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 old anti-Semitism canard

Many Jews say that criticising Israel is acceptable, as long as it’s “balanced”. When pushed, they can’t really think of any instances where Israeli behaviour has been problematic, so why, they ask, do people single out the Jewish state?

The Australian-based Anti-Defamation Commission – once an organisation that believed in fighting racism of all sorts and now just little more than a Zionist mouthpiece – has a few rules about debating Israel and anti-Semitism:

A more recent form, sometimes called “the new anti-Semitism”, focuses on Israel. This takes the form of attempts to delegitimise Israel’s right to exist, to demonise it through false accusations, and to require of it standards of behaviour not demanded of any other nation. The new anti-Semitism emanates from elements of the Arab and Muslim community, encouraged by sections of the radical left. Friendly support is given by some journalists. The ECAJ notes that, “some commentators can be identified who use different criteria for judging Israel than they do for any other state”.

It is of course not antisemitic to engage in rational and even passionate debate about Israeli policies and actions. It is antisemitic to compare Israel’s actions in building a security fence, designed (successfully) to prevent terrorist acts against civilians, with the actions of the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto or those of the South African government in the days of apartheid.

So, only the “radical left” would dare compare Israeli behaviour to apartheid South Africa.  That would make, for example, leading Haaretz commentator Akiva Eldar, an anti-Semite.  Sadly for the ADC and its ilk, trying to label open discussion about Israel as anti-Semitism is simply ignored by a growing number of people. Fears of yesteryear are decreasing, and across the world, robust criticism of Israeli apartheid is gathering force, including from many Jews.

If Zionists are really worried about anti-Semitism, they should try and modify Israeli behaviour. Otherwise, it’s time to change their tune.

21 comments ↪
  • BenZ

    Loewenstein… Still whistling the same tune.

    Many Jews say that criticising Israel is acceptable, as long as it’s “balanced”.

    They do?

    I think what you'll find, is that criticism of Israel itself is not antisemitic however criticism of Israel, a Jewish state out of all proportion to criticism of other countries with far worse actions or human-rights, is the problem.

    That's what Jews actually believe Antony, but as you don't really know many (in the real world) you are not particularly qualified to comment on what they think, say or believe. Are you?

    I mean, out of 120 000 Australian Jews, you only found fewer than 500 who agree with anything you say.

    If Zionists are really worried about anti-Semitism

    Jews are worried about antisemitism. It is not a "Zionist" thing at all. However, so-called "Anti-Zionists" like yourself (it's a popular new euphemism) who fail to draw the distinction are a large part of the problem.

  • Andre

    First there was anti-semitism, which makes no mention of Israel, so the Zionists came up with the term "new anti-Semitism" and "soft anti-Semitism".

    Abe Foxman of the US ADL, is still unable to come up with definition of anti-Semitism, insisting that he knows it when he sees it.

    BenZ,

    I mean, out of 120 000 Australian Jews, you only found fewer than 500 who agree with anything you say.

    Does this mean that the other 119500 disagree with Ant or that you jwo then personally and speak for them BenZ?

    Someone recently said that Zionists is the ultimate defeatist ideology. It takes the position that no Jew will ever be welcome in any part of the world, and that all Jews are despised. If this were the case, no Jew would be living outside of Israel's borders.

    What this reveals is that Zionsim is largely a fraud and that anti-Semitism is largely exaggerated and exploited to maintain support for Israel.

  • Spot on Antony.

    I was once a regular at a stridently pro-Israel forum. There were the usual range of barking mad bigots. But there was one person in particular who was keen to present a moderate and reasonable Zionist voice. The basic positions didn't vary much (eg Palestinians fault at Camp David, existential threats etc) , but he was at pains to portray himself as rational. We had a very very long discussion once, where he argued that my position was one-eyed and verged on being anti-semitic because I only criticised Israel. I was able to demonstrate that my criticisms spread far and wide, but he maintained that most of the problem in the I-P conflcit was that many people lay all the blame on one side (Israels of course) and couldn't be equally critical of both sides.
    Applying the test of universality, I asked him for his criticisms of Israels action. And in a classic Zionist moment, he said "Israel is not perfect", "Israel is not a utopia". That was all I could get out of him!!

  • Andre

    It's hardly surprising Michael,

    I imagine that if your discussion had gone much further, you may have seen this moderate individual slowly morph into a non moderate. Viva Peace use to be such a moderate a year ago – Today he sounds like a David Horotwitz Mimime.

    The most glaring issue of the conflict that Zionists fail to tackle, is the fact that Israel is an occupier and that under the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter, the Palestinians are legally entitled to resist the occupation. Nonetheless, this resistance is portrayed by the Western media as terrorism and the occupation as an act of maintaining security.

    On top of this is that the Zionist argument aims to portray the conflict as one between equals, when this is clearly absurd. There is an implied insinuation by the pro Zionist stance that if the Palestinians were to cease their violent resistance, then they would get their land back and that the occupation would come to and end, but when challenged on this issue, their fall back position is that this would threaten Israel's existence (as we know it today).

    So you see, you will only ever be able to have a sensible discussion with a pro Zionists about these issues to a point, because ultimately, their position is indefensible.

  • BenZ

    Does this mean that the other 119500 disagree with Ant

    Probably. Although there are also many, many non-Jewish people who think he's an idiot as well. It isn't only Jews.

  • viva peace

    Andre

    Israel is NOT an "occupier" under the UN Charter. And the Palestinians do not have any "rights." This is war you fool and the stupid Pals are killing each OTHER. Hullo?

  • BenZ

    If Zionists are really worried about anti-Semitism, they should try and modify Israeli behaviour. Otherwise, it’s time to change their tune.

    Inadvertently (as he is clueless) by claiming Israeli behaviour as a cause of it, Antony has justified antisemitism.

    Nice…..

  • BenZ must have "inadvertently" missed the whole point,

    A more recent form, sometimes called “the new anti-Semitism”, focuses on Israel. This takes the form of attempts to delegitimise Israel’s right to exist, to demonise it through false accusations, and to require of it standards of behaviour not demanded of any other nation.

    BenZ shows that he belongs to the ranks of the 'new Stalinists' – fawning acolytes of Israel, who believe Israel bears no responsibility for it's actiond and hence there is no need to change it's behaviour. Anyone who makes such a suggestion has "justified anti-semitism".

  • Andre

    Viva

    Israel is NOT an “occupier” under the UN Charter. And the Palestinians do not have any “rights.” This is war you fool and the stupid Pals are killing each OTHER. Hullo?

    Your descent into derrangement continues.

    Yes Israel is indeed an occupier under the UN charter, which is where the term "occupied territories" comes from. Have you forgotten your talking point about how the UNSC Resolution calls for withdraw from occupied territories (as opposed to "the" occupied territories)?

    Here are just a few UNSC Resolution that mention occupation:"

    259: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation".
    Resolution 452: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories".
    U.N. Resolution 242 (i) Withdrawl of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict

    Perhaps you could explain how occupied territories can exist without an occupation or occupiers.
    And why pray tell do Palestinians not have rights? Are they sub-human, or are you just becoming increasingly fond of the terms the Nazi's used to describe Jews in WWII?

  • BenZ

    Sure Michael. I believe whatever you say I believe…

    I love how Antony doesn't respond to anything here, thanks in part to his (small) army of stooges.

  • Andre

    BenZ,

    Don't feel bad. Ant ignores all trolls equally. He's not singling you out for special treatment.

  • Carrie Lewis

    There are a number of flaws in Mr. Loewenstein's analysis but I'll concentrate on these: –

    The Palestinian armed groups were created not simply to resist any occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza but their founding charters clearly state their aim is to destroy Israel. In the case of Hamas its Charter is also clearly ant-Semitic (unless one disagrees that expressing an avowed aim to kill Jews isn't anti- Semitic – and nothing would surprise me after reading the fawning that goes on about Hamas around here). I don't care whether he thinks the anti-Semitic "canard" is employed or not, if he treats the conduct of Hamas et al s if it's a benevolent organisation then he's supporting a racist movement bent on genocide against the Jews. There's no doubt in my mind about that.

    And where does the United Nations say that the disembowelling of a pregnant mother and the murder o her four children is an act of resistance against occupation?

    I'm glad to know that Ant "ignores trolls equally". It means he's not interested in engaging in debate (except through his highly questionable surrogates). He shouldn't complain then if the Jews ignore him equally.

  • Andre

    Interesting and predictably selective analysis Carrie,

    The Palestinian armed groups were created not simply to resist any occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza but their founding charters clearly state their aim is to destroy Israel.

    An incredibly naive and simplistic summation. There Palestinian armed groups would never have gained a foothold in the region had Israel not introduced them to thwart the PLO in the first place.

    They must surely be regretting that =deranged policy now.

    In any case, the US and Israel have worked feverishly to fracture any co-operation between Fatah and Hamas, and are now pretending that this whole mess was somehow unavoidable.

    In the case of Hamas its Charter is also clearly ant-Semitic (unless one disagrees that expressing an avowed aim to kill Jews isn’t anti- Semitic

    The could easily be said of Israel.

    Some quotes to prove the true intentions of Israel's sounding fathers.

    “We must expel Arabs and take their places.”
    – David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
    – David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

    “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”
    – David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan’s “Zionism and the Palestinians pp 141-2 citing a 1938 speech.

    if he treats the conduct of Hamas et al s if it’s a benevolent organisation then he’s supporting a racist movement bent on genocide against the Jews.

    N o one said that Hamas was a benevolent organisation. btu neithe could the same be said of Israel as a state.

    And where does the United Nations say that the disembowelling of a pregnant mother and the murder o her four children is an act of resistance against occupation?

    And where does the UN say that emptying 2 clips of bullets from an automatic machine gun into a 13 year old Palestinian girl is an act o self defense, along with IDF soldiers using Palestinian children as target practice (to watch the spectacle of seeing their heads explode)?

    As for mistreating one's own, let's here was Israel's first PM had to say about his brethren.

    “If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”
    – David Ben-Gurion (Quoted on pp 855-56 in Shabtai Teveth’s Ben-Gurion in a slightly different translation).

  • Carrie Lewis

    Andre,

    Have you ever been to the West Bank or Gaza and spoken with real Palestinians about their situation? I think not because I have and I know they don't apply your twisted logic, which is common only to the thugs who make their lives and those of their Israeli neighbours miserable.

    Real Palestinians have a good sense of humour and would laugh at your persistent fairy tale telling about Israel introducing these armed groups to the region (as if the Israelis needed to thwart the PLO with armed groups). Get a grip on yourself and read some true history or alternatively, find me a credible historian who would put his name and reputation on the line to support such drivel (please not your usual sources that have already been discredited earlier).

    As for your selective out of context, poorly translated references from an Israeli who died some 35 years ago, even if they really did accurately reflect his views, how does that justify Hamas' overt anti Semitism and Ant's support for that movement? How does it justify your earlier insensitive remarks about Hamas' right to resistance by disembowelling pregnant women? How does it justify Hamas' war crimes against its own people such as the killing of two Palestinian demonstrators who were among the 1,000 who marched through Gaza with banners, "Stop the Killing" and were fired on by Hamas thugs?

    The greatest enemies of peace in the region are the apologists for these armed groups. Had they laid down their weapons in accordance with the Road Map four years ago, the international community would have been able to secure a Palestinian State by now.

  • Andre

    Carrie,

    You can go into denial all you want, but history is against you. Even Yitzhak Rabin acknowledged that Israel supported Hamas in it's early days (and spoke of it with regret), so quite frankly, while your anecdotes are interesting, they are pretty much irrelevant.

    please not your usual sources that have already been discredited earlier

    Yeah sure, whatever you say Carrie. Explain to me how Robert Dreyfus has been discredited, along with former Israeli foreign affairs minister Shlomo Ben Ami and of course, Yitzhak Rabin .

    How does it justify your earlier insensitive remarks about Hamas’ right to resistance by disembowelling pregnant women?

    Who said anything about support for the movement? Why does recognizing a simple truth like the that Hamas were democratically elected have to equate to support for the movement?

    How does it justify your earlier insensitive remarks about Hamas’ right to resistance by disembowelling pregnant women?

    It doesn't any more than IDF soldiers using Palestinian children for target practice does is not justified under the rubric of self defense. Both are guilty of horrendous acts of violence, but that does not mean their raison d'etre is defined by the atrocities does it?

    The greatest enemies of peace in the region are those that pretend to support democracy and then turn around and punish an entire population by starving them for making the wring choice as dictated by Tel Aviv and Washington. It boggles the mind how zealouts like yourself can accept that starving an entire population, while arming one faction against the other, will somehow result sin a pois9itve and peaceful outcome.

    You are so out of touch it's frightening. The Roadmap was a fraud from day 1,
    http://antonyloewenstein.com/blog/2007/06/11/the-

    yet you cling to the myths of Oslo and Tabba as though Israel somehow fulfilled all their obligations under those agreements

    There was never going to be a Palestinian state. get it through your head Carrie. As Dov Weisglass revealed during Sharon's reign, the idea all along was to put the peace process into formaldehyde.

    And in case you hadn't heard, the Earth is not flat either.

  • Carrie Lewis

    The only fraud about the Road Map was the part about the PA accepting it "without reservations" in June and then renegging on it in July.

    How do you conclude that I'm a zealot and where did I say anything about starving anybody?

    Never mind, your response will as always, be an explanation given to you by someone travelling on the Tardis.

  • It's routine that the apologists for Israel demand that the occupied "lay down their arms", and renounce violence, but without ever suggesting that it should apply equally (probably even more so) to the massive state violence perpetrated by Isael.

    Carrie is right in this point- "The greatest enemies of peace in the region are the apologists for these armed groups."

    And it seems that the bigger the group, the greater the apologetics.

  • Andre

    Carrie,

    The only fraud about the Road Map was the part about the PA accepting it “without reservations” in June and then renegging on it in July.

    Yeah sure, whatever you say.

    "Israel has announced plans for thousands of homes in a new settlement near Jerusalem, ignoring its undertaking in the road map to freeze settlement activity."
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,127

    How do you conclude that I’m a zealot and where did I say anything about starving anybody?

    By the fact that you buy into the argument that the resident of Gaza should somehow accept collective punishment on such a massive scale and that rejection of it amounts to thuggery.

    Never mind, your response will as always, be an explanation given to you by someone travelling on the Tardis.

    Hilarious coming from somone who thinks that the opinion of a few Palestinians she has met in her travels somehow negates the fact that Palestinians overwhelmingly elected a Hamas government in 2006.

  • BenZ

    BenZ,

    Don’t feel bad. Ant ignores all trolls equally. He’s not singling you out for special treatment.

    Rubbish. Like you, Antony refuses to accept error. Instead he dismisses all critics as "trolls" or their arguments as "Zionist tactics" (e.g when Ted Lapkin pointed out obvious and verifiable errors in his book, which resulted in a reprint, yet which he never admitted were a mistake).

    Moreover, rather than 'ignoring' people, in most cases he simply deletes their comments. Mine and Viva's get through, as a token gesture and we are invariably piled upon, by "ant" fanboys.

    It's very cute how you call him "Ant". Does he call you Andy?

  • Andre

    BenZ,

    You know very well that by visiting this blog, you are going to meet with opposition. While you are most welcome here, there is no point complaining that most of the visitors disagree with you. Visitors like Carrie and Jon make worthwhile contributions and are certainly not trolls. Both address the topics of the thread and neither engage is personal attacks on those that disagree with them.

    Like yourself, Lapkin seizes on minutia and small errors to suggest that Ant's entire book should be dismissed or ignored, while he himself ignores the arguments that he has been unable to tackle.

    One can always tell when you are stuck for an argument BenZ, when you resort to criticizing typos and spelling mistakes.

  • Carrie Lewis

    Hilarious coming from somone who thinks that the opinion of a few Palestinians she has met in her travels somehow negates the fact that Palestinians overwhelmingly elected a Hamas government in 2006.

    Did I ever say that? The truth is that the Palestinians did not "overwhelmingly" elect Hamas at all. They elected Hamas in much the same way as the Germans elected Hitler – in a protest vote against what went before but that wasn't my point at all.

    I mentioned some of the Palestinians I met in my travels because they, like the Israelis I lived and worked with, are human beings and not just objects for exploitation on blogs such as this.

    When people on both sides understand this then we might get a start on a genuine peace process. Meanwhile, the apologists for the men (and women) with guns can have their field day.