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.

Israel the aggressor must accept reasonable and unbiased criticism

My following piece is the lead letter in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Supporters of Israel write as though the Jewish state is isolated and reviled around the world for no other reason than irrational anti-Semitism.

Nothing could be further from the truth. [Professor at York University, Toronto and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute] Anne Bayefsky (“Australia must boycott the next racist hatefest“, July 22) continues this unfortunate trend. She paints Israel as a poor, defenceless nation in the heart of the Middle East that is likely to be devoured by the Arab world’s uncontrollable racism. In fact, it is Israeli actions that have led it to become an international pariah. Do Zionists really believe expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank can continue without paying a high diplomatic and military price? Bayefsky criticises Durban I as “a notorious anti-Semitic hatefest”, a view not shared by many Jews.

The Palestinian peace activist Hanan Ashrawi told the conference its aim was “to give voice to the silenced, to give a reality to the invisible, to give recognition to the denied, and to give credence to the victimised”. The Palestinians are the eternally demonised people, occupied, starved and killed with impunity by Israel.

Although Durban focused excessively on the Jewish state to the exclusion of human rights abuses elsewhere, some Jews seem to think even raising the issue of Israeli rights violations is anti-Semitic. Participants focused on Israeli “apartheid”, much to the consternation of Western powers.

Earlier this month, a group of veteran South African activists visited the West Bank and concluded the situation there was worse than life for black South Africans under apartheid. Bayefsky, and Zionists like her, know that opinion polls across the world view Israel as the aggressor in the conflict. Since when does an occupier ask for sympathy?

Durban II offers the possibility for dialogue with the world’s powers over key issues of human rights. Australia, like other Western powers, should participate, but leave their pro-Israel grandstanding at home.

The Jewish state is clearly not the only nation worthy of condemnation, but it should not be excluded from the debate due to Zionist pressure or Holocaust guilt.

Israel is hardly in a position to dictate what constitutes democracy. After all, it actively discriminates against non-Jews and continues to expand settlements. Where is the Jewish outcry over that?

Antony Loewenstein Petersham

5 comments ↪
  • Austin

    Werd.

  • moshe

    Liberal bleeding heart Anthony spouts off from his soap box and preaches his preach. Zionism achieved its goal of attaining international recognition to Jewish self determination in 1948 with the UN vote which preceeded the Independence War which Israel won. Its pure propaganda to attempt to talk of Zioniam in terms of racism. Unless every nationality that seeks self determination are racists. Durban 1 or 2 does not speak about what's happening in Africa. Instead it seeks to employ the UN as an outside force to break Israel's will to reject the Arab states rejection of Jewish self determination.

    The Liberals cry: The Palestinians boo hoo! The negotiations that Israel recognized the PLO as the leading represenative of the "so called" Palestinians – that the PLO recognize Jewish self determination. Today Hamas still does not recognized Jewish self determination, so there's no door to negotiate between terrorists and my People, this includes Kappo Jews like Anthony.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    (The following comment is from Stewart Mills):

    Moshe: Thank God for brave voices of reason and compassion, people like Antony Loewenstein. To get an insight into why the UNS General Assembly plan to divide British-mandate Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State and an international city was an unjust proposition, consider the following.
    http://palestineisraeltrusteeship.blogspot.com/

    1. Thirty years before 87 percent of the region was not-Jewish. http://palestineisraelpopulation.blogspot.com/ http://www.1948.com.au/2008events/national/letter

    2. The region had not had a significant Jewish majority for over two millennia.

    3. The Jewish State had a slim majority of 498,000 Jews to 407,000 non-Jews. Although in reality the number of Arabs living in the Jewish state was potentially greater than the number of Jews considering:

    (a) Jaffa the largest Palestinian Arab town (with a population of 55,000 Muslims, 16,000 Christians and 30,000 Jews) was excised from the Jewish state and placed into the Arab state despite being geographically cut-off from the Arab state. To demonstrate the precariousness of such a decision Jaffa was a prime target for the Jewish military and was surrounded and defeated by Irgun (led by Menachem Begin) and Haganah on 12 May 1948 two days before the Jewish Agency declared the state of Israel (Lapidot).

    (b) 90,000 Bedouins were not included in the Jewish state despite being permitted to live in the Jewish State to graze during the dry season. This potentially underestimated the number of Arabs in the Jewish state (UNSCOP 1947).

    4. The decision to partition was undemocratically decided (from the point of view of the inhabitants)

    The citizens of the region (i.e. British-mandate Palestine) were not given a choice. They were left to the whim of western politicians and western domestic politics. There was no plebiscite for the region as had been initiated in Czechoslovakia, Greece, Kashmir and Korea.
    Noted personalities such as Sir Isaac Isaacs acknowledged this failure of democratic principles to operate on this question. Isaacs in the 1940’s was embroiled in a ferocious debate with Julius Stone about the proposal for creating a Jewish State in British-mandate Palestine (Stone 1944). Isaacs favoured a democratic approach. Isaacs argued it was unjust to impose Jewish nationalism on a region whose inhabitants had for millennia not had a Jewish majority (Isaacs 1946).

    Isaacs said let the human beings living in British-mandate Palestine decide their future. In contrast Stone favoured a Jewish nationalist approach which sought to turn back the clock two thousand years and recreate a Jewish state. Stone blinkered by the tragedy of the holocaust in Europe (like another legal giant Brandeis of the US and our own Dr Evatt a devotee of Brandeis) mistakingly believed that the creation of a Jewish state in historic Israel would help provide Jewish security for the Jewish people.

    5. Unfair pressure was placed on smaller nations to back the UN General Assembly Resolution

    A lot has been said about the United Nations creating Israel. Like many nation-state creation stories this is a partial truth. There were just 33 countries who voted in favour of creating a Jewish state, an Arab state and an international city of Jerusalem. 13 countries voted against partition and 10 countries including the United Kingdom abstained. The vote was only in the affirmative through heavy politiciking of the United States. The General Assembly Partition plan (29 Nov 1947) was initially to be voted on 26 August but the vote was postponed on two occasions until it was clear the necessary two-thirds majority (including abstentions) would be gained. The decisive votes were obtained from Haiti, Liberia and Philippines. Each of these three countries were pushed e.g. Haiti and Philippines in terms of aid and Liberia in terms of contracts for rubber exports to Firestone Tyre company. The Philippines itself had spoken against partition but when
    the
vote came her delegates were told to vote in favour. (Smith 1947).

    6. The UN Security Council rejected the General Assembly Partition plan
    The General Assembly then charged the Security Council with final deliberation on the partition plan. The United Nations Security Council in March 1948 rejected the General Assembly partition plan as it endangered international peace and security. So they recalled the General assembly to meet in April and May 1948. By this time the US had proposed placing Palestine under UN trusteeship. The Jewish Agency was outraged and decided that they would create a Jewish state whether or not they had the United Nations support. They did this on 14 May 1948.

    Conclusion

    History has shown that Stone was wrong and Isaacs (and the likes of Antony Loewenstein) are/was correct. Forcibly creating a Jewish state in a region which had not had a Jewish majority for over two thousand years was a disaster for world peace. Isaacs said in the 1940s:

    “the Zionist movement as a whole…makes demands that are arousing the antagonism of the Moslem world of nearly 400 millions, thereby menacing the safety of our Empire, endangering world peace and imperiling some of the most sacred associations of the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem faiths. Besides their inherent injustice to others these demands would, I believe, seriously and detrimentally affect the general position of Jews throughout the world” (Isaacs p. 8-9).

    Sir Isaac Isaacs was right. War was a consequence of trying to impose the Jewish nationalist ideology on peoples who were not Jewish. Sure, blame can be shared to include those within the Arab Palestinian and Arab neighbours who committed violence against the Jewish community from the 1920s until today. However, failure to acknowledge the basic injustice that forcibly establishing a state base on ethnicity to an ethnic group who had not had a majority in that region for over two thousand years was bound to lead to war.

    The region will continue to be at war whilst Jewish nationalist ideology is championed as opposed to acknowledging past injustices and basing statehood on it’s citizens.

    Sources

    Gandhi, The Jews', Harijan, November 26, 1938 http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/writings_o… Jews', by Gandhi – From Harijan, November 26, 1938; http://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/mideast.htm

    Isaacs, I. Palestine: Peace and Prosperity or War and Destruction? Political Zionism: Undemocratic, Unjust, Dangerous. Ramsay Ware Publishing, 1946.

    Lapidot Yehuda, ‘The Conquest of Jaffa’. http://www.etzel.org.il/english/ac18.htm

    Smith, Lawrence, US Congressional Record – House. pp.11652-11658, 18 December 1947.

    Stone, J, “Stand up and be counted!” An open letter to the Rt Hon Sir Isaac Isaacs on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the Jewish National Home, 1944

    UNSCOP 1947, http://www.mideastweb.org/unscop1947.htm
    http://palestineisraeltrusteeship.blogspot.com/
    http://www.1948.com.au/2008events/national/letter

  • Stewart Mills

    Of course I acknowledge and feel remorse for any racism, violence and oppression the Jewish community as felt. See for example:
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/mythshttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Histohttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holochttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Histohttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/rhttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/P

    However, this is not a blank cheque to forcibly create a Jewish state in a region without the democratic consent of the local inhabitants.

    I realise the above reflection will be offensive to many who have grown up with the belief that Jewish security is dependent on the presence of a Jewish nationalist state based in the historic region occupied by ancient Hebrew people.

    However, as difficult as it is to read please be assured that the purpose of writing this reflection is to help build a future where the 11 million human beings in the trouble region of Israel and Palestine may find creative and sustainable ways to live in peace. Peace is based on attaining fundamental needs such as justice, security, meaning, identity and autonomy. A balanced interpretation of the history of the region is essential for this.

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