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 Israeli Diaspora soul-searching

My following article appears in today’s Online Opinion:

During Israel’s recent bombardment of Gaza, the Australian Jewish establishment reacted with unreserved support. Israel’s leading human rights organisation B’Tselem reported that the majority of Palestinian victims of the onslaught were civilians.

David Knoll, from the New South Wales Board of Deputies, wrote that, “Israel is using force only when all else has failed”. Vic Alhadeff, from the same organisation, casually suggested “wresting security control of Gaza from Hamas and handing it to any leaders who commit to peace”.

Israeli actions are once again internationally reviled and yet defended by a steadily declining number of people. Uncritical Zionist support for the Jewish state and an addiction to Israeli violence is fast becoming the greatest threat to its future existence. Debate continues to be supplanted by unquestioning solidarity.

From supporting the 2006 Lebanon war to advocating military strikes against Iran, mainstream Jewish voices across the Western world have long attempted to speak with one voice, a rallying cry for support of Israeli actions and defence of its motives. This was enough for decades to build a Zionism that didn’t tolerate dissent, an ideology that thrived and relied on lifelong obedience. However, the last years have seen a profound shift in Jewish public opinion and increasing ambivalence towards the Jewish state, though this is rarely reflected by community spokespeople.

When a recent United Nations report found that Palestinian terrorism was the “inevitable consequence” of Israel’s illegal occupation, Israel reacted with predictable bluster. The study was tarred as a typically biased and anti-Semitic UN study, but the real lessons were conveniently ignored. Most of the world understands that resistance to occupation is a legitimate and legal form of action, whether in Iraq or Tibet, but we are expected to believe that these universal precepts don’t apply in the Palestinian territories as well.

On a range of issues, views that are held by many Israelis are seen as beyond the pale in Jewish circles in the West. A recent poll found that a majority of Israelis believed Israel should hold direct talks with Hamas and yet this startling fact appeared nowhere in the Australian Jewish establishment. It was the exact opposite, with commentators and editorialists debating the ways in which the Hamas government should be obliterated. Diaspora Jews have the luxury of expressing views that are anything but “pro-Israel”.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, claimed by some optimists as heralding a new period of justice and dialogue in American foreign policy, agrees with the Bush administration’s position of shunning contact with Hamas. Prominent Palestinian Rashid Khaliki recently said that Obama’s position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was “almost indistinguishable from [that of] all the other candidates”. Independent White House candidate Ralph Nader has labelled Israel’s actions in Gaza as “colonial”.

A recent incident at Harvard University highlighted the inability of the Jewish establishment to understand the shifting sands of the debate. A roving exhibition, “Breaking the Silence”, explains the abuses by Israelis soldiers against the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Progressive Jewish groups explained the importance of the photographs. “We cannot look the other way”, one said. “We cannot be silent.”

But Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, argued that the exhibition was harmful and should be shelved. The organisers, he said, should not be “promoting programs and material that don’t promote love and respect for Israel.” Such blatant attempts at censoring the realities of Israel are contributing to the gradual disillusionment of young Jews towards the Jewish state.

This inability to recognise a changing intellectual landscape is also playing out in Australia. A leading journalist has reported that when meeting with senior members of the local Zionist lobby, they refused to answer his questions on the “Israel Lobby” thesis by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. There was nothing to discuss, he was told. A best-selling, highly controversial book was deemed beyond candid discussion, a worrying sign that the Jewish establishment pretends that business as usual would suffice.

Two recent studies about American Jews have provided intriguing information about Diaspora attitudes towards Israel. One, at Brandeis University, found that Jewish attachment to Israel has remained largely strong over the last decade. The other, by Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, reveals that inter-marriage and more personalised forms of Judaism have led to a loosening of ethnic loyalties towards Israel. Only 54 per cent polled were comfortable with the very idea of the Jewish State.

Global Jewish attachment to Israel remains mired in a self-centred position, incapable of publicly debating the faltering nature of their favoured state. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel recently found that the Jewish state was overwhelmed by racism, with 50 percent of Israelis not wanting to live in the same apartment block as an Arab nor allowing their children to befriend Arabs.

Such results cry out for Diaspora soul-searching and yet Australian, Zionist spokesman Vic Alhadeff simply mouths the article of faith that, “the core issue is that Israel seeks peaceful co-existence with a Palestinian state.” Thankfully, most of the world simply doesn’t believe him although the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also ignores the Palestinian tragedy while celebrating the foundation of Israel, describing it as a “custodian of freedom” in a recent parliamentary motion celebrating the country’s 60th birthday.

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