony's book is in the Gleebooks Prize section of the awards- for "literary and cultural criticism".

    Seems Blair has made his comments based on no knowledge of the book and no knowledge of the award categories. That is, in total ignorance. That pretty much sums up Tim Blair.

  • Marilyn

    Blair once took a series of shots at little old me for saying the people on the TAMPA were not criminals.

    Now that most of them are refugees here or in New Zealand he has never bothered to apologise.

    I reckon if I can piss off one or two right wing nutjobs a day I feel quite happy.

  • gottcha

    Andre,

    Didn't Tim Blair ban you from his blog?

  • BenZ

    Well Marilyn, you never apologised for perpetuating lies about the Bakhtiyaris, did you?

  • BenZ

    The Jewish rag must be getting desperate. If they’re needing to quote blogger Tim Blair – whose journalistic achievements include writing about fast cars, visiting the Republican National Conference and barely leaving his News Ltd office – things aren’t looking too healthy.

    Uh, news editor of The Bulletin.

    Opinion Editor of The Daily Telegraph.

    Admittedly he was never a failed F2 cadet like Antony, but it doesn't appear to be too shabby a resume for an Australian journalist.

  • BenZ

    Seems Blair has made his comments based on no knowledge of the book and no knowledge of the award categories.

    Wrong. He's read it and found it "painfully written".

    Is Antony ever going to respond to direct accusations of censorship and hypocricy?
    http://antonyloewenstein.com/blog/2007/05/08/bush

    Or is he just going to ignore it and hope it goes away like so many other comments he didn't like and deleted.

  • Andre

    Wrong. He’s read it and found it “painfully written”.

    But has nothing to say about the issues raised in the book. Maybe he doesn't like the cover? If Ant had used the US flag, Blair would be singing it's praises.

  • BenZ

    Rubbish Andre. He's said enough about it and (of course) Antony never responded. Search his archives.

    It is indeed re-released later in the year in a new, updated edition (clearly the sign of a dismal failure.)

    Or the sign of correcting yet more basic errors in it? What are we up to now, version 4?

    The book was a best-seller in Australia last year,

    While constantly referring to it as a "best-seller" Antony has never, ever disclosed how many copies were actually sold. The Jewish News article also notes the publishers refused to specify. Why so coy? Perhaps for the same reason a mere 400 or so people signed his petition instead of the 1000 Antony expected?

    And still he refuses to engage in comments on his own blog, regarding pretty serious charges. What total arrogance.

  • gottcha

    You know what really pisses me off?

    It's all the tit-for-tat crap you people go on with. And don't get me wrong, I also get annoyed when Antony does it as he did in this post. His sarcastic remarks about Colin Rubenstein and the Jewish News are really uncalled for.

    Why can't we just stick to the topic instead of needing to hit back and every little typo or comment or view. Why hit out at every person who disagrees with you. Surely the object is to talk to each other and figure out solutions. When I sit back and watch the daily squabbling here I wonder how we will ever find peace in the world.

    We ought to be engaging in constructive discussion about how Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and share the land they live on, not bashing each other up.

  • BenZ

    Gottcha,

    You are right. Unfortunately your longing for constructive discussion is hindered by a constant stream of anti-Israel (and anti-US) rhetoric on this site, coupled with Antony's censorship of any opposing views.

    There has been some well researched critical analysis of plenty of Antony's work. Unfortunately such comments never got past moderation and were instead (fortunately) cross-posted to other sites who can only look at this one and shake their heads.

    If you are genuinely looking for constructive discussion, sadly you have come to the wrong place. Antony's claim to be striving for "open and honest debate" is little more than hot-air.

  • Andre

    Yes Gottcha you are right of course,

    The solution has to come from addressing the problem, which inevitably involves bringing those responsible for the mess to account, even if it just means aknowledging there is a problem.

    But as Ben has just demonstrated, the pro Israeli camp reject any such process on the grounds that it is anti-Israeli and musty therefore be motivated by malice towards Jews.

    As we saw with Jimmy Carter's book (which contained nothing controversial) , little effort has been made to address the primary arguments. In stead, critics will focus on attacking the minutia as a way of avoiding the debate.

    Noam Chomsky puts it very well when describing Allan Dershowitz's campaign against Norman Finkelstein.

    Dershowitz is intelligent enough to know that he can’t respond, so he does what any tenth-rate lawyer does when you have a rotten case: you try to change the subject, maybe by vilifying opposing counsel. That changes the subject. Now we talk about whether, you know, opposing counsel did or did not commit this iniquity. And the tactic is a very good one, because you win, even if you lose. Suppose your charges against are all refuted. You’ve still won. You’ve changed the subject. The subject is no longer the real topic: the crucial facts about Israel, Dershowitz’s vulgar apologetics for them, which sort of are reminiscent of the worst days of Stalinism. We’ve forgotten all of that. We’re now talking about whether Finkelstein did this, that and the other thing. And even if the charges are false, the topic’s been changed. That’s the basis of it.

    That pretty much explain why we are not engaging in constructive discussion about how Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and share the land they live on.

  • Dylan

    Andre wrote:

    As we saw with Jimmy Carter’s book (which contained nothing controversial) , little effort has been made to address the primary arguments.

    Carter may not have been the first to compare the situation in Israel-Palestine to apartheid but this does not make his comparison less controversial.

    To say that there is "nothing controversial" in his book is drawing a pretty long bow, I think.

  • Andre

    The reason the comparisons were not controversial, is because all his arguments have already been made by Haaretz and B'Tselem.

    Like many tops discussed only inside Israel, they only become controversial when discussed in the US, the Britain and Australia. Dershowitz and an co. went after Carter as if to suggest he arrived at the conclusion himself, when in fact all Carter did was document what had already been reported.

  • BenZ

    Andre,

    Are you able to form any opinions of your own? Your last three comments were little more than extended quotes by others, followed by your own endorsement. An original thought would be nice.

    It is also worth noting that Tim Blair has taken Antony's bait and linked to this post.

    I can only imagine how many comments are currently being censored here.

    Fortunately mine (by and large) get through the gauntlet.

    Antony is yet to respond to any discussion of his censorship practices and hypocricy. http://antonyloewenstein.com/blog/2007/05/08/bush

  • BenZ

    The Australian Jewish News continues its tradition of hard-hitting journalism, touching stories that no other “serious” paper would consider

    "Serious" journalist Antony Loewenstein demonstrates again he has no idea what he is talking about.

    The Jewish News is a community newspaper. Of course it reports on stories that no other paper would consider. For example, how Maccabi did in soccer over the weekend. Who got married at which synagogue, which Jewish students did well in their exams.

    You could probably say the same thing about any local newpaper as well.

    I totally fail to see what Antony's point is, other than to sneer and mock and abuse, all the while complaining that he is occasionally on the receiving end of abuse. In other words, he's only good at dishing it out.

    A key difference of course, is that by and large the Australian Jewish News will print any letter sent to them and a variety of diverse opinion on Jewish issues, whereas Antony Loewenstein censors comments here daily.

    The Jewish rag must be getting desperate. If they’re needing to quote blogger Tim Blair

    Well Antony must be getting even more desperate if he has to quote a newspaper he so derides, who in turn quoted a journalist he despises.

    Still, anything to attract a few links I guess…