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.

Tough Jews battle for the (shiny Zionist) crown

This week’s Australian Jewish News contains some letters that really don’t need an introduction, or explanation. Just pity:

IAJV signatory Lewis Rassaby (AJN 18/5) claims that “whatever the merits of his opinions”, Antony Loewenstein is “at least brave enough to stand up for what he thinks”.

And this is brave – why? Loewenstein lives in a modern democracy and Jewish people don’t issue fatwas, Mr Rassaby. Although Loewenstein and IAJV partner Dr Peter Slezak repeat (at every possible opportunity) their claim of receiving “death threats”, I doubt very much whether anyone (including themselves) takes such things seriously. Certainly neither Loewenstein nor Slezak have gone into hiding or required police protection.

I also doubt whether they are checking under their cars each morning – as if there would be any such need. What exactly are they in fear of? Eighty-five-year-old Mrs Goldenbloom is going to “whack them”? Woody Allen might bust them? Quelle horreur!

Real bravery is that shown by Muslim dissidents, in Australia and overseas, who face real physical danger or even murder for speaking out, rather than the completely imaginary bogeyman that Rassaby and Loewenstein claim to be standing up to.

Loewenstein is no Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh or Salman Rushdie. Australian Muslims who have spoken out against Sheikh Hilaly have also required police protection for their comments. It is they who deserve real support from Rassaby. In contrast, such posturing doesn’t make Loewenstein “brave”, it makes him an attention-seeking nebbisch.

Daniel Lewis
Rushcutters Bay, NSW

LEWIS Rassaby’s letter (AJN 18/5) should not go without retort.

1. Since when is being a young voice a criteria for being taken seriously?  In Loewenstein’s case, it is my opinion that he is wholly wrong and doing great damage to the wider Jewish community.

2. Loewenstein is, according to his newsletter, a board member of the Macquarie University Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. If one claims academic kudos, it is reasonable to be criticised for lack of academic rigour.

3. I think Rassaby may have confused Loewenstein’s speaking “from the heart” with another part of the anatomy. Be that as it may, his critics also hold heartfelt views, so Rassaby’s dismissal of them as “haters of youth, freedom and change” is nothing less than bigoted.

4. If Rassaby wishes to turn his back on the Jewish community, so be it.  I’m sure we’ll all feel the loss deeply.

5. There is no censorship of Loewenstein in the AJN.  His views have been widely canvassed and the gullible have had their support of him published.  But as many of us think those views are quite odious, there is no obligation on the AJN to sponsor them. The right to state such views has not been impeached.  But the right of the majority to debunk such nonsense is as important more so, when it is so terribly offensive to most of us.

Terry Davis
Lindfield, NSW

THE Kassam rockets that Hamas is indiscriminately firing on the Israeli border town of Sderot is a clear and unequivocal unprovoked attack on innocent Israeli citizens. The Israeli Air Force’s reply of force is exactly what Hamas wants – to draw Israel into the mire of clashes that is taking place between Hamas and Fatah.

So these Aussie Jews who were signatories to that divisive petition against Israeli policy – are they sorry now that they were hoodwinked into believing that the Palestinians are capable of any peaceful coexistence with Israel? Does it take a relative nobody and obscure little writer such as Loewenstein to convince Jewish well-known identities to be a part of a misguided statement pertaining Israel’s wrongful treatment of the Palestinians?

Israel did not start this latest skirmish. It was the Palestinian firing of the Kassam rockets into Israel that started this latest bombing of Gaza by the IDF. So to all those signatories who have foolishly been led astray, I say: it’s not too late for you to retract and remove your signature from a worthless piece of paper designed to divide the Australian Jewish community’s undying support and love for Israel.

David Cashrein
Crows Nest, NSW