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.

Please somebody, anybody, love Israel

Following my Crikey article last week discussing the inability of the Australian Jewish establishment to tolerate honest debate on Israel/Palestine – and yet condone every Israeli “security” policy against the Palestinians – a wonderfully delusional response appears in today’s Crikey:

16. There’s vibrant debate within the Jewish community

By Assoc. Prof. Douglas Kirsner, chair of the Public Affairs Committee of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission

It’s hard to imagine Crikey finding a less appropriate, less representative, less objective or less well-informed commentator on the internal affairs of Australia’s 120,000-strong Jewish community than Antony Loewenstein.

What universe does Mr Loewenstein live in? He doesn’t like Israeli policies but makes no attempt to debate them or their context, except to hurl epithets. And it’s not just Israel that is in the gun but the Australian Jewish community, which supports Israel’s rights to exist and defend itself.

It’s disingenuous of Mr Loewenstein to accuse Israel and the Australian Jewish community of not wanting a two-state solution. Most Israelis and most Australian Jews want a Palestinian state alongside Israel, as shown in poll after poll. But the Palestinian leadership, particularly Hamas, want a Palestinian state instead of Israel. The Israelis have made many offers of land for peace, most recently the Barak-Clinton plan of 2000, which the Palestinians have answered with suicide bombers and rockets.

Mr Loewenstein tries to present the Jewish community as a monolith in which the sinister “Jewish leaders” permit no debate. This is a bizarre caricature. There are many vibrant debates in the Australian Jewish community about how the Middle East problems can be solved.

The Middle East conflict is a tragedy for both Israelis and Palestinians. The question is, how do we move on and solve the problems that hurt both populations so much? Ordinary Palestianians and ordinary Israelis want peace and a normal life. But Mr Loewenstein is not concerned with the complex problems of the region, he is concerned only to blame one side. He places all the blame on Israel, for daring to exist and to defend itself from attack.

Mr Loewenstein has not a breath of criticism for the extremists of Hamas, who since they took control of the Palestinian Authority have plunged Gaza into civil war and sought to provoke war by abducting Israeli soldiers from Israeli territory. Does not Mr Loewenstein think that Hamas TV in Gaza broadcasting a three year old Palestinian child talking about Jews as “pig and apes” (and shown last week on SBS TV last week as an example of prejudice) bears at least part responsibility for the current impasse?

Mr Loewenstein clearly wants Israel simply to give up and succumb to the demands that it cease to exist. He wants not a two-state solution, but the dissolution of the Israeli state. He asks Israel literally to commit national suicide. Apart from this, he has no solution at all.

There is no compromise, no negotiation, no moving on, no imagination of a future in which two states can exist side by side, no criticism of Hamas, no desire to build partnerships between two peoples who have a right to normal lives. He demonstrates no empathy for Israeli points of view other than those who support his own extreme one.

Mr Loewenstein’s reading of the Bulletin article on the ALP and the Jewish community reeks of this extremism. The Jewish community, like many others, is divided in its party allegiances and perspective, and many discussions in the Australian Jewish News are testament to this robust debate. But Australian Jews appreciate that Liberal and Labor offer bipartisan support of Israel’s right to exist.

ALP policy is firmly in support of the existence of Israel within secure and defensible borders, alongside a Palestinian state. The ALP takes this position not because they are afraid of sinister “Jewish leaders”, but out of conviction. Has Mr Loewenstein ever heard of Dr Evatt or Bob Hawke? There are a few hyper-critical elements in both parties who share Loewenstein’s views, but they have no influence. The Australian Jewish community gets along with both sides of politics.

The Liberal Party’s views on terrorism obviously sit comfortably with most members of the Australian Jewish community, but the anti-terrorist legislation passed with bi-partisan support. Moreover, Rudd’s strong stance on Iran may not fit in with the Loewenstein-Pilger-Fisk world-view. Rudd commented in last weekend’s The Weekend Australian that he was concerned about Iran because of its consistent support for terrorist organizations, principally Hezbollah; its nuclear program; and the fact that it is led by Ahmadinejad, “whose bellicose statements about Israel are not just fundamentally repugnant but inherently destabilising”. Rudd added that the world community, including Australia, needed to “maximise every form of diplomatic leverage against the Iranians to bring them to the negotiating table. It’s very difficult to have business as usual with the Iranians when Mr Ahmadinejad refers blithely to wiping Israel off the map”.

It may be news to Mr Loewenstein, but like other Australians, Jews vote mainly in response to local issues, not international ones, and support parties as do others of their individual socio-economic status. It’s a pity that the Bulletin article didn’t mention Kevin Rudd’s recent announcements on funding for Jewish schools and on school security, which have been widely welcomed in the Jewish community, and not matched by the Liberals, at least as yet.

I’m disappointed at the mildness of the piece. I had hoped to be compared to Hitler, or at least Mussolini, for talking about Israeli misbehaviour in the occupied territories. Instead, we’re treated to an updated version of Leon Uris’ Exodus. Those noble Jews against the barbaric Arabs. Just why doesn’t the world understand us, despairs Kirsner? It must be rampant anti-Semitism. As a woman told me a few days ago at a public forum in which I participated, the world has always hated Jews and always will. Ipso facto, any criticism of Israel is unjustified and anti-Semitic.

Memo to Kirsner: it may feel liberating to portray the Israelis as peace-loving, but most of the world simply doesn’t believe you. Many of us intend to continue convincing the stragglers why the Jewish state remains a danger to the world.

5 comments ↪
  • mallee

    Up to 11th September 2001 I believed the mass media and supported the United Sates of Israel.

    Now, after intensive due enquiry I do not believe and do not support. I also don't like fundamental muslims much either. Indeed. Australia should have nothing to do with hate, hostility or biggotry anywhere North of the equator, let them all sink in their hatred and greed. Anyone in Australia interested in the Middle East matter or wanting to take sides should take it up North. Do not involve or endanger Australians in arguments or involvement in miserable interpretations of silly religious biblical nonsense, (I mean oil) Suckers of the bankers and war industries should p#** off,

  • Ozbearion

    We do love Israel, we really do, the way we love our teenage children – we just wish they would grow up and move out!

  • John K

    Antony, I say your post then the Prof. I'm surprised he didn't call you a 'self hating' Jew…

    If you read Ha'aretz online, it's amazing the debate that's allowed to go on within Israel yet, in the US & Australia, the same debates just aren't tolerated at all. Why is that I wonder ? What makes Jew's in other countries other than Israel so hyper sensitive ? It never ceases to amaze me the preciousness that envelopes constructive debate in Western countries by Jews. He says, "Mr Loewenstein tries to present the Jewish community as a monolith in which the sinister "Jewish leaders" permit no debate. This is a bizarre caricature. There are many vibrant debates in the Australian Jewish community about how the Middle East problems can be solved." In what media in Oz does this take place, or is this behind closed doors for Jews only permitted to discuss.

    And then this puff, "Jews vote mainly in response to local issues, not international ones" So why is it that ECAJ in Oz have been caught out 'heavying' local politicians for remarks that put Israel in an unsatisfactory light ? btw, Mr Kirsner mentioned the 'jewish community' 9 times ! How about the Australian community instead ?!

  • Andrew

    Dear Antony,

    Your fault Antony, well one among many, is that you don't inject into every sentence something to the effect that "Hamas are terrorists intent on the destruction of Isreal."

    This seems to be necessary as once this phrase is encountered all bets are off and moral reflection of one's actions can be suspended. At least that is what it appears to me.

    Isreal is like a spoilt and stupid child who when repeatedly caught in the act can only respond 'but Hamas are terrorists intent on the destruction of Isreal."

    The obvious corollary of this is that Isreal abandons all accountability for its actions because 'Hamas are terrorists…..". Well, you get the drift.

    It's true, Hamas is a terrorist organisation. We fully expect Isreal to defend herself, but pure denial of any complicity in creating the conditions that give rise to terrorism is self-defeating. Occupation and denying electricity to citizens are unjustifiable, fuggedaboutit.

    I find it hard to fathom that a race/religion/culture that so desperately prides itself on and values 'intelligence' is so collectively stupid and deliberately ignorant.

    But not being a jew I am neither allowed to think this or type it, which is why you are necessary.

    Shalom to the substantial number of jews for whom peace and coexistence is a goal worth giving up something for.

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